Offsite Magazine - Issue 12 (July/August 2018)

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HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS Repeatability, stackability and how to secure branded economies of scale


LEARNING FOR INDUSTRY The beX programme and upskilling the future’s construction and manufacturing professions


DELIVERING NEW SCHOOLS Volumetric architecture and generating BIM-enabled, innovative component-based design


Rapidres is an innovative offsite fastrack modular precast concrete build system, delivering robust traditional style construction and significant programme savings. It is ideally suited to multi-storey projects such as: • Apartments • Student accommodation • Hotels • Social housing • Custodial


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PEFC 16-33-576 paper stock by Buxton Press PUBLISHER: Offsite Magazine is produced and published by Radar Communications: ©Radar Communications Ltd. Radar Communications Ltd, 5 Darwin Court, Oxon Business Park, Shrewsbury, Shropshire. SY3 5AL T: 01743 290001 For offsite enquiries please contact: E: DISCLAIMER: The content of Offsite Magazine does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or publishers and are the views of its contributors and advertisers. The digital edition may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising, or websites, provided for the sake of convenience and interest. The publishers accept no legal responsibility for loss arising from information in this publication and do not endorse any advertising or products available from external sources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the publishers. All rights reserved.



Welcome to the latest edition of Offsite Magazine. This issue follows on from the publication of two new reports championing the uptake of offsite methods of manufacture and delivery.

associations, it outlines offsite as: “a prime example of opportunity for better joint working… and an essential ingredient in trying to scale up production in the 2020s without simply growing costs at the same rate. As well as its potential speed and environmental benefits, it has a strong part to play in overcoming construction skills shortages onsite.”

Is awareness of offsite construction really rising? July’s report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, stated clearly that offsite manufacture can help to increase productivity in the construction sector while reducing labour demands, improving the quality and efficiency of buildings. Importantly it stresses the importance of the environmental impacts associated with traditional construction being curtailed. The Government’s Construction Sector Deal commitments and the vaunted ‘presumption in favour’ of an offsite approach reveals an important new tone when offsite is mentioned. Speaking on the publication of ‘Off-site Manufacture for Construction: building for change’, Chairman of the Committee, Lord Patel said: “There are clear and tangible benefits from offsite manufacture for construction which make a compelling case for its widespread use.”

On a further housing note, we recently saw the departure of Housing Minister Dominic Raab who has been replaced by Kit Malthouse formerly of the Department of Work and Pensions. The third incumbent of 2018 will inherit a department that needs firm leadership, focus and dare I say it – stability. For more on the direction the offsite housing sector is heading, we carry the highlights of the recent Roundtable Event hosted by Stewart Milne Timber Systems.

The second recent report extolling the virtues of offsite was commissioned by Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion, with feedback from 60 key organisations within the residential sector exploring how housing associations should ‘evolve’ over the next 10-15 years. A thought-provoking read with many ‘questions and challenges’ for housing

Elsewhere in this issue we cover the volumetric modular market in some detail, not least with our Cover Story featuring Ideal Modular Homes, plus key features on the boom in hotel developments, the continuing success of modular design in the education sector and for a slightly different angle, Dr Derek Thomson of Loughborough University, introduces the concept of ‘open platforms and interoperable modules and components’ as the next wave of modernisation. As always special thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:


Do you want to raise your profile in the offsite sector? WWW.OFFSITEAWARDS.CO.UK




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40 | Buildings as Power Stations





Liverpool-based Ideal Modular Homes (IMH) has made a successful entry to the volumetric modular marketplace, creating a sustainable housing model delivering quality, cost-effectiveness and exceptional energy efficiency.

Hotel construction lends itself perfectly to offsite techniques and templated design. Repeatability, stackability and economies of scale are hugely important to branded chains and developments. We hear from schemes taking place at the Marriott Hotel at Luton Airport, Thetford Travelodge and Manchester’s Holiday Inn Express.



42 | Discipline & Collaboration – the ideal approach


Edinburgh Napier University are working with a series of international academic partners active in offsite research via the Built Environment Exchange (beX). The objective is to provide an education platform partnering University and construction industry partners internationally.

Estimates suggest we need to build approximately two new schools per day to meet the current pupil demographic demand. Such is the scale of this task, the wider use of offsite techniques could prove to be a perfect solution. Mark Hargreaves, Associate Director at DLA Design explains more.



26 | Evolution Not Revolution

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: more completed DfMA work at Elephant One, the first BOPAS accredited external façade and McAvoy completes the new passenger facility at Dublin Airport using 77 steel-framed modules.

The role offsite manufacture can play in securing a healthier housing sector has never been more important. A pivotal provider of offsite timber housing systems is Stewart Milne Timber Systems (SMTS) who recently hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss future housing challenges and how to develop a maturing market.

The construction industry is in a state of flux with the demands of changing demographics, housing pressures and economic change and technological developments on an unprecedented scale – here we feature a range of facilities across the UK training and informing new entrants to the industry.

54 | The Four D’s Robin Lancashire, Senior Timber Frame Consultant at TRADA picks out some key issues surrounding the durability of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and what to remember during the construction phase.

62 | Modular Magic

The Modular Matters conference and exhibition, taking place at the Birmingham NEC on 30 October 2018, will focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular sector and outline the continuing evolution of offsite construction.

68 | Active Approach to Modular

Modular building expert Portakabin has developed an exciting new product as part of its full turnkey school solution – a modular hall suitable for events, sports and assemblies.

70 | Interoperability: the next frontier

08 | Industry News

Following the publication of the ‘Offsite Manufacture for Construction: Building For Change’ report by the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, Darren Richards, Managing Director of key contributors Cogent Consulting, discusses the findings.

50 | Centres of Excellence


Since winning the Solar Technology of the Year and Clean Tech Start Up of the Year Awards in the Business Green Technology Awards in December 2016, BIPVco are set to expand further in its bid to incorporate PV functionality into conventional roofing and building materials.

Dr Derek Thomson of Loughborough University’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering introduces the concept of interoperable modules and how they can bring the next wave of modernisation – open platforms with servitisation.

72 | Offsite Expertise in Action

EOS Facades recently held a site tour around two prestigious London developments that are embracing offsite and light steel frame innovation.

05.03.19 Why not think about Sponsoring an Award Category? For Sponsors, this prominent event provides one of the most effective platforms for engaging with the offsite industry, presenting the ideal opportunity to maximise exposure and penetrate this economically important market. To discuss sponsorship opportunities, call 01743 290042 or email





Liverpool-based Ideal Modular Homes (IMH) has made a successful entry to the volumetric modular marketplace, creating a sustainable housing model delivering quality, cost-effectiveness and exceptional energy efficiency.

1 From building its factory and testing products just over a year ago, IMH opened its doors to clients earlier this year in March after obtaining BOPAS accreditation and currently have several major schemes in the pipeline. On the back of a successful showing of a demonstration home at the Housing 2018 event in Manchester, the company is seeking to provide a new kind of living experience to UK homebuyers. After looking at a range of building options including steel, timber frame systems and even 3D-printing techniques, IMH decided that volumetric cross-laminated timber (CLT) was perfect for what they were trying to achieve. “From the outset we had to make a choice about what we wanted to set our factory up for,” says Luke Barnes, IMH Founder and CEO. “We decided to move forward with glulam and CLT structures for a number of reasons. Firstly it is a sustainable material. Sustainability and minimal wastage are a huge part of our company culture and we


believe every industry has to adapt in order to preserve our planet for future generations, so we had a great opportunity to embed this in from day one. “One of the key reasons we started IMH in the first place was to bring quality to the modular and housing market. Timber based products are highly efficient and provide great thermal properties, they don’t have issues with cold bridging like steel and they’re great for absorbing sound, particularly important when we’re creating apartments which is one of the biggest issues when building with steel.” With a background in designing manufacturing systems, operating systems, finance and property development, IMH have adopted an offsite factory-based approach as a way to speed up production and reduce the hassle of managing different trades. “We really took an interest in volumetric construction as it fitted everything we were searching


2 for,” says Luke. “When looking to complete one of our schemes using a modular approach, we also soon found that the market was lacking in manufacturers that were capable of delivering on our expectations of quality, speed and price point. We knew it wouldn’t just be us that was looking into a new approach and saw there would be a big demand in this area with the right manufacturers in the market, so we decided to create a factory ourselves.” Using both glulam and CLT products they are able to deliver any house type. Whether it’s large executive homes, family homes or apartments up to 15-storeys tall. IMH offer a full turnkey package service with its own RIBA-certified architects in-house that design bespoke to client requirements, and have developed a digital quality control system that ensures quality is maintained and double-checked along every stage of the factory production line. They have also introduced a complete turnkey solution, where IMH can act as main contractor and


3 manage the entire project including the groundworks which is in big demand. This system is maintained through the installation teams to ensure clients and end-user have a desirable home without the need of worrying about defects. “We prefer to think of modular or volumetric as a construction method and not a house type, so there’s no limitation to its capabilities,” says Luke. “We have created a set of design principles we follow in order to create homes that not only work for our clients, but work in our efficient manufacturing process, transportation requirements and ease of installation. Sizes are completely optional dependant on the project aspirations. However, we always introduce some of our key features such as full height doors, large windows, high ceilings and high-quality products to bring a new feel to homes in the market, something homebuyers are looking for in a market compressed with the same type of home.” With energy efficiency and innovation at the centre of IMH’s sustainable approach, adopting ‘fabric first’ objectives and the use of smart technology has been essential – alongside the cutting-edge decision to have gas-free homes. “Gas isn’t a sustainable or environmentally-friendly heating solution,” adds Luke. “So we offer energy efficient alternatives such as electric underfloor heating and infrared systems. The key to enabling this is utilising the fabric first approach. For example, the infrared system heats up the fabric of the building rather than the air, so the building emits a small amount of heat across a larger surface area. This in turn has huge cost and health benefits, as you are not circulating dirty air around a room plus



it very reliable. It’s maintenance free with extremely long lifespans. It costs approximately £230 to heat a threebedroom house for an entire year.

As the Government continues to champion the wider adoption of offsite manufacture – especially across all types of housing – new small and medium-sized manufacturers and developers are seen as fundamental to the solutions needed to solve the construction conundrums the UK faces. “I believe that offsite manufacturing is not only key to solving the UK housing crisis but also filling a huge gap in the property market as a whole, where quality of living is completely overlooked,” says Luke. “The unfortunate truth is that we have the capabilities to deliver homes at an unprecedented rate and are expanding with demand. The Government understands that we have the ability to deliver homes to meet their targets using offsite manufacturing, however the biggest hurdle for them to overcome now are loosening the restrictions that surround the availability of land and the planning process for new developments.”

“The choice of insulation products and the careful design of the structural components and vapour barriers also present an economic, environmentally considerate and high performance component achieving excellent U-values with walls - (0.15 W/m2K), roof - (0.13 - 0/15W/m2K), floor - (0.12 W/m2K) and airtightness not exceeding 3m3/( We also fit triple glazed units ensuring high acoustic and thermal properties, giving U-values of just 0.7 W/m2K. There is also the option for smart home systems so homeowners can control and optimise the energy of the whole house using your phone or tablet. We like to think we’re delivering homes people aspire to live in and not settle with.” Utilising BIM and digital design protocols IMH are also driving optimisation through the entire manufacturing process to deliver maximum efficiency. “With the adoption of Revit and 3D models the process of clash detection for checking interfaces – between service runs or windows for example – and the structure, ensures fabrication drawings are accurate and the manufacturing process is not impeded with any factory floor adjustments. The BIM naming convention we use controls the exchange of design information and suitability codes will only be assigned by us once all information has been successfully co-ordinated and approved, avoiding out-of-date information being inadvertently used. Accurate 3D models of the homes enable direct communication with specialised cutting machinery and staff on the factory floor.”

Presently IMH are able to produce 900 modules a year. This equates to a full family home being produced in the factory in just six days and installed onsite within a day. As its client base and order book continues to grow, IMH plan is to expand its Liverpool production facility over the next two years to enable them to produce 4,000 modules a year. For more information visit:

Images: 01-03. Modules are made in a precision factory environment and easily transported onsite 04-05. High specification interiors and smart technology offer aspirational living



UK INDUSTRY NEWS House of Lords Calls for Radical Construction Overhaul

In a report published in July the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee said that offsite manufacture (OSM) can help to increase productivity in the construction sector while reducing labour demands, improving the quality and efficiency of buildings, and reducing the environmental impacts associated with traditional construction. The report ‘Off-site Manufacture for Construction: building for change’ says that the construction sector as it currently operates cannot meet the UK’s need for housing and may struggle to meet the need for infrastructure. Given that the UK already lags behind other countries in construction productivity and is facing a labour shortage, the Government and the construction sector must urgently find solutions. However, take up of OSM is varied and somewhat limited across the sector because it is working with out-dated and unsustainable business models that are not conducive to OSM for construction. OSM requires collaboration between clients, designers and contractors from an early stage but much of the evidence the Committee received painted a picture of a construction sector that is fragmented and lacking in trust. These barriers must be addressed by the sector itself and strong leadership is needed from the Construction Leadership Council.


The Government’s Construction Sector Deal and its stated ‘presumption in favour’ of OSM, have shown a strong commitment to investing in this area and the Committee welcomes many of the initiatives. The Committee recommends that the Government develop and publish a series of Key Performance Indicators against which the success of the ‘presumption in favour’ can be assessed. Where the presumption in favour is set aside and a project goes ahead that does not use offsite manufacture, the Government should publish a statement explaining why it has not been used and justifying that decision. In many cases, OSM is suitable for the construction of important social infrastructure such as hospitals and houses. The Committee heard evidence that if the Government is to achieve its aim of building 300,000 houses a year by 2020, OSM would be the only way to meet this target, and that traditional construction methods do not have the capacity to build enough homes. Chairman of the Committee, Lord Patel said: “There are clear and tangible benefits from offsite manufacture for construction which make a compelling case for its widespread use. We heard evidence that OSM could increase productivity in the sector by up to 70%. The construction sector’s business models are no longer


appropriate and are not supporting the UK’s urgent need for new homes and infrastructure. “The construction sector needs to build more trust and create partnerships so that companies can work together to improve the uptake of offsite manufacture, and the Construction Leadership Council should provide the necessary leadership. The role of the Government and the wider public sector is pivotal in a move to greater use of offsite manufacture. The report sets out actions that the Committee thinks the Government should take including implementation of the Construction Sector Deal, committed execution of the ‘presumption in favour’ of offsite manufacture and a greater move to procuring for whole-life value rather than lowest cost.” The report is available on the Parliament website: To speak to a member of the Committee on the findings of the report please contact Anouska Russell on 0207 219 8535 or email:

Image: Courtesy of CCG (OSM)

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Work Starts on Modular Home Research Project

Caledonian Secure Top Spot on £300 Million Framework

The Gateshead Innovation Village is a live research project led by Home Group, one of the UK’s biggest providers of homes for sale and affordable rent, and will see a range of house designs take shape on one site. Working with an external research partner, the scheme will allow Home Group and its partners to robustly compare and contrast modern methods of construction.

Caledonian and its partner Architects HLM, has secured first place on the ESFA Batch C Modular Framework to provide permanent, component based buildings and facilities for the ESFA’s new secondary schools block replacement programme. Caledonian won the procurement competition with others from the offsite construction sector securing top spot against 64 other bidders at PQQ stage and then against a shortlist of five at ITT stage. Being awarded first place immediately secures two projects with a combined value of £12 million with potential to realise further schemes within the £250 million funding allocated to the lot.

The project aims to highlight potential and viable solutions to the housing crisis in a bid to grow confidence in offsite builds within the sector. ilke Homes has started work on the first modular volumetric unit that will be delivered to the Gateshead site in just ten weeks’ time. In contrast to the traditional ‘start on site’ launch, key stakeholders from Home Group, funding partner Homes England and development partner ENGIE, joined colleagues at ilke Homes for a sneak preview of its new factory where work has begun. Joy Whinnerah, Head of Delivery, Home Group said: “We’re all incredibly excited about this project as it will see a wide range of homes and construction methods being tried and tested together on the one site. Not only that, but we are really keen to understand what our customers like and don’t like about living in these types of homes. So we will be monitoring a range of aspects to check how these homes perform for the customers who live in them.” As well as instilling confidence in the sector to build at scale using offsite construction, the project aims to tackle negative public perceptions based around modular homes. Joy added: “We recently commissioned YouGov to carry out research into public perceptions of modular homes. We found that only around 50% of respondents said they would be happy to live in a modular home, however, almost 90% could not identify a modern modular product. This shows


that whilst perceptions are low, they are not based on reality.” With that in mind, Home Group is planning to use a wide range of communications tools and digital technologies to allow the public to go behind the scenes of modular builds and see with their own eyes what’s involved. Andrew McIntosh, Regional Managing Director for ENGIE added: “Not only is this unique project creating a step change for the way in which people view modular homes, but it is allowing us the opportunity to upskill the next generation of industry trainees, apprentices and graduates on modern methods of construction. In doing this, we are not only supporting to change perceptions which could lead to the provision of more homes, but we are working to alleviate the skills crisis we face within the sector.” In addition to ilke Homes, Home Group is also working with Premier Modular, Xella UK and Icarus Light Steel Framing. There will also be six traditionally built, semidetached homes onsite. All homes will be for affordable rent and residents will have the opportunity to trial and test a wide range of smart technology products and green energy solutions. Home Group and its partners will be documenting the full project through a range of multimedia. To keep up with the developments, visit: gatesheadinnovationvillage. Pictured: L-R Neil Graham, Head of Accelerated Delivery, Yorkshire, North East and The Humber, Homes England, Nigel Banks, Product and Marketing Director, ilke Homes, Joy Whinerrah, Head of Delivery, Home Group and Andrew McIntosh, Regional Managing Director, ENGIE


Commenting on the appointment, Paul Lang, CEO said: “Our success in this award comes from developing an exemplar design solution, working in partnership with Education specialist Architects HLM, to address the needs of the ESFA within their funding envelope whilst demonstrating our capability and capacity to successfully deliver such a capacious programme of work. An important factor in our appointment was our proven record of providing full turnkey design and build solutions, modelling our clients’ requirements and managing stakeholder engagement. The Caledonian solution developed for this commission coupled with our standard processes, systems and in-house technology helps clients to reduce risk, save time and optimise the speed and efficiency benefits of offsite construction. “2019 will see organic growth in our business building on exemplary performance from 2018 and we are actively bolstering our teams to support this new business growth. This is supported by recent capital investments in factory and process improvements including improved MRP/ERP systems. Following a lengthy and rigorous selection process we are delighted to be making a significant contribution in developing paradigm shifting standardised building systems for permanent use within the education market place.” Source:

Modern Methods of Construction We work with industry to help deliver long-lasting quality homes. n From component materials and design, to onsite installation and connection n System appraisal and acceptance n Inspection of the whole building to NHBC Standards n Backed by NHBC Buildmark warranty and insurance

Talk to us... Call us now on 0344 633 1000 Email or visit NHBC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. NHBC is registered in England & Wales under company number 00320784. NHBC’s registered address is NHBC House, Davy Avenue, Knowlhill, Milton Keynes, Bucks MK5 8FP.

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Bathroom Pods for Renaissance Retirement Offsite Solutions the UK’s leading bathroom pod manufacturer, has supplied the final batch of bathroom pods for its first timber-framed residential development. The project for Renaissance Retirement at Sandhurst in Berkshire is one of three luxury retirement schemes for the developer that are using Offsite Solutions’ high specification, factory-built ensuite shower rooms. Under construction by the Hackwood Group, the Fleur-de-Lis development in Sandhurst will provide 42 spacious retirement apartments set in landscaped gardens. Offsite Solutions has manufactured 44 steel-framed bathroom pods for the project. Each en-suite shower room features ceramic-tiled finishes, walk-in ‘raindance showers’ with digitally-controlled thermostats, premium sanitaryware and fittings and a mirrored cabinet. The timber-framed structure for each scheme has been engineered to create a recess in the cassette floor for the installation of the bathroom pods. This solution allows the application of factory-built bathrooms to work within a timber frame, whilst ensuring level access floors. Graham Snowley, Contracts Manager at Hackwood said: “This is the first time we have used factory-built bathrooms and we have found them to be a brilliant solution. The approach really takes the pain out of bathroom construction. It saves a huge amount of

McBains Reach London Landmarks

work onsite and we have been able to dispense with several processes. The quality of bathroom pods is superior and more consistent compared to site-based construction – the fitting of pans and basins, for example, is more accurate in a factory environment. The use of pods eliminates at least six different trades and reduces construction time for the bathrooms to just three hours for the service connections – a significant time saving.” Nick Watkins, Development Director at Renaissance Retirement added: “The use of pods gives us certainty in both product quality and completion, and with no compromise on bathroom design and finish. The labour market, particularly for finishing trades, is very challenging for developers and contractors,

Leading property and construction consultants McBains have announced the completion and partial completion of two major multi-use developments in London’s Southwark Regeneration Area – Elephant One (Phase One) and Two Fifty One. McBains supported the design team and contractor with the design and manufacture of concrete frames for both Elephant One and Two Fifty One, using a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) system developed by Laing O’Rourke. McBains’s involvement in the Phase One redevelopment of Elephant One in London’s Zone 1, has stretched over a decade and is the largest multi-discipline project the company has undertaken in the capital. The team has provided project management, contract administration and design services on the build from its early planning phase in 2007, through to its completion in June 2018. The mixed-use development, situated opposite Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, was designed entirely in BIM and its construction was fully co-ordinated by the design team, both on and offsite. This method helped reduce activity and pressure onsite, benefiting the project and the local environment.



particularly in the South East. The impact of these market fluctuations is completely removed if bathroom construction is carried out offsite.” The use of an offsite solution for bathroom construction reduces the number of activities and trades onsite. This achieves significant programme savings, quality improvements and reductions in waste of up to 50% compared to site-based construction. The production line environment of pod manufacture provides consistently higher quality standards and much greater certainty of delivery on time and on budget. Pre-delivery testing is rigorous and quality assurance procedures are stringent for ready-to-use installation. Source:

Comprising three towers, of 374 apartments, 270 student rooms and 12 commercial units the development is one of city’s first build to rent (BTR) schemes. The Borough also recently saw a further sectional completion at Two Fifty One Southwark Bridge Road. This project comprises a single 41-storey residential tower and a seven-storey office block – with the former delivering 338 apartments, across an array of tenures including affordable, private, premium and premium plus. It is being completed in five stages, with all of the 65 affordable and the majority of private tenure apartments being completed in March and May 2018. Clive Docwra, Director at McBains, said: “Elephant One and Two Fifty One exemplify the growing appeal of this centrally-located borough and the need for new and improved housing stock. Elephant One carries particular importance for us, at McBains, in so much that it was our largest and most complex inter-disciplinary project to date. So, to have been involved in its development from start to finish, and to have played a part in one of Europe’s largest regeneration programmes, is a real coup.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Berkeley Modular and coBuilder Make Decisive Step Berkeley Modular, the volumetric modular construction arm of Berkeley Group, has announced a new partnership with coBuilder, which aims to boost the efficiency of offsite construction. The first-of-its-kind initiative in the residential sector will see coBuilder work with Berkeley Modular to set product data and documentation requirements for the materials, components and equipment to be incorporated into the business’ volumetric modular solution. The data will be collected as actual manufacturer’s data, and digitised through standard-based Product Data Templates. Berkeley Modular will use this data and associated materials and equipment to construct a range of volumetric modular housing products, all designed to match the high specification and excellent build standards that customers demand from the Berkeley Group. The partnership is part of Berkeley Modular’s drive to work in harmony with supply chain partners, who, like coBuilder, are willing to work collaboratively to create the right sort of data, in the correct format. Data that can be fully integrated with the new modular factory’s efficient, technology-led approach to manufacturing new volumetric modular housing products.

Graham Cleland, Berkeley Director, said: “Having detailed information on the characteristics of the components, materials and equipment we use, is vitally important to both delivering high quality products and being able to support through the usable life of the same. We want to be able to specify products that ensure the comfort of those living in the homes we will manufacture, and also meet our own sustainability and build-quality requirements. Collecting data in a digital format from our supply chain will make it easy for us to control and continuously improve the quality and longevity of the homes we build.” Peter K. Foster Jnr., CEO of coBuilder UK, commented: “The aim of Berkeley Modular is to deliver high-quality, high-performing and comfortable homes, with less disturbance to neighbours and using sustainable practices. We are honoured that Berkeley Modular

have chosen the path of standardisation and will work with coBuilder in order to manage standard-based construction product data.’ Innovative offsite construction presents an opportunity for Berkeley Modular to create consistently highquality homes, in a fully controllable and scalable manufacturing environment that puts technology at the forefront of the build process. To guarantee that its new facility operates at maximum efficiency and achieves the highest standard of construction and sustainability, Berkeley Modular intends to broaden the scope of its collaboration with coBuilder and its pioneering use of data in offsite construction. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Former BMW Manufacturing Boss Joins Citu

Right PLACE Right Time Bids are being invited for the design and manufacture of modular temporary accommodation for homeless people in London. The £75 million work programme is being led by not-for-profit company PLACE (Pan-London Accommodation Collaborative Enterprise), which is looking for “precision-manufactured” family homes that have the quality of permanent housing but can be moved from one site to another. The accommodation will be placed on vacant sites that would otherwise remain underused over the short to medium term, known as ‘meanwhile’ sites. PLACE will deliver a mixture of two and three-bedroom family properties, which boroughs have identified as the property type most needed for homeless households. The company will own the units, leading to a more cost-effective option for boroughs than they would get from leasing units directly from a supplier.

Sustainable urban developer Citu has appointed Steve Savage, former Manufacturing Manager at BMW UK, as Operations Director to oversee the manufacture and construction of its pioneering Climate Innovation District in Leeds’s South Bank and Little Kelham development in Sheffield. The appointment is part of Citu’s strategy to harness the best talent from a range of sectors from digital coders and architects to automotive experts, and repurpose their skills to achieve the company’s ambition to accelerate the transition to zero carbon cities by changing the way homes in the UK are designed and built.

says Steve. “The model it has established is already working, and we’re now honing the process. For example, in traditional construction methods if there’s a problem onsite with materials or how elements in the home fit together, a joiner or fabricator will apply a quick fix on the spot which can be costly in the long-term and compromises the quality of the home. Instead, we go right back to the design stage and find a solution to stop the issue happening again and feed this information all the way down the chain. Part of my remit is to ensure seamless flow and communication between every element of the process - design to manufacturing to construction.”

Steve will oversee the full construction journey of Citu’s ground-breaking timber-framed Citu Homes (developed in partnership with Leeds Beckett University), from their manufacture in its purpose-built factory in Leeds – Citu Works – to the onsite assembly of the homes by Citu Squads – teams of skilled tradespeople. The houses are airtight and thermally efficient, offering unrivalled energy performance up to ten times more efficient than a standard modern UK home.

Chris Thompson, Managing Director at Citu: “Steve’s background in the automotive industry and his passion for streamlining the manufacturing process to eliminate inefficiency aligns perfectly with our ethos. There has been an explosion in offsite housing construction over the past 18 months and most developers have gone down the modular route. At Citu, we’ve chosen the component route to give us much more flexibility of design and greater control over the energyperformance of each property. This means developing a whole new way of working.”

Steve worked for BMW for a decade where he oversaw the production of more than two million MINIs at the company’s plant in Oxford. He was responsible for the manufacture of the MINI during the development of a revolutionary industry-first paint application process which removed one solvent-based paint layer, replacing it with an environmentally-friendly water-based solution.

Once the Citu Works factory is up to capacity producing 750 homes a year, Citu plans to sell its Citu Home to other developers and local authorities around the UK, offering a low cost, climate-conscious solution to the UK’s housing crisis. Source:

“What Citu is developing is a revolutionary way of working for the construction industry which will eliminate waste – both in terms of time and materials,”



The project has been developed by the London Housing Directors’ Group in collaboration with partners from across London local government. Supported by the Greater London Authority, which is investing £11 million from its innovation fund, and by the umbrella group London Councils, which represents the 32 boroughs and the City of London, PLACE is hosted by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and has an initial target of delivering 200 modular homes across the capital. This is the first time UK local authorities are collaborating to acquire modular housing for this purpose. The GLA is providing £11 million from its innovation fund to support PLACE’s work and Capital Ambition provided seed funding through the London Ventures programme. PLACE will use the modular housing to provide high-quality, local temporary accommodation for people needing a home. There are currently over 54,300 London households living in temporary accommodation – of which nearly 44,000 are families with children. Mark Baigent, PLACE’s Director, said: “Our aim is to challenge and inspire the housing design and construction industry to create an innovative and high-quality product to meet London’s opportunities and needs head-on. We want to procure attractive and spacious factory-built homes that can be easily moved from site to site around London. We look forward to sharing our vision and seeing what the rapidly growing modular market can offer.” John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, added: “I’m proud that this new solution to homelessness through modular housing is getting started in Tower Hamlets. It’s an important project and I look forward to it spreading across London.” The first modular housing is planned to be onsite by 2021. OJEU Procurement for the Design & Manufacture of the Modular Homes was launched on the 18 July. The deadline for submissions of the Expression of Interest Selection Questionnaire is 15 August 2018. The Invitation to Tender can be accessed via located under the contract number PL0001LON.

Building your community matters to us… Our Modular Buildings Framework provides public sector organisations with easy access to offsite construction for education, healthcare, emergency services and community buildings. This OJEU-complient £1bn framework includes the option of a turnkey solution which includes design,manufacture, supply and installation services.

LHC strives for excellent in the services provided to their clients and aims to deliver the best solution to suit every project’s individual needs. That’s why the Modular Buildings Framework presents the option of purchasing the buildings or hiring on a temporary basis. For more information on our Modular Buildings Framework, get in touch.

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LHC is a leading provider of free-to-use framework agreements by local authorities, social landlords and other public sector bodies to procure works, products and services for the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings.

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Rendaclad Becomes First BOPAS Accredited External Façade SPSenvirowall’s Rendaclad has become the first and only cladding system in the UK to be approved by the 60-year BOPAS assurance scheme. The proprietary rainscreen system is the only external facade solution to achieve the stand alone accreditation, giving assurance to the lending community that the external envelope of buildings utilising Rendaclad have a minimum life expectancy of 60 years. Previously only manufacturers of the structural property carried the 60 year assurance. The move by BOPAS marks a significant step forward for the offsite and modular build market, which is being heavily relied on to tackle the government’s target of delivering 300,000 new homes a year. Dan Macey, Director of low rise and offsite construction for SPSenvirowall, said: “We were the first product specific manufacturer to approach BOPAS about achieving accreditation for an external building solution. They welcomed the process as a way of giving lenders complete assurance across the whole premanufactured building, inclusive of the facade, not just the structure itself. Rendaclad was rigorously assessed for its durability, longevity and maintenance, which included visits to the manufacturing facility, visits to site and witnessing application.

“We believe that its accreditation paves the way for greater confidence in modern methods of construction amongst lenders which, in turn, will allow the construction sector greater innovation and speed in dealing with the housing crisis. Offsite construction is the way forward for the build sector but lenders still need the assured confidence in a lightweight external facade to make its full potential a reality.” Rendaclad is a non-structural full façade system, made up of carefully selected components developed to apply a seamless render or brick finish to timber structures. It replaces the need to build in slow, cumbersome methods of traditional masonry. It ensures a fully ventilated and drained cavity is maintained within

the wall structure, meeting the requirements of the NHBC and TRADA. Rendaclad was used on the £8.3 million Skerries Road Southway Campus in Plymouth, which comprises 67 timber frame affordable homes. Originally planned with a traditional block exterior, main contractor Galliford Try Partnerships South West worked with local practice Mitchell Architects to change the design and accommodate Rendaclad as the façade. As a result, the programme was delivered in excess of three months ahead of schedule. Source:

JG Hale Construction Rebrand Modular Arm Seven Oaks Timber Frame, part of Neath-based construction company JG Hale Construction, is to be turned into a separate limited company and rebranded as Seven Oaks Modular in a move that reflects its rapid growth and the increasing demand for modular construction solutions in the UK. The new company will be managed by Charlotte Hale, with Jonathan Hale – chairman of JG Hale Construction – also becoming chairman of Seven Oaks Modular. The brands Hale Construction and Hale Homes will remain within the parent company JG Hale Construction. Seven Oaks has an order book in excess of £10.5 million all with tier one contractors and large property developers. It anticipates year-on-year growth of more than 15%. Seven Oaks Modular is extending its product offering to incorporate windows, doors and external cladding into its prefabricated timber frame panels, with a view to offering fully modular volumetric buildings in the future. It has also invested in research into developing bathroom and kitchen pods, CLT and other modular renewable products and solutions. While continuing success with its Trisowarm insulated panel is expected to grow. The benefits of the Trisowarm system are


many, including better energy efficiency and structural strength, being five times as strong as traditional timber frame. Following the rebrand, the company will also invest £2 million in expanding its production facilities and increasing the size of its workforce. It has plans to move into new premises increasing the company’s capacity threefold – from producing 1,000 homes per year to 3,000 per year. Details of this move will be unveiled later this year.


Charlotte Hale said: “We’ve listened to our customers and with an evidently increased demand for offsite manufacturing, we’ve decided to introduce a more modular approach to our product offerings. There is a big housing shortage in the UK and this approach has the potential to help solve that in a quicker and more efficient way. We already have a very healthy order book but our core client base is ever expanding and we aim to provide the best possible quality renewable and current modular solutions in the UK.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Network Homes, L&Q, Clarion Seek Increased Offsite Investment

A new report commissioned by Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion has called on housing associations and Homes England to make offsite construction a priority through the promotion of joint ventures. Housing associations will need to double their development outputs to 80,000-100,000 new homes a year in the 2020s, according to the final report of the Future Shape of the Sector Commission, chaired by former cabinet secretary Lord Turnbull. The commission took in evidence from more than 60 key organisations within the residential sector exploring how housing associations should evolve over the next 10-15 years. The project was led and managed by a secretariat from Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion HG, working with Lord Turnbull and leading figures from Henley Homes, Resolution Foundation, Aspire Group, Riverside Housing and The Housing Finance Corporation. The final report – ‘Building Homes, Building Trust’ – highlighted that offsite construction is: “An essential element in the drive to scale up production whilst keeping costs down,” as the sector requires “major upscaling in output” utilising £20 billion of funding in the sector. The commission said housing associations needed a step change in financial innovation, risk management, strategic use of assets, new technology and greater collaboration and partnerships with others. The report called on Homes England, in its ‘active

UNDERSTANDING THE OPTIONS Were it not for the magnitude of Brexit holding the nation’s attention captive, the news would be dominated by the Government’s attempts to address a much more domestic concern – building. Given the drive for more new homes, modern methods of construction should be pushing at an open door. However, offsite manufacturers have had to invest considerable energy to satisfy stakeholders in housebuilding. Planning authorities’ requirements have meant modular homes are now largely indistinguishable externally to traditional homes. Warranties are available from organisations such as NHBC. Niche consultancies are coming into existence to overcome lingering concerns. Steven Humphrey of In 2 Mortgages, a mortgage and insurance brokerage specifically

seeking to identify products which can be applied to offsite manufactured homes, tells us that lenders are actively monitoring the modular build market. Given the higher cost of the superstructure of modular built homes, which brings evident benefits for a homebuyer such as greater energy efficiency, lenders’ valuers should hopefully be on board too. If planners, warranty providers, lenders and valuers are all satisfied with offsite built homes, there should be no reason why selling such a home should be any more complicated than selling a traditionally built home.

investor’ guise, to invest in the right offsite construction vehicle to rally housing associations behind a unified solution and generate increased order volumes. Helen Evans, Chief Executive of Network Homes, said: “Offsite construction has huge untapped potential. If we are to deliver the homes that we need, the sector needs to get behind this kind of innovation. As well as its potential speed and environmental benefits, offsite construction can overcome construction skills shortages onsite, particularly if more migrant workers choose to return to their homelands following Brexit. Better collaboration and joint working is key, and the Commission’s report clearly shows that concerted action is needed from all the main players in the market, including Homes England.” The Future Shape of the Sector Commission was created by Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion Housing Group to examine how housing associations should evolve to tackle England’s significant social and economic challenges for the 2020s. The aim is to ensure the sector grows and changes in the best interests of customers, stakeholders and society at large. A copy of the report’ Building Homes, Building Trust’ is available from Network Homes at:

As an international legal business, DWF acts in the delivery of homes at all stages, from land supply to the sale of plots to housebuyers. The breadth of our sector expertise also means that we deal with both the residential and non-residential aspects of mixed use schemes, on which there is an increasing focus in the UK. DWF is therefore well placed to ensure that stakeholders are aware of the advantages of offsite manufacturing and talk through any potential concerns and pitfalls where modern methods of construction are used to bring a scheme forward, whether it be a landowner (including public bodies delivering regeneration), developers, or funders looking to inject cash. For more information and to find out how DWF could help through our Legal and Connected businesses please contact:



UK INDUSTRY NEWS McAvoy Complete New Passenger Facility at Dublin Airport

The McAvoy Group has handed over a new passenger facility at Dublin Airport which was built offsite and at over 19m wide, is believed to be the largest single span modular building delivered to date in the UK and Ireland. The new €22 million South Gates passenger boarding area has been developed to meet the huge growth in passenger numbers at Dublin Airport and will be used mainly by Aer Lingus for flights to the UK and continental Europe. It provides seven boarding gates to serve nine aircraft stands and is designed to accommodate around 8,000 passengers a day. The management contractor for the project was Flynn Management & Contractors and the lead consultants were Arup. The building was designed by concept architects Kavanagh Tuite and delivered by project architects Blue Sky. The 2,200m2 facility was constructed offsite at the McAvoy production centre in Lisburn, Northern Ireland to reduce time onsite. It was craned into position in 16 days as 77 steel-framed modules. The building system was engineered to achieve over 19m wide uninterrupted clear spans, which is believed to be an industry first for modular construction. Hot rolled steel beams were used to remove the requirement for internal columns.


The building, which is around 120m long, has the flexibility to accommodate departing flights in the busy early morning period and flight arrivals in the evening. It can also be segregated so around 1,000 departing and arriving passengers can be processed at the same time. Facilities include boarding gates, a café, toilets, baby changing and a workstation area with plugs and charging points. Dublin Airport has experienced a 6% increase in passenger numbers in the past year and a record 29.6 million passengers used the airport in the last year. Commenting on the new facility, Iain Heath, Project Manager at Dublin Airport, said: “This is one of the fastest projects we have ever completed at the airport – from planning to the first flight in just 18 months. The finished building speaks for itself. It is a handsome new facility with high quality finishes and clean architectural lines. We were working to a very constrained programme to have the building operational ahead of the busy summer season. The project and its innovative use of offsite construction is a fantastic achievement for the whole team.” Brian Looney, Contracts Manager at Flynn Management & Contractors said: “This project has pushed the boundaries of offsite construction to


create a valuable infrastructure facility. The quality of the finished building is excellent, and you would never know this is a modular building. The McAvoy Group’s production facilities are impressive, and their systems are robust. We would welcome the opportunity to work with their team again.” Eugene Lynch, Managing Director of The McAvoy Group, added: “This project successfully demonstrates the potential for offsite to improve the efficiency of airport construction, particularly in the development of airside facilities where it is so critical to minimise any impact on existing operations. We can reduce work on highly secure and constrained sites and rapidly install the buildings in a fast and efficient process, with no compromise on design.” McAvoy has already been shortlisted for two industry awards for the Dublin Airport project and its innovative use of BIM and virtual reality. Source:








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UK INDUSTRY NEWS UK Volumetric Markets Expanding

Tata Steel Plants in Running for Offsite Heathrow Expansion Work

The UK market for prefabricated volumetric modular buildings and portable accommodation is estimated to have increased by 6% in 2017 – a ‘significant’ improvement on 2016, when there was a dip in market value, possibly a reaction to the EU referendum. A new market value report from AMA Research includes factory-made, fully assembled three-dimensional modules, but excludes bathroom and kitchen ‘pods’. Since the start of the recovery in the construction industry in 2013, demand for volumetric construction has improved, in part due to increased demand for site accommodation on major infrastructure projects e.g. the Crossrail and Thameslink railway construction programmes, plus recovery in other sectors such as offices and education.

help meet the chronic housing shortage and cope with the lack of traditional construction skills within the construction industry.

The biggest market for volumetric products is temporary accommodation on construction and industrial sites and event hire, while education and healthcare are also key areas of use. The ranges of uses are extensive, with operating theatres and wards probably being the largest application in the healthcare sector, for example. In the education market, semi-permanent school classrooms are probably the biggest use of modular buildings, and in some cases semi-permanent education buildings also end up being permanent structures. Major permanent builds include sixth form blocks, specialist subject blocks, sports facilities and whole nurseries.


Over the next few years, there are several factors that are likely to underpin steady growth in the sector, probably over and above the forecast for the overall construction industry. These include an increasing number of public sector procurement frameworks several of which are specific to offsite construction and increasing use of BIM. More importantly, there is now a strong likelihood of an increase in the use of volumetric and other types of offsite construction methods to


High levels of demand for site accommodation on major infrastructure projects are also likely to be sustained through to 2022 and beyond through the implementation of the government’s Roads Investment Strategy and the continuation of the Smart Motorways programme. Between 2017 and 2022, the market is forecast to grow at a rate of 3-5% per year. The drive towards sustainable development, coupled with the need to meet energy efficiency and carbon reduction targets, would also seem to weigh in favour of volumetric construction.

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Two of Tata Steel’s sites, in Shotton and Llanwern, have been long listed as potential Offsite Construction and Logistic Hubs (OCLH) to serve Heathrow Airport’s expansion programme. Heathrow has committed to create four logistic hubs in order to widen the supply chain and ensure the extensive build programme is resilient, sustainable and cost effective. The aim is to ensure the economic benefits of the £14 billion Airport’s expansion project are spread more evenly across the UK. Tata Steel’s proposal has been developed in partnership with the Welsh Government, with Welsh Economy Secretary Ken Skates championing Welsh sites as the “perfect choice.” Tata Steel’s OCLH proposal has demonstrated the company’s construction product and offsite capabilities, as well as the role it can play in the circular economy by supporting the project by reusing existing material, for example. Kamal Rajput, Business Development Manager – High Value Opportunities, at Tata Steel, commented: “Offsite construction delivers an array of benefits; it can improve health and safety, increase the speed of construction on-site, reduce waste significantly, minimise disruption and most importantly, projects can be completed on time and to budget, as all components are factory built and will not be subjected to weather-related delays or the skills shortage. “The opportunity to establish an OCLH is consistent with our construction strategy, which focuses on innovation through the supply chain. We hope that a successful bid will help us to raise the profile of all our UK-wide sites, which have access to excellent transport links and can help to deliver shorter supply chains, while attracting further partners to the OCLH.” Following visits to both sites, there will be a further prequalification process for the Heathrow Airport OCHL scheme before a final shortlist is issued at the end of 2018. It is anticipated that the successful parties will be informed early 2019. Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS More Offsite Required Says Tory Think Tank A new campaigning report suggesting a radical rethink into how the UK manages the housing market will require an increase in offsite construction if the vision it proposes is to come to fruition. Suggestions in ‘Green, pleasant and affordable’, the first report issued by Conservative-leaning Onward, include increasing council powers to buy land to develop new villages and towns and recommends building discounted housing for young people. The report’s author, Neil O’Brien MP, explained: “We need to move from a passive planning system, led by developers, to an active planning system where local government takes a leading role in assembling land for development and creating planned new communities with proper infrastructure. Where Britain has created new planned communities in the past, like Milton Keynes or London’s Docklands, they are among the most successful parts of our economy. “Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to deliver the housing that Britain needs. Look at continental Europe. We see denser, more liveable cities with better public transport and infrastructure. We see great places to live,

but much more being built. It shows us that it’s not only achievable to build in places and ways that people are willing to accept – it’s essential.” Reacting to the report, Jemma Harris Actis Regional Sales Director said: “Radical policy changes aside, a key factor in enabling the dream to come to fruition would be the physical ability to provide the number of homes needed. And that means increasing the volume of offsite built homes. Building a timber frame house is around 30% faster than brick and block. With a shrinking workforce and the likelihood that this situation

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will worsen in the light of Brexit, offsite is a vital way of creating the homes we desperately need in this country. “The bulk of the skilled element takes place offsite. Timber frame walls, floors and roofs, complete with electrical wiring, plumbing and insulation are built in factories at relative speed. The site crew ‘just’ has to erect everything in the right order with a typical build time of between seven and 12 days, depending on the size of house.” Source:

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Earlier this year, Dame Judith Hackitt released her final report for overhauling building regulations and improving fire safety in the construction supply chain. With many positives, it drew a mixed response from construction stakeholders, with some praising its focus and some seeing it as a missed opportunity to correct decades of poor performance. •

1 In a long and detailed report, the issues identified by Hackitt: “Have helped to create a cultural issue across the sector, which can be described as a ‘race to the bottom’ caused either through ignorance, indifference, or because the system does not facilitate good practice. There is insufficient focus on delivering the best quality building possible, in order to ensure that residents are safe, and feel safe.” Those key issues underpinning the system failure include: •

Ignorance – regulations and guidance are not always read by those who need to, and when they do the guidance is misunderstood and misinterpreted.


Indifference – the primary motivation is to do things as quickly and cheaply as possible rather than to deliver quality homes which are safe for people to live in. When concerns are raised, by others involved in building work or by residents, they are often ignored. Some of those undertaking building work fail to prioritise safety, using the ambiguity of regulations and guidance to game the system.

• Lack of clarity on roles and responsibilities – there is ambiguity over where responsibility lies, exacerbated by a level of fragmentation within the industry, and precluding robust ownership of accountability. •

Inadequate regulatory oversight and enforcement tools – the size or complexity of a project does not seem to inform the way in which it is overseen by the regulator. Where enforcement is necessary, it is often not pursued. Where it is pursued, the penalties are so small as to be an ineffective deterrent.

Hackitt recommendations include a simpler but more robust approach to the construction and on-going management of high-rise residential buildings. Key to this is the new regulatory framework focused, in the first instance, on multi-occupancy HRRBs that are 10 storeys or more in height and a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA) comprising Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive to oversee better


management of safety risks in these buildings (through safety cases) across their entire life cycle. A more effective testing regime with clearer labelling and product traceability, including a periodic review process of test methods and the range of standards in order to drive continuous improvement and higher performance and encourage innovative product and system design under better quality control. This regime would be underpinned by a more effective market surveillance system operating at a national level. Creating a ‘golden thread of information’ and obligating the creation of a digital record for new HRRBs from initial design intent through to construction and including any changes that occur throughout occupation. This package of building information will be used by the dutyholders to demonstrate to the regulator the safety of the building throughout its life cycle. Certainly one salient point made by Dame Hackitt is that we must begin thinking about ‘buildings as a system’ so that the different layers of protection that may be required to make that building safe are considered on a case-by-case basis – rather than the building being a series of disparate and potentially conflicted products.

HACKITT FINAL REPORT “At the heart of this report are the principles for a new regulatory framework which will drive real culture change and the right behaviours,” says Hackitt. “We need to adopt a very different approach to the regulatory framework covering the design, construction and maintenance of high-rise residential buildings which recognises that they are complex systems where the actions of many different people can compromise the integrity of that system.” For more information and to download a full copy of the final report: Building a Safer Future: Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety: visit: Images: 01. Building a Safer Future report 02. Dame Judith Hackitt

2 REACTION TO HACKITT “It’s very disappointing that this review of building and fire regulations has not recommended sprinklers or other similar systems to be made mandatory in all buildings above 18 metres. The Fire Commissioner said introducing sprinklers in this way is a ‘no-brainer’, so it’s deeply concerning that the Government continues to overlook the seriousness of this issue. Navin Shah AM, London Assembly Planning Committee “The British Woodworking Federation, whose members manufacture around three million fire doors in the UK each year, welcomes the recommendations of the highly anticipated Hackitt Review and urge Government to crack on with embracing these recommendations as soon as practicable. Tightening and clarifying regulation, enforcement, responsibility and control processes is long overdue.” Iain McIlwee, CEO of the British Woodworking Federation “It’s a thorough report on the current state of the regulatory system and construction industry, but it offers no changes whatsoever to the actual regulations or baseline guidance. Focusing on just a small number of very high buildings is a major missed opportunity. Jane Duncan, Chair of RIBA’s expert advisory group on fire safety “Our immediate priority is to ensure that a fire like that at Grenfell never happens again, and to make certain the buildings which people live, visit and work in are safe today. It is therefore disappointing that Dame Judith has stopped short of recommending a ban on combustible materials and the use of desktop studies, both essential measures to improve safety.” Lord Porter, Chair Local Government Association “We have a once in a generation opportunity to save lives by ensuring buildings are built and maintained with proper fire safety measures and so we are very pleased that Dame Judith has included so many of our recommendations. Context is as important as raw materials when it comes to making buildings safe. For example, a type of material used in a low rise office block could be safe but dangerous if used in a high rise block.” Dan Daly, Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, London Fire Brigade “We welcome that the Hackitt Review has called for a root and branch reform of building safety regulations. There are a number of important recommendations for an overhaul in how we keep buildings safe. Government must now work swiftly and decisively to create a new, clear and entirely unambiguous system of regulation for high rise buildings. Ministers must inject urgency, capacity and, where necessary, funding to deliver lasting change in how we keep people safe in their homes.” David Orr, Chief Executive of the National Housing Federation




COUNTING THE COST OF AFFORDABLE CONSTRUCTION Cost comparisons between competing materials are notoriously difficult to quantify in any sector. A recent study from independent construction, property and management consultant, Rider Levett Bucknall, sought to understand the differences between timber frame and masonry in affordable housing. Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has delivered many residential projects. The selection process over the form of construction considers a number of factors including availability, practicality and technical performance. Importantly this process also involves commercial considerations and sometimes the debate over whether masonry or timber is the most economical solution.

“This deliberation is continuing throughout the industry,” said Andrew Reynolds, RLB UK and Global Board Director. “It will be intensified by structural offsite timber solutions becoming increasingly used to fulfil the growing demand for new homes across the UK. Equally there is increasing demand for cross laminated timber (CLT) which is now competing economically with steel and concrete frames. We are pleased to have been able to complete this independent study comparing timber frame to masonry for a conventional housing project.”


Comparing the two build methods is complex as the structures, procurement models and site operations are different. Masonry construction, in general terms, constitutes separate supply chain members and then site assembly of the constituent parts (walls, floors, roof trusses) whereas with timber frame the offsite manufacturer usually designs, manufactures, delivers and erects the whole structural shell of the home, including the roof structure. This presupposes the timber frame company supplies and erects the whole frame (walls, floor and roof). The building model used for the comparison was an affordable twostorey housing design using two bedroom, four-person dwellings complying with Homes England design standards. The model was then replicated to create a single terrace block of four houses with mid and end-terrace. The affordable house type designs were provided by independent architect and engineering companies. The study compared the buildings only, with the external works and utility services excluded at this stage as these will be very much site-specific in their content, works and any abnormal or risk areas. Also, they are common to both structural solutions and therefore


have no bearing on the analysis. It also assumes a continuous build onsite from commencement to completion. The location of the theoretical project for the study was Birmingham with good access to main trunk roads. From the fully designed project RLB prepared Bills of Quantities for the contractors to price. Four contractors were approached to submit their pricing and all four responded. Contractor information was received regarding the anticipated construction programmes. RLB then used the pricing to formulate the report and the costs summaries. Andrew Carpenter, Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA), said: “We welcome this report and the in-depth findings. The STA commends Ian Dacre and Rider Levett Bucknall UK for conducting this research which provides answers to questions that have been debated for many years. The Construction Cost Comparison Report for Affordable Housing will be of great interest to many members of the construction industry. Whilst cost saving and speed of build are vitally important to affordable housing providers, equally important is the enhanced quality that offsite timber frame construction brings, reducing on-going maintenance costs for social landlords and delivering energy savings for their tenants.” Author of the report RLB Partner, Ian Dacre – a specialist in the residential sector who has delivered over

TIMBER & MASONRY STUDY 1,100 homes – said: “We were very pleased to be able to carry out this independent study. With the recent government announcement of the presumption in favour of offsite manufacture for all publicly funded projects from 2019, and the current drive for increased housing development, we wanted to evaluate what is the most economical build solution for affordable housing.”

“The adoption of offsite manufacturing will only increase throughout the construction industry and we will be undertaking further, similar, independent studies in the future. I would like to convey my thanks to those who supported the project including the four contractors who helped price the models as well as the consultant architects and engineers and others who also added their expertise. We hope the research will be of interest to many within the built environment industry.”

The report is based on prices received during Q1 2018. Markets and economies within the construction industry will change in the future and may influence the conclusions with in this study. A future study focusing on private house building and possibly performance standards across a range of dwelling types will broaden the analysis and conclusions reached. As with many structural solutions throughout the construction industry this debate will continue.

To read the full report and detailed analysis of the building models used including cost comparisons, procurement guidance and detailed house specifications go to:

Images: 01. Timber & Masonry Report 02. Cost comparison summary. Courtesy RLB

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The role offsite manufacture can play in securing a healthier housing sector has never been more important. A pivotal provider of offsite timber housing systems is Stewart Milne Timber Systems (SMTS) who recently hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss future housing challenges and how to develop a maturing market.

1 The need to provide more homes of all tenures and types across the UK is well understood but perhaps even more important is to raise the standard of delivery and building quality. It is here that offsite manufacture is marking itself as a clear step-change to the traditional – and for many commentators – the tired way of building. Undoubtedly a boost has come over the last 18 months with the endorsement of central Government through its Housing White Paper and the London Assembly in particular on the requirement to embed a greater percentage of offsite manufacture in project assessments. The Housing White Paper published in February 2017– Fixing our Broken Housing Market – recognised that change is a necessity and promised a broad range of ‘radical, lasting reform’ on the ways homes are delivered. Ultimately the Government can only do so much, but could an additional push


for greater Government involvement with policy and legislation accelerate offsite uptake further? “The Government has made it very clear since the White Paper that offsite is the way forward,” says Michelle Hannah, Director at Cast Consultancy. “From a policy perspective and in particular planning, I think there needs to be more work done on educating what offsite construction actually means. Sometimes the time taken to process a planning application actually hinders one of the key benefits of using offsite.” Technology Talks It would seem that for those unfamiliar with offsite technology, a wider rollout of training is required – through a wider factory tour programme – so offsite technology is not seen as an isolated process, irrespective of it being based around timber, steel or concrete. This skills deficit and


lack of knowledge can be viewed at many different levels. Whilst many visual aspects of the design process and architectural approach are easier to digest, there is not enough concentrated efforts on understanding the structural and ‘precision engineered’ ways that buildings are created within the factory environment. Gaps persist on what offsite can do. But most developers and housebuilders are savvy enough to know a greater percentage of factorydriven building design should be part of what they offer – without the government having to tell them. Major volume housebuilders are already seeking to increase the amount of offsite as a business necessity. “The drivers are well understood and are there already. We are adopting more offsite because we need to,” says Oliver Novakovic, Technical and Innovation Director for Barratt Developments. “Many construction

STEWART MILNE TIMBER SYSTEMS ROUNDTABLE site managers are still only attuned to brick and block and don’t understand enough about offsite, so where Government can possibly help more is with pushing some construction cultural changes.” So while government support is welcome, what is driving offsite take-up and increased volumes is not that it is fashionable but that is the ‘right’ thing to do. Traditional brick and block methods will always have a place in construction and in many instances are the right solution, but offsite construction is on the cusp of becoming ‘normal’ rather than being viewed as an unusual way of working bordering on being risky. Homes England – through its Accelerated Construction Fund – has money available to develop ambitious schemes but are organisations taking advantage of this sizeable pot of money for offsite and truly understanding the technology benefits? Home Group is working with several partners to test, monitor and compare a range of offsite methods as part of a live research project in Gateshead. Gateshead Innovation Village, in partnership with Homes England, ENGIE and Gateshead Council is pioneering a new community consisting of a range of modular homes and a small number of traditional builds on what offsite can truly deliver. “With low density housing there is a real push to drive an offsite route,” says Michael Westgarth, Head of Property Procurement: Enterprise and Development, Home Group. “There is talk of hard targets but we are not there yet. Our Gateshead Innovation Village is our way of trialling and encouraging technology and understanding the volume-based advantages to offsite construction as traditional may be cheaper to begin with.”

“What has focused our minds is that a lot of the grants that we receive are looking for us to increase our percentage of offsite products – especially outside of London where it can be higher than 25%.” Ian Millard, Technical Director (Development), L&Q

2 Understanding Offsite Standardisation Standardisation brings many cost benefits but may not always deliver choice and what the vast majority of clients and customers want when choosing a home is choice. So will the focus on greater standardisation create a potential ‘turn-off’ for clients? There is sometimes a perception with the architectural and construction circles that standardisation is a bad thing. Certainly some architects are wary of standardisation and fear that it can stifle creativity. For a manufacturer standardisation is the perfect scenario. But what is standardisation? Is it optimisation, rationalisation or even harmonisation? “From a client perspective standardisation is precisely what they need,” says Ian Millard, Technical Director (Development), L&Q. “It gives more certain financial outcomes and certainty of programme. From our point of view we are wanting to standardise layout but the structural framework is completely different.” Standard house portfolios and the integration of standard products and building elements can all drive costs down within the factory. Onsite they can take different forms – standard house shape and layout or standard external cladding and finish. Is it just about simply optimising the land use and what can best be done with a particular plot? “Standardisation isn’t always compatible with brand values,” says Michael Westgarth, Head of Property Procurement: Enterprise and Development, Home Group. “We have to consider the final sale and that adds complexity. As long as you can externally treat differently and have a range of products we can place-make with to create a community that helps.”

ATTENDEES Facilitator: Darren Richards, Managing Director of Cogent Consulting Michelle Hannah, Director at Cast Consultancy Oliver Novakovic, Technical and Innovation Director of Barratt Developments Michael Westgarth, Head of Property Procurement: Enterprise and Development at Home Group Ian Millard, Technical Director (Development) at L&Q Counties Michael Cleaver, Director of the Housing Forum Darren Jones, Managing Director: Midlands and Southern of Miller Homes Will Jeffwitz, Policy Officer for National Housing Federation Stewart Dalgarno, Group Product Development Director of Stewart Milne Timber Systems Martin Brackpool, Head of Sales for Stewart Milne Timber Systems Steve Kane, Pre-construction Director of Hill Residential Gary Ramsay, Editor of Offsite Magazine

“We also have an opportunity to harmonise with our client base,” adds Stewart Dalgarno, Group Product Development Director at SMTS. “Key elements such as wall panels with window apertures that are not part of the client critical path would be a start. Clients can then personalise these to their own brand profile and house type or particular finish when required. As an industry we can work a lot more together and a lot smarter.” Talk of harmonisation also applies to the perceptions of the offsite sector and its reservations from the institutional lenders, investors and



STEWART MILNE TIMBER SYSTEMS ROUNDTABLE mortgage providers. Many standards and assessment techniques are providing multiple assurances for what is intrinsically identical information. Key to this is ensuring that everybody understands the difference between certifications – BBA, BOPAS, NHBC, LABC et al. What ideally is required is a common data platform that negates the duplication and added costs for assessing the same thing – albeit not to introduce a complex cross-checking approach. The creation of some form of trust mechanism between competing providers dealing with common assessments is desperately needed. One worry flagged up is the amount of new entrants into the building warranty market. Do these have the background knowledge and expertise of established providers – NHBC for example with its long history – one failure from a new provider could prove disastrous for the entire sector. Collaborate to Succeed Underpinning any form of standardised or harmonised process is collaboration. Something that the construction sector needs to do better across the board. Within offsite circles better collaboration on common designs and products can deliver massive advantages when a pipeline and certainty of demand is driving the relationship. How do we facilitate greater collaboration around the procurement of offsite systems and technologies? Can buying power be created through consortiums and group procurement schemes – here it is an easier option for public sector rather than private housebuilders. Generally, housing associations are good at collaborating or working with each other to get the most out of the supply chain with commitments to buy a specific number of units but problems arise in the familiar form of planning constraints and the need - in some local authority procurement models – to buy on a project by project basis. “Local authorities are trying to do things differently such as in Lewisham in London, “says Michelle Hannah. “But they do all differ and are constrained by procurement regulations. If they are to deliver efficiencies across multiple sites an element of procurement has to change to allow aggregated demand to happen and a procurement partnership to form with one manufacturer.”


3 Of course private housebuilders are in a different position to housing associations when it comes to the potential of creating aggregated demand. Competition for land, customers and the drivers of housing choice and image makes it an entirely different ball game. Options are everything for the private housebuilder. “The reason private housebuilders don’t buy together is that our portfolio and the type of market we are going after is slightly different,” says Barratt’s Oliver Novakovic. “There are core criteria that allow us to separate from each other but the edges do blur a lot. If you understand what those competitive edges are then you can collaborate better.” As in many aspects of the construction sector the pace of change is slow. However the adoption of offsite manufacture and the ongoing pattern of change management and engaged leadership behaviour is there, but is marked by the pace of patient change rather than rapid transformation. An oft-repeated stumbling block is the lack of statistical evidence and hard data that proves the benefits of offsite manufacture. It is very difficult to underpin the numerous benefits of offsite without the statistical data to prove it.


Some aspects are easier to prove than others – e.g. energy performance and consumption. For public sector developments and the affordable housing sector, those procuring and specifying offsite system builds are ‘crying out for more information’ on build quality, cost of maintenance and whole-life forecasts. Volume and Demand As the offsite sector continues to mature and expand with acceptance of timber frame and panelised systems perhaps at all time high, some industry commentators have mooted that the offsite supply chain is in danger of overheating and potentially creating ‘systemic failures’ if the pressures and expectations become too high. Certainly, the levels of anticipation about what offsite construction can deliver in high-density conurbations and London and the South East of England in particular is huge. The burgeoning offsite sector is an exciting one – organisations such as SMTS have become stalwarts of timber technology and a pivotal name with the housebuilding sector – but there are lots of new entrants into the offsite sector and anxieties surround their longevity with the fear that many are undercapitalised businesses that could potentially fail, creating enormous problems and an offsite public

STEWART MILNE TIMBER SYSTEMS ROUNDTABLE relations disaster! “My observation over the last two years has been that lots of companies were struggling with the volume of enquiries but not getting that much work,” says Michael Westgarth. “They couldn’t price or identify real opportunities. That feels like it is changing. I do worry about the time it takes to get projects from concept to onsite, as all of these companies are spending money employing staff and doing design work and some of these projects take 2-3 years to actually materialise.”

“What Homes England can do is incentivise more offsite opportunities. Our members want to see grants for offsite building in volume and not a cottage industry. When the major housebuilders move that way then the move will be for everyone.” Michael Cleaver, Director, Housing Forum The feeling is that the offsite industry as a whole is more likely to see company financial failure rather than company product failure. “My biggest concern is the wider building ecosystem,” says Darren Jones, Managing Director: Midlands and Southern, Miller Homes. “Getting the bricks, the roof tiles and the statutory service providers. We are all under pressure from Government to do more but that wider network has to cope with demand as well.” Organisations such as SMTS with a long history of product development and evolutionary success is unlikely to struggle with satisfying volume demand. More homes need to be built – that is beyond question. Offsite has an acknowledged pivotal role in providing more homes for the UK. Traditional masonry methods of building will not provide the thousands of new homes the UK requires by itself. Only the rich mix of offsite factorycontrolled methods and its range of precision technologies can provide the answers to the increased supply of better quality homes. Importantly it is a way to enable a response to the UK’s housing crisis that befits the 21st Century and propel the wider modernisation of the construction sector that is long overdue.

4 LESSONS & OUTCOMES Learning Curves – all levels of the construction industry need to improve its working knowledge of how offsite manufacture works and what it delivers when arriving onsite Planning Policy – more education for planners to understand what offsite construction actually means. Sometimes the time taken to process a planning application is hindering its key benefits Standardisation & Harmonisation – a better collaboration is required when dealing with certain common elements of design and construction outside of the ‘competitive edge’ Money Markets – institutional lending and mortgage providers are becoming more comfortable funding offsite developments Don’t Overcomplicate – complex regulatory requirements could stop innovative products coming through that make offsite cost-effective successful Not the New Kid Anymore – the atmosphere is changing within housebuilding and offsite feels less like a ‘new approach’ with incremental but important changes happening Delivering Better Data – more needs to be done to provide statistical evidence and hard data to prove the benefits and cost advantages of offsite manufacture Responsible Growth – housebuilders are holding back on volume as it could potentially swamp providers of offsite systems and site installation teams

Many thanks to SMTS for hosting the Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the discussion.

For more information on offsite related activity visit:

For more information on SMTS visit:

Images: 01-04. Participants at the Stewart Milne Timber Systems hosted Roundtable event





Ben Drake, Associate at Peter Dann Consulting Engineers gives a structural engineer’s perspective on designing an integrated superstructure from individual modular parts, with adequate strength, stability, connectivity and buildability.

1 Peter Dann have over 25 years’ experience in the structural design of offsite construction projects, in almost all types – panelised and volumetric modular, from single to multi-storey, in the residential, commercial and education sectors. In cutting our teeth in the early years, we have developed a very detailed understanding of the principles of design and procurement of offsite construction projects. We recently finished work on the volumetric modular Marriott Hotel at Luton Airport. Here, seven storeys of volumetric modular steel framed modules, containing 250 hotel bedrooms, are supported by a traditionally constructed steel substructure up to first floor/podium level. The modular superstructure is self-stable i.e. no traditionally constructed cores (these are also modular). Therefore, this eightstorey building pushes the boundaries of structural viability for this type of structural system. Module installation was completed at a rate of one floor per week, with construction onsite 30

progressing from one to eight storeys in under two months. Hotel construction lends itself perfectly to offsite techniques. Of course, there is the obvious ‘stackability’ aspect, with load-bearing walls or columns able to nicely line up from floor-to-floor and room-to-room. As well as structural benefits, the repetitive stacked nature of the modules generally means that M&E risers also line up down the building. This opens up the option of ‘plug-and-play’ modular M&E units, which can be ‘dropped’ down the riser voids from the top of site-installed modules, significantly reducing site installation and commissioning time for M&E elements, not to mention providing useful locations for structural connections. Volumetric modular construction is also generally easier when the supporting traditional podium structure is at first floor level or above. This worked well for the Luton Airport project, as the ground floor entry lobby and general amenities area was


2 able to be relatively open plan, with fit-out occurring concurrently with module installation above. In contrast to traditional construction, a key element of any successful offsite project is very early client decision making. This does not mean there is no flexibility from project to project of a similar product (this is elaborated on below), it just means that if there are changes, the client needs to have a clear idea of these very early during supply chain engagement and certainly before design freeze. Once again, this suits hotel construction. Hotels generally have a very detailed understanding of their brand requirements – usually right down to toilet pans and taps – and are thus able to provide very detailed specifications in early design stages. This in turn provides much more quality and cost certainty, and allows all consultants to commence and finish detailed design significantly earlier than for traditional projects.



4 As mentioned above, clients can still have flexibility across ‘similar’ branded projects. The Marriott Hotel at Luton Airport is Peter Dann’s second Marriott branded hotel. We also designed the Marriott Hotel in Edinburgh, which forms part of the Scottish National Performance Centre for Sport. Clearly, these hotels have different requirements in terms of function and aesthetics. We were able to design both hotels to have very similar modular structures to reap economies-of-scale-type benefits, but as can be seen from the images they have completely different facades and aesthetics. We will be presenting on this in more detail at the Modular Matters Conference on 30 October at the NEC, Birmingham, along with Studio Anyo the architect for both projects. For more information visit: For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. Marriott Luton Airport 03-04. Marriott Edinburgh, last modules being stacked 05. Modular construction is a perfect solution for new hotel developments





The New Hampton by Hilton hotel at Bristol Airport was the 50th Hampton to open in the UK in 2017, with the success of the scheme largely attributed to the use of volumetric bedrooms built using containerised technology.

1 The entire 201 bedroom hotel was assembled in less than four weeks, allowing the bedroom areas to be 95-98% complete when the entire construction project was only 50% built. By embracing a modular solution, the design and fabrication of the bedrooms ahead of construction starting on site means that projects could be delivered with a 20-30% saving on programme. The high quality of bedroom finishes achieved as well as the generous public areas at ground floor have delighted the client and operator alike. The bedrooms arrived ready fitted out according to the hotel brand’s exacting requirements, including finished bathrooms, beds, chairs, casegoods, equipment and floor and wall coverings, sourced in China. Architects Stride Treglown worked with China International Marine ContainersModular Building Systems (CIMCMBS) engineers in London and China to manage the modular fabrication design development, co-ordinating the structural and mechanical and electrical bedroom areas design for a UK project built by Kier Group.


together onsite in a matter of weeks, designed according to the exacting hotel chain brand standards with consistently high quality finishes. CIMC as container modular provider were also the developer and owner of the final scheme.

2 The use of a container-build bedroom solution was decided before the hotel secured planning approval which delivered the best results for modular design and for the owners, who are the parent company of the modular system. Early engagement with the modular supplier is a key factor in making a success of modular systems, coupled with a hotel design of two simple rectangular bedroom blocks linked by a glazed corridor on three levels. The 201/251 phased design allows for an additional 50 bedrooms to be added to the hotel as passenger numbers and hence hotel occupancy increase – an ideal build solution for a hotel to remain trading for the duration of the fast-track installation. The façade cladding solution was also adapted to suit the module structure, making use of longspan aluminium composite panel solution to achieve an insulated and watertight façade as soon as practicable. The façade treatments were then applied over this external skin. The typical volumetric module consists of a bespoke section through the building – a completed bedroom/ unfurnished corridor/ completed bedroom that are stacked and bolted


Branded hotels as a building type are well suited to modular prefabrication because of the high degree of repetition. With the rectangular plan form of two simple linear bedroom blocks linked by a striking glazed walkway, as well as bedroom windows centrally located in the external wall, the project was ideally suited to modular. The ground floor bedrooms, not being as tall as the adjacent transfer deck presented an engineering challenge to the stackable solution but careful co-ordination and planning of the steel spacer frame to ensure all first floor bedrooms. The development and use of BIM has assisted the volumetric supplier in their manufacturing sequencing. The main contractors build sequence is in reverse to the factory production and the use of 3D software has aided CIMC with their craned elements installation onsite – assessing loads and forward logistics planning. The BIM element enables early resolving of traditional interfaces e.g. with the in-situ blockwork lift shaft within a module, as well as coordinating the distribution of services within the ever-shrinking bathroom risers. The benefits of container modular volumetric are still evolving in the UK market. CIMC continue to develop their own use of BIM in designing and procuring their modules, and the Bristol project illustrates the importance of choosing a rectilinear building with a high degree of repetition. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. The repetitive nature of hotel architecture lends itself to a volumetric modular approach. Courtesy Stride Treglown

Early Engagement Open conversation to scope the why, the how and the where-for to deliver a smart offsite proposal to meet budget and timing considerations.

01. Planning Submission Working through the project methodology, logistics and compliance requirement to achieve the necessary approvals and cost affordability.

02. Constructors Proposals Understanding the finer detail of your requirements and enabling you to contract test your proposal with the use of virtual reality.


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With the Metframe solution at its core, the Thetford Riverside Travelodge is a 62-room hotel and part of a 41,000 sq ft. redevelopment of the riverside area in Thetford, which includes a three-screen cinema and five restaurants. was engaged early in the tender process to help assess the foundation and loading requirements of the building, establish a value engineered plan and achieve any savings possible.


2 The Metframe solution was selected due to the structural efficiency of the system and manufacturing the product offsite contributed to a fast build, allowing that section of the project to be completed to a tight schedule. Value engineering the structure resulted in key savings. For example, reduced weight allowed the use of shallower foundations, which reduced the amount of materials required and the overall cost of the building.


The Metframe load-bearing walls and concrete floors formed the top three storeys of the hotel building. The acoustic properties of the hotel’s building structure were an important factor in the design process, to prevent sound travelling between rooms and having a negative impact on overall guest experience. The concrete floors specified as part of the Metframe design provided the high levels of acoustic insulation required. Metsec


Metframe is a pre-panelised system which is used to provide the load bearing structure for low to mediumrise structures. The system uses the studs in the same way as load bearing SFS, except they are bolted together offsite to form panels. The incorporation of heavier gauge studs and the bespoke designs allow structures to be constructed up to 15 storeys in height. Metframe structures can incorporate steel joisted or concrete floors, depending on the client’s requirements. Joisted floors will offer a much lighter structure, but concrete floors generally provide a higher level of acoustic and fire protection. Pitched, dormer or flat roofs can be readily incorporated in Metframe structures as well as balconies, cantilevers and insets. Colin Kennedy, Managing Director at Veitchi Interiors, said: “With the Metframe product we were able to achieve exactly what the client required on time and within budget despite challenges presented by the winter weather and a location where access was limited by proximity to the river. Metframe was chosen for this project due to the greater stability and fire resistance of the system compared with alternatives such as a timberframe kit construction.” Phillip Browne, Contracts Manager from Farrans Construction, added: “The Thetford Riverside development required a high-quality solution that would meet the required acoustic, fire and insulation U-values. Metframe ticked all these boxes and represented a solution that could streamline the


4 3 construction process while maintaining high levels of build quality. The build of the hotel went exactly as expected. It was simple and straightforward, the panels came straight off the delivery in the correct sequence and were lifted into place.” Over the last few years, Metsec’s offsite steel framing solutions have been used in a wide range of hotel projects, totalling 640,000 sq ft, including eight Premier Inns, Torphichen Street,

Edinburgh, Travelodge Dover, Holiday Inn Express Edinburgh, Marriott Courtyard extension, Glasgow and Genting UK’s Resorts World development in Birmingham. For Genting Resorts World, Metframe was chosen as the structural solution to enable quick and efficient construction of the top three storeys of the £150 million complex. The three-storey structure forms a 178-room, fourstar boutique hotel and spa facility

with five-star suites on the top floor, which caters for delegates and visitors to the 900 events that are held at the Birmingham NEC annually. As Metframe is assembled offsite to form easy-to-erect panels, the full frame could be delivered to the contractor in the required erection sequence and simply bolted together on location. This means that it provided a zerowaste solution and a low-carbon alternative to traditional concrete and steel frames. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Thetford Travelodge 03-04. Genting Resorts World

TESTING TIMES FOR UK CONSTRUCTION Ryan Simmonds, Sales Director for Framing at voestalpine Metsec plc, calls on the construction industry to evolve and become a standard bearer in terms of full service testing and fire safety. Whatever the outcomes of future hearings, reports and investigations, what is clear is that for any future building project, full system testing and fire safety are paramount to any organisation within the construction supply chain. This extends from the initial designs, to the care taken when installing systems and safety measures, to the long-term maintenance and upkeep of buildings. Today’s buildings need to perform as efficiently as possible – structurally, acoustically and thermally – but they must also be as safe as possible in terms of fire protection. The importance of stringent full system testing goes much further than responding to the news agenda: the Hackitt Report concluded that indifference and ignorance led to a “race to the bottom” in building safety practices, with cost prioritised over safety. The focus in modern construction is now more on liability and risk and assuring end clients in terms of full system testing, fire safety, insurance premiums, and potential changes to building regulations. We understand that striking this balance can be a challenge for the industry – but achieving this won’t happen overnight. Months of research, design and stringent fire testing were invested to develop our new SFS range of sections, and, with the introduction of more product options to reduce over-specification, we are putting our stake in the ground with regards to where the industry needs to move to, if it is to evolve. The biggest change in the SFS market for 20 years, the aim of the new range is to combine best value and quality for installers and end users, as well as have a substantial impact on the green credentials and sustainability of any project where our new SFS solution is implemented. Alongside our colleagues in construction, it is our duty to innovate and adapt to give both assurance and reassurance when it comes to building safety, so our industry can make headlines for all the right reasons and be a watchword for both quality and safety. For more information and to download the new technical manual visit:





Winning the Best Retail/Leisure Project of the Year at the Offsite Awards 2018, the Holiday Inn Express (HIEx) hotel in Trafford City, Manchester is a 220-bedroom hotel constructed using offsite volumetric modular methods.

1 The hotel, located next to Manchester’s EventCity venue on a 1.75 acre site, was a joint venture between Topland, Marick and Mill Lane Estates and is the first Holiday Inn Express ‘Generation 4’ in the UK to be built using a modular construction process. All 220 bedrooms have been constructed under factory conditions, creating steel-based, volumetric modules complete with fully factory-finished


interior furniture and fixtures and fittings, including carpets, curtains, wallpaper and full-height windows. Architect, Chapman Taylor’s Manchester studio, worked alongside the main contractor, Bowmer & Kirkland to see the modules stacked on top of each other without the need for additional supporting structures, to enable fast installation onsite.


Each module consisted of two bedrooms and a section of corridor, with all of the 220 bedrooms placed on site in less than three weeks, ready for external cladding to commence. The fixtures and fittings, having been produced and installed in a controlled factory environment, were of a very high standard – inspected and signed off before being delivered. This meant that quality assurance was in place




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HOTEL DEVELOPMENTS modular construction to let them start trading much earlier than with traditional building methods – guaranteeing that the choice of offsite construction would start paying for itself very quickly. It is estimated that the choice of construction method saved the client in the order of £1 million on total development costs.


3 before the modules took their place in the finished building. The nature of branded hotels such as Holiday Inn Express requires bedrooms to be relatively uniform, so volumetric construction was ideal for the client’s purposes – they received a superior, factory-installed quality of floorspace, furniture and fittings at a much lower cost and in a greatly reduced timeframe. The external envelope was applied once the modules were in place, using pre-finished rain-screen cladding and single-ply roofing systems, which were fixed to specific areas of the module to maintain an airtight seal. Working collaboratively with other specialist consultants appointed by the main contractor, Bowmer & Kirkland, Chapman Taylor developed a fully co-ordinated BIM model to inform the detailed design and enable the offsite works to commence in-line


4 with the ambitious programme. Employing this type of offsite modular design required a completely new approach to the traditionally linear design process. Driven by the leadin times associated with the offsite works, the design team were required to fix the details and specifications of the guestroom finishes long before scheduling out the accommodation which was to be provided at ground floor level. Employing volumetric modular construction meant that overall construction time and costs were massively reduced, allowing the client to begin trading much more quickly. Despite this scheme being the first new-build Holiday Inn Express ‘Generation 4’ to be undertaken in the UK, the fact that the company behind the brand, IHG, had previous experience using this type of offsite technology meant that they were aware of the potential of volumetric


The factory-fitted container modules were programmed into a sequences of batches, scheduled to arrive ‘just-intime’ to site. The run of 125 modules arrived on site late November 2016 and, following an installation average of 10 per day, were fully in place by mid-December 2016. The modules were stacked on top of each other without the need for additional supporting structures, which enabled very fast installation onsite. Offsite volumetric modular construction allowed for superior quality control and cost control compared to traditional construction methods, with everything meticulously planned and fully inspected to a degree not possible onsite. The hotel was constructed in 39 weeks, compared to between 60 and 75 weeks for other methods, allowing the client to begin trading ahead of schedule, achieving a 40% reduction in construction time and cost when compared to traditional construction methods. Potential investors or purchasers were able to visit the site early within the build programme, which was still very much a live construction site, and see a large portion of the finished product, providing them with enough confidence to agree a sale. The offsite volumetric modular construction method has also provided a template for the client to easily use in future developments, as well as allowing for a flexible response to changes in market demand at a relatively low cost. This also reduced maintenance and replacement costs and makes a roll-out of the brand’s chain much easier, as the template is there and ready to go For more information visit: Images: 01-04. The hotel was constructed in just 39 weeks with rooms fitted with factory-finished interior furniture, fixtures and fittings



Designed by architects TP Bennett and built by Bowmer & Kirkland for developer Landid, the striking Porter Building in Slough presented a number of demanding challenges for Aquarian Cladding Systems. Thanks to the impressive versatility of the company’s Gebrik insulating brick cladding system, the project architect’s exacting requirements and the build programme’s tight timeframe were met. Over 4,000m2 of Gebrik was installed by CCS Facades in just seven months. Dave How, Quantity Surveyor at CCS, explains: “The main drivers for using Gebrik were the large range of bricks, components and bond patterns, quicker install times than traditional brickwork and mostly non-weather dependent installation. Gebrik was the natural choice for this project.”

The facade’s stepped design included many features, including three different bond patterns, which would have been difficult to replicate with conventional brickwork. The finish was of such major importance, Aquarian worked closely with the architects to get exactly the look they required. David Blair, Principal Director of TP Bennett said: “The striking contemporary façade plays a key role in signalling the process of change and regeneration that is happening in Slough. The materials were chosen to represent the best in contemporary office design and to reflect the history of the area.”


The wide range of components made assembly easier and Gebrik’s proven low-maintenance and durability will ensure the building continues to look stunning well into the future. “With a demanding brief, Aquarian provided excellent service throughout,” adds Dave How. “Their expert guidance with brick finishes, numerous site visits and technical assistance were invaluable.” For more information visit:

With the Gebrik cladding system, you are assured of a simpler, faster brick façade that performs precisely as it should. Tried, tested and simple to install, our solutions provide you with the freedom to create strikingly versatile buildings.

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Since winning the Solar Technology of the Year and Clean Tech Start Up of the Year Awards in the Business Green Technology Awards in December 2016, BIPVco are set to expand further in their bid to incorporate PV functionality into conventional roofing and building materials. Initially created following five years of collaborative research between Tata Steel Europe and the Sustainable Product Engineering Centre for Innovative Functional Industrial Coatings (SPECIFIC) at Swansea University, BIPVco has created a market-leading building integrated ‘thin-film’ PV solar module that can be fitted to a variety of roofing panels.


The thin-film solar cells convert sunlight to energy through Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) technology. These PV panels are able to blend seamlessly onto commercial and residential roofs and due to the product’s robustness and flexibility are easily able to meet architect’s modern demands and designs, including curved rooftops and give many advantages in comparison to the more commonly understood and widely seen crystalline-based Building Applied Photovoltaic systems (BAPV) panels. These use heavier roof mounting systems and are more time-consuming to install, plus the glass-based crystalline PV panels are relatively fragile and can be easily broken during installation. Vibrations from the roof can also crack the cells and crucially BAPV panels are installed after the construction of the building. The BIPVco product is far more robust, lighter and safer to install and is incorporated directly onto the metal or membrane roof. The product’s surface has an ETFE film making them mostly self-cleaning and very low maintenance.

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But as the Government – through its Clean Growth Strategy and promotion of low-cost energy and lowering carbon emissions – is taking steps to create a framework innovative

BIPVCO FACTORY TOUR housing production, BIPVco have become, “part of the revolution, developing state-of-the-art integrated solar photovoltaic solutions that are designed to sit within the fabric of a building. It is these integrated energy technologies, transforming buildings into self-sustaining power stations that is the future.” “We wanted to see what more can be done with a building envelope or fabric to turn it into an energy creating technology,” says BIPVco CEO Daniel Pillai. “This is what we call a hybrid product and it powers a roof by integrating a PV function into other manufacturers roofing panels and adds a solar power functionality to their products.” “BIPVco builds the module by layering the bespoke top sheet, diodes, bus bar, the insulating layers and the cells,” adds Gordon Butler, Chief Technology Officer. “The functional solar module and the integrated junction box are then fused directly onto a pre-coated metal roof or membrane substrate, forming a photovoltaic panel. Moisture-sensitive components and materials are stored and assembled in our 150m2 dry assembly facility which is maintained at a relative humidity of < 3% at 21 degrees Centigrade. Each product is power rated on BIPVco’s in-house designed and manufactured SUN Simulator (which at 6m x 2m is one of the largest in the world) and then stored accordingly. Every module supplied will have its power rated on the SUN Simulator to enable customers to optimise their system design to ensure maximum yield.” Via extensive testing and using research and development facilities in Switzerland and China the quality of the roof is not compromised in any way. The approach is to include as much added value as possible to the product within the factory. Through this technology approach BIPVco offers combined roof and PV warranties. The roofing partner issues the roof warranty with the BIPVco product included and BIPVco issues PV warranty once they have inspected the installed roof. As pressures continue over the need to produce more energy efficient and sustainable structures, the use of factory-fitted solar PV technology is more reliable and has less room for



5 error – especially during transportation and installation. Still in its early stages of market penetration, BIPVco provide a flexible, building integrated solar PV product that can cater for the demands of a range of different buildings types and are looking to triple output over the next 18 months. Its attraction as a fully warranted roof panel that is easily understood is something that will appeal to many clients wanting to use offsite manufacture to establish the power station on the roof model.

For more information visit:

Images: 01. The standard 5.1m thin-film panel generates 240 watts and is 5-10% more efficient than crystalline panels 02. Factory tour participants 03-04. BIPVco are looking to triple output over the next 18 months 05. Active Classroom south facing roof containing BIPVco modules

THE ACTIVE CLASSROOM The Innovative Housing Programme was launched back in February 2017 to encourage the creation of a series of ‘demonstrator schemes’ designed to inform the Welsh Government, housing associations and local authorities of the type of homes they should be supporting to meet environmental and housing demands. The scheme provides nearly £20 million per annum to get behind projects that support the development of buildings as power stations, as well as the use of recycled materials and modular techniques which offer major opportunities to increase the speed of construction and the quality of homes. The Active Classroom was designed and built by SPECIFIC as a carbon positive building demonstrator led by chief architect Jo Clarke and is a full-scale modular building demonstration project, based at Swansea University’s Bay Campus that contains a laboratory and classroom used for teaching students and is being used as more than a technology demonstrator, but is helping to understand building performance in the context of an education facility. The roof contains 250m2 of roofing sheets with 17 kWp of Flextron modules plus BIPV Metektron modules also pre-integrated onto the Tata Steel Colorcoat Urban roof system.





Following the publication of the ‘Offsite Manufacture for Construction: Building For Change’ report by the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee, Darren Richards, Managing Director of key contributors Cogent Consulting, discusses the findings.

1 What this report acknowledges is that offsite construction techniques are now recognised as some of the most important solutions to many problems facing the UK construction industry today – particularly in the housing sector. Evidence from the report reveals that the construction industry and its labour model is at a critical crossroads. Whilst the diagnosis points to a deep-seated market failure, there are certain industry trends and wider societal changes happening now that represent both unprecedented risk and opportunity for the industry and its clients. As the team at Cogent knows only too well from our work in the industry – if the opportunities are not harnessed in a planned and structured manner, the risks may become overwhelming. In my opinion, one of the report’s most important recommendations, is that the Government should encourage the use of offsite manufactured solutions through policy measures as part of the wider procurement strategy across the ‘big five’ spending portfolios – infrastructure, education,


healthcare, prisons and housing. There is an opportunity here for the UK to extend our position at the forefront of offsite manufacturing globally in these sectors. Such a policy would further strengthen the confidence in the offsite supply-chain and encourage greater R&D/innovation investment. Concerns that the UK lags significantly behind other countries in the low-rise residential offsite sector is a real issue, particularly as some low-rise offsite specialists have recently gone out of business after a relatively short time in the market, which brings me onto another crucial element of the report – pipeline/demand certainty – probably the most significant issue for all elements of the offsite supply-chain. The report recommends that the Government provides a steady pipeline of projects for the construction sector so that companies can plan and make the capital investments or create the strategic supply-chains necessary for embracing offsite manufacture.


We welcome the Government’s commitment to the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline in the Construction Sector Deal, but it is important that the Government adheres to the pipeline to provide certainty to the sector. The ‘presumption in favour of offsite’ – if properly executed – will help to achieve this, but it is also important that public sector procurement bodies take heed of the important recommendations around a ‘reporting/ auditing’ framework to require an explanation as to why offsite technology may not have been used. This looks like a recommendation for the use of the carrot and the stick – either way it will take strong government leadership to enforce. The key issues of standardisation, capital investment in semi-automation and the cost premium often associated with low volume offsite manufacturing are part of the same equation and have a direct correlation. That is, with more standardisation there is a higher likelihood of a production process being repeatable and therefore

BUILDING FOR CHANGE to a full portfolio of offsite systems from pods and modules and panels and cassettes to hybrid solutions, if we are to utilise all of the capacity that the UK offsite manufacturing sector has to offer.

2 automated, with automation comes investment in machinery which increases efficiency and productivity levels and ultimately provides cost reductions. Crucial to unlock the benefits of automation is asset financing. As an industry we need to lobby the Government to find better ways of asset financing to encourage a greater uptake of automated processes, which will increase advanced and lean manufacturing procedures. The automotive and aerospace industries have been exploiting this model for decades and it is time that the offsite manufacturing sector had the confidence to do this too. Crucial to lean and advanced manufacturing is Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA) protocols and Building Information Modelling (BIM). DfMA enables optimal configuration of offsite solutions on site by engaging with multi-discipline and multi-tier suppliers – ideally from the beginning of the design development process. This approach requires a change of mindset and a shift away from ‘traditional construction thinking’ to the adoption of assembly principles. Think about ‘assembling’ the building rather than ‘constructing’ it. The discipline and collaborative working that DfMA requires and facilitates, are ideally suited to the needs of prefabrication in terms of early detail design co-ordination and three-dimensional design information. The output of the BIM design process, the IFC model – can now be directly imported into the fabrication software eliminating the time-consuming


translation of engineer’s information into cut lists and assembly drawings. Further to this, it reduces the risk of errors. Designs can be optimised and tested in a virtual and pre-production environment before reaching the full manufacturing process – reducing costly rework and errors onsite. The next steps in the development of this technology will be to integrate BIM/digital design processes and specification information with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Material Requirement Planning (MRP) using ‘intelligent graphics’. This will also permit full manufacturing simulation and visualisation, clash detection and virtual onsite assembly modelling and programming which can then be enhanced using the latest augmented and virtual reality digital developments. Bringing the use of the latest digital technology from predominantly the design and architectural stages into the manufacturing and offsite technology assembly process. We welcome the Government’s commitment to changing its procurement models so that the public sector can procure for whole-life value rather than upfront cost. This, along with the Government’s ‘presumption in favour of offsite’ across five departments, will provide an important signal to the construction sector that there will be a consistent pipeline of projects, allowing companies to invest in offsite manufacturing facilities with confidence. However, this ‘presumption’ needs to be material and system agnostic and not always advocate volumetric modular construction. We need to have access


Change is not easy, and not all first experiences of using offsite technology will run smoothly! For most clients they are on a steep learning curve when initially adopting an offsite method of building and they will need to remain resolute in adopting the new mentality of ‘assembly’ rather than ‘construction’. The offsite manufacturing sector has to be cognisant of these issues and will need to support public sector clients as they feel the pressure from Government and take their first steps. In the Construction Sector Deal the Government sets out that it will provide £15 billion of new financial support for housing over the next five years, taking total financial support to at least £44 billion to 2022/23. Furthermore, the Government states that it will ‘ensure that’ funding for the Transforming Construction programme supports the development and commercialisation of technologies and digital building designs that can help deliver the Government’s housing objectives. When allied to the ‘presumption in favour of offsite’ the conditions to flourish could not be better. The Government and the wider public sector are by far the construction industry’s biggest clients. Their role is pivotal in increasing the use of offsite technology – they have the power to drive change. The problems are clear and well documented – the recommended actions are set out in the report we implore the Government to heed the recommendations made and urgently respond with a detailed plan of action. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Adopting a new mentality of ‘assembly’ rather than ‘construction’ is at the heart of offsite manufacture 02. The report makes clear a ‘presumption in favour of offsite’. Courtesy CCG (OSM)

Delivering efficiency and competitive advantage using offsite technology We develop and improve: Business strategies Product & service portfolios Manufacturing operations Supply-chain integration Business processes Management systems Marketing strategies Sales routes to market

01743 290010




Edinburgh Napier University are working with a series of international academic partners active in offsite research via the Built Environment Exchange (beX). The objective is to provide an education platform partnering University and construction industry partners internationally.

1 beX is a platform approach to accelerating change in construction culture by developing dynamic talent and delivering experiential learning opportunities. beX provides innovation internships, master scholarships and employment opportunities. beX also provides entrepreneurship and leadership training support and encourages diversification. The beX scholars ‘go back to school’ and mentor school kids on the Design Engineer and Construct (DEC) programme to inspire the next generation and create an improved pathway for inclusive sustainable growth. This connectivity facilitates student mobility for enhanced experiential learning activities geared towards undergraduate, early career postgraduate and doctorate students. The opportunity will be open to students from all areas of study in order to widen the pool of available talent to not only tackle the


construction sector skills deficit and diversification challenges, but also to harness the new skills required for changes in construction delivery (i.e. offsite manufacture, lean and integrated delivery, reliance and low carbon construction, BIM and other technology integration). This will attract some of our most talented graduates to the sector and lead to future sustainable communities of tomorrow whilst decarbonising the economy. Importantly this supports a cultural shift in the construction sector skills base in addition to supporting international knowledge exchange. beX was created in order to address the challenges of the construction sector which is adversarial by structure, overly complicated by design and flawed on delivery – by offering an alternative collaborative approach to education capable of harnessing top talent and providing them with the education and skills needed to deliver a more sustainable built environment.


“A new way of thinking is required if we are to attract our top talent to the construction sector and the challenges of shaping our built environment,” says Dr Robert Hairstans, Head of Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structures at Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) and founder of beX. “The best and brightest are not queuing up to earn a living in the cold, damp, miserable workplaces of popular imagination. Let’s focus instead on the type of place where people want to work. Somewhere clean, safe, collaborative, diverse and multicultural. A place that has at its core people who are forward thinking and unafraid to innovate. A place where entrepreneurship is encouraged and there is a sense of strong collective leadership doing the right thing to ensure this and future generations are not consuming too much energy and producing excessive waste.


2 We need to encourage the next generation to consider how they can participate in social, economic and environmental prosperity and be part of a circular economy so that the communities we live in don’t end up impinging on our basic human needs. beX augments University learning with internationalisation and entrepreneurship and acts as a platform for industry engagement. The approach works and creates value return to the sector. Importantly it changes the perception of what a career delivering the built environment can be and will therefore attract top talent and accelerate cultural change and modernisation of the sector.” The Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Programme facilitates innovation led internship positions via ENU industry and international University partners. ENU leads on numerous research and commercial projects working with industry and public sector partners providing employability opportunities. The Construction Scotland Innovation Centre has supported a number of these and also provided master scholarship support. beX has therefore created a streamlined approach for matching top talent with industry partners to address innovation challenges. “Success breeds success,” adds Robert. “beX is successful because it invests in the next generation and removes the layers of bureaucracy to doing so. Funding support and employment opportunities need to go directly to the next generation if we are serious about delivering the sustainable communities of tomorrow. There has to be less conjecture and more trajectory.

In this regard beX is about pull rather than push. It offers a re-imagination of what a career in the built environment can be and pulls the next generation on to the pathway for successful delivery.” beX is open to a wide range of subject areas, not just architecture, engineering and construction. Different disciplines need to be working in concert to eradicate waste and defects whilst creating sustainable solutions that are designed for comfort and the end user in mind.

3 Drawing on a range of talents can also create, for example, the digital frameworks and product design solutions for automated manufacture and logistical management. For more information visit:

Images: 01-03. beX will boost the next generation of skills for sustainable construction and offsite manufacture

NEW MSC ON TIMBER ARCHITECTURE Edinburgh Napier University has introduced an MSc on Timber Architectural Design and Technology - the first programme of its kind in the UK. The programme is designed for graduates in architecture, architectural technology and other construction professions who want to become part of the growing international move towards innovative and high-performance timber building. The MSc will equip students to work as a design professional within the timber sector and has been developed by Edinburgh Napier’s Institute for Sustainable Construction in consultation with professional bodies and the timber industry. Institute director Professor Sean Smith said: “Our market research shows that employers in the UK timber building sector are facing severe skills shortages and similar gaps exist in many countries overseas. These employers are looking for graduates with a combination of technical know-how and commercial awareness in the design, manufacture and assembly of timber buildings and structural systems. We have designed the programme to address this demand.” The programme includes taught modules on: wood as a building material; offsite construction and design for manufacture, wood products and processing; building acoustics and sound insulation; energy performance; timber architectural form and technology, and timber building design. Students will also undertake a large architectural design project or a technical dissertation. The programme can be studied either full-time or part-time. The complete programme will take one year full-time or two years three months part-time. The first student intakes will be in September 2018 and January 2019. For more information email: or visit: and search for ‘timber architecture’.





With the latest Salary Guide for the Offsite Construction Sector included in this issue, Jim Roach, Managing Director of specialist recruiter ARV Solutions, reminds us that recruitment and retention is always a challenging process. They Say People Leave Managers They also don’t join Managers, if the recruitment process doesn’t go right. In this fast-moving recruitment market (it’s really fast moving right now!) some of the best candidates never get to meet your great Managers, because they met your competitors sooner. Those that meet Managers who do a less than fantastic job interviewing and selling the company now often get turned down by the people they really wanted. It has never been more important to make the interview genuinely two-way.

The latest Salary Guide for the Offsite Construction Sector should have fallen from your Offsite Magazine by now. Hopefully you will have a read, find the content useful, take it on board and keep it on hand when reviewing your staff salaries and recruiting – and if it fell out before you got to read it, please get in touch, and I will send you a copy.

A salary guide is a really useful benchmarker, but for really successful recruitment and retention it is only part of the story. There are companies out there paying well and still losing staff, plus failing to attract new staff. There are others who we tend to believe aren’t paying enough but are attracting fantastic people to their businesses and have great loyalty from staff.

I write this piece in the context of a European visit from the US President, with extreme hard-hitting messages designed to grab everyone’s attention. Whilst I am not afraid to put my head above the parapet occasionally, my style is hopefully more along the lines of trusted advisor and somewhat less extreme. But please, read my advice and take it on board all the same. My views are founded on nearly 30 years in the role and I don’t need to get reelected.

Live the Company Culture Some of this is about staff benefits, flexibility and work-life balance. Beyond these, it is really important to evaluate what sort of company culture you want to have and be seen to have. Good policies are a good starting point, though too often end at the door of the HR office. If the reality doesn’t live up to the expectation all the way across (and up and down) your business, then you will still have a problem. Living your company culture is the only end point.



Perceptions are Reality We work with many great employers – however, we often have a problem where candidates have heard a bad new story and don’t even want to attend an interview. Often the bad news will come from perceptions rather than reality. Ex-employees for example, may not be the most positive about a previous employer and this can become a widespread bad news story after a few people have passed it on and exaggerated it – it’s a small world. Fortunately, as we generally get to see both sides we can put people right against incorrect perceptions – but everything you can do to maintain a great reputation in the market (and avoid the negatives) is worth doing. The hiring market is challenging right now, however by doing more of the right things and working with the right advisors, you stand a better chance of not being trumped in the battle for talent retention and attraction. For more information visit:

Adding real value in recruitment Pull out your 2018 Salary Guide enclosed with this issue of Offsite Magazine

Specialising in offsite manufacturing, construction and supply chain. ARV Solutions is the UK’s leading recruitment consultancy for the offsite construction sector. By maintaining valuable relationships with our clients we have access to many unadvertised job opportunities. Our expert staff offer specialist advice and support.

@arvsolutions 0117 959 2008

Call for impartial and confidential advice on your career or register your CV at our website.



The construction industry is in a state of flux with the demands of changing demographics, housing pressures, economic change and technological developments on an unprecedented scale. A range of facilities across the UK are training and informing new entrants to the industry. Here we feature a few leading centres of excellence and change management.



One of the leading facilities in the UK helping manufacturers to become more competitive and attuned to advanced technologies and processes is the University of Sheffield’s AMRC – jointly founded with Boeing in 2001 and now getting to grips with construction industry. “They realise that the future has to be in smarter, offsite manufacturing where they can exploit digital technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, along with robotics and automation driven by edge analytics and big data,’’ says Allan Griffin Head of Construction and Infrastructure Strategy at the AMRC. “Our challenge at the AMRC is to help the construction industry get the maximum value out of industrial digitalisation and advanced manufacturing, driving improvements in productivity and quality along with improved health, safety and wellbeing, as we are doing with our aerospace and automotive partners. We may be part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult but high value does not mean high cost. Our solutions work as well for small offsite modular manufacturers as they do for the bigger players and need not cost the earth.”


For more information visit:

For more information visit:


CSIC supports Scotland’s construction related businesses to innovate, collaborate and grow by matching innovation requirements with business support and academic specialists. Focusing on business, product, process and service forms of innovation they offer advice, funding, facilitation and access to the appropriate expertise, improving Scotland’s global competitiveness and growing economic impact. They also facilitate collaboration with Scottish businesses, academia (through 13 partner universities) and public sector organisations, enabling businesses to benefit from Scotland’s skills, expertise and fair approach to business in areas such as Infrastructure delivery, offsite construction, low carbon solutions, architecture and retrofit. Its £2 million state-of-the-art 35,000 sq.ft prototype, testing and training facility opened in 2017 and is located at Hamilton International Technology Park in Lanarkshire, near Glasgow.


The Offsite Management School was launched in March 2015 as an example of new thinking to help bridge the skills gap. A free virtual learning environment for people to sign up, carry out a simple self-assessment and receive an action plan of 10 things to learn, re-assess and get another 10 things, and another 10, and another 10. It is a great way to learn at your own pace, at a time and in a place of your choosing. It’s learning for the’ iPad generation’. The School provides FREE practical support in the form of CPD accredited e-learning modules and training workshops, tailored self-assessment tools and action plans, benchmarking tools, networking opportunities and access to thousands of online resources. Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain School, believes that: “To transform the construction industry into one that can crank out massproduced components to be assembled in different ways to make different buildings will require root-and-branch reform of the way we look at skills.” For more information visit: offsite/construction/home.aspx



THE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY CENTRE (MTC) The MTC was established in Coventry in 2010 as an independent Research & Technology Organisation (RTO) with the objective of bridging the gap between academia. It represents one of the largest public sector investments in UK manufacturing. Its mission is to: “Help companies manufacture faster, at a consistently higher quality and lower cost, in an agile environment in partnership with industry and academia. We continually encourage young people into exciting careers in engineering, to develop and embed technologies that will impact UK industry for years to come.” The MTC is currently working with BRE and the Centre for Digital Built Britain under the name of ‘Transforming Construction Alliance’ to develop a bid for the recently-announced Core Innovation Hub under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund for the construction sector. It is also keen to further explore issues surrounding construction robots to improve productivity, quality of end products, reduce manual operations – leading to less errors, shortened construction time, reduced costs and improved health and safety. For more information visit:

CADCOE is the UK’s leading provider of digital engineering apprenticeships for 2D CAD design, 3D design and building information modelling (BIM) across the construction industry. CADCOE is a specialist training provider in recruiting digital engineering apprentices to the construction industry and is working hard to attract more females into the sector. In 12 months, the company has taken its percentage of females on programme from 2% to just over 14%. Director of Teaching, Lee Drummond says: “It has been brilliant to see an increase of females on the digital engineering apprenticeship. CADCOE has been working hard, particularly during the last two years, to change perceptions of what it means to work within engineering and construction and this is the key to ensuring young people feel a career in this area is accessible and achievable for anyone, with amazing progression opportunities.” CADCOE is part of the Technical Design Services Group. Apprentice CAD Engineers Lexxi and Lora, joined TDS in September 2017 and are already on track for very successful careers. Lora thinks this is one of the most rewarding and enjoyable choices she has ever made: “The fact I’m in the minority of females at work is irrelevant. What is relevant, is the fact that I feel as though I’m part of one big family, and everyone is supporting me, guiding me and genuinely wants me to succeed – no-one should ever feel deterred by what history tells us males and females are best suited to.” For more information visit:

DUDLEY COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY ADVANCE II The new Centre for Advanced Building Technologies/Advance II provides skills development in high level building services engineering, civil engineering, construction design and BIM. It is the first of its kind in the FE sector offering students training in the latest construction techniques. Much of the curriculum is driven by both industry needs and the Government’s agenda on low carbon – both for newbuild and retrofitting of existing buildings – to meet targets. The new materials, products and technologies involved mean new skills are required. The layout of Dudley Advance II is being developed around the future training needs of the industry. A stand-out feature of the building is a four-storey high ‘hangar’ where students will be taught the practical know-how required for fabricating and assembling buildings using the latest available technologies. Adjacent to this huge open space is a fivestorey tower which houses a variety of classrooms, a learning resource centre and recreational and study spaces. Key delivery targets include training Building Technicians – multi-skilled construction workers, who are able to install pre-fabricated buildings and have the required mechanical, electrical and structural skills to understand offsite manufacture. For more information visit:






1 Industry-leading structural flooring board, EGGER Protect, played a starring role at an award-winning new observatory in the heart of Kielder Forest in Northumberland. EGGER Protect has been specified for the £250,000 Gillian Dickinson Astroimaging Academy that sits alongside the existing Kielder Observatory and will be home to the observatory’s education and outreach work. Kielder Observatory sits inside Northumberland International Dark Sky Park, Europe’s largest area of protected night sky. Since opening in 2008, more than 80,000 people have visited the observatory to celebrate some of the darkest skies in the world. Manufactured from P5 flooring grade particleboard, EGGER Protect has been used throughout the new 65sq m facility because of its durability and weather-resistant properties. The dualsided surface is ideal for the 17sq m viewing area which is exposed to the elements when the retractable roof is open. “Obviously the roof closes to protect the expensive telescopes if it starts to rain, but EGGER Protect’s moisture-resistant properties mean the floor is one less thing for the astronomers to worry about,” explains Alan White, Director of Sales for EGGER UK Building Products.



“With over 23,000 visitors a year and more expected following this investment, a floor with a hard-wearing surface was also necessary. The anti-slip properties of the surface also provide an added health and safety benefit for all round peace of mind. With our Hexham-manufactured products containing wood-based materials originating from Kielder’s commercial forestry operations, it’s great to see them going full circle in this way.” Joiner Karl Fisher of The Dreamstone Woodworking Company said: “The boards proved to be highly moisture-resistant and we laid them using EGGER’s D4 Adhesive to benefit from the Lifetime Guarantee. The bonding of the tongue and groove using the adhesive will also reduce any movement or squeaking issues during the life of the floor.” The new observatory has been funded by the Gillian Dickinson Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, LEADER funding, Northumbria Water and Northumberland County Council. The quality products used to build the facility means that more people can enjoy the beauty of the night sky for years to come. EGGER Protect is the only chipboard flooring on the market that, once laid, can be exposed to the elements for up to 60 days. This gives housebuilders peace of mind when dealing with


3 unforeseen delays. Each board has a T&G profile, cut with unique diamond-tipped tooling, creating more consistent joints. The boards are quick to install and can be used with underfloor heating systems and tiles. Other time saving features include a concrete-effect finish, which means no post-installation painting is required. For more information visit: You can also find out more at the Kielder Observatory Astronomical Society: Images: 01. Kielder Observatory is located in the Northumberland International Dark Sky Park. 02. The roof of the 17sq.m viewing area retracts to reveal the sky 03. EGGER Protect provides a hard-wearing, anti-slip surface for to cope with high traffic

Egger Protect. 60 days protection, whatever the weather.

It’s a fact – house building and renovation projects are often delayed, leaving sites under threat of weather damage. EGGER Protect is the only structural flooring board that can be exposed to the elements for up to 60 days. The dual sided surface protection is unique and offers a robust, non-slip floor, even when it’s wet. And, as part of the EGGER Advanced Structural Flooring System, it comes with a Lifetime Guarantee. For more information call 0845 602 4444 or email

TIMBER Building in Britain means that we need to manage the effects of moisture, both during the construction phase and when buildings are in use. This is particularly important with timber which can be at risk of decay when it is exposed to high levels of moisture for a prolonged period of time. Fortunately, with good design and robust working practices this does not need to be a problem.

The UK has a maritime climate, with warm moist air from the Atlantic Ocean keeping temperatures mild throughout the year and regular rainfall making the UK wetter than many places in continental Europe. This creates challenges for the construction industry when using modern methods of construction, as weather sensitive materials arrive onsite earlier in the build programme and may need extra care before a weather tight shell is achieved.



Robin Lancashire, Senior Timber Frame Consultant at TRADA picks out some key issues surrounding the durability of cross-laminated timber (CLT) and what to remember during the construction phase.



While cross-laminated timber (CLT) buildings can be erected quickly, it still takes several weeks to build larger structures. During this phase, and when the erectors depart leaving the building in the hands of the main contractor, it is essential that good water management procedures exist. Short term surface wetting is generally acceptable as the moisture has insufficient time to penetrate deep into the timber before wind and sun lead to evaporation, but long-term wetting and pooling of water can raise core moisture contents, particularly on horizontal surfaces. If materials that don’t offer high levels of breathability are installed over saturated timber, this moisture takes a very long time to escape and in the meantime there is a risk of fungal decay developing. The large volumes of timber used in CLT mean that large quantities of moisture can be absorbed. Glue lines and the cross-laminations mean that CLT absorbs moisture and dries differently to solid timber. There is further work to be done to fully understand how moisture moves through CLT panels and the time it takes to dry if saturated and/or above the fungal moisture content threshold.



3 The CLT industry in the UK is now mature and there are many examples of successful buildings using this method. However, as in other forms of construction there have also been failures – and with CLT this has tended to be caused by high moisture levels. The problems have been traced to either trapped construction moisture, poor design or leaks from the failure of other components. It is likely that many main contractors are used to working with other structural materials which are not so sensitive to trapped moisture and they do not appreciate the importance of installing a weathertight shell as soon as practically possible. The CLT industry should increase the help and advice that they provide to main contractors, so that they fully understand this importance. They can work with them to minimise exposure through good water management and discuss phasing of critical weatherproofing works. The timber species that we typically use to build CLT is classified as not durable to slightly durable and CLT is not typically preservative

4 treated. Protecting it from the effects of moisture is therefore critical. Preservative treating CLT is possible, but is a challenge, an additional process and an additional cost. The use of chemicals also raises questions of a material which is promoted as natural, healthy and recyclable. While preservation may buy valuable time to allow the identification of a leak or high timber moisture content before significant damage occurs, it will not prevent decay if conditions persist for long enough. While preservation offers comfort against the risk, we must rely on good design, workmanship and maintenance to deliver longevity. When building with timber there are four ‘Ds’ to consider – deflection, drainage, drying and durability. These apply equally to the construction phase and the in-use phase. Deflecting moisture away from timber elements helps to stop the problem at source. If moisture comes into contact with timber, a drainage route prevents pooling and reduces absorption. Details that allow drying through ventilation help wet timber to dry. Finally, the durability of the timber species and the long-term performance of other materials too, help deliver longevity. Many TRADA member companies at the forefront of CLT building design

in the UK have helped with the development of our new landmark book ‘Cross-laminated timber- design and performance. The book is an introduction to CLT, showcasing its uses for architects, building designers and their clients. It shows design principles, including studies of several exemplar buildings, CLT product performance, including structural design, connections, fire, thermal, and acoustic performance, sustainability and appearance. It also includes 13 case studies representing a variety of building types. TRADA and Exova BM TRADA continue to work closely with all those involved with CLT, to help understand this material better, develop new ways of working with it and increase its robustness and durability through good design. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. The CLT industry in the UK is now mature and there are many examples of successful buildings using this method. Courtesy TRADA, David Miller Architects Agnese Sanvito 04. When building with timber there are four ‘Ds’ to consider – deflection, drainage, drying and durability





Over the last decade structural timber has entered a new dimension with the development of new building systems and design strategies, elevating wood to rival concrete and steel construction. Issues surrounding this and more were discussed at the recent Solid Wood Solutions 2018 conference and exhibition.

1 The Oculus building at the University of Warwick formed the magnificent backdrop for the recent Solid Wood Solutions (SWS) event which featured the UK’s principal engineered timber buildings together with presentations from leading academics who are at the forefront of research in cross laminated timber (CLT), laminated veneered lumber (LVL) and glue-laminated timber (glulam). Robert Hairstans, Head of The Centre for Offsite Construction and Innovative Structures at Edinburgh Napier University, kicked off proceedings. In his presentation, ‘Mass Timber: an Introduction to Solid Laminate Timber Systems’, Robert offered an international perspective, highlighting the growth of engineered timber manufacturers across Europe to meet the increase in demand.


He discussed how Napier students are encouraged to see the value of mass timber beyond the environmental context and in addition, consider the social and economic benefits, combined with the value and ‘adaptability proposition’. Delivering consistency of process, improved quality and enhanced predictability, means mass timber systems deliver great benefits to the built environment, but it goes beyond that. As offsite systems, solid wood solutions promote a better construction culture, facilitating a safer and cleaner working environment, offering job security for local labour and economic viability.

design and construction journey of the building and described how they created a new civic landmark for the University of Warwick. By arranging the structure with a sequence of new striking acoustically excellent lecture theatres, together with teaching and amenity spaces, the University has been totally transformed and modernised. A new public front entrance leads to the triple-height foyer spaces with spectacular views over the surrounding landscape. The £15m project was funded by a grant from the HEFCE, and philanthropic donations and is designed to be BREEAM ‘Excellent’.

Neil Eaton, Director of Berman Guedes Stretton – the architects behind The Oculus, with its outstanding roof featuring massive glulam arches – presented a case study on the

The architects’ approach was to design the internal teaching spaces from the ‘inside out’, looking at the acoustic and theatrical function as the major drivers, whilst addressing the ‘outside



2 in’, through a focus on civic presence and its urban context close to Warwick Art Centre. Neil said the best approach is to consider engineered timber as a pallet of materials and play to the individual system’s strength, to create a lightweight buildings with excellent visual appeal, low embodied carbon which minimises the environmental impact, whilst also considering human wellbeing. Timber architecture is more fashionable than ever before and is a trend that has major potential for the future of building design and development. This was clearly demonstrated by David Lomax, Senior Associate, Waugh Thistleton Architects. A highlight of the conference programme – David presented a case study featuring the award winning Dalston Lane project, which has been making global headlines. This highdensity, low-carbon mixed-use scheme in East London is thought to be the world’s largest CLT structure in terms of volume. David enthused about the benefits of CLT stating – ‘it even smells nicer’. He described the design process as a book of decisions and how CLT, as a robust yet lightweight material did not negatively impact on the underground infrastructure such as HS1 and Cross Rail – permitting extra storeys, delivering a better return on investment for their client, Regal Homes.

Thinking beyond the panelised nature of CLT – modular CLT construction was the focus of the presentation from Gavin White, Director of Ramboll. Gavin considered future challenges with a retiring workforce and the UK’s impending exit from the EU and the impact this could have on migrant workers. Gavin stressed the urgency of the situation – time is running out and there is a pressing need to improve productivity to help resolve the housing crisis. Modular CLT houses, such as those Ramboll are developing with Stora Enso for Swan Housing Association are a progressive option. Modular CLT construction can be used in any sector where there is standardisation.

Gavin White stated: “Offsite construction using CLT is only in its infancy, but it has so many potential benefits that we see this form of construction becoming more and more prevalent. It is up to the industry to maintain the architectural interest when designing with modular units – a challenge which I am sure we will excel at to help solve the housing crisis.”

Heyne Tillett Steel have been providing early stage options to office developers for timber construction, alongside steel and concrete. Although some have been reluctant, Associate, Kelly Harrison, presented some case studies where they have chosen timber, mainly on refurbishments as more storeys can be justified on existing foundations. Main issues tend to arise from deep structural zones in addition to services dropping below the beams rather than through them. In her presentation Kelly considered how to improve this without spending large amounts in fabrication. “We’ve been looking at using the CLT compositely with the glulam beam via inclined screws, to reduce the overall structural depth,” said Kelly. “Initial testing has given no failure to the screws and a tensile failure in the glulam above the calculated failure load. When deflections are plotted against load the results are much improved than the beam only calculation, equating to the results you would calculate for a beam 20% deeper than that used. Parallel research in New Zealand has indicated that full composite action can be achieved by 40 inclined screw fixings on a 6 metre beam, but the calculation of effective width of the top flange is key, which depends on the specification of the CLT. We intend to



TIMBER The SWS programme featured a range of case studies of completed projects, but Fernando Perez, from Smith and Wallwork Engineers, shared the vision for the proposed 300m high Oakwood Timber Tower 2 (The Lodge) – which will provide a mix of functions to create a vibrant new area of the City of London. This is another project that has grabbed headlines across the world.

3 continue our testing using their finding on the effective width calculation and assess the effect of using less screws. We hope that our research will inspire the industry to start to use this approach as standard and for a future version of the Eurocode to include a method for calculation for use by the wider industry.” Technical Director for Buro Happold, Jonathan Roynon discussed the benefits of hybrid timber structures. He advocates that timber should be considered as a palette of materials and viewed on an equal basis to all other construction materials. Benefits of various structural timber systems should be taken into account and used to their full advantage, such as the lightweight nature, longer span capability and low embedded carbon. By taking a holistic approach, each material ought to be selected for its particular benefit and by combining the best solutions, as hybrid timber systems can achieve the optimum aesthetic and performance, as well as minimising the environmental impact. Max Garcia, Design and Engineering Manager for Carbon Dynamic – who design and manufacture beautiful timber modular buildings – enthusiastically presented an inspiring case study on the Dyson Student Village. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre, Carbon Dynamic recently delivered the prototype, the first of 78 cross laminated volumetric modules to be manufactured. The volumetric modules were developed using the same prototype approach as Dyson used to develop their technological


4 products: cutting-edge DfMA engineering was combined with a 1:1 loading test. In this way, the buildability of the connection details for the threestorey module stack with cantilevers was tested and optimised to maximise efficiency on the building site. Austrian timber construction specialist Wiehag is constantly pushing the boundaries of what can be done with timber. This time with a project to build the largest and most complex timber roof ever built in Scotland. Wiehag, who hit the headlines for their massive glulam gridshell roof for the Canary Wharf Crossrail station, has now completed a 200m long glulam timber roof for the prestigious Macallan Distillery in Scotland. John Spittle of Wiehag detailed the design and construction challenges. Located in the Scottish Highlands the new distillery is partly inserted into the landscape and features an undulating green roof. This unique design is reference to the region’s mountainous topography and acts to preserve and enhance the unique landscape. The roof itself is not really curved but based on a triangulated 3m matrix. Its complex geometry was modelled using parametric software to ensure stability and load-bearing capacity. Austrian timber specialist Wiehag, converted this geometry into 1,800 individual glulam beams and 2,500 triangular timber elements that make up the roof’s surface. As no two components of the roof are alike, they were numbered and assembled individually.


The intension is to create new WELL Certified office space, a first for the region. The WELL Building Standard® is the world’s first building standard focused exclusively on human health and wellness. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research plus it harnesses the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and wellbeing. The Oakwood Timber Tower 2 is an attempt to discover the wider possibilities of the aesthetics of wooden structures. It is recognised anecdotally that people respond in a positive way to exposed wood. While there is no direct evidence that people distinguish between structural and non-structural wood in this regard, it is hard not to feel that exposure to the working material is rather more interesting, and more authentic, than exposure to purely decorative timber finishes. Solid Wood Solutions appeals to a wide range of construction professionals and is relevant to all those with an interest in future developments in offsite construction. Solid Wood Solutions will be back in 2019 and next year there are plans to take this event to another level. Keep an eye on developments at:

Images: 01. The Oculus, University of Warwick and event venue 02. UEA Blackdale Campus. Courtesy Richard Osbourne 03. Kelly Harrison, Associate Heyne Tillett Steel 04. Jonathan Roynon, Technical Director for Buro Happold


METROTILE SUPPLY INNOVATIVE PASSIVHAUS BUILDER CYGNUS HOMES At Metrotile we often emphasise the importance of our roofing’s many benefits, the core of which is the unsurpassed strength and low weight, offered by the highest drawing grade steel our tiles are pressed from. The low weight – just one seventh of traditional roof tiles such as slate or clay – is ideal for factory-built modular housing as it helps to keep the overall weight down during the transportation process and places significantly less pressure on the supporting frame and foundations without compromising security or aesthetics. These benefits have not gone unnoticed by the modular home building industry and Metrotile is now the proud roofing material supplier to innovative Passivhaus manufacturer Cygnus Homes. Cygnus Homes was formed to develop and manufacture: “homes for people that are affordable to build and live in.” Each Passivhaus home is timber

framed, features smart technology and is designed to require less energy to run, so that those living inside can save on energy bills too. Cygnus Homes Director of Operations Maria Ling states: “Cygnus are an offsite manufacturer of e-smart, sustainable, Passivhaus timber frame homes that are affordable and adaptable. We only select and use the best of the best products from the industry. Metrotile, as Europe’s number one lightweight steel roofing manufacturer, were selected to be part of our continued supply chain because of their continued innovation, sustainability, speed and ease of install, alongside their adaptability and choice.

“Metrotile have evidenced their adaptability to incorporate other product systems with our solar thermal panel and our air ventilation system into the Metrotile roofing system. Their qualities matched with their continued customer support experience are key to our on-going partner relationship and success as Cygnus enter the housing market in 2018.” For more information about Cygnus Homes visit: For more information and a free no-obligation quote about Metrotile Lightweight Roofing, visit: or email:


Photo: PassivHaus by

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The future of Offsite


Bringing offsite construction to life The Offsite hub in partnership with Explore Offsite will feature a ground-breaking exhibition of offsite construction solutions and the largest gathering of the growing industry’s professionals, summing up the importance of offsite technology for the future.


• Explore Offsite seminars, focused on the latest innovation in offsite technology • Larger exhibition – from product launches to full-scale builds • New for 2019 Guided technical tours • The best in precision building design and delivery at the Offsite Awards • New for 2019 Offsite forum brought to you by Cogent



Be part of the future Contact Trevor Crawford on +44 (0)20 3011 2548



26,590 overall visitors

+5% increase in visitor attendance

1,500+ 7,400 Offsite & Timber seminar attendees

visitors attended specifically for offsite and timber technologies



of visitors authorise or specify products

of visitors managerial or above

This is definitely the busiest event we’ve exhibited at and we love the different hubs. We’re looking forward to developing the brand even further and coming back to showcase its journey in 2019! Kathryn Legg, Marketing Services Manager at Marley

Join the leading offsite construction suppliers in 2019





The Modular Matters conference and exhibition, taking place at the Birmingham NEC on 30 October 2018, will focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular sector and outline the continuing evolution of offsite construction.

through a range of project case studies, innovative architecture and building design together with software developments. The conference and exhibition will explore what the future holds for volumetric modular construction – technology trends, interoperability, capacity constraints, manufacturing – with presentations from a collection of the UK’s pioneering offsite designers, engineers and manufacturers.

1 Volumetric modular construction has gained considerable momentum over the past 3-5 years in the UK due to its positive impact on cost, programme, quality and safety. The critical success factors for ‘modularisation’ have recently highlighted the need for engineering, procurement and construction project delivery systems to be developed to support optimal use of volumetric modular technology. The advantages have been known for decades and yet ‘modularisation’ at scale, has only just recently been realised. New methodologies need to address the lack of knowledge about the limitations of the manufacturing process of modules, as well as considering a set of practical constraints and factors that affect module configuration such as, transportation and weight restraints together with onsite connection and crane cost limitations.


The need for faster, leaner and smarter construction is becoming more and more apparent in the UK. With only 63% of site-based developments completed on time and an even lower 49% delivered on budget, it is clear that traditional construction methods are failing to meet the major challenges facing the built environment today. This presents the opportunity for offsite construction to play a major role in the coming years across a range of sectors. Offsite construction has not only advanced the housing industry but has also gained traction within mainstream sectors requiring rapid, reliable and high performing building solutions. However, the offsite construction industry is still facing significant challenges in order to be considered ‘conventional’ instead of ‘specialist’. Modular Matters will demonstrate how to tackle industry challenges


Volumetric modular solutions are becoming increasingly commercially viable – structural engineers and architects are now designing and engineering for high rise modular buildings. It is clear that economies of scale are being realised and modular construction is becoming a truly viable alternative to traditional construction techniques. There can be no doubt that there is a groundswell of activity in respect of offsite construction and there is a growing sense that the time is now right to embrace the latest technology on offer. Modular Matters will demonstrate the application of volumetric modular technology across a range of vertical markets including: education, leisure, student accommodation, private residential, affordable housing, private rental and specialist applications. The event will focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular offsite sector and aims to engage with industry pioneers from within the offsite supply-chain, leading designers, specifiers, engineers and ground-breaking clients. Modular Matters is organised in partnership with the Modular & Portable Building Association (MPBA).



3 Regardless of size and the type, the MPBA plays a key role in connecting and promoting all sectors of the modular industry. Clear codes of conduct have been established by the MPBA, which have been approved by leading regulatory organisations. This one-day conference will create a platform for delegates to learn directly from specialist counterparts on how to apply volumetric modular technology and break the myths on design restraints. The event, which will focus around technology knowledge transfer - providing a dynamic and interactive learning experience through presentations, panel debate and the wide array of exhibitors. This is an excellent opportunity for construction clients and their professional advisers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest advances in volumetric modular technology. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Portakabin - module installation 02. Atkins - Dean Trust Ardwick 03. Portakabin - Riverside Campus


Welcome & Introduction - Darren Richards Managing Director, Cogent Consulting


Designing and Engineering for High Rise Modular Buildings Rory Bergin - Partner, Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP & Michael Hough - Director, MJH Structural Engineers


Holiday Inn Express - Case Study Michael Swiszczowski - Associate Director, Chapman Taylor & Michael Crane - Design Director, CIMC


Marriott Hotel, Luton Airport - Case Study Ben Drake - Associate, Peter Dann Consulting Engineers & James Walsh - Partner, Studio Anyo


Designing for Offsite - Essential Living Greenwich Scheme - Case Study Patrick Hayes - Head of Structures & Offsite Construction, Meinhardt UK & Stuart Marshall - Sales and Development, Elements Europe


Q & A Session


Refreshment Break plus Exhibition Viewing & Networking


A Scale Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis Nigel Banks - Product & Marketing Director, ilke Homes


Time to Change the Approach John Bedford - Senior Consultant, CHIC & Ian Astley - Regional Director, Premier Modular


Hinkley Point C – Case Study Andy Smith - Head of Business Development, Caledonian Modular & David Speight - Head of Construction, EDF Energy


Component Primary Schools - Designing a Flexible Component Solution for Nine ESFA Modular Schools Mark Hargreaves - Associate Director, DLA Design & Zoe Powell - Business Development Director, Elliot Group


Q & A Session


Lunch plus Exhibition Viewing & Networking


How the Potential of Modular Construction is Posing Serious Competition for Traditionally Built Structures in Education Emily King - Education Specialist, Portakabin


Digitising the Offsite Industry David Clark - Head of Manufacture & Innovation, McAvoy Group


Methodologies for Testing Modular Construction in the Laboratory and Onsite Joanne Booth - Business Manager: Construction, Lucideon


The Need for Through-Life Performance and Design Configurability Derek Thomson - Programme Director: Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying, Loughborough University


Q & A Session


What does the future hold for Volumetric Modular construction? – technology trends, interoperability, capacity constraints, manufacturing Panel Discussion Facilitated by Andy King - Chair, MPBA Technical Committee & Managing Director, Wernick Modular Buildings


Event Summary - Darren Richards - Managing Director, Cogent Consulting


MPBA 80th Anniversary Drinks Reception & Networking


Event End





Estimates suggest we need to build approximately two new schools per day to meet the current pupil demographic demand. Such is the scale of this task, the wider use of offsite techniques could prove to be a perfect solution. Mark Hargreaves, Associate Director at DLA Design explains more.

1 Whilst offsite building methods are not anything new in the education sector current innovative approaches are seeing volumetric and offsite schools challenge more site-led traditional methods. Investment in R&D and innovation along with changing commissioning trends moving toward pre-manufactured approaches suggest procurement in schools is responding to the much debated recommendations of the 2016 Farmer report ‘Modernise or Die’. This is in recognition that the UK government will offer a presumption in favour of offsite construction by 2109 across suitable capital programmes. DLA Design have been involved in range of offsite building solutions across most sectors, but most significantly in 2017 they teamed up with modular specialists Elliott Group to successfully bid for the Education & Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) £90m Component Primary School Framework (Mod A). Prompted by


the Farmer report and the need for greater standardisation, the framework promotes a common approach to the design and delivery for batched volumetric offsite schools. The key objective to maximise offsite production and minimise onsite disruption. The new schools to be delivered on this framework (see list) cover a range of different forms of entry from 1FE through to 3FE. The schools are either extended or demolished and replaced with new modern modular learning facilities, allowing each to remain open to their communities whilst works are carried out. Given their experience in the schools sector DLA were appointed to design nine schools in sequence within a one-month design programme. Eight have since secured planning permission with the help of planning consultants DPP and work has already started onsite for the first schools in the batch to be completed by Spring 2019.


NEW SCHOOLS PLANNED UNDER THE ESFA COMPONENT PRIMARY SCHOOL FRAMEWORK (MOD A) • Hilderthorpe Primary School – Bridlington • Croftlands Junior School – Ulverston • Rivers Academy – Walsall • Cavendish Close Junior School – Derby • Seascale Primary School – Seascale • Jericho Primary School – Whitehaven • Arundel Court Primary – Portsmouth • Beacon View Primary – Portsmouth • Kenton Bar Primary – Newcastle

2687.18 ELITE SYSTEMS ADVERT_OFFSITE MAGAZINE.qxp_Layout 1 17/05/2018 10:42 Page 1

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4 To deliver the framework DLA created an innovative approach to component-based design. The concept allows school design to be presented as a series of BIM-enabled spaces or components positioned to suit a modular planning grid. The components overlay perfectly onto the modular grid. Typically this allows any component layout to be split into a modular sequence without compromise or the need to manufacture bespoke elements. The design recognises a school can be expressed as sequence of spaces made of repeated components. Being able to replicate the components in this manner – without compromise to area, compliance or adjacency – allowed the framework to deliver an efficient solution, but crucially maintain design flexibility throughout the process. We’ve devised a way to create bespoke ‘out-of-standard’ components suited to a variety of educational and learning needs, unique and responsive to the context of any site and brief. We see our solution as Lego® meets Meccano® – where volumetric meets a kit of parts approach.


The most interesting and innovative aspect for us was to define the space components as both a physical model tool kit (used to engage with the client) and a series of BIM-enabled clusters integrating architecture, structure, M&E and FF&E elements. Creating these manufacturing components both for the factory and the design meant cost of design and manufacture can be reduced, with time savings realised to streamline the design process early in the programme. This was critical factor in the delivery of the framework and is something we struggle to achieve in more traditional approaches to construction. All of the schools are compliant with the ESFA standards for daylight autonomy, thermal comfort, and acoustics and are either on or under ESFA area guidelines. Each solution can be treated in range of materials to suit offsite design for manufacture or to suit the context of a particular site and local planning authority need. DLA’s commentary on the benefits of volumetric construction echo the comments raised in the Farmer report: completion times can be halved resulting in earlier occupation for the school – a clear benefit to relieve the pressure on school places, build quality is more assured, construction work is also safer, quieter and less disruptive. In turn this has a positive impact on teaching during an unavoidable construction programme. The nine schemes being bundled together allowed us to better manage our design resource. When component volumetric design is replicated lessons can be learned during the process so the next school design improves to be better, cheaper and more cost effective.


In terms of quality, with the latest technical advances and innovation in offsite construction there is no compromise on design, performance, layout or appearance. Offsite inspires the creative process and encourages limitless configurations and permutations. Advanced offsite solutions are now suitably flexible enough to meet the architectural rigor required to meet the demand for good school design and to deliver a place usually the central focus of any community. In his 2016 report Farmer states: “If you buy a new car, you expect it to have been built in a factory to exacting standards, to be delivered on time, to an agreed price and to a predetermined quality.” DLA agree this needs to happen more in construction. In the school sector we have been challenged to do things differently – to modernise – failure to do so will mean letting down future generations of aspiring pupils who deserve more out of their new school. For more information visit:

Images: 01. A module during fabrication at the Elliotts factory at Carnaby 02. The assembled school formed out of the school planning components 03. Visual of a three storey school at Arundel Court Primary 04. The BIM enabled model containing planning components forms the building and site layout at Jericho Primary School



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1 Modular building expert Portakabin has developed an exciting new product as part of its full turnkey school solution – a modular hall suitable for events, sports and assemblies. Portakabin, the UK’s market leading modular construction specialist has developed an advanced product to enhance its ever evolving educational offer. Now schools, colleges and universities can benefit from a modular double height space – considerably reducing time onsite and any disruption to students. Traditionally built structures can take up to 14 weeks to deliver halls that provide 150-200m2 floor area whereas the modular solution from Portakabin is installed within six weeks. The space from Portakabin is designed to work in line with the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s (ESFA) requirement for primary school halls (180m² and ceilings of at least 4.5m in height) and it far exceeds this. The hall is also fully compliant on acoustics, lighting and floor finishes and can be designed to order, fitted with any additional fixtures such as fitness or AV equipment.


Emily King, Education Specialist for Portakabin says: “We are reworking traditionally held perceptions about what can be achieved using modular construction. In the past year, we’ve designed, engineered and built a double-height modular space which can be installed within six weeks. It’s our first ever complete school building constructed entirely offsite. This type of innovation brings valuable timesaving benefits, specifically to schools, colleges and universities, who often have an urgent demand for space within increasingly tight timeframes. “Culverstone Green is a great example of how we can provide twenty-first century learning environments. We are always looking at ways to provide innovative solutions and engineer better buildings. This modular space shows how we are continuing to challenge traditional perceptions of volumetric modular construction and drive our capability forward. Schools are at the very heart of every community. Improving learning spaces with smart construction provides better environments for children to learn. We want to ensure that standards continue to improve.”


Ruth Doughty, Head Teacher at Culverstone Green Primary School added: “Our new school building has been transformative: moving from our treasured yet small old building into a large, light airy space has been a wonderful experience. We have larger and more pleasant spaces to work in, we can move around the building with ease, there are more learning areas for small focus groups to use and the sports hall ensures that the children can enjoy PE with plenty of room to move around. We have already hosted two sporting events and parents and guests have had opportunities to visit and see for themselves this excellent new facility.” Nick Griffin, General Manager for Sales at Portakabin comments: “We are always looking at ways to transform our products, provide innovative solutions and engineer better buildings. This double height modular space shows how we are continuing to challenge traditional perceptions of volumetric modular construction and drive our capability forward.” The next school to benefit from the double-height modular space will be Priory Fields Primary School in Dover, the last school in the Phase 1 batch of the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP). Further developments are being made to potentially produce lecture theatres and multi-purpose space. The Steel Construction Institute (SCI) has recently completed the assessment of the structural design methodology for the modular hall system, which has now been awarded SCI Assessed status. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. The modular hall is fully compliant on acoustics, lighting and floor finishes.


3 2




1. Information Centre 2. Monthly Newsletters & Eshots

3. Suppliers Directory 4. Awards & Events

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Dr Derek Thomson of Loughborough University’s School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering introduces the concept of interoperable modules and how they can bring the next wave of modernisation – open platforms with servitisation. traditional assembly methods are still used in offsite prefabrication.

1 Modular construction is becoming mainstream due to reduced site time and enhanced quality. Competing manufacturers currently market systems that adopt alternative, incompatible technologies and tightly integrate modules to maximise functionality and usable space. These modular systems are proprietary and inaccessible, optimising initial construction but disadvantaging clients and building operators through-life. Manufacturers chase market share by differentiating on production technologies. The tight module integration and technology-specificity of proprietary systems means that, when embedded components fail, needs change or buildings are refurbished, components are hard to replace. Volumetric modules are often structural and cannot be removed. Components are not modular and are often enmeshed in their surrounding modules because


What would happen if integration was slackened? What if system efficiency was exchanged for through-life performance? What if modules and components were interoperable: able to be used anywhere, no matter their production technologies or those of the surrounding building system? Enabled by an open platform that defines module envelopes and interconnections, interoperable components could be deployed in any building where that platform is used. Manufacturers could deploy interoperable components within a service wrapper, sustaining relationships with building operators by assuring functional performance when maintaining or altering buildings – irrespective of module or component production technologies or even whether they are new or remanufactured. Interoperability negates proprietary lock-in, requiring manufacturers to compete on service. The enabling open platforms are governed for mutual benefit by strategic alliances between designers and manufacturers. Platforms are technology-agnostic, allowing modules and components to work together irrespective of their production technologies because functionality, size and interconnections are standardised. The platform gives building designers flexibility on system selection. It assures operators that components will fit, can be replaced and will perform. Manufacturers produce to the platform to decouple output from specific projects knowing that their compliant modules can be deployed anywhere the platform is present. Manufacturers select production technologies for competitive advantage.


Interoperability introduces additional modularisation overhead to the building system, trading some spatial inefficiency for through-life system efficiency. This overhead would be defined as the standardised interfaces (functional, structural, mechanical and so forth) that enable module integration during assembly and their ‘plug and play’ exchange and reconfiguration during maintenance and adaptation. For example, a framed structure would be required, negating one of the clear benefits of cross laminated timber (CLT) systems. But the through-life trade-off of the servitised business models that interoperability enables are deeply compelling and the general direction of business in multiple sectors. Open platforms and interoperable components, together with servitised provision of functionality, create new forms of value. By widely deploying the open platform and supporting building performance through-life via a service wrapper, manufacturers can decouple production from projects, replace unpredictable capital income with predictable revenue streams. This is deeply compelling. It creates a stable operating environment to increase capital intensity of production for competitive advantage and to overcome skills shortages. Derek Thomson will be presenting all these possibilities at the Modular Matters conference on 30 October. He is actively investigating this area. If these concepts interest you, please contact him at email: Images: 01. Module lifecycle


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“Excellent performance with huge potential for gaining a significant chunk of the residential market – a great push for offsite manufacturing” - was just one of the positives comments received following EOS Facades’ recent site study tour. about, was the level of detail we were prepared to share.” The seminar and CPD programme shared details of acoustics, thermal and fire performance together with insights into potential building regulation changes following the recommendations detailed in the Hackitt Review. Delegates also received a full suite of EOS Facades’ technical documents including installation and site pocket guides together with a compendium of technical case studies.

1 Representatives from Kier Construction, Sir Robert McAlpine, Shed KM Architects, United Living plus many more, gathered one morning in June at the Hotel Du Vin in Wimbledon in preparation for the site study tour. The invited guests jumped at the opportunity for an informative guided tour around two of the capital’s most prestigious developments, The Ram Quarter – a pioneering new development in the heart of Wandsworth and The Riverside Quarter – luxury apartments overlooking Chelsea and Fulham. To provide a deeper insight in to the design, manufacture, installation and project management processes – representatives from EOS Facades, now part of Etex Building Performance, supported by technical representatives from Etex and Siniat together with


members of the wider project delivery team from Ardmore Group and Dane Architectural Systems – delivered a technical CPD-accredited presentation. The group also had the opportunity to gain valuable intelligence from leading offsite experts Cogent Consulting. Steve Thompson, Managing Director for EOS Facades said of the event: “Organising a tour around a live site is not without challenges, however the feedback we have received following this event has been outstanding. It allowed us to not only have detailed conversations but actually demonstrate our work ‘in action’ and what can be achieved through an open culture and close collaboration, combined with offsite manufacturing expertise. We take pride in out ‘partnership approach’ and one aspect that our guests were genuinely surprise


Following the CPD session, delegates were transported to site where they were guided around the developments by the project delivery teams. On return to the hotel, before departing, attendees had the opportunity to speak one-to-one with the offsite experts involved in the project. Steve continued: “I would like to thank everyone who took the time to attend and to those who have been in touch following the site study tour. We look forward to potentially working with you in the future. It has been a worthwhile experience and one we would like to repeat next year.” The Ram Quarter A pioneering new development in the heart of Wandsworth, The Ram Quarter creates a new residential community, with shops, restaurants and riverside walks which will become a new cultural destination for South East London. Transforming the former Young’s Brewery site where beer has been brewed since 1581, The Ram Quarter sensitively integrates historic Grade II listed buildings into the scheme which provides accommodation for boutiques, restaurants, a craft-brewery, a brewery museum and 650 new exclusive loft style apartments. Once inaccessible, the River Wandle is being

YOUR FRAMEWORK FOR OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION As pioneers of light gauge steel construction, EOS Facades specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of steel sections for panelised or volumetric offsite solutions. Through careful design detailing and value engineering, EOS Facades is able to offer the highest quality award winning light gauge steel solutions - delivering environmentally sustainable projects on time and to budget. As an advanced high performance offsite solution, steel is a robust, rigid and dimensionally stable material that does not suffer from movement created by moisture related issues. Light gauge steel is perfectly positioned to meet construction industry demands – it is future proof and future ready. If you have a project in mind then why not challenge EOS Facades to help value engineer the most efďŹ cient solution for you?

T: 01325 303030 E: W:

EOS_Facades EOS Facades


2 landscaped to provide public access along a new riverside walk which will be traversed by three bridges as part of The Ram Quarter’s 5,574m2 of retail and leisure space. EOS Facades and Etex Building Performance counterparts were appointed to design, supply and manufacture a complete solution for this architecturally and culturally historic site. Working in partnership with Ardmore, one of the largest family owned construction groups in the UK. The EOS team have designed, manufactured and supplied a range of around 15,000m2 of steel framing systems (SFS) infill walling and 280m2 of load-bearing steel systems for the four new residential blocks. From SFS infill for the new high-rise concrete framed blocks, to a bespoke load-bearing system of free standing internal pods within the listed brewery house which has been converted to luxury apartments, EOS worked in close collaboration with all construction partners to develop systems to meet the exacting project requirements. EOS Facades’ group partners, Siniat and Promat were also asked to develop a full architectural specification for the internal partitions as well as offer their award-winning Weather Defence external sheathing board to the EOS sub-frame. The Riverside Quarter The Riverside Quarter located in Wandsworth, sits beside the Thames overlooking Fulham’s famous Hurlingham Club. A short walk from central Wandsworth and the substantial Southside Shopping


3 Centre, it is also close to Putney High Street and its wide variety of restaurants and waterside bars, along with the Putney Exchange retail mall. A much sought after residential area, Wandsworth is also just across the river from fashionable Chelsea, with its proximity to the world class shopping, eateries, museums and galleries of Knightsbridge and South Kensington. The Thames Clippers service, tubes, over-ground trains and numerous buses all connect to the rest of Central London. This development is part of a tenyear regeneration programme in Wandsworth and the sixth new build phase of the scheme which involves substantial high-rise residential blocks with concrete frames and mixed facades of render and glazing. Working in partnership with Dane Architectural Systems – specialists in the design, manufacture and

installation of facades – the prefabrication of the individual steel elements took place under controlled, highly regulated and safe factory conditions. Using leading edge systems, the EOS team delivered precision-engineered components. With so much work carried out offsite, the onsite construction programme was reduced, and the build programme was relatively unaffected by adverse weather conditions. Furthermore, all pre-panelised steel framing systems were pre-assembled and fabricated offsite and fully boarded with Siniat Weather Defence together with insulation which reduces the need for working at height.

Images: 01. The Ram Quarter 02. The Riverside Quarter 03. The study tour gave an informative guide around two of London’s most prestigious developments

EOS FACADES FACTORY TOURS Through collaborative working and by forming strategic alliances, EOS Facades provide specialist services to businesses, large and small, including some of the most prominent companies in construction. EOS Facades are running a CPD-accredited factory tour at their facility in County Durham on the 20 September 2018. Hosted by the EOS technical team together with the Siniat specification team, the event is completely free to attend and will provide delegates with and exclusive ‘first look’ at EOS Facade’s recently expanded facility.

For more information on EOS Facades’ products, services and factory tours go to:


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Land Remediation Relief Research & Development Cost Recovery Patent Box Corporate Tax Relief These are high-value reliefs paid in cash or direct corporate tax reduction. These should be of game changing significance to property developers, architects, builders and modular and 3D units.

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The burgeoning skills gap, subsiding labour force and shortfall in new homes – a crisis in UK construction that offsite development is being pitched to fix at this year’s UK Construction Week (UKCW) – taking place at Birmingham NEC from 9 – 11 October. under the UKCW umbrella: Build Show, Building Tech Live, Timber Expo, Civils Expo, Energy 2018, Plant & Machinery Live, HVAC 2018 and the Surface & Materials Show – forming an unmissable week of learning, networking and celebrating. Talks, workshops and free CPD sessions will bring visitors up-to-speed with the innovative ideas shaping the future of the offsite construction industry. Bookings for CPD sessions are now live so register quickly as spaces are limited.

1 discussions and enlightening insights into premanufacturing, volumetric and all other types of offsite construction.

2 Featuring the latest technologies, products and practices in modular and volumetric construction, the spotlight will be on the Offsite area and how the latest offsite construction advancements can significantly benefit the housing sector and address critical issues such as skills shortages. The returning Offsite Theatre, supported by the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA), will showcase an unmissable selection of industry experts and commentators delivering chat show debates, provocative


Offsite Innovations Ahead of the official release of the Offsite Theatre seminar programme, UKCW has announced a selection of Offsite exhibitors including CTX Containex, Extenda Line, Smart Panel, KC Cabins Solutions, Kerkstoel, Fermacell, REM, MPBA and Portakabin alongside more than 100 exclusive product launches. Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said: “If you work in the construction industry, it’s a must-attend event. It’s an opportunity to see new products, discuss deals with suppliers, meet with your peers and hear what’s going on from leading industry experts. For any forwardthinking business, the knowledge that will be taken away is invaluable.” Nine Shows, One Roof At the UK’s largest show for the built environment there will be opportunity to explore all nine shows taking place


Other highlights of the week include the Beer & Ale Festival, sponsored by Velux, with hot food and live entertainment, and a chance to celebrate the Role Model of the Year, following the official shortlisting of 37 inspiring men and women. The Build Show takes place between 9-11 October at the NEC in Birmingham. Free tickets for visitors are now available at www.buildshow. Tickets allow access to the other UKCW shows. There’s also still time to take part in the Build Show as an exhibitor. If you want to share your latest product launch or service with those who matter, register your interest via the Build Show Exhibitor page Keep up to date with the latest information about exhibitors, product launches and speakers at the Build Show via: and on Twitter at @BuildShow or using the hashtag #BuildShow2018.

Images: 01. The Offsite area will show how the latest offsite construction advancements can significantly benefit the housing sector and address critical issues such as skills shortages 02. Mark Farmer speaking on UKCW Stage in 2017










2 worked closely with the designers SRC and Building Design Group (BDG) architects on the project to ensure all aspects of the build meet the exacting specification standard.

1 FP McCann recently completed a major PRS scheme in Birmingham with the Lansdowne Building – a landmark residential scheme and part of Birmingham’s ambitious apartment development pipeline where 2,000 units are either complete or in advanced stages of construction. FP McCann’s structural precast concrete building and architectural facades division, worked in close partnership with Interserve on the construction of a brand new 16-storey, 206 unit residential apartment building. The Lansdowne is a £26 million development and a joint venture between property investment group Seven Capital and real estate manager Long Harbour. Work on the building started in May 2017 after FP McCann successfully tendered for the supply and installation contract, submitting the complete package of precast concrete structural and architectural materials required for the build. Nearly 2,600 individual precast units were installed by the FP McCann contracting team to form the precast structural frame, floors and lower to middle level decorative cladding envelope. The supporting


structure of the building comprises external and internal precast concrete walls from 180mm to 410mm thick, precast concrete columns 5550mm high x 800mm wide x 400mm deep and beams 6530mm long x 800mm wide x 400mm deep. These products support the steel framework for the installation of the precast hollowcore planks 200mm thick, supplied from FP McCann’s Weston Underwood production facility near Derby. The external walls are 410mm thick and of a ‘sandwich’ construction, with the outer 80mm thick facade consisting of a detailed buff brick design. The insulation layer sits between the inner and outer concrete faces. The facade panels have been manufactured at FP McCann’s specialist architectural precast facility in Byley, Cheshire and have been designed to accommodate the two-storey high windows, a unique feature of the building. All vertical precast wall sections have been designed for ease of build, linking together with hidden tie rods. Joints are finished with a high-strength non-shrink grout, fully conforming to Building Regulations. Both the structural and architectural facade teams at FP McCann have


Gordon Kew, Managing Director, Interserve Construction said: “The scheme has championed modern methods of construction from the outset and is a fantastic example of offsite manufacturing and onsite assembly which particularly suits this market sector.” Commenting on the building, Daniel Harmer, site manager for Interserve added: “This type of semi-modular precast construction demonstrates many efficiencies compared with traditional build methods. Additionally, the ‘sandwich’ panel external wall/ facade system removes the need for external scaffolding, thereby minimising the health and safety risk factors associated with people working at height.” Taking just nine days to complete each of the floors, FP McCann was on schedule and completed its involvement in the project in March 2018 in a total of 43 weeks. Due for completion in April 2019, the building will provide quality private rented accommodation in one, two and three-bed configurations in addition to parking for 105 cars. Specifically designed for the rental market, the building will offer a private lounge, gym, premium bike storage and a ‘cultural mixer’. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Nearly 2,600 individual precast units were installed by the FP McCann contracting team to form the precast structural frame, floors and lower to middle level decorative cladding envelope.



The first North West regional event in the Explore Offsite series will take place on 12 September 2018 at the University of Salford. The combined conference and exhibition will bring together a range of offsite technology supply chain specialists and industry leaders to discuss the uptake of offsite construction within the region. makes it a truly innovative project. It is not just about building affordable homes but providing training and opportunities for people who may have taken a wrong turn in life but are keen to change.

1 Explore Offsite North West will focus on the key themes of offsite technology, supply chain resources and opportunities within the sector. Through informative case studies and presentations from industry pioneers, the event aims to attract construction clients, architects, engineers, specifiers, building product manufacturers and suppliers. Offsite manufacture is a progressive step that helps to challenge outdated assumptions about the construction sector and encourage more young professionals into the industry. The sector will generate savings in the long term, but the overwhelming message has been that companies at every level of the supply chain should invest in offsite manufacture and construction processes sooner rather than later, or risk being left behind. A well-known figure in the North West – Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman of Urban Splash – a company that has developed over a billion pounds of regeneration projects across the country, will present: ‘Urban Splash Modular and why we bought the Factory’ – Tom will explain the rationale behind acquiring SIG’s modular factory and assets. “Urban Splash is committed to expanding its offsite construction


2 capacity and this purchase is a way to vertically integrate our business and give us control of the production of our houses,” said Tom. “It is a testament to our commitment to, and investment in, modular housing.” Osco Homes is all about making a positive social impact in the region, in her presentation Gwen Beeken, Managing Director – will discuss how their successful affordable housing projects are employing a different workforce. A wholly owned subsidiary of Procure Plus, Osco Homes’ objective is to deliver affordable houses constructed offsite at a factory based in HM Prison Hindley, Greater Manchester. Within three years Osco Homes hope to reach an output of 1,000 homes a year. The model is for the inmates to be trained and then supported into full time employment upon release. Of the 14 inmates who are taking part in the scheme and have been recently released, nine have gained full-time employment and only one has re-offended (7%) – the national average for re-offending within six months is a staggering 60%. This pioneering project uses fully offsite manufactured housing solutions. The aim of filling the skills gap in this way


EOS Offsite Solutions is part of Etex Building Performance which brings together the products and solutions of three dry construction materials companies – Siniat, Promat and EOS Facades. EOS Offsite Solutions design, manufacture and bring fully-tested solutions to market which drives specification in UK construction. Peter Burchill from EOS Offsite Solutions will be presenting ‘Lightening the Load for the Residential Sector’. As experts in load-bearing light steel frame (LSF) panelised and preassembled systems, EOS Offsite Solutions design and manufacture innovative load bearing pre-assembled solutions for pod and modular specialists, together with systems for multi-rise developments. With continued investment and expansion of production facilities, underpinned by 14 years’ experience in the offsite sector, EOS are geared up and ready to increase market share. All the mentioned speakers will be joined by eight more experts and academics in the field of offsite technology. For more information about the event, speakers and to book your place visit: Images: 01. Tom Bloxham MBE 02. Urban Splash’s acquisition of SIG’s modular factory and assets was a bold move

NORTH WEST CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION University of Salford, Manchester 12 September 2018 The first North West regional event in the Explore Offsite series will take the form of a combined conference and exhibition and will bring together a range of offsite technology supply chain specialists and industry leaders to discuss the uptake of offsite construction within the region.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The event is aimed at attracting construction clients; construction professionals: architects, surveyors, engineers; facilities managers; building product manufacturers and suppliers.

SPEAKERS INCLUDE Steve Sheen, Strategy Manager, Manchester City Council Darren Jones, Associate, shedkm Noel Sharpe, Executive Director of Customer and Place, Bolton at Home Mark Beirne, Head of Partnerships & Integration, Extraspace Solutions Gwen Beeken, Managing Director, Osco Homes Peter Burchill, Etex LBS Business Development Manager, Etex Building Performance - EOS Facades Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman, Urban Splash Luke Barnes, Managing Director, Ideal Modular Homes Mark Moppett, Managing Director, Booth King Partnership


‌& more!

Ticket prices - ÂŁ125 + VAT

To book your place go to

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then choose from some of the following offsite events in 2018: 12 September

Explore Offsite North West

University of Salford, Manchester

The first North West regional event in the Explore Offsite series will take the form of a combined conference and exhibition and will bring together a range of offsite technology supply chain specialists and industry leaders to discuss the uptake of offsite construction within the region. 20 September

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: EOS Facades

County Durham


The tour will include demonstrations from the estimating team of how the EOS ‘lump sum’ quote is generated, of EOS’ design software, the new Howick FRAMA machine plus quality control, labelling, floor coding and traceability processes. 26 September

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: FP McCann


FP McCann are opening their factory doors to construction professionals to allow them to discover more about precast concrete. FP McCann’s specialist precast division manufactures a wide range of high quality precast components to the construction industry. 10 October

Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham

The Structural Timber Awards are back for 2018, celebrating it’s fourth year rewarding the very best in structural timber construction. Over 600 construction professionals will gather at the prestigious ceremony to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. 30 October

Modular Matters

NEC, Birmingham

New for 2018, Modular Matters conference and exhibition will focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular sector and outline the continuing evolution of offsite construction. 4 & 5 December

Spotlight on Offsite

NEC, Birmingham

Spotlight on Offsite brings together distinguished speakers from a broad spectrum of pioneering organisations representing clients, construction professionals and suppliers. Speakers will draw on their commercial experience and technical knowledge on offsite construction, using real life case studies to showcase key issues, innovations and technologies at the forefront of this fast moving sector.

Network with over 600 business leaders and high profile decision makers

10.10.2018 National Conference Centre, Birmingham To book your tickets, visit:

MODULAR MATTERS conference and exhibition will create a platform to learn directly from leading sector designers, engineers, architects and manufacturers on how to apply innovative volumetric modular technology and also dispel the myths on design constraints.


30.10.2018 NEC Birmingham

The event provides a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all visitors and a fantastic business development opportunity for exhibitors and sponsors. WHO SHOULD ATTEND... Architects, contractors, engineers, project managers, quantity surveyors and clients.

In partnership with

Exhibition and sponsorship opportunities are available - contact Julie Richards on 01743 290001

For more information or to book a ticket, visit:


th September 2018 9:30am & 1:00 pm Free admissi on

FP McCann’s precast concrete crosswall construction is a fast and convenient way to produce multi-unit structures such as hotels, student, secure and residential accommodation in a fraction of the time of traditionally built structures. Our architectural and structural precast units are manufactured off-site at our state-of-the-art Grantham and Byley depots and delivered to site, ready for final preparation and decoration.



To book your free space at our Byley Offsite Factory Tour on 26th September 2018, visit