Offsite Magazine - Issue 14 (November/December 2018)

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AN EMERGING REALITY Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland’s Mike Chaldecott discusses the huge future significance of offsite delivery


COUNTING THE COSTS Global law firm Clyde & Co provide a legal and commercial perspective to why offsite makes the difference


EXPLORE MANUFACTURING Laing O’Rourke, Constructing Excellence and the finest in design for manufacture and assembly


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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AN EMERGING REALITY Welcome to the last edition of Offsite Magazine for 2018. Over the last 12 months the profile of offsite manufacture in all its various guises, materials and systems has soared – even for those outside the offsite bubble you will have been hard pushed to avoid talk of factory-controlled construction.


For everyone that attended the recent Modular Matters event in Birmingham in October, the proof that offsite is making a difference was apparent in the sold out attendance and the palpable feeling in the room that offsite manufacture – with an event focus on volumetric modular – is here to stay. Confidence levels throughout both the private and public sectors look to be rising and 2019 to 2021 could see offsite move further into the mainstream to become the central method of choice for many differing types of projects.

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.

Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland recently published a report seeking to make sense of where the construction industry is heading and flagged up offsite manufacture as one of its central technology and innovation ‘megatrends’ and ‘emerging reality’, emphasising the need for the construction industry to find alternative methods of building – both in terms of the materials it uses but also people and technology including immersive digital platforms. More on all this from

Mike Chaldecott, CEO of Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland, in the following pages. Redrafting the narrative of the construction sector, improving productivity and committing to closer collaboration was at the centre of one of our regular roundtable events hosted by the Hadley Group. Familiar themes also included the need to improve quality standards and clear some of the confusion as to what offsite can truly achieve cost-wise. On this, Robert Meakin from Clyde & Co’s Global Projects & Construction team, explains how meeting those objectives will need a paradigm shift in how projects are developed and implemented, requiring greater collaboration between clients, architects, contractors and supply chain. This will also include further investment in R&D and production processes. For many in the construction supply chain, offsite manufacturing and its implications still remain unchartered territory – or at least a work in progress – so a huge education programme is part of this ’new wave’ of offsite expansion. A final end of year special thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters throughout 2018 – the magazine wouldn’t happen without you. Have a fine festive break and see you in 2019.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:

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32 | Pursuing a New Image

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Transforming the former Young’s Brewery site where beer has been brewed since 1581, the Ram Quarter sensitively integrates historic Grade II buildings into a contemporary scheme which provides accommodation for boutiques, restaurants, a craft-brewery, a brewery museum and 650 new exclusive loft-style apartments.

Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland recently released its report: ‘Emerging Realities in the Construction Industry.’ Offsite manufacturing was referenced heavily. Mike Chaldecott, CEO of Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland and also Chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Innovation in Buildings workstream discusses the huge significance of offsite delivery.





The offsite manufacturing revolution is gaining traction but barriers remain, says Robert Meakin, Partner at global law firm Clyde & Co’s Global Projects & Construction team. The firm’s recent report into offsite manufacture provides a fascinating legal and commercial perspective on where the future rests for the sector.

From manufacturing plant to construction site, we investigate how Laing O’Rourke is spearheading change in the construction industry through design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) at their pioneering Explore Industrial Park manufacturing facility.



08 | Industry News

22 | Reshaping the Future

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: LoCaL Homes new factory opened by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP, offsite earmarked for HS2 developments and Worcester City Council approves the country’s first iKozie micro-home community.

38 | Architects – the key to modular success

As offsite construction’s popularity grows, David de Sousa, Director at AHR, provides a simple overview on the growing popularity of modular architecture and how it can deliver across a range of sectors.

40 | Delivering Construction of Real Value

The pressure to find new ways to deliver affordable housing across the UK is enormous. To focus on the role offsite manufacture can play to help ease this pressure, the Hadley Group – providers of steel products to the construction industry for more than 50 years – hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss future developments.

50 | Bridgwater Campus – a future UK housing model

Paul Lang, Chief Executive Officer of Caledonian, assesses how the company’s modular building system creates a blueprint for ‘new towns’ where people want to live with the Bridgwater project a possible signpost for the way forward for UK housing.

56 | Precast Concrete – design and delivery

As part of the Inside Offsite factory tour programme, precast concrete specialists FP McCann opened up its Byley manufacturing facility to showcase its innovative offsite technology and explain the ways precast concrete is contributing to a more efficient and attractive built environment.

66 | Salford Energy House 2.0

The size and role of many UK housing associations is changing and many face a range of challenges in delivering more and better housing. A recent report commissioned by Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion, calls for better collaboration and adopting increased levels of offsite delivery.

Modular appears to have a slight branding problem – a critical shame, as it could have a transformative effect on UK housing. Richard Hyams, Director at astudio, is part of a new wave of architects and building designers engaging with transformational offsite manufacture.

In our continuing series reporting on UK facilities developing and modernising construction practice, we highlight the new £16 million research centre in Salford, that has just been given the go-ahead by funders to create a 21st century product testing centre for the built environment.

72 | A Toast to Timber

Since its unveiling earlier in the year, the Macallan Distillery has quickly become an iconic, award-winning timber building, showcasing engineered wood via the most complex timber roof structure ever built in the UK.

Delivering efficiency and competitive advantage using offsite technology Contact us to discuss your offsite strategy NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 | WWW.OFFSITEMAGAZINE.CO.UK




Transforming the former Young’s Brewery site where beer has been brewed since 1581, the Ram Quarter sensitively integrates historic Grade II buildings into a contemporary scheme which provides accommodation for boutiques, restaurants, a craft-brewery, a brewery museum and 650 new exclusive loft-style apartments. Design & Construction Working in partnership with Ardmore, one of the largest family owned construction groups in the UK – EOS designed, manufactured and supplied a range of around 15,000sqm of steel framing system (SFS) infill walling and 280sqm load-bearing steel systems for the project. From SFS infill for five new medium to high-rise concrete framed blocks to a bespoke loadbearing system of internal pods within the listed brewery house, EOS worked in close collaboration with all construction partners to develop systems that meet the exacting project requirements.

1 These preserved areas have been seamlessly incorporated into the newbuild scheme creating a public pedestrian route with gardens around the core brewery buildings and integrating luxury residential units within the brewery house itself. This inspiring new development in the heart of Wandsworth creates a new residential community, with shops, restaurants and riverside walks. Once inaccessible, the River Wandle is being landscaped to provide public access along a new riverside walk which will be traversed by three bridges as part of the Ram Quarter’s 5,574sqm of retail and leisure space.


Under the banner of ‘vintage and modern’, the architects in close collaboration with the planners and conservation advisers have created a contemporary build which reflects and respects the Grade II listed buildings. Business Imperative The core objective was to offer an aesthetically pleasing solution to an architecturally and culturally sensitive site, whilst providing energy efficient dwellings. The respect of the historical buildings was paramount. Steel framing systems had to be developed which considered the integrity of the existing buildings to enhance rather than detract from the original architecture.

Challenges & Resolutions Due to the large scale and complex nature of the project, it was imperative that EOS’s steel framing systems were designed and supplied ready for easy onsite installation. EOS phased the supply of the SFS to the new builds floor by floor in line with the build programme. Using their unique complementary service for easy identification saving time onsite, the material was supplied colour coded by floor, bundled and individually labelled by floor and elevation; issued with key opening components pre-assembled offsite with all studs pre-cut to size. For the load-bearing pods to the retained listed buildings, EOS designed and supplied offsite pre-assembled wall and floor panels to form structurally independent platforms within the converted brewing rooms. These had minimal ties to the existing structure, thereby avoiding complications with listed consent and potential unforeseen issues associated with an aged building.




3 community from nothing and is expected to become a destination in its own right. Ardmore Group recently celebrated success at the Premier Guarantee Excellence Awards – picking up a trophy for Refurbishment/ Conversion Project of the Year for the impressive Building 11 at The Ram Quarter development.

4 Positive Outcomes With the scheme due for completion, the site has emerged from the ground on schedule, in part due to maximising the full potential of BIM. BIM Level 2 delivered a rapid manufacturing turn around facilitated by making best use of design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) protocols, combined with innovative offsite technologies. These offsite technologies include the pre-assembly of SFS window components ensuring correct and quick build of key areas, together with non-standard use of load-bearing pre-assembled panels which enabled the quick installation of the offsite solution. Achieving tight tolerances, the load-bearing system supported the internal framework in a sensitive listed building where minimal impact on the pre-existing structure was required. One of the offsite solutions that offered maximum programme benefits was the innovative Thruwall® System. EOS – as part of the Etex Building Performance group of companies – can call upon the expertise of three leading lightweight construction brands – Siniat, Promat and EOS.

5 The combination of expertise in drylining, external sheathing and steel framing systems, as well as passive fire protection, means that Etex Building Performance is uniquely positioned to bring these elements together to create a range of external Thruwall® systems. Etex Building Performance 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. EOS value-engineered every system and component to ensure minimal impact – leading to rapid and costefficient construction and minimised intrusion on a sensitive site. All these elements, plus the Siniat Weather Defence board, enabled a very rapid construction of the external facade with follow-on trades starting internally as soon as the envelope became weathertight. The Ram Quarter is injecting new life into old industrial units and has been very well received. The development will create a real

Through collaborative working and by forming strategic alliances, EOS provide specialist services to businesses, large and small, including some of the most prominent companies in construction. For more information on EOS Facades’ products and services go to:

CONSTRUCTION PARTNERS Architect New Build: EPR Architects Architect Listed Buildings: Avanti Architects Developer: Greenland Group Main Contractor: Ardmore Group Installer: Ardmore Group Steel Framing Systems Supplier: EOS Facades Materials / Type of System: SFS Infill, LBS for Internal Pods, ETEX BP Thruwall® Systems

Images: 01-05. Offsite manufacture has provided the Ram Quarter with a vibrant hub for working, living and shopping



UK INDUSTRY NEWS LoCaL Roll Out First New Factory Home

HS2 Will Use Offsite

A whole generation of engineers, designers, architects and geologists will benefit from the construction of the new high speed railway as the project gears up to support 30,000 jobs and create opportunities for British businesses to upskill their workforce.

The first house is set to roll off the production line of a state-of-the-art new factory, which has capacity to produce more than 1,000 new homes every year. The new 56,000sq ft plant launched by LoCaL Homes was officially opened in October by Housing Minister Kit Malthouse MP. Part of Accord Housing Association, this is LoCaL Homes’ second offsite factory in the West Midlands and is the result of £1m of investment from the organisation. It is expected to create 75 new local jobs and increase Accord’s delivery of new homes by 300%. “Innovation is crucial to delivering the homes community’s need, which is why £2.5 billion of our Home Building Fund provides support for modern methods of construction,” said Kit Malthouse. “This new factory is great news for the West Midlands and a clear example of the potential for modern methods of construction to support more, better, faster housebuilding.” Chief Executive of Accord Housing Association, Dr Chris Handy, added: “The knowledge and experience the team has been developing since the launch of our first factory over seven years ago means we have been constantly innovating and improving when it comes to providing the homes the country needs quickly, without compromising on quality. “Whilst we have big ambitions to produce more than 1,000 homes per year, we require a collaborative and strategic approach across the country to meet housing need. That’s why we have developed an approach which can be replicated and we’ll be working with housing and local authority partners to make this a reality. “As a housing association, we are run on social purpose principles and ultimately this is about creating the best homes and communities, boosting local economies and improving people’s lives. We will be recruiting up to 75 more people to work in the new


factory. I am genuinely excited about what this new factory signifies for the future.” Lucy Blasdale, Head of Land for Homes England in the Midlands, said: “Homes England is committed to driving innovation and encouraging more widespread use of modern methods of construction to help increase the speed of construction and build out. We are delighted to see the investment from Accord along with funding from Homes England and the Black Country LEP enabling the opening of this new timber frame manufacturing facility in Walsall, which will not only increase production to over 1,000 homes per year but also provide employment opportunities for local people.” One of the people who is working at the factory and has benefitted first hand from the training offered with Accord is Jenna Webster. “I absolutely love it,” she says. “I’ve been with LoCaL Homes since the very beginning and have seen it grow from a small, innovative company to what we are now. The fact we are opening this new 56,000sq ft factory proves how well we have done. Seeing the finished home leave the factory gives me a huge sense of pride and achievement. And knowing that people are actually living in the homes we’ve made is amazing. LoCaL Homes uses the latest modern methods of construction to manufacture high quality, super energy efficient houses in its factories which can be transported anywhere in the country and then built in as little as one day. To date LoCaL Homes has developed more than 1,000 homes across the country in places ranging from Preston to Cornwall. The closed panel timber homes cost no more than a traditionally built house, are quicker to build and are much more energy efficient. Pictured: Accord Chief executive Dr Chris Handy and Executive Commercial Director Alan Yates. Courtesy Express & Star

HS2 Ltd has set out its programme of skills, employment and education interventions that will ensure the UK not only has the skills to deliver the HS2 project, but to become a worldwide leader in high speed rail. Over 7,000 roles are already supported by the project. With construction starting next year, many more jobs around the country will help build a skills base to export around the world. Mark Thurston, Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd, said: “Our skills strategy shows how we will create a sustainable pipeline of jobs and skills for companies across the whole country, which boost regional economies and help Britain compete internationally. Our programme will tackle the skills challenges faced by the wider transport infrastructure sector, and ensure the UK has the best skills to deliver HS2 as well as major infrastructure projects in the future. Through HS2 contracts, there are already hundreds of businesses creating opportunities for their workforce. Explore Manufacturing, part of the Laing O’Rourke group, has won a contract with LM joint venture to supply major bridges as part of the early works on Phase One of the project. The modular components will be manufactured at Explore Industrial Park in Worksop, North Nottinghamshire, and then brought to site in the West Midlands for assembly. The company recruits a minimum of four apprentices each year and when the HS2 related work commences in the factory it will create 35 new jobs. Alan Clucas, Director of Explore Manufacturing, said: “We are proud to be working on the biggest rail infrastructure programmes in the country. For Explore Manufacturing it means a significant contribution in digital design and high quality offsite manufacturing, which shortens time needed onsite, and has big benefits in safety, efficiency and programme costs. Source:



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Hundred House Wins Coveted British Home Award

Fusion Joins British Safety Council

Offsite manufacturer of light gauge steel panelised superstructures Fusion Building Systems, has become a Member of the British Safety Council – a national organisation dedicated to making sure no one is injured at work.

ilke Homes is celebrating its success after winning the Readers’ Choice Terrace of the Future Award at the Sunday Times British Homes Awards 2018. The award was received in recognition for the innovative design of ilke Home’s the Hundred House. The annual awards are a celebration of the very best of design and architecture from across the UK property industry, and attracts entries from the biggest names in architecture, housebuilding and interior design. The judging panel for the 2018 shortlist included 15 of the industry’s most well-known figures, including stakeholders, housing associations and architects.

be added when more space is required, thanks to each property’s unique design.

ilke Homes’ Hundred House design was shortlisted, and the final four designs were voted for by The Sunday Times’ readers. The Reader’s Choice Award tasked entrants with shaping the towns of the future by developing an innovative future-proofed terraced house design. ilke Homes’ winning submission, created in collaboration with HTA Design and housing association, Sovereign, gets its name from its sustainability credentials as it takes less than one hundred onsite hours to build and costs less than £100 a year to heat.

Sovereign is a housing association based in the south and south west, managing around 57,000 properties and building over 1,600 new homes this year. As well as helping develop the Hundred Housing concept, Sovereign will be piloting modular housing technology at a West Berkshire site in early 2019.

Björn Conway, CEO of ilke Homes, commented: “It is a great honour to be shortlisted by leading industry figures, and then chosen as winners by The Sunday Times’ readership. The Hundred House represents what ilke Homes stands for - using modern technology to produce well-priced, efficient houses for the 21st Century. A great deal of work and passion goes into what we do and receiving this recognition motivates us even further to continue delivering high-quality, modular homes to those that need them most.” The Hundred House design takes the best traditional features of Georgian and Victorian terraced housing and enhances it, producing twice as much light as previous terraces and bringing it into the 21st Century. The terrace’s design features an innovative configuration, comprising of two gables with a double-height living room, study, balcony, master bedroom, kitchen/diner and a second bedroom. Additional modular units can


Simon Bayliss, Managing Partner, HTA Design LLP said: “HTA Design is thrilled that the Hundred House was chosen as winner of the Sunday Times Readers’ Choice Award. Designed to enable more flexible modes of multi-generational living than is possible in most of the UKs new build housing, the homes were developed for delivery using Ilke Homes’ innovative modular system that achieves higher quality, more efficiently and at reduced cost.”

Dale Meredith, Sovereign’s Executive Director of Development and Commercial, added: “Offsite building techniques can play an important role as housing associations expand their programmes, building more of the homes that we need, more quickly. We want to make sure that we provide quality, affordable and brilliantly designed homes that are fit for the future and The Sunday Times’ readers could see that The Hundred House absolutely achieves this. We’re really excited by the project’s potential as we work towards having residents picking up the keys to our first modular home from Ilke Homes next year.” The recognition of the Hundred House by both the public and the expert judging panel marks a shift in attitude towards the use of modern methods of construction, such as offsite construction techniques, and how they can be applied to successfully help solve the UK’s housing crisis. Source:

Fusion’s membership supports a business aspiration to achieve industry-leading health and safety standards and performance levels, setting a benchmark for the offsite construction sector as a whole. As a Member, Fusion will be able to access the latest health and safety information, stay up to date on all legislative changes and utilise the training resources made available for employees, with the aim of achieving a positive and proactive health and safety culture right across the business. “Robust health and safety procedures are important for any business,” said David Bayliss, Fusion Health & Safety Manager. “But in construction, the risks could be considered more severe. We operate across varying environments – offices, a manufacturing facility, transportation and on live construction sites, so need to be sure we’re working to best practice guidelines at all times for the safety of our own employees, as well as those they’re working with. “We aspire to be industry-leading in our health and safety standards and our Membership of the British Safety Council will help us on our way to achieving this. All employees will benefit from the online resources which are made available to them and our commitment to working safely will continue to form part of our supply chain partner agreements. “Our membership of the British Safety Council is further evidence of how we’re developing as a business and how we’re working to improve standards not only in offsite manufacturing, but across the wider construction industry.” Fusion’s health and safety record over the past seven years is already significantly better than average for the manufacturing facility and is industry-leading onsite. The Company also holds accreditations with CHAS (Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme), BOPAS (Build Offsite Property Insurance Scheme), ISO9001, ISO14001, and is a member of industry bodies including the SCI (Steel Construction Institute). Source:





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Glasgow-based construction and manufacturing company CCG (Scotland) Ltd has welcomed 35 new members to its offsite manufacturing business, CCG OSM, in response to growing demand for its energy efficient timber systems. CCG OSM – located in Cambuslang – is one of the UK’s leading manufacturing facilities in the production of enhanced panel timber frame systems for residential and non-residential properties and already supports 57 employees. The business’s 35 new recruits will support the establishment of a second shift pattern in the OSM factory that will enable CCG to increase production to 1,300 homes each year. “Housebuilding currently accounts for over 75% of CCG’s contracts,” said CCG Chairman and CEO, Alastair Wylie. “Thanks to a number of strategic partnerships with major local authorities – including East Ayrshire, West Dunbartonshire and Perth & Kinross – we have a guaranteed housebuilding programme for the next four years making it essential to increase our production capacity. This represents a win-win situation for CCG


as we are able to service the demand from our clients and retain quality standards whilst creating a number of skilled jobs and delivering a boost for the regional economy.” The company employs over 600 staff including 70 apprentices and 24 trainees across a group of five companies involved in construction, offsite manufacturing, M&E Services, the manufacture of timber window and door products and planned maintenance. CCG (Scotland) Ltd also recently completed Phases 4 & 5 of the multi-award winning Anderston Regeneration Masterplan, a landmark housing project in Glasgow. Delivered on behalf of Sanctuary Scotland and supported by funding from the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council, the new development revitalises a site that was home to traditional concrete block multi-storey flats built in the 1960’s. Sanctuary’s requirements for the new homes covered both quality standards and energy performance with a fundamental focus to reduce fuel poverty for residents. To achieve

these requirements, CCG embraced the use of its ‘iQ’ timber frame system which has been utilised on previous project phases. The iQ timber frame system is quicker to assemble and also offers improved environmental performance which will benefit future residents. Alastair Wylie, said: “Manufactured under factorycontrolled conditions, the ‘iQ’ system has a much improved level of air tightness when compared with traditional methods. This, aligned with use of energy efficient appliances and solar PV, will encourage energy savings and minimise fuel costs for residents. The project also had to be delivered at pace due to instances of rehoming some existing residents and as components such as windows, doors and insulation are pre-installed, a faster speed of construction could be achieved. The entire development was erected, wind and watertight (excluding closes) in just 36 weeks.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS First Homes for Gateshead Innovation Village The first two semi-detached houses have been positioned and constructed at Gateshead Innovation Village, a live research project led by Home Group, one of the UK’s biggest providers of homes for sale and affordable rent. The modular volumetric units, manufactured by Home Group partner ilke Homes, who deliver precision-engineered homes at scale, were created in its factory before making the journey on along the A1 to Gateshead, where they have been placed onsite ready for Home Group customers to move in to when construction completes in early 2019. Brian Ham, Executive Director of Development at Home Group said: “This is an incredibly exciting and pivotal time for this project. It not only marks the beginning of the build phase of Gateshead Innovation Village, it has also seen us create our first ever modular home that will house our customers.” Arrival of the modular units mark the beginning of construction of the 41 homes at Gateshead Innovation Village, which will see a range of house designs take shape on the one site. The scheme will allow Home Group and its partners to compare six different types of modern methods of construction to traditional builds and is supported by national housing agency Homes England and Gateshead Council.

Cllr Malcom Brain, Cabinet Member for Housing at Gateshead Council, said: “It’s great to see the first of these innovative homes arrive in Gateshead, as it marks the beginning of 41 much needed homes being constructed at a time when affordable housing and housing delivery is a big issue. Modular housing has huge potential to speed up the delivery of new homes and we look forward to showcasing the best designs here in Gateshead.” Rob Pearson, Homes England’s General Manager for the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber added: “Addressing the demand for new homes requires different approaches and modular housing has a key role to play. Gateshead Innovation Village is an


ambitious project and Homes England is proud to support its delivery of high-quality, energy efficient, manufacturing led homes delivered at pace through our Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme. We look forward to seeing this innovative research project progress.” Home Group and its partners are documenting the full project through a range of multimedia. To keep up with the developments, visit: uk/gatesheadinnovationvillage

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Integra Completes £3 Million Investment Programme Modular specialist Integra Buildings has moved into flagship self-built offices manufactured just yards away in its own factory units. The company has consolidated all its operations at Paull, east of Hull, as part of a £3 million investment programme, including building the showpiece offices. The two-storey, modular office building is a showcase for the quality of design, build and materials Integra offers to its growing client base and features facilities that are also available to the company’s customers and suppliers. The company celebrated the successful completion of its investment strategy with a VIP event and official opening of the offices, performed by Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, and attended by Integra’s partners, customers and suppliers. Managing Director Gary Parker said: “This year is the 21st of the business and it’s really fitting we’ve moved into our new offices, as part of our consolidation on this site, because it marks our coming of age. It’s a hugely important milestone for the business. As well as this new office building, we’ve created bespoke manufacturing facilities that have doubled our production capacity. Integra manufactures modular buildings for permanent installation across a wide range of sectors, including sport, leisure, education, healthcare and commercial

operations, as well as highly-durable, anti-vandal modular buildings used predominantly for office and welfare facilities on construction sites. The new 770sqm office building is unusual for a modular construction as it has high ceilings, a concrete first-floor base and no central supports, enabling the open plan layout. The interior has been designed to create a contemporary and aspirational working environment. The ground floor features a business lounge, training areas and meeting rooms, all of which are also available to Integra’s customers and suppliers. Integra’s staff are based on the open plan first floor in an environment that promotes communication, collaboration and swift decision-making.

Integra is currently delivering the biggest contract in its history – a £4.6 million project to deliver sports facilities over four sites in Liverpool under the £200m Parklife Football Hubs Programme developed by the Football Foundation and Sport England. Other flagship current schemes include a £2.1m project for rail franchise owner Govia to deliver welfare facilities for train drivers and crews across the country, and work with FTSE-listed construction company Interserve on a school project in Leeds. Source:

Offsite Expansion on the Horizon Manufacturing rapid build, light gauge steel structures for housing and hotel projects, Tipperary start-up Horizon Offsite is set to raise €500,000 for expansion in Europe. Horizon Managing Director and co-founder Ger Fahey says the demand for rapid build construction methods is increasing because of housing shortages, here and in the UK, and that business has been booming for the company which was set up just 18 months ago. “We have already completed 15 projects and are working on another 13. We are now at the design stage for a €1.5m hotel in Naas with 70 rooms and in November we will start work on a £1.5m social housing project in Kent involving 48 houses and 36 apartments,’’ he says.

originally apply for certification in Ireland, partly because the founders saw the UK as an easier market where offsite construction methods were more widely used than here.

To date, the majority of the projects have been in the UK and Ireland but the Cahir-based company, which employs a staff of 19, has just finished a project in Malta. Because of uncertainty about Brexit, Horizon now plans to diversify into new markets in Europe and, down the road, to sell into the US. The company didn’t

Horizon has now sold to over 25 construction companies, with customers in the UK including Blue 3, Unite Property and Charles Edwards. To date, around 80% of its work has been residential but the contract for the hotel in Naas is one of the company’s largest projects yet.


“Using light gauge steel structures manufactured offsite we can complete a project in half the time,” says Ger Fahey. We see an opportunity to develop further sales through UK contractors and we are also in discussions with companies in Portugal and Spain.” In its business plan, the company projects it will have 63 staff and multi-million euro sales at the end of the next five years and wants to set up a new office in London in early 2019. Source:



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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Optimism High at UK Construction Week

Amazon Looks to Enter Offsite Market

Amazon’s venture capital arm, Alexa Fund has announced funding for Plant Prefab a start-up that aims to provide modular and sustainable pre-fabricated homes at a fraction of the cost of normal newbuild with Alexa-type technology as standard. As the tech giant’s first move into prefab construction, Amazon has invested in home-building start-up Plant PreFab. Known for smart home technology and sustainable construction, Plant PreFab is based in Rialto, California and is set to become the latest addition in Amazon’s Alexa-integrated homes. CNBC reported that Amazon’s Alexa Fund invested in Plant PreFab for their prefabricated single and multi-family houses and their plan to use automation to build homes faster at lower costs. Confirming its position as the largest event for the UK construction industry, a record-breaking 34,000 industry professionals attended this year’s UK Construction Week (UKCW). Built environment professionals from all parts of the industry came for new ideas and innovation, eager to explore new ways of working in a sector that is hungry to embrace the latest technology and products. The ‘Future of Construction’, this year’s theme, pervaded throughout the nine different shows including Timber Expo, within UKCW, and was brought to life through an innovation trail, 3D printing, AI, AR, numerous construction site simulators, and robotic technologies such as the Robocop-esque ExoSkeleton. There were more than 650 exhibitors at UKCW this year, demonstrating and launching over 10,000 products and services. The diversity and innovation on show brought national media attention to UKCW, with live broadcasts each day including BBC Breakfast, Birmingham Live and BBC News channels. Delegates were also keen to learn from the repercussions of the Hackitt Review and the Grenfell Tower fire. This led to CPDs and seminars covering the big issues all being extremely busy, including sessions on the review of building regulations and fire safety, quality and the consequences of poor building practices, insulation and cladding and other


topics concerned with fire. Other packed-out sessions generated calls for more responsive planning and housing policies, more integration across offsite and digital construction and software systems, and more consistency and guidance from the Government, especially in procurement and standards. James Fairclough, European Director of Marketing, Cemex said: “UKCW is a fantastic place for us to meet both existing and potential new customers, where they can experience our products and materials first hand and have a level of interaction that is not possible through other platforms.” Looking towards next year’s show, Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director said: “There was a tremendous positivity around UKCW this year, with a real feeling that the industry wants to adapt and embrace a new way of building. The success of the Offsite section was testament to this, as was the interest in new technology, electric vehicle infrastructure, renewables, and the IoT Arena. Our exhibitor rebook rate has exceeded our expectations and is 40% higher than last year, so we are really excited about how we can take this all forward in 2019 at UKCW.”

Amazon is part of a larger investment in Plant PreFab with $6.7 million of Series A funding, which includes investments from Obvious Ventures and private investors. The move hopes to support Amazon’s larger initiatives as it launched over a dozen Alexa-powered smart home devices this past month. Plant PreFab is currently based out of a 62,000-square-foot facility in Rialto Plant Prefab believes factory-built homes can address new building systems and affordability through automation. Plant Prefab says its approach reduces construction time by 50% and cost by 10-25% in major cities.

Next year’s UKCW will take place 8-10 October 2019 at Birmingham’s NEC.

“We aspire to make the process of building a home far easier, faster, and less expensive in major cities,” says Steve Glenn, Plant Prefab’s CEO. “And part of this effort involves making sure our homes meet our clients lifestyle needs, and having greater and more effective smart home technology and integration is part of that. Amazon is certainly a leader in this domain and we hope and expect to learn much from them.” While Amazon already has a deal to pre-install Alexa with Lennar, the nation’s largest homebuilder, the new addition of Plant PreFab could dramatically shape the future of Amazon’s smart home integration.




UK INDUSTRY NEWS Altcar Lane Ready for Development Lovell Partnerships has secured reserved matters planning permission for its 200-home Altcar Lane development in Leyland, following its purchase of the site from Homes England in March. Work is set to start on the 22-acre Greenfield site later this year. Lovell will create 140 homes for open market sale and 60 affordable homes through Lovell’s partner Together Housing Group. The development sits to the south west of Leyland and will be progressed using offsite construction. Altcar Lane is one of a number of national risksharing projects under the Government’s Accelerated Construction initiative whereby the new homes will be completed within a timeframe of 36 months using offsite construction. The housing for sale will feature a mix of seven bungalows, four three-bedroom semi-detached homes, 29 three-bedroom detached homes, 73 four-bedroom detached homes and 27 five-bedroom detached homes. Stephen Kinsella, Executive Director for land at Homes England, said: “Homes England is pleased with the quick progress Lovell has made with planning. Once onsite, Lovell will utilise a closed panel pre-insulated timber frame system. This tried and tested method of

offsite manufacture will aid pace, ensure the control of quality and minimise site wastage. The system will be pre-insulated to further aid pace and remove the need for additional subcontractor on site, reducing labour time and cost.”

in bringing the planning process to a successful conclusion. South Ribble is one of the country’s most attractive development locations and our plans aim to create a scheme with a strong identity that complements the local surroundings.”

Bruce Lister, regional regeneration director for Lovell’s North West region said: “Securing reserved matters planning permission is a critical milestone in the delivery of this £45 million development and is testament to the constructive relationship between Lovell Partnerships, South Ribble Borough Council and Homes England

The overall scheme is set for completion in 2021 with the first homes expected to be available for sale in summer 2019. Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Creagh Reach Birmingham Milestone Creagh has reached new heights by building the tallest structure in its 43 year history. In the south east corner of Arena Central, Birmingham a two-block residential building that tops out at 22 storeys has emerged, creating 323 apartments. Creagh celebrated the topping out of the two buildings on 28th September – almost a year to the day from the first panel was delivered on site. This was an important milestone for Creagh as the success of this job was measured on the quality of its products and ability to deliver an aesthetically pleasing and well-constructed building on time, in partnership with Galliford Try for Dandara Living. CEO of Creagh Concrete Products Ltd, Seamus McKeague, laid the final concrete panel, saying: “All of the partners involved within the scheme have been working hard to reach this significant milestone in the project timetable - a proud moment for Creagh.” Comprising two blocks of 17 and 22 storeys linked by bridges at each level, the development will feature studio, one-bed and two-bed apartments with balconies across all elevations. The scheme uses the Rapidres fastrack build system. The bulk of the Arena

precast panels measure 8m in length, with the floorplan based on a similar 8m grid. They arrive onsite from a holding point just outside the city and are lifted directly into position. The inner wall panels are formed from 180mm thick solid concrete and arrive with a perfect surface that just requires a few coats of paint. The insulated structural facade panels are 300mm thick and require no further treatment onsite. The building’s design features one stair and lift core in the taller block, which provides access and emergency access for both

blocks. Like the rest of the building, this is formed of cast in-situ concrete to the first level and then precast concrete beyond. The building is due for completion in May 2019.

Johnny Goldsmith, CEO of Apartments for London, added: “We launched Apartments for London with the belief that we could approach things differently and create a fairer, more responsive housing market for young professionals and key workers who are fundamental to London’s continued presence on the global stage. By looking at housing with a more strategic mindset and seeking public sector partnerships, this is the first important step in our journey.”

The TfL partnership with AfL is one of many announced in recent months. TfL is leading the way on delivering homes on public sector land, with plans in place to build over 10,000 homes on its own portfolio across London. Since May 2016, half of all homes that TfL has brought forward are affordable. As well as providing homes, TfL sites are opening up new spaces, creating thousands of jobs and delivering improvements to the transport network, such as step-free access.

Pictured: L-R Simon Courtney, Area Director, Galliford Try, Seamus McKeague CEO Creagh Concrete & Sean O’Connor, Project Director, Dandara Living. Source:

AfL Adopt New Living Partnership Apartments for London (AfL) has announced its new partnership with Transport for London (TfL) to deliver high quality, affordable homes across a number of sites in the capital. The agreement will see Apartments for London create homes over car parks and other available sites on TfL land. AfL is a specialist residential developer seeking to utilise precision-manufactured modular construction and is able to build on challenging sites that may not otherwise have come forward for development, facilitating the creation of new homes quickly and efficiently, with most ready for occupation within 12 months following consent of full planning permission. Planning applications for the first three developments, with the potential for around 450 affordable homes, are expected to be submitted later this year. “This partnership helps us provide affordable homes that London desperately needs, while generating vital revenue to reinvest in the transport network,” says Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at TfL. “Apartments for London offers modern, precision-manufactured homes, and working with such innovative partners we can develop sites that would not otherwise have come forward and deliver homes at a considerably quicker pace than is offered through traditional construction.”




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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Highbury II Completes in Record Time

First Modular School on £95m ESFA Framework Starts Onsite

Spatial Initiative (Initiative) – the joint venture of property services group Styles & Wood and offsite construction specialists Extraspace Solutions – has begun craning in the first of 38 modular units at Highcliffe School. It’s the first school to be built under the £95m Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Component Primary Block framework.

Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems, have completed Chapter Highbury II, a 257-bed modular student homes scheme in London The 700sqm site was able to be brought forward for development due to the use of innovative modular construction methods and was built in record-breaking time of nine months, ensuring that it was delivered in time for the first students moving in for the 2018/2019 academic year. Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems had to work in close collaboration with TfL. The site was also situated close by to Arsenal Football Club’s Emirates Stadium, so it was vital that the development did not affect the fans wanting to make their way to watch their team play at home. The development is comprised of 308 modules that were manufactured using production-line techniques in Vision’s Bedford factory. After a rigorous quality control process, each module was then transported to the site in Holloway Road before being craned carefully into place. “Modular construction is increasingly being favoured for development on tight urban sites due to the many benefits it brings”, said Christy Hayes, CEO of Tide Construction. “Many of the smaller sites in cities like London are too restricted for traditional construction methods to be successfully applied. This has created a huge opportunity for systems like ours, which use offsite manufacturing facilities to help minimise the disruption to the local area.


“The success of the scheme and the speed of development highlights the potential of modular construction for restricted urban sites. Working closely with Transport for London, we were able to take advantage of this exciting opportunity and ensure that only a minimal impact was made to those wishing to use the Tube to travel across the capital.” Graeme Craig, Director of Commercial Development at Transport for London, added: “Working in collaboration with Tide Construction and Vision Modular Housing, using part of our land next to Holloway Road Tube station, we have been able to provide housing that the capital desperately needs, while raising vital revenue that can be reinvested in the transport network. This project shows how the industry can use fresh and innovative approaches to unlock complex, challenging sites, which might otherwise be impossible to deliver using conventional methods of construction, and ensure that any impact on those travelling across London is kept to a minimum.” Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems are active in the residential market with over 1,300 apartments currently under construction, and many other sites under advanced negotiations, illustrating this form of construction has become mainstream. Source:

The JV is delivering the £3.3 million project at the school in Birstall, Leicester, rebuilding the 1,228sqm junior block using a modular approach. The project comprises the delivery of the modular units in addition to the internal fit-out, furniture and external works. Completion is scheduled for October 2018. Highcliffe is the first project to be allocated under the four-year primary block framework, which will use modular construction to replace buildings at 16 primary schools across the country. The firm is currently finalising the planning and design phases of two other projects – Abbey Infant School in Smethwick and Pound Hill Junior School in Crawley. Sarah Morton, Framework Director at Initiative (pictured centre, above) said: “This project marks both the first step in a four-year investment programme to use modular construction to improve primary schools across the country, and the first scheme to be delivered by our joint venture company. Offsite construction is particularly beneficial in the education sector, where work has been traditionally constrained by term times, and has the potential to half the average delivery time. By offering expertise in complex project management and offsite modular build, we can provide an efficient model that ensures developments run smoothly with minimal disruption.” Initiative was set up to combine Styles & Wood’s expertise in project delivery and fast-track fit out with Extraspace Solution’s knowledge and experience of offsite modular construction. In addition to the ESFA’s Primary Block framework, the partnership was also appointed to eight lots on the ESFA Contractors Framework in November 2017 for delivery of the ESFA’s £4.4bn Priority School Building Programme and it secured a place on its Secondary Block Framework in July. Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS Worcester Gets UK’s First iKozie Micro-Home Community Worcester City Council has approved the country’s first iKozie micro-home community. City Councillors backed plans for 16 single-person iKozie homes to be built on a former brownfield site in the city centre, which iKozie Director Kieran O’Donnell believes could be a template and inspiration for similar housing solutions across the country. Construction will begin in early 2019 and the scheme will contain a mix of five affordable homes, which will be allocated to individuals put forward from Worcester City Council’s housing list, with the remainder privately rented homes. Of the 16 homes on the plot, two will be disabled friendly, while a proportion will be double stacked. The iKozie first captured the world’s attention when unveiled by The Homeless Foundation in October 2017. The beauty of the iKozie, which was designed by O’Donnell and Andrew Eastabrook of Eastabrook Architects, is its ability to deliver a stylish and desirable home for one in just 17.25. The iKozie features a bedroom, shower room, living area and full kitchen including all appliances. The ergonomic home was inspired by yacht interiors and first-class airline suites.

iKozie Limited submitted plans for the site at the start of the year in collaboration with Worcestershirebased Planning Prospects Ltd, who have played an instrumental role in getting the development through the process and approved, following consultation with the City Council and residents. “This is a historic day for the city of Worcester,” said Kieran O’Donnell. “The approval of the first iKozie community will draw a lot of attention from around the country and Worcester City Council is to be congratulated for its vision in supporting this innovative housing scheme. It hasn’t been an easy road to get here as we have revised the plans to ensure the council’s view and the thoughts and concerns of residents near the development have been taken into consideration. “We also acknowledge the work of Councillor Jabba Riaz for playing a key role in organising productive consultations with residents before he became Mayor of Worcester. Now that the plans have been approved, we will begin the process of preparing the site. We expect the major work groundwork to begin in spring 2019 and the first residents to be in by this time next year.” Councillor James Stanley, Chair of the City Council’s Communities Committee, welcomed the approval for the iKozie development and what it will bring to the city saying: “We are proud to support this application for

more iKozie homes in Worcester. This is a muchneeded and innovative housing solution, which will help more people in the city to live independently while also benefitting from being part of a wider community.” Source:

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The size and role of many UK housing associations is changing and many face a range of challenges in delivering more and better housing. A recent report commissioned by Network Homes, L&Q and Clarion, calls for better collaboration and adopting increased levels of offsite delivery. 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 report also calls on Homes England, in its ‘active investor’ guise, to invest in the right offsite construction vehicle to rally housing associations behind a unified solution and generate increased order volumes.

1 The first Future Shape of the Sector Commission report in 2006 encouraged a number of housing associations to undertake significant changes in the way they operated to meet coming social challenges. While the focus of the 2006 Commission was squarely on the largest associations, this second Commission broadened its remit across the whole sector. There was a recognition from the start that the nature of the issues at stake were as pertinent to the smallest as to the largest housing associations. The 2018 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.


The final report – Building Homes, Building Trust – highlighted that offsite construction should be considered an essential element in the drive to scale up production whilst keeping costs down, as the sector requires “major upscaling in output.” The commission says housing associations need a step change in financial innovation, risk management, strategic use of assets, new technology and greater collaboration and partnerships with others. The report also calls on housing associations and Homes England to make offsite construction a priority through the promotion of joint ventures. Housing associations have substantial financial clout turning over approx. £20 billion a year and if housing needs are to be met, they need to double their development outputs to 80,000-100,000 new homes a year in the 2020s. Chaired by former cabinet secretary Lord Turnbull, the commission took

“Offsite construction has huge untapped potential,” says Helen Evans, Chief Executive of Network Homes. “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.” Housing associations can deliver a value added, differentiated offer for the burgeoning private rented sector, delivering better security of tenure, better terms and conditions, and better management services than many existing landlords, particularly in the lower to middle end of the market. As the report clearly states: “A prime example of opportunity for better joint working is around offsite construction. This will be an essential ingredient in trying to scale up production in the


HOUSING 2020s without simply growing costs at the same rate. Better collaboration, co-operation and partnership will be essential to manage the greatest housing association challenges of the 2020s. Prime examples may be offsite construction, where individual initiatives have generally struggled, and joint bidding for land.” Numerous attempts have been made by individual housing associations to make offsite construction work and the private sector is now also investing in possible solutions. This is an area where Homes England, in its new active investor guise, could make a vital difference. Investment in the right offsite construction vehicle could rally housing associations behind a more unified solution and provoke the order volumes this developing industry needs to ‘finally fly’. Images: 01. Swan Housing Association are disrupting the social housing market with its own offsite factory. Courtesy Swan Housing Group

SIX KEY FINDINGS • The new political consensus presents a crucial moment of opportunity for the sector which housing associations must recognise and seize •

The flexibility and diversity of their business model, their commitment to social purpose, and the differing constraints on other providers make housing associations uniquely well placed to respond to the housing and social challenge of the 2020s

• Housing associations should remake the contract with customers, reviewing the landlord service offer from beginning to end • To support delivery of 300,000 homes a year, housing associations will need to at least double their development output to around 80-100,000 new homes annually and sustain that figure • Housing associations should focus on areas and products where they can make the biggest difference, whether to affordability, particular client groups, or the economic prospects of communities • A significant change to the governance model. Housing associations will need ‘laser-like’ clarity of strategic direction, with board members more knowledgeable, involved and integrated into the working of their organisations than ever before.

A copy of the report’ Building Homes, Building Trust’ is available from Network Homes at:

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Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland recently released its report: ‘Emerging Realities in the Construction Industry.’ Offsite manufacturing was referenced heavily. Mike Chaldecott, CEO of Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland and also Chair of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) Innovation in Buildings workstream discusses the huge significance of offsite delivery.

1 The construction industry is facing a time of unprecedented change. Thanks to external factors such as socio-demographic pressures and advances in technology there’s a host of challenges, and potential opportunities, unfolding for the sector. But which approach or tool is likely to become ‘the new normal’ – and how will it affect our industry? That’s what our report, ‘Emerging Realities in the Construction Industry’ set out to explore. The report is an overview of selected areas where new realities are emerging in the construction sector, using statistics and opinions from industry players across a wide range of disciplines to look at the issue from multiple perspectives. The importance of offsite manufacture has long been recognised in the construction industry and has become a key strategic component of the


2 CLC’s vision for a transformation of the sector – something that we envision will be driven by a focus on digital, manufacturing and whole-life performance. It’s also a key focus for the Government’s Construction Sector Deal which includes a £170 million research and development fund for transforming construction. Five Government departments are also now working closely developing a presumption in favour of offsite construction by 2019. Many of the contributors to our report agree and see offsite manufacturing as a chance for the industry to improve the quality and quantity of houses in the future. Sue Adams from Care and Repair England believes that offsite manufacturing, along with modular design, potentially offers a great opportunity to build in accessibility

from the start. She believes only regulation has been shown to drive up building standards for all new homes and not just at the higher end of the market. She’s adamant that the lesson for the construction industry is to get more sophisticated about exploring different marketplaces amongst a diverse older population. Better homes for the ageing – and ‘whole life’ homes – are something which, with the help of offsite manufacturing, can become a new standard in construction and design. In our report Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast author and author of ‘Modernise or Die’ and, asserts that the construction industry is: “more than aware that it will only achieve construction volumes by finding alternative methods of building,” referencing both the materials used by the industry, and the people and machines involved.


OFFSITE THE NEW MEGATREND He cites the benefits felt by large industry players who have taken offsite manufacturing on board: safer working conditions, improved building quality and shorter build times and the fact that modular building can address the need to build quickly with less manpower. However, he notes that the rest of the industry has been slower to grasp the opportunity and cites these benefits, and in particular better productivity, as the reasons offsite manufacturing is taking off, saying: “We are trying to drive horizontal innovation and are learning a lot from discussions with the manufacturing, aerospace and automotive sectors… this approach can benefit so much of what our society depends on – housing, schools, hospitals, roads and railways.” As leader of the Innovation in Buildings workstream of the CLC, it is essential to progress the use of ‘smart construction’, of which offsite manufacturing is a key part. For me, this is about modernising the sector by removing the barriers to innovation to increase the number of homes built and enhance productivity, whilst improving quality and whole life performance. The Construction Sector Deal is so important for the industry because it encourages precisely this kind of transformation making our sector fit for the 21st century. With its launch, the CLC and industry will have access to further resources to accelerate the adoption of smart construction through innovation and collaboration. The joint investment by the Government and Industry – over £420 million – is a huge opportunity to embrace more digital technology, to speed up the use of advanced manufacturing in construction and will result in more innovation, better careers and enhanced skills. All of which will be delivering better performing buildings, built faster at a lower cost and offsite manufacturing is key to the success of this transformation. As we know the skills gap is a very real crisis facing our industry. In our report Mathew Holloway, CEO of tech company Q-bot, discusses the potential effect of new digital technology on the skills gap. He says that the company was born to revolutionise the way workers

3 construct, maintain and upgrade buildings by developing robotic tools which can operate in hard-to reach or hazardous areas. He says: “The drive to provide more intelligent tools and smarter processes will change the industry and create new, more interesting jobs. Moving a joystick on a game pad is a new kind of construction craft that future generations of construction workers will use.”

also adding an offsite manufacturer to our broad portfolio spanning construction products, building distribution and innovative materials. We completed the acquisition of Scotframe Limited earlier this year accelerating our involvement in the offsite manufacturing and closed panel construction market. Further evolution is planned to complement our growing offsite proposition.

The creation of new roles within construction is something that could not only attract new blood to the industry and enhance diversity, but also potentially allow employees to keep working for longer if some of the jobs are of a less physical nature. Offsite manufacturing plays a huge part in what the future workforce of the industry could look like. According to research from the ‘Modernise or Die’ report the potential decline in available labour force within a decade is 20 – 25%, a figure which could be even higher depending on the outcome of Brexit. This reveals yet another grave problem in our sector – which offsite could form part of the answer to. What’s clear is that the adoption of an offsite approach has great potential to move the dial and bring our industry into the digital age.

I’d like to thank all of the contributors who took part in the formation of this report. Business thrives on foresight and I hope this report helps spark a debate about the future of our industry. Specifically, how we all might prioritise our thinking and activity across our industry to maximise the opportunities at our fingertips and capitalise on the vast potential of our sector.

At Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland we’ve recognised the rising importance of offsite manufacturing. We’ve developed our own offsite solutions for building structures through strategic partnerships, via the evolution of existing Saint-Gobain brands, whilst

Images: 01. The Emerging Realities in the Construction Industry report was published September 2018 02. Mike Chaldecott, CEO of Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland 03. 48% of built environment professionals believe artificial intelligence (AI) will lead to new skills and professional opportunities

The report and an introductory video can be found at: www.saint-gobain. More about the work of the Innovation in Buildings workstream of the CLC can be found at: www. workstream/innovation





A recent review of the awareness and adoption of offsite manufacturing undertaken by LHC found that while interest is at an all-time high and constantly growing it is still to be fully embraced by all. Woods says: “We’ve found over the past few years that clients want a turnkey solution (from offsite manufacturers),” adds Tony Woods. “They just want to go to one person and say, ‘right, build the house – do all the work’. And you’ve still got a disconnect I think, with some people who say they just want to manufacture whereas clients want somebody who can build houses.”

1 For the second year LHC partnered with Inside Housing on a survey of offsite thinking. The 2018 survey took responses from 230 individuals across UK housing associations, ALMOs, local authorities, consultancies and construction firms. The findings produced and encouraging growth curve for offsite manufacture from the review 12 months previously. In 2017, only 41% of respondents said they were planning to employ offsite construction methods in the coming year. This is now 43% planning to use offsite during the next 12 months. Asked about longer-term plans, respondents indicated an expectation of greater use of offsite construction technologies such as volumetric, panellised and hybrid solutions with more 56% saying their organisation is planning to increase the number of homes it builds using offsite methods in the near future. Tony Woods, Technical Manager at LHC said: “There is a general move in the direction of offsite construction. But the survey results imply to me that most people are still just dipping their toe in the market and looking at doing


pilot studies without really committing. I think people are very conservative and I think most of the public sector tends to follow rather than lead on this. So they’ll keep doing pilots until someone really blazes the trail.” It is notable that 45% of respondents say the primary reason their organisation is planning to increase offsite construction is to speed up delivery. But some fear the desperate need to start building homes is leading to a lack of focus on longer-term viability. “The most important thing as long-term landlords is that we have well-built assets,” said one respondent. “There is too much obsession with speed in this debate – driven by people wanting a ‘quick fix’. The emphasis should be on quality and long-term robustness.” Speed of construction is of critical importance to the increase of social housing, with survey results implying that this element of the argument is convincing, with 89% of those answering the survey rating offsite as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ on speed of construction when compared to more traditional methods.

“Too many offsite factories seem to be popping up all saying they need the volume,” says Allan Fisher, Director of Development and Assets at Nottingham Community Housing Association. “It would be better suited to a combined regional sector approach with a small number of suppliers who can deliver based on volume available and can gain the necessary warranties and accreditations required for multitenure programmes.” “The industry hasn’t yet reached the tipping point where offsite is lower cost than traditional for most residential developments,” says Paul Hackett, Chief Executive of Optivo. “However, it’s just a question of time. Now is the time for housing associations to ‘gear up’, with partnerships as the best way to learn.” LHC partnered with Inside Housing to produce the review. More details and findings can be found at: For more information on LHC visit: Images: 01. The Heathcott Road scheme, Leicester is a model offsite development for social housing. Courtesy rg + p


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The offsite manufacturing revolution is gaining traction but barriers remain, says Robert Meakin, Partner at global law firm Clyde & Co’s Global Projects & Construction team. The firm’s recent report into offsite manufacture provides a fascinating legal and commercial perspective.

1 The construction industry is at a critical juncture. For years it has struggled with deeply ingrained structural flaws, giving rise to low margins and low productivity. To this can now be added the looming uncertainties of Brexit, which promise to exacerbate the skill shortages and to accelerate the threat of a demographic time bomb for industry’s labour force. The silver lining is that hard times often provide the catalyst for real and lasting change. There is a growing perception that technological advances and new methods of construction are gaining traction, and have the potential to drive productivity gains and increase capacity, while still delivering on quality. But the tipping point has not yet come, particularly when it comes to using advanced offsite manufacturing (OSM) techniques to deliver cuttingedge buildings. Despite several


notable pioneers, the traditional onsite construction approach remains the norm while the industry grapples with how best to embrace the opportunities – and mitigate the risks – that OSM presents. That could be about to change. From next year the government is committed to adopting a ‘presumption in favour of offsite construction’ across several key departments, including transport, defence, health and education. In addition, the Construction Sector Deal launched this summer with a view: “to transform the sector’s productivity through innovative technologies and a more highly skilled workforce.” It identified offsite manufacture (OSM) as one of its key areas of focus, in the belief that it will: “minimise the wastage, inefficiencies and delays that affect onsite construction, and enable production to happen in parallel with site preparation – speeding up construction and reducing disruption.”

2 Meeting those objectives will necessitate a paradigm shift in how projects are developed and implemented, requiring greater collaboration between clients, architects, contractors and suppliers, and further investment in R&D and production processes. Other innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, 3D printing, and blockchain digital supply ledgers could also increasingly come into play a role in finally bringing the industry into the 21st century. For many in the industry, however, offsite manufacturing and its implications remain unchartered territory – or at least a work in progress – which is why we carried out a survey and in-depth interviews with a broad cross-section of industry players, to better understand the key technical, commercial, legal and regulatory implications that businesses need to consider.



3 The cost of investment and lack of relevant knowledge within organisations are the two primary barriers stopping the development of offsite manufacturing in the construction sector, according to our survey. 59% of 31 C-suite executives from the UK’s top 50 construction firms believe investment costs are the primary factor hindering the implementation of OSM, followed by a lack of relevant expertise within their organisation (48%). The construction industry is yet to reach critical mass as far as the use of OSM techniques is concerned. The vast majority (80%) of survey respondents’ organisations only use OSM for between 1-20% of the construction work they carry out. However, its use is expected to increase within the next five years. 61% say they expect to double the amount of construction work that they carry out using OSM. Using it for between 20-40% of the construction work they carry out. It’s a similar picture with plans for investment. Just over half (55%) of survey respondents invested only 0-2% of revenue on OSM in the last five years, while in five years’ time just 6% expect to invest at this low level. The majority plan to invest much more – 39% plan to invest between 3-5% and 42% between 6-20% of revenue in OSM.

Of course, one persistent problem that needs to be addressed is the lack of a secure pipeline of projects. Since the decline of PFI/PPP at the beginning of the decade, the industry has been dismayed by a severely limited flow of new schemes. As industry experts told us in our report, it would be a very difficult commercial decision to invest seriously in OSM technology without a clear plan of how and when it will deliver a return. According to the research, the top three reasons cited for investing in OSM are: • • •

To improve efficiency and reduce costs (97%) To overcome new challenges in construction (84%) To help overcome the skills shortage (61%)

The primary driver for investing in OSM is clearly about improving productivity and using new techniques to overcome fresh challenges. Down the line it should also help to reduce the skills shortage, using modern production line techniques where traditional manual labour might previously have been required. However, it is ironic that so many would invest in OSM to overcome the skills shortage, when one of the key barriers to implementation is a lack of relevant expertise. This will

not be missed by UK construction’s boardrooms. It is something of a chicken and egg situation. Those who find a solution are likely to gain a clear advantage over their competition. We may soon find the construction industry starting to look to the manufacturing sector for new recruits. To keep all this innovation on track, a robust legal framework will be essential, from contract terms for supply and installation to professional indemnity and product liability, and effective regulation of environmental, health and safety and employment issues. As the risk landscape changes, organisations need to ensure they understand the new threats they could face as a result of embracing new technologies and working practices. You can download and read the full report ‘Innovation in Construction Report 2018: Embracing the revolution: legal and industry perspectives as offsite manufacturing gains traction’ at: Images: 01. Robert Meakin, Partner at Clyde & Co 02. The report contains a raft of facts, figures and views on how the offsite sector is shaping up for the future 03. Volumetric modular construction is central to the success of offsite construction. Courtesy Portakabin





The UK Government has launched a new partnership with Barclays Bank to provide £1 billion of loan finance to help support small and medium-sized developers to help build thousands of new homes across England to help increase the pace and volume of housing provision. Housing Secretary James Brokenshire MP announced the new partnership with Barclays Bank in September to provide £1 billion of loan finance. Support, ranging between £5 million to £100 million, will be made available to those developers who are able to demonstrate the necessary experience and commitment to building excellent new homes, whilst boasting a track record of delivering challenging projects on time and to target. Funding is open to new clients as well as existing Barclays clients and will put greater emphasis on diversifying the housing market, as at present, almost two-thirds of homes are built by just ten companies. Overseen by the Government’s delivery agency Homes England, the funding will put greater emphasis on opening up the housing market, which sees almost two-thirds of new homes built by just ten companies at present. The Housing Delivery Fund will support the delivery of new homes, including social housing, retirement living and apartments for rent, whilst also encouraging greater innovation on how housing is delivered such as brownfield land and urban regeneration projects. “My priority as Housing Secretary is to get Britain building the homes our country needs,” said James Brokenshire. “This new fund – partnering Homes England with Barclays – is a further important step by giving smaller builders access to the finance they need to get housing developments off the ground. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only get more homes built but also promote 30

new and innovative approaches to construction and design that exist across the housing market.” A key priority of the Housing Delivery Fund is to support small and mediumsized businesses to develop homes for rent or sale including social housing, retirement living and the private rented sector, whilst also supporting innovation in the model of delivery such as brownfield land and urban regeneration projects. Launching the fund, John McFarlane, Barclays’ Chairman, said: “There is a vital need to build more good quality homes across the country. This £1bn fund is about helping to do exactly that by showing firms in the business of house building that the right finance is available for projects that help meet this urgent need. We are very pleased to be working with government to get the country building more homes, more quickly.” Chairman of Homes England, Sir Ed Lister, added: “Homes England has been established to play a more active role in the housing market and do things differently to increase the pace, scale and quality of delivering new homes. The Housing Delivery Fund demonstrates Barclays’ commitment to the residential sector and will provide a new funding stream for SME developers to help progress sites and deliver more affordable homes across England. Today’s agreement with Barclays forms part of the Government’s wider commitment to increase the pace of housing delivery in England. Ministers have been clear on their ambition to achieve 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s,

1 which follows 217,000 homes built last year, the biggest increase in housing supply in England for almost a decade.” Of the £1 billion fund, Barclays is providing £875 million and Homes England, the Government’s national housing agency, will contribute £125 million. The total funding for a development scheme is up to 80% Loan to Cost and 70% Loan to Value allowing developers to stretch their equity/capital further. A minimum of 10 homes must be built as part of the development and they must be in England. For more information, core eligibility criteria, important guidance on funding requirements or to make an application call 0800 015 1921 to speak to a member of the Barclays team. Or visit

BUILDING BETTER, BUILDING BEAUTIFUL A Commission to champion beautiful buildings was announced by James Brokenshire in November 2018. The Commission has three aims: to promote better design and style of homes, villages, towns and high streets, to explore how new settlements can be developed with greater community consent and to make the planning system work in support of better design not against it.

Images: 01. James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government


Supporting you with modern methods of construction We work with affordable housing providers to help deliver long lasting quality homes.  Inspection of the whole building to NHBC Standards  Backed by NHBC Buildmark warranty and insurance  Working collaboratively to achieve your objectives  Helping you manage your risk throughout the build process

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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Modular appears to have a slight branding problem – a critical shame, as it could have a transformative effect on UK housing. Richard Hyams, Director at astudio, is part of a new wave of architects and building designers engaging with transformational offsite manufacture.

1 Earlier this year, a survey found that 51% of people would not choose to live a modular home, and 41% believe that modular homes are less durable than conventionally built houses. But when shown images of different builds, 90% of people were unable to identify which were modular. The government currently spends around £2 million every day on providing temporary accommodation for the country’s 77,000 homeless households. And home ownership has fallen to just 27%, with house prices now, on average, seven times average incomes. Last month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) called on the government and construction industry to embrace modular in order to aid modern-day housing delivery. But recommendations and industry debate have yet to turn into broader


acceptance of modular homes, and currently the UK remains heavily reliant on labour-intensive methods of construction. Housing construction in the UK continues to stagnate, with only 217,000 homes being built per year compared with the 300,000 that are needed – a shortfall of almost onethird. Modular has the potential to reinvigorate supply in an affordable, efficient way. There are myriad ways to use modular, from big volume builds down to smaller projects, and modular micro-homes can cost as little as £75,000 to build (20% less than a standard build, according to statistics from modular housing developer Comfortable Living). These reduced costs can be passed on to buyers, making houses cheaper by around £25,318 – crucial at a time when 100,000 affordable homes need to be built a year.

They can also be constructed in as little as three days, and require a workforce with months, rather than years, of training to carry out that construction. Given the construction industry is being threatened with a mass exodus of workers following Brexit, utilising modular construction methods might not just be an appealing way of building homes, but a necessity. If well-designed and considered from the outset, such homes can also be disassembled with relative ease, meaning they can be moved to different locations as demographics shift and housing requirements change. This ease and flexibility of construction could prove extremely useful in major cities such as London, which is expected to see a population explosion in the next 25 years and is predicted to need an additional 844,000 new homes by 2041.


HOUSING SAVE THE DATE QEII Centre, London 12 February 2019 The shortfall in housing stock is an emotive subject which calls for a bold and radical approach to fundamentally change the way that projects are delivered. Explore Offsite Housing will attract over 200 delegates who will gather to hear in-depth analysis and find out how innovative building technologies can provide solutions to meet the housing targets. There is now a real impetus and need for change in the housebuilding industry. For those in the sector with fresh ideas and innovative technologies, the nationwide housing crisis has the potential to change the norm which governs the ways new homes are built. The combined conference and exhibition will include exhibitors and speakers from pioneering companies in the offsite construction industry talking about the latest innovations.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The event aims to attract: construction clients: housebuilders, developers, build to rent providers, construction professionals: architects, architectural technologists, designers, surveyors, engineers; facilities managers; building product manufacturers and suppliers.

For more information visit



3 The potential of modular housing has already been picked up by some councils across England such as Wolverhampton and Birmingham, London’s City Hall has said it is willing to give more funding to modular development, Homes England provided additional funding for the sector and Sadiq Khan recently promised a 16-borough collaboration

£16 million to provide modular houses for the homeless. Abroad, high-end companies like Huf-Haus in Germany have revolutionised the modular housing market by providing homes that are attractive, affordable and sustainable. In Sweden, 84% of Swedish detached homes use prefabricated elements – compared with only 5% in the UK. But wider attitudes in the UK continue to hold modular back from realising its potential. There remain concerns that its novelty and variety can make warranties, insurance, development finance and mortgages harder to secure – but this is not the case. Offsite construction has the potential to be a valuable, sustainable way of delivering the homes we need. Thoughtfully designed manufacturing techniques

4 can help everyone from first-time buyers to construction companies while improving the quality of the homes we own. With Brexit looming large and the need for affordable houses only becoming increasingly urgent, it is critical that we embrace modular’s ability to lift the UK out of its housing crisis – and fast. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Externally volumetric modular homes are impossible to distinguish from those built ‘traditionally’ 04. Units can be easily configured and stacked

AMODULAR astudio modular design offers an innovative modular housing, servicing housing need and delivering on design quality, programme and cost efficiency, sustainability and flexibility. astudio’s design of the modular building system can reduce programme length by 50% (saving over 75% in building time). The modular building system offers many advantages such as: the ability to deliver top quality materials at reduced cost, constant quality control, excellent finishing and embedded sustainability. astudio modular housing product is designed to touch the ground lightly, providing the potential for off-grid urban living. The system uses existing methods of manufacture and construction, this allows to test and guarantee environmental performance in a factory setting, as well as reducing material waste and energy in the fabrication process. astudio modular system allows for flexibility in module arrangements and in façade treatment to allow for customised solutions that are adaptable to specific site requirements and sympathetic to the context of the local area. As temporary or permanent units housing can respond to the changing needs of the client or the site. Richard Hyams will be speaking at Explore Offsite Housing on 12 February 2019 at QEII Centre, London , for more information visit










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The case for offsite is unequivocal but is offsite technology purely a disruptor that challenges outmoded ideas or a progressive step that will transform the way buildings are designed and assembled? Attend Spotlight on Offsite to find out. latest developments, innovations and investments in the offsite sector across a range of vertical markets including: residential, education, healthcare and infrastructure.

Every major review of the construction industry has in some way recommended a move towards offsite construction – from the kind of partnering essential for innovation in offsite suggested by Sir Michael Latham way back in 1994, the capital investment into research and development recommended by Sir John Egan in 1998 and more recently, the stark warnings within Mark Farmer’s acclaimed industry report ‘Modernise or Die’. Like it or not, the construction industry is facing a crisis that will force change and radically transform the ‘status quo’. With a growing younger population that needs school places and the desperate need for more homes, add to the mix an ageing workforce and a loss of traditional skills that will only be exacerbated by Brexit – then it is clear that outdated construction methods cannot keep pace. The latest information is crucial to success – Spotlight on Offsite provides a dynamic and interactive experience for those looking to learn direct from experienced offsite industry experts.


Taking place on 4 December at the NCC, Birmingham, the speaker line-up reads like the ‘who’s who’ of offsite construction. There has to be a shift in construction culture and mindset and the industry needs to demonstrate how building professionals can embrace change by welcoming new ideas and technologies, together with the creativity and radical thinking that is evident in the offsite sector. Featuring case studies on Designing for Offsite – the Essential Living Greenwich Scheme, two RIBA award winning CLT projects, Grange and Charles Dickens Primary Schools in London: the multi award winning £140 million Macallan Distillery, Project Capella, an £80 million 18,000sqm biomedical research laboratory for the University of Cambridge together with two major airport schemes at Dublin and Heathrow – this event is designed to help make the step change required by demonstrating what is made possible by embracing new building technologies. The combined Spotlight on Offsite conference and exhibition will showcase ground-breaking offsite construction solutions and focus on the

The use of offsite manufactured structural systems is directly influenced by the client’s requirements for speed of construction and enhanced quality together with the added benefits of economies of scale, as well as a single point procurement and programme predictability. Offsite manufactured solutions can radically reduce risk for developers and contractors on a number of levels including: financial risk and personal implications of delays, project overruns and accidents onsite together with mitigating the impact of an increasingly volatile labour market. As architects and designers who have an intrinsic understanding of the benefits of offsite technology, are now moving away from design for construction approaches to design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) principles, this plus digital technology will also be at the heart of Spotlight on Offsite. Change has to come and Spotlight on Offsite will help delegates keep pace and not be left behind as the offsite revolution gathers momentum. For more information visit: Delegates places start from as little as £125+ vat which includes attendance at the conference, entry to the exhibition together with parking, refreshments and lunch. To claim your exclusive reader discount enter OMAG20 when booking online.


04 December 2018 NCC - Birmingham Offsite Technology the disruptor in the UK construction industry Offsite manufacturing is a progressive step that challenges outdated assumptions. This technology will generate savings in the long term, but the overwhelming message has to be – get involved sooner rather than later, or risk being left behind. Spotlight on Offsite brings together distinguished speakers from a broad spectrum of pioneering organisations that have embraced offsite technology. The combined conference and exhibition will showcase ground-breaking offsite construction solutions and focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the offsite sector across a range of vertical markets.

Tickets cost £125 + vat and includes access to the conference and exhibition, refreshments, lunch and parking. To book your place using our 20% reader discount visit and use the promo code OMAG20 Get involved as an exhibitor for this event from as little as £850 + vat. Contact: 01743 290042



As offsite construction’s popularity grows, David de Sousa, Director at AHR, provides a simple overview on the growing popularity of modular architecture and how it can deliver across a range of sectors. meet Passivhaus standards. With all that taken into consideration, it is little wonder modular construction has attracted so much attention. Modular building requires a radically changed design and build compared to traditional methods of construction. The most notable difference between the two being the liaison between manufacturers and architects and the uniquely complex supply chain that this creates.

1 It’s undeniable that modular and offsite construction is one of the construction industry’s most talked about topics. As the housing crisis deepens and public services look to find more efficient ways to modernise their estates, the government and developers are tasked with finding a solution. It is this demand that has presented the opportunity to utilise offsite construction such as volumetric modular and as they have the potential to provide flexible solutions at high volume and quick turnaround when implemented correctly. However, public perception is key to maintaining support for the continued development of these projects. This places architects in a unique position at the forefront of designing high quality and cost-effective modular projects - while also dispelling the myths that surround the concept, by integrating new technology and positioning it as a viable and innovative solution - whether that’s in residential developments or the health and education sectors.


There are a range of legacy issues that modular faces as take up increases, most damaging of which is likely the impact that post-war prefabricated housing had on public perception. The priority for architects going forward must be to ensure that design never takes a back seat, and to take advantage of the potential design benefits modular presents. It’s crucial that people see that modular building does not have to result in bland and stale design work. Another issue that hit the headlines in recent months, is the Environmental Audit Committee’s concerns that modular construction can create dwellings prone to overheating. This is a legitimate concern when not tackled effectively, however by introducing heat recovery systems and effective ventilation, the design and construction sector can ensure that this is overcome. In fact, modular has the potential to improve energy efficiency through the creation of air-tight dwellings – improving the likelihood that projects

For architects, building a strong relationship with manufacturers and maintaining a constant line of communication throughout the design, fabrication and transport process is key. Aligning both the architect and manufacturer’s approach through the intelligent application of technology, facilitates a manufacturing process that maximises efficiencies, allowing both sides of the process to push the boundaries of design, which in turn creates more desirable and affordable homes. Efficiently planned and manufactured developments are the key route to successfully solving the affordable housing shortage, as well as providing cost-effective public redevelopment options. The architect’s role in this process goes beyond simply designing the building itself. It extends to the effective use of building information modelling (BIM), and aligning this with the fabrication processes. The RIBA Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) guidelines seek to align this methodology with the RIBA Plan of Works Stages to illustrate how this process can help to streamline and increase the productivity of building homes throughout the manufacturing process. By adopting a streamlined offsite manufacturing process, better quality projects can be manufactured



3 with the option for manufacturers to develop onsite factories to limit the size of the supply chain required to bring pre-assembled units from production to the intended site. This in turn has a sizeable impact on the carbon footprint of the build and the manpower required to bring a project to fruition. Benefits extend to the safety of those onsite, removing the need for contractors to construct superstructures on location, instead allowing for work to be carried out in safer factory environments.

2 more rapidly at reduced cost, which also helps to tackle issues around the current skills crisis in the construction industry. Building via modular effectively can provide benefits that have the potential to totally transform the way in which we look at residential developments, allowing the industry to work smarter to achieve lofty housing targets. This is in addition to the potential that modular presents for the education and healthcare sectors, the repeatability, energy efficiency and quick delivery that modular units provide, offers the ideal solution in replenishing ageing NHS estates and schools.

The implementation of plug-in units also adds a level of portability previously unheard of in the property sector – a benefit for the residential sector in particular. Developments can be constructed in an area of high demand and remain there until the land is required for another use, at which point they can be moved to another area to fulfil the same purpose. This is of benefit to local authorities and planners looking to create high density affordable housing with a quick turnaround, which can then be repurposed for another authority in the local area. Mobility also benefits the construction process once designs are finalised,

The modular build process requires a new skillset for the property sector. It presents a challenge, firstly in the retention or retraining of traditional construction workers and secondly in developing a new wave of young talent that can ensure that best practice is consistently observed. This aligns with the government’s new strategy to back investment in the creation of new Construction Academies designed to tackle the industry’s skills crisis, as part of the National Retraining Scheme. Architects must position themselves in the correct markets to influence the development of future talent and ensure that there is an awareness of the opportunities modular presents, from both the design and manufacturing side. Communicating this to young people will be essential in helping to avoid a skills shortage and ensuring that the next generation engages with careers in the property sector. For more information visit: Images: 01. David de Sousa 02-03. Modular homes at St Marys Island, Chatham Maritime





The pressure to find new ways to deliver affordable housing across the UK is enormous. To focus on the role offsite manufacture can play to help ease this pressure, the Hadley Group – providers of steel products to the construction industry for more than 50 years – hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss future developments and transformational change.

A decades-long decrease of housebuilding, demographic change, inflated house prices and recent economic gloom, alongside a healthy dose of Brexit, have all combined to create a ‘housing crisis’ – a phrase now deeply ingrained in the collective public consciousness. This combination of factors has pushed the notion of home ownership out of the reach of many parts of society and depending on which part of the UK you want to live and work, ‘affordable housing’ is open to much debate. So the necessity to provide more homes of all tenures and types across the UK is widely recognised as is the magnitude of raising building quality and streamlining delivery standards. The role housing associations and local authorities play is of huge significance and the quality of what they provide is under more scrutiny than ever before. Offsite construction is being


championed as a way to fundamentally improve the process of housing delivery with some housing associations at the vanguard of change – Swan Housing Group and Accord Housing Association in particular – but many registered providers and local authorities are slow and cautious on a wider uptake of offsite methods. With lengthy housing waiting lists across the UK, homes have to be delivered faster and prove a ‘cost neutrality’ compared to traditional masonry construction. It is only when this can guaranteed that offsite will become adopted more widely. With investment decisions for housing associations and registered providers a long term prospect, with space standards, build quality, reduced defect rates and lower maintenance costs, the ‘sustainability of tenancy’ is paramount. “I have seen offsite products as good if not better than

traditional build,” says Richard Whittaker, Director of Development, WM Housing. “But that bottom line is so important.”

“There needs to be trust and understanding of how we best develop offsite and use its benefits outside traditional build models There is no single solution – a hybrid solution can help make a site as commercially viable as possible. Ben Towe, Group Managing Director, Hadley Group Collaborate Not Compete Modern offsite technology can deliver higher levels of quality and potentially any ‘cost barriers’ could be overcome with the pooling of demand by registered providers and larger numbers of housing units. “It



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HADLEY GROUP ROUNDTABLE process start?” says Mike De’Ath, Partner, HTA Design. “An innovator, an entrepreneur, someone with a vision and an idea about a great way of building. But it requires a supporting structure for it to flourish and grow with surety of pipeline – it’s not just about subsidies from Government. It is also important not to conflate volumetric modular with the only way of doing offsite.” Precast concrete, light gauge steel frame, timber-based systems have been hugely successful elements of the offsite palette.

2 is good to see that developers are getting more and more into offsite – timber frame has always been used – but more are looking at volumetric modular as viable,” says Brendan Hele, Construction & Technical Manager, Midland Heart. “Once the number goes up we will see a decrease in costs. Bigger development sites help the situation and make it more economical.” Collaboration of expertise and knowledge underpins any successful construction project. Specifiers are ‘open minded’ about the various technologies but ‘low volume schemes don’t deliver the best value’. Pooling and collaborating between housing providers to offset some of the initial prime costs could be an answer but the risk of change and doing something different – potentially breaking a deeply developed and well-understood supply chain – is tough. Many organisations operate within a safety zone where traditional costs are very clearly quantified and understood. Simply put: costs escalate when you are asking people to do things that they have never done before. Homes England recently unveiled a new five-year Strategic Plan that sets out how it will improve housing affordability across England. The plan – which runs up to 2022-23 – is an ambitious new mission in partnership with all parts of the housing industry sector, to respond to long-term housing challenges. This will involve


unlocking public and private land to get more homes built where they are needed, improving construction productivity and creating a more ‘resilient and competitive market by supporting smaller builders and new entrants.’ “Since our relaunch as Homes England, our objectives have changed and we have recognised that a ‘conventional’ approach isn’t really working,” says Philip Collings, National Senior Land Manager, Homes England. “We are looking at different things that we can do to better advocate offsite. We have eight national pilot sites of different sizes that are ‘development ready’ ranging from 30 to 600 units and we are trying to understand what kind of offsite approach is best. There is a genuine ambition to do more and be more interventionist, to disrupt and deliver more homes. We have become more ambitious about engaging with modular providers. It’s only when we understand your issues that we can really start to respond.” This encouraging front-leading role will also be key to gathering and sharing essential data within the industry and demonstrating a ‘proof of concept’ in overcoming lingering negative connotations the offsite sector has. Innovative thinking and a risk-raking spirit are defining elements of the offsite approach. The oft-repeated need to change mind-sets and reprogram construction thinking is vitally important. “Where does that

High volume repetition of volumetric units within project scope is key in higher density developments but a solid pipeline of long term work will increase efficiency benefits. “Our experience being London-based with high density apartments is that costs are neutral,” says David Foster, Project Director – Joint Ventures, Network Homes. “Our experience is also that the quality of what is being produced traditionally is so bad considering the money that’s spent on it – that why not try something different?”

“The offsite industry needs to portray itself as more sophisticated than traditional construction and talk more about advanced manufacturing, robotics and lean manufacture – a change in terminology can make a huge difference.” Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Confusion and Catalysts What does the offsite industry need to do better to gain greater engagement with affordable housing clients around offsite techniques? What prevents them from using or considering using offsite technology more? The basic message is that a more proactive approach from the offsite sector itself to engage with clients and offer a clearly understood, fully integrated building solution for the project would pay huge dividends – akin to a ‘package deal’. The construction industry is awash with businesses marketing a ‘bewildering’ range of different components and products ranging from simple utility cupboards to full structural systems. This is causing confusion and introducing


HADLEY GROUP ROUNDTABLE higher levels of risk than it should. A fully integrated approach spelling out the quality, cost and timescale parameters and benefits behind offsite construction would be the ideal solution. In many ways this ‘demystification’ will mean more housing providers gravitate to offsite manufacture. Volumetric modular design is now a pretty mature technology and there is lots of innovation in timber frame and panelised systems, but the biggest area for growth is within the hybrid approach. Combinations of materials, or the integration of bathroom pods for example, can deliver potentially huge advantages for the affordable housing sector. In a changing construction landscape, it is estimated that private sector volume housebuilders have set aside 20% delivery capacity for offsite delivery. This shift of momentum and level of commitment to offsite is being felt in the private sector but not in the public sector at the moment. Local authorities are under immense financial pressures to ‘sweat assets’ and get the best value from any land sales to fund local services and amenities. Some local authorities are more open to change than others and have different leaderships and local agendas. However it has to be remembered that smaller development sites don’t always lend themselves to high-end volumetric solutions. A lot of sites are remote orsemi-rural and these need a variety of solutions. “If you have a particular type of home in a particular area planning guidelines will dictate to a certain degree what needs to be built,” says Ben Towe, Group Managing Director, Hadley Group. “From a manufacturing viewpoint it just needs to be clear what people want and sustain demand – this will create a better more collaborative offsite approach.”

“All projects are different. Housing associations are also all very different and varied across the country with different resources and expertise. It’s important to remember one offsite solution size doesn’t fit all.” Gavin Finnan, Associate Director, Macreanor Lavington

As the construction industry changes shape so has the shape of housing associations that were once characterised as small organisations providing homes for local people. These are slowly transforming into complex commercial enterprises with huge scope and capacity requirements, large acquisition programmes and often in competition for land with other providers – here collaboration isn’t always an easy option, as they transition to becoming a developer and delivering houses over the long term. Digital Demands Can offsite systems and technologies fulfil the demands of the changing affordable housing sector? Indeed is there data available ‘to back up what we feel in out gut’? Digital technology and the full gamut of virtual reality/ augmented reality software is altering perceptions of what construction can deliver forever. BIM is at the heart of any digital conversation and for housing associations there is a feeling that BIM is slightly limited in its value. BIM technology is ‘not moving at the pace it should be’ beyond its 2D/3D modelling prowess. What is required is a broader ‘holistic function’ that provides a sharper and richer understanding from an asset management point of view to translate the vast amounts of building data into a simple language that organisations can understand. This in itself will strengthen the case for using offsite methods and cement the long term benefits – especially surrounding maintenance schedules and wholelife costs. It will also help frame the process of ‘as-designed to as-built’. Like any powerful software programme only a small percentage of it is used. It is never exploited to its full capacity. “BIM is full of information but is it all required in most instances?” says

ATTENDEES Facilitator: Darren Richards – Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Gary Ramsay - Editor, Offsite Magazine Ben Towe – Group Managing Director, Hadley Group Gavin Finnan – Associate Director, Macreanor Lavington Brendan Hele – Construction & Technical Manager, Midland Heart


Mark Williams – Business Development, Rider Levett Bucknall Mike De’Ath – Partner, HTA Design David Foster – Project Director Joint Ventures, Network Homes Philip Collings – National Senior Land Manager, Homes England Richard Whittaker – Director of Development, WM Housing Savina Chani - Marketing Communications Executive, Hadley Group

Richard Whittaker. “I don’t need every level of BIM. What I need is a ‘BIM-lite’ model with a clear next step into asset management.” Better standardisation of components and systems – and the interoperability between them – will also help boost demand. Whilst no organisation wants to lose its competitive edge or share its IP, it is clear to many that components and systems are to a certain extent largely identical. There is no need for so many variations on what are very similar themes. But IP is a sensitive issue. There is a reticence from manufacturers as the design can be exposed – ‘how much do I tell you?’ But there are ways around sharing knowledge. A national or region-wide collaborative framework agreement that includes the IP to help unlock the ‘business model’ could bring the




private and public sectors together to offer a reliable and easily produced ‘standard template’ housing solution – something that housing associations would be keen to pursue. Realistically, offsite manufacture is only a small part of a wider construction answer to the myriad housing problems the UK faces. The future success of offsite rests on a series of key themes – demand creation, capacity building and quality attainment. Estimations are that while not being the complete answer to housing woes it could deliver 20-25% of what is required across all tenures of home occupation.

“I am an advocate of modular construction as long as it is done right, the problem is there needs to be more work done on wholelife costs and education about what offsite construction can deliver.” Mark Williams, Business Development, Rider Levett Bucknall The profile of offsite has never been higher with acceptance of offsite methods improving in both the private and public sectors – albeit slowly – and the speed of uptake over the next 10 years is predicted to far accelerate what has been seen in the last 10 years. In the long run, everyone involved in specifying offsite manufacture wants certainty of outcome on volume, timing and costs and then confidence will grow exponentially. There is also pressure mounting to restructure procurement practices generally and make planning 44

a quicker, easier process to navigate – potentially incentivising and offering a fast track option – where certain obligations can be relaxed or refined. There are cases where the time taken to process a planning application is actively hindering one of offsite construction’s key benefits. A common comment is that much more work needs to done on educating what offsite construction actually means. The development of offsite is at a critical phase and ‘on the cusp of a great place’. It is now time to promote the numerous positive aspects of the industry that are happening across the UK and start to create a consensus around what makes offsite manufacture tick. Then advocate the increasing

number of successful projects delivered using offsite methodology – backed by consistent data – and all stakeholders can make the move into new construction practices that go beyond single transactions to forge genuine collaborative and long term relationships. Many thanks to the Hadley Group for hosting the Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the discussion. For more information on the Hadley Group visit: For more information on offsite related activity visit:

LESSONS & OUTCOMES Empirical Cost Data – compared to traditional construction where the different parameters are clearly defined and understood, offsite still needs to prove what it can do. Maintenance Matters – the high cost of site defects and snagging via traditional building is so high that offsite has a clear advantage for affordable housing providers. Pooling and Package Deals – more needs to be done by housing providers to pool housing units on a regional basis to deliver the density of homes that lead to cost efficiency. Technical Understanding – there are still levels of confusion – even at a basic level – on mortgageability, certification and insurance of offsite systems among lenders. Joint Ventures – adoption of the joint venture model could bring a huge collaborative opportunity for clients, land owners, contractors and offsite providers. Pipeline Certainty – surety of demand is always highlighted as a requirement to wider offsite confidence and will attract investors and technology development. Collaboration – housing providers, manufacturers, developers, contractors and investors need to develop a closer relationship and understand each other’s building requirements. Utilities – wider partner engagement with service companies to streamline the process of connection and site management.


Safer, on time, to budget. Offsite construction for a smarter tomorrow Every element of our business has been streamlined to maximise efficiency and safety, so that we deliver to your budget and on time, every time. Build Smart. Build Offsite. Build McAvoy. 0330 107 0799



Productivity in construction is currently a hot topic. Issues surrounding procurement, standardisation, communication and fragmentation across the design and build process teams tend to be reoccurring themes. Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS offers some advice on how offsite can improve relationships.

1 The government published its longpromised Construction Sector Deal this year and digital technology is at the heart of the strategy, which aims to modernise the way construction is carried out. The main targets in the sector deal are taken from the Construction 2025 strategy. They include slashing by half the time it takes to construct buildings, reducing build costs by one-third, and halving both lifetime carbon emissions and the trade gap between construction exports and imports. For decades studies have suggested numerous solutions for improving productivity within the construction industry but it is not feasible to meet these targets using outdated sitebased construction methods. Offsite manufacture is now seen as the driving force to increase productivity in construction – however it is not only about getting things done faster, it is about adding value. Our capital investment programme has included the expansion of the EOS advanced factory facility, the latest


manufacturing equipment together with our own fabrication plant to be self-sufficient in manufacturing our ancillary parts such as angles, brackets, windows and cills. This supports our market leading ‘lumpsum’, all-inclusive pricing initiative and underpins our ‘total supply’ offering. We operate to BIM Level 2, which is a key enabler for integrating offsite technology into construction practices – there is an acute need for time efficient construction, as well as a vital responsibility for our industry to reduce our carbon footprint through the application of low energy buildings, resulting in lower costs for the end user. The way we design and manufacture steel framing systems has totally transformed over recent years, we now have building designs that can be tested in a digital environment prior to production and we can information share via BIM. This is massively beneficial, however in the world of digital technology, we must not overlook the importance of personal collaboration.

A systemic lack of understanding of offsite technology appears to be widespread. Certainly ‘education’ is required throughout the supply chain and how each stage of the construction cycle is touched by offsite methods. Architects, clients, main and sub-contractors need to change their thinking from construction to offsite manufacture for onsite assembly. Site teams need to understand that offsite systems are different and cannot be handled and installed in a traditional way. A way to combat this postfactory handling and installation is via engagement between the project team and a collaborative approach between all those involved at an earlier stage. Manufacturers have a lot of information to pass on to clients, main and sub-contractors. We need to be involved from the start, so we can pass on our knowledge and expertise earlier in the cycle and can show what can be done with steel framing systems at the start of the project not halfway through – or even sometimes at the end! The way we digitally communicate and collaborate is changing but we must not overlook the value of personal expertise. In my opinion offsite technology will increase productivity but only if everyone involved understands how to maximise the benefits. For more information visit:

Image: 01. Steel framing system design and manufacture has been transformed with new technology


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YOUR FRAMEWORK FOR BUILDING SUCCESS With expertise in panelised, volumetric modular and pod technology - EOS specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of light gauge steel framing systems (LGSF) for the offsite markets. Embracing a world-class manufacturing ethos and optimising design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) principles - EOS invest in research and development to bring new and innovative products to market. OFFSITE MANUFACTURING


The expansion of the EOS advanced manufacturing facility together with the development of a new fabrication plant supports our market leading all-inclusive pricing initiative.

EOS operatives offer technical advice and installation training. Installer teams can benefit from our ‘Tool Box Talks’ and phased site visits to offer independent quality checks.



Offering unparalleled levels of support – our highly qualified technical design team establish the most effective and cost-efficient solution. All drawings are passed through the client’s approval processes before work can begin onsite.

With a dedicated in-house estimating team, EOS guarantee a competitive pricing structure, with no hidden costs. We can provide a lump sum total price package which will not alter, providing the specification remains unchanged.

Volumetric Modular Pod Technology Stud & Track Facade Panels Roofing & Flooring Systems High Bay & Continuous Walling



Modular construction has gained considerable momentum over the last 18 months, as was clearly demonstrated at the recent sell-out Modular Matters conference. Darren Richards, Managing Director of leading offsite experts, Cogent Consulting outlines why this alongside the wider use of bathroom pods can transform project delivery. Moving this kind of work offsite means potentially dangerous practices such as working at height, hot works in restricted spaces are vastly reduced. As with all offsite manufacture this creates less waste, less noise and efficient material delivery to site, thereby reducing programme times. Taking MEP services offsite also means early testing, commissioning and programme assurances can be secured.

1 The new Industrial Strategy mandating the use of offsite technology on a range of publicly financed construction initiatives is just one the driving forces behind innovations in this rapidly developing sector.

be significantly influenced by transportation dimensions, they are suitable for any building sector but are very popular in the education, healthcare, leisure and student accommodation sectors.

The particular success and appeal of module manufacture rests in the repeatability of units. Loadbearing modules can be steel or timber-based and are pre-fitted with electrics, plumbing, heating, doors and windows, together with internal finishes. The modules are commissioned prior to leaving the factory, ensuring that defects are minimised. By assembling modules in a precision-controlled factory environment, the production line techniques that drive module assembly bring speed of delivery, enhance the quality of the end product and dramatically improve productivity. Although module selection can

Mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services include a number of ‘plug and play’ technologies preinstalled at the factory for plant-rooms, with pipework, cable-management and ductwork for building services in-situ. These are integrated in multi-service modules mounted in the ceiling, under the floor or inservice risers. Mechanical ducting or pipework systems/modules are often combined with electrical service distribution. These units are packaged or skid-mounted as pre-assembled units, pre-finished in the factory for straightforward mains connection onsite.


Pod technology creates substantial building elements that form a ‘volumetric space’ but are generally non-loadbearing. Pods can be bathrooms, shower-rooms, kitchens, utility cupboards and office washrooms. They are usually craned into a building during superstructure erection but can also be retrospectively installed via external cladding apertures and lift shafts or delivered as flat-pack assemblies. Pods are commonly steel frame, composite or made from glass reinforced plastic (GRP). The construction of the pod generally includes the plasterboard, ceramic or porcelain tiles, sanitary and brassware. Pod technology is robust, low-maintenance, cost-effective and are usually bespoke to meet a project requirement in terms of shape, size and specification and are connected easily onsite. Unlike traditional building methods, where a multitude of trades such as electricians, plumbers, plasterers or tilers need to be co-ordinated, factory-fitted pods require little supervision onsite and finished pods can be integrated into any structural frame – timber, steel or concrete.


MODULAR MATTERS Products are emerging that are targeting more of a ‘tool kit’ approach to the adoption of assembly, with the leading of these being prefabricated utility cupboards (PUC). PUCs provide a central interface point for mechanical, heating and ventilation configurations. Packaging up high levels of labour both in terms of skills and hours into a concentrated offsite delivered solution – the rise in the specification of PUCs is driven by the UK volume housebuilders. This innovation has required a change in the approach to procurement and a re-profiling and re-sequencing of traditional skilled trades onsite, but many are now seeing the benefits in terms of programme certainty and a reduction in ‘snagging’ activity associated with the MEP services activity. Capable of integrating any project arrangements, PUCs are constructed to accommodate hoisting requirements and can be installed without the need for bespoke plant. Bathroom pods provide a quality, factory controlled modular construction solution that is manufactured to a high degree of standardisation – making them ideal for large-scale building projects

2 such as student accommodation, private rental and hotel schemes. Such developments can be made significantly more efficient and profitable through the use of these modular bathroom units. One of the greatest benefits that comes with this flexible building systems, is their range of customisation options – making bathroom pods suitable for anything from a five-star hotel development to student accommodation. Volumetric modular and pod solutions are becoming increasingly commercially viable. It is clear that economies of

scale are being realised and modular construction is becoming a truly viable alternative to traditional construction techniques. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Bathroom pods can be craned into position and easily installed. Courtesy Offsite Solutions

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1 Paul Lang, Chief Executive Officer of Caledonian, assesses how the company’s modular building system creates a blueprint for ‘new towns’ where people want to live with the Bridgwater project a possible signpost for the way forward for UK housing. Worker accommodation for Hinkley Point C is not your usual construction project. Its sheer size and speed of build makes it stand out as an example of what can be achieved by modern methods of construction. The numbers involved best illustrate the scale, with 1,496 offsite accommodation bedroom modules delivered to the Bridgwater site in a 96% completed state. Handover onsite, meaning ready for workers to move in, then took just six weeks. Total duration for the £55 million contract was 51 weeks and within that time Caledonian effectively created a new town, with an average modular bedroom space, after factoring in kitchens and communal areas, costing around £40,000 and equivalent to a 3-star hotel. The Government and housing providers should take note of what has been achieved at Bridgwater, with the message being that it could just be the solution to the UK’s housing crisis. Certainly, if the government’s own rhetoric translates into action, Bridgwater Campus is the shape of things to come – the ability to create a new ‘town’ using only offsite construction, which means it can easily be replicated around the UK. Underpinning the success at Bridgewater was an ability to take a traditionally-constructed building and apply modern manufacturing techniques to drive further efficiencies


– through the use of BIM, design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) and lean manufacturing techniques. Bridgwater campus has created a vision of the future that other large construction and infrastructure projects will follow. It has delivered something that social housing landlords and private developers have long been waiting for – and that is a large scale residential offsite development that is effectively a new town. Currently, only around 15,000 homes in Britain are built annually using this method. A survey by Inside Housing of the top 50 largest builders this year found that the sector built just 4,667 homes using offsite construction in 2017/18. This represented a tiny fraction of the new homes that the government wants to deliver. To meet increasing demand, the government would need to commission the construction of approximately 250,000 new homes each year, through to 2030. Current annual construction levels sit around 50% of this figure, with only 63% of traditional construction projects delivered on time, and only 49% delivered to budget. It is clear to see that conventional building techniques, whilst still integral, cannot meet the challenge alone. This creates a unique opportunity for offsite construction to become the key building method to meet demand in the housing industry and Bridgwater creates the blueprint for this. Compared to building using traditional methods, the residential sector benefits enormously from offsite construction. Bridgwater demonstrated that it is possible to complete up to 96% of the

2 build in our Newark facility, a qualitycontrolled environment, unaffected by the weather or skill’s shortages onsite. This allows handover is just a few weeks on site, minimising disruption to the surrounding community by ensuring rapid build and significantly reducing deliveries to site. There are health and safety benefits, too, and by operating in close cooperation with our supply chain partners and main contractor Laing O’Rourke over the duration of the project we achieved a company-wide accident frequency rate (AFR) of 0.2. This reflects the active and positive approach to safety, and an AFR within both manufacturing and construction industry standards. Our innovative lifting frame used during installation of the three-storey building provided even greater prevention of fall from height. The Bridgewater campus is expected to operate for six and a half years, after which the buildings will be removed, re-sited, and re-used, with some key infrastructure remaining and gifted to the local community for housing and redevelopment needs, leaving a lasting legacy. Modular technology like that used at Bridgwater not only helps to alleviate the housing crisis sooner, but it can increase the capacity of the construction industry by making more productive use of labour and skills. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Bridgwater campus has created a vision of the future of UK housing



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The Modular Matters event at the Birmingham NEC, saw a sold out audience hear in expert detail how volumetric modular technology is being used across a range of vertical construction markets and creating huge interest in offsite technology.

1 The event focused on the latest developments, innovations and investments being made in the volumetric modular offsite sector and outlined many of the reasons why the offsite supply chain is appealing to designers, specifiers, engineers and ground-breaking clients. The programme featured 14 high profile speakers who shared their in-depth knowledge with nearly 150 delegates. Rory Bergin, Partner, Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP and Michael Hough, Director, MJH Structural Engineers, started the day by outlining some key overriding messages about the strengths of offsite manufacture and how it is competing with the traditional building sector that is now close to being ‘maxed out’ with capacity issues. It is time for bigger factory-based businesses to think about collaborating and working together and consider making building systems compatible. Both discussed the award-winning, landmark projects at Mapleton Crescent and Apex House and explained why the concept of 52

‘modularisation’ of building design is so important to future offsite developments. As Rory Bergin said: “Whatever you do – do it good.”

Ewelina Woźniak–Szpakiewicz, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, DMD Modular, provided a European perspective and talked about the developing offsite market in Poland. Poland has one of the fastest growing economies in the EU and Ewelina outlined how the company being part of Black Red White – one of the biggest furniture groups in Europe – has taken some of the expertise behind component design and manufacture and used it to inform the detailing, quality and design of the volumetric units. DMD Modular is currently involved with the world’s tallest modular hotel – the AC Marriot Sixth Avenue, New York – and are also in the process of developing a prototype student accommodation unit for the UK market.

Patrick Hayes, Head of Structures & Offsite Construction, Meinhardt UK and Stuart Marshall, Sales and Development, Elements Europe, spoke of essential early engagement of the modular supplier into the building design process to maximise the benefits of modular integration. “Key to success is interface management,” said Stuart Marshall. “We want to offer a range of modular options then take this template design to integrate into your design process.”

Michael Swiszczowski, Associate Director, Chapman Taylor presented a case study on Holiday Inn Express, Trafford City, Manchester, that challenges some of the perceptions of what offsite actually means and is “a building that is not obviously modular”. Important for future developments he laid out the need for better ‘elevation treatments’ such as brick slips and curtain walling and how these can be applied to modular developments. He finished by saying about offsite construction: “It feels like that we are genuinely at a different point and looking at a new wave of developments.”

Patrick from Meinhardt spoke on the Essential Living Greenwich Scheme and again emphasised the continuing importance of identifying interface management and using a DfMA approach. “It is important when designing the module to understand everything that touches the module including MEP and then designing in efficiencies.”

Ben Drake, Associate, Peter Dann Consulting Engineers and James Walsh, Partner, Studio Anyo both spoke about the standardised and stackable approach to hotel design and how offsite manufacture is a perfect application with “less headaches and more certainty.” The stackable method inherent to volumetric modular is delivering complex buildings in a



2 ‘simple’ way with the addition of zonal design allowing further flexibility of systems across the supply chain. Andy Smith, Head of Business Development, Caledonian Modular sees an exciting future ahead for volumetric construction and spoke on the success story behind Hinkley Point C Bridgwater Campus and a: “consistent repeatable process with lean manufacture techniques, a DfMA approach with additional smart construction making it all work successfully.” A fuller report on this project can be found on page 50. Grabbing many industry headlines in recent months, ilke Homes are providing a new generation of modular affordable housing in the UK. They have ambitious plans, capacity and process capabilities to disrupt the housing market. Paul Mason, Business Development Manager talked about a ‘scale solution to the affordable housing crisis’ and the ilke factory in Flaxby set to produce 2,000 homes a year, with the base intention to add ‘additional volume’ to traditional build programmes. John Bedford, Senior Consultant, CHIC and Ian Astley, Regional Director, Premier Modular, stressed the importance of collaborative team work and spoke about the BuildSmart framework and how it is helping to deliver a fully managed service with unique factory-finished homes – adding a range of options to a base model. One aspect of modular and offsite design that should not be underestimated are the environmental benefits and huge savings on CO2. Zoe Powell, Business Development Director, Elliott Group and Mark Hargreaves, Associate Director, DLA Design, discussed the journey into standardisation and use across the McDonalds restaurant chain as an example of excellent standardised

3 design. They build 20-25 restaurants a year with 75% standardised and completed offsite across three building types. The process takes the “construction to burger in three weeks.” Chris Dale, Head of MMC for the Department for Education, spoke plainly about the value of offsite and the fantastic innovation and access to wider markets it brings. But for the public sector there is still a central requirement to see reduced costs, better quality manufacture and certainty of delivery. The department is committed to DfMA, refining modular plans and developing pipeline, but more data and evidence is required to support wider offsite adoption. Emily King, Education Specialist at Portakabin, gave a passionate presentation on the benefits of volumetric modular and why “modular does really matter.” The modular route can provide effective school buildings reducing disruption to the staff and students and showed how modular can respond well to the demands of school footprints via a flexible approach where units can be relocated, re-used and re-imagined for developing school needs and requirements. Lorraine McMorrow, Digital Construction Manager, at the McAvoy Group talked about the exciting new opportunities offered by digital construction and how technology such as immersive virtual and augmented reality are pushing the construction sector into territory never seen before to inform client decisions. The big challenge is to upscale the workforce to create a new generation of multiskilled and digitally minded teams that think about buildings in a different way. The day finished with a thought provoking and mind-expanding

4 presentation from Derek Thomson, Programme Director: Commercial Management and Quantity Surveying, Loughborough University, who discussed the need for throughlife performance and design configurability within building component and system design, together with a focus on reducing inefficiency and introducing “economies of scope as well as economies of scale,” He left the audience with the comment “think platforms – think mutual alliances.” After an intensive day of discussion there was an overwhelmingly positive atmosphere about what offsite construction and volumetric modular systems can do. “The more industrialised we can become the more value we can deliver,” was at the centre of many of the presentations and discussions, alongside much talk about early engagement, developing long term relationships between clients and manufacturers to improve project pipelines. Certainly the need to educate and engage better with clients, supply chain members and contractors is vitally important within an integrated interoperable approach. After all: “The competition is traditional construction, not other offsite and modular suppliers.” After the main event finished, the Modular & Portable Building Association (MPBA) held an 80th anniversary drinks reception that saw the launch of the specialist MPBA Volumetric Housing Working Group. For more information visit: For more information on the MPBA visit: Images: 01-04. The sold-out event had a host of speakers and industry experts offering advice on modular delivery





Dr Penny Carey, MEP and Sustainability Lead at Portakabin, discusses the challenges of improving building standards within the construction industry relating to the physics of naturally ventilated buildings. ever increasing thirst or need for technology and equipment in offices, schools and hospitals.

1 With the transition to Winter underway, it’s a fitting time to recall the weather we enjoyed during the Summer and what can be learnt from our seasons from a building environment perspective. It’s an opportunity to reflect on some of the challenges our industry faced as well as the potential innovations required to find new solutions to building comfort during the warmer and the cooler months. As a building simulation and natural ventilation expert, the recent spell of high summertime temperatures in the UK, presented an unusual challenge to the modular industry. The ideal natural ventilation strategy couples a heavyweight building fabric with exposed thermal mass which is cooled over night by ventilation to reduce the temperature of the mass so that it can absorb the heat again during the day and then release it during the evening and so on. By design, modular buildings tend to be lightweight constructions and there isn’t always exposed thermal mass to allow this ideal strategy to be experienced by occupants. There are a number of ways that a building’s potential thermal mass can be enhanced in modular – in our case we can add concrete floors. There are also technologies that can be used 54

such as phase change materials, a gel like product that changes physical state (i.e. solid to liquid) and in doing so, the reaction absorbs and releases energy (e.g. stored heat) in the process, similar to having a traditional heavyweight construction. It’s important to remember that ventilation isn’t just provided for cooling buildings – it is also there for occupant welfare and health. So how should our industry introduce natural ventilation to modular if we can’t always change the materials we use? One suggestion is a rigorous approach to optimising the design of modular buildings rather than just focusing on the distinct elements of the construction. In today’s world, this draws more and more on the Passivhaus standard, a construction concept that can make vast energy savings by marrying an optimised building envelope with accredited ventilation systems and high levels of airtightness. With the latest energy regulations throughout Europe pushing design towards this approach, it’s more important than ever for modular experts to look at new ways of balancing the need to provide a comfortable environment with the benefits of natural daylight and our

We have the potential to readily integrate technologies such as phase change materials, high-quality insulation and renewable energy sources during the offsite manufacture of the building. This holistic design can be coupled with a ‘soft landing’ approach so that occupants understand the buildings they use and how to enjoy them efficiently. Many times over my career I have been in buildings where the occupants clearly aren’t using the building as the building was designed. But whose fault is that? Is it the occupants, because they have more people and equipment in the building than designed for? Or has the designer considered the requirements of the occupants sufficiently? Have they designed a sufficiently flexible building, briefed and trained the occupants in its operation adequately? Have they considered its local environment fully or have they just ticked enough boxes to show that the elemental constituents of a building meet a set of standards? In my opinion, a robust, holistic design by an experienced team of designers is the most important factor to take into account when reviewing how buildings are optimised for comfort and this is clearly important when modular buildings have different inherent performance characteristics to traditional construction methods. For more information visit: Images: 01. Ventilation isn’t just provided for cooling buildings, it is also there for occupant welfare and health.


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As part of the Inside Offsite factory tour programme, precast concrete specialists FP McCann opened up its Byley manufacturing facility to showcase its innovative offsite technology and explain the ways precast concrete is contributing to a more efficient and attractive built environment.


1 FP McCann has strengthened its structural and architectural precast concrete arm in recent years through a series of acquisitions including Bell & Webster, Bison (Uddingston), Charcon Construction Solutions (Littleport) and Buchan Concrete Products. This has secured FP McCann’s position as one of the UK’s leading construction materials and civil engineering companies and a key player in the precast concrete and offsite markets and a familiar face in the design, manufacture and installation of many various products including external and internal walls, floors, stairs and landings. With a focus on its structural and architectural arm, FP McCann invited a morning and afternoon programme of delegates to tour the Byley facility - now an important element of its modular building network – to see how the largest precast concrete company in the UK operates. FP McCann had a turnover of £226 million in 2017 with precast products making up approximately £165 million, with much of the success and increased market share due to its successful insulated precast sandwich panels. 56

To keep up with the demands of the construction industry and offsite sector, FP McCann has expanded and increased the scope of its UK product facilities, with further capital investment in new machinery boosting production levels and increasing its structural precast building capacity. We are expanding and investing in all our facilities, says Daniel Westgate, Commercial Manager, Structures at FP McCann. “Our Byley storage yard is full of sold product – not stock – and one of the things to focus on with offsite manufacture, is that we need a large percentage of the scheme manufactured prior to starting on site, because it goes up so quickly once we start. That is the key advantage over other forms of construction.” At the Byley production facility the company has made a new £2.5 million investment to introduce an automatic mesh-bending machine that is driven by 3D modelling files to both improve cost and material efficiencies but also to introduce a more automated approach to create building elements for the burgeoning private rental sector (PRS) market in particular.

“If you look at standard mesh sizes you are always dictated by the bar size in both directions,” adds Daniel Westgate. “But on one–way spanning slabs we may want a larger diameter bar in the direction of span and only a nominal bar perpendicular to that span, so we can offer efficiencies on how we are detailing our reinforcement. The mesh can also be bent which results in a lower quantity of loose steel required to link all of this together, making it more sustainable.” A large and successful element of FP McCann’s building solutions are the architectural precast concrete insulated sandwich panels. These are cast either with a brick-facing or can be acid-etched to a huge array of bespoke design specification. The thickness of the insulation can be modified in order to accommodate any required U-value. The shape, thickness and size of the concrete can also be made to meet the requirements of any project specifics and client requirements. In keeping with all offsite methods, insulated sandwich panels can be used to reduce erection


INSIDE OFFSITE - FP MCCANN periods by weeks and generally improve onsite safety. The ability to fit various facade materials, windows and insulation during manufacture also reduces the need for numerous followon trades and crucially often eliminates the need for scaffolding. The insulated precast sandwich panels provide a ready-made external envelope with a variety of finishes. This eliminates many of the pitfalls associated with traditional building methods utilising ‘traditional’ techniques and employing siteintensive wet trades. The panels comprise an outer leaf of precast concrete, an insulating layer and a structural inner leaf of plain grey concrete that is ‘power floated’ to a smooth internal finish. The external skin is connected to this and supported by the internal skin using proprietary composite ties – these have a low thermal conductivity that eliminates potential cold bridging. “Architecturally and in terms of looks and finish the design options are almost endless,” says James Donington, Commercial Manager Architectural Precast for FP McCann. “A brick finish is extremely popular, about 60-70% of every enquiry over the last couple of years has been for a brick ‘look’. We can accommodate many different types of brick profile. Bricks that are difficult and time consuming to lay onsite, or complicated bond patterns that are difficult to build neatly onsite, can be cast in our moulds in any order into the panel. This gives a robust finished product and scope to achieve any level of architectural intent.” Finishes include acid-etching, textured, stone-faced or tile-faced, grit-blast or polished finished including a terrazzo type feel. There are a range of rich finishes to provide an external design and architectural edge including an exposed aggregate finish to create an industrial look. Also in production at the Byley site is the precast crosswall structural system. This comprises of a series of concrete panels that form the entire building envelope with internal, structural loadbearing and partition walls, external walls and floor slabs. The external walls can consist of just the inner leaf concrete finish or include the insulated precast sandwich panels. “The system



5 is tied in the vertical element using VS loops they interlock with a vertical reinforcing bar that is dropped down that joint. The joints are grouted into the vertical with Thixotropic grout and the horizontal is a CS grout or concrete depending on the nature of the detail,” says Daniel Westgate. Precast in vertical battery moulds – panels of 4m x 10m – can be manufactured ‘like toast’ that drives costs down and improves speed onsite. They can have conduits and openings for a range of fittings pre-set and ‘cast in’ inside the factory, such as openings for smoke detectors. Underfloor heating can also be factoryinstalled, then pressure-tested in the factory to ensure a reliable defect-free system. Window and door openings are pre-formed in the panels and the window units can be installed at the factory by suppliers to further increase quality. Central to all offsite methods is the speed of construction. Offsite construction methods ensure buildings can be erected quickly, even in adverse weather conditions, drastically reducing construction time and associated costs and providing quicker return on investment for clients. The benefits are always maximised by early client engagement with the supplier. “What we provide as a business is a design, estimate, manufacture and

install (DEMI) service,” says Daniel Westgate. “The earlier we can get involved in a project the greater influence we can have on a scheme and make it a success.” 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 programme. 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 external walls are 410mm thick and of a ‘sandwich’ construction, with the outer 80mm thick facade consisting of a detailed buff brick design. The facade panels were manufactured at Byley and have been designed to accommodate the two-storey high windows, a unique feature of the building. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. A £2.5 million investment in mesh bending technology is reducing costs and improving efficiency 03-04. Precast wall and floor panels are quality controlled in factory conditions 05. Precast elements being installed at Birmingham’s Lansdowne Building





Spantherm combines offsite efficiency with energy efficiency. Not only is it an easy to install precast concrete product, it delivers exceptional thermal performance as a ‘fabric first’ building solution.


1 The discussion around skills shortages, build quality and site efficiency have been front and central to the offsite debate for several years now. However, as more and more plots must now comply with the increased demands of the Part L 2013 building regulations it creates an opportunity for the manufacturers of offsite products to showcase their energy efficient benefits. This is where products such as the Spantherm insulated concrete flooring system can deliver real solutions for the designer and builder alike. Designing and building energy efficiency homes capable of achieving the latest regulations can be a complex process but installing an offsite produced high performance insulated ground floor is always a good start. The Spantherm thermally efficient floor system is remarkable not just for its ability to deliver improvements within SAP but also because it delivers the benefits of offsite build. 58

Offsite Installation When assessing any Part L compliant solution builders need to consider its impact on the overall build process and factor in any relevant cost issues associated with its use. It is during this costing process that builders appreciate the benefits of the factory built unit’s rapid build features. A typical Spantherm floor is fitted onsite in less than two hours with minimal labour and achieves full structural capability with 72 hours whilst activity could commence on perimeter walls within 24 hours. Many builders will opt to sub-contract this via a groundworker or may engage us directly in a full supply and fit deal. This represents a programme saving of around one week plus reduced installation labour when compared to other insulated flooring systems which rely on a combination on individual concrete components, insulation boards and poured surfaces.

Energy Efficiency Spantherm’s structural reinforced concrete structure has been designed in a way to minimise the thermal bridges at the wall to floor junctions. The unit’s high performance EPS insulation effectively reduces heat loss and both these features are essential for compliance with Part L’s flooring energy performance targets. By introducing Spantherm and its Psi value and U-value to their energy consultant, builders will be able to evaluate the positive impact made within SAP. It is this excellent thermal efficiency created by the design of the product which gives the builder that good start to their total SAP calculation and is the very basis of a ‘Fabric First’ approach which seeks to reduce the reliance on the use of expensive add-on sustainable technologies in new homes. While the increasing need for compliance with Part L 2013 adds complexity for the builder the good news is that offsite products like Spantherm have been specifically designed to not only meet those regulations but also simplify their build. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Spantherm is a hugely flexible and thermally efficient offsite flooring solution


Off-site flooring in minutes not days. Rapid build off-site housing requires the latest innovative off-site ground floor system to fully maximize its efficiency. Spantherm is a high performance off-site concrete flooring system. A typical plot can be installed in just 90 minutes, cutting up to a week off the schedule.

With exceptional Psi and U values, Spantherm reduces cold-bridging at the wall/ floor junctions providing a cost effective route to Part L compliance within SAP for all build types including timber frame.




Over the past few years, specialist offsite design and build contractor PCE has developed a unique offering for its clients with its HybriDfMA structural frames system which combines the benefits of precast concrete, structural steelwork and insitu concrete to deliver optimised structural systems. creates much greater predictability and certainty around the design solution, enhances coordination and integration with the other stakeholders within the project, and maximises the benefits of DfMA.

1 The HybriDfMA system has been developed to replace traditional RC concrete frames and structural steelwork frames through resolving many of the issues associated with these traditional approaches. HybriDfMA systems are structurally more efficient, provide greater co-ordination and flexibility with other building systems whilst being quicker, cleaner, safer and more environmentally friendly than traditional solutions. This approach coupled with its expertise in delivering integrated façade solutions with the structure has enabled PCE to position itself as a strategic partner to some its key clients, delivering alternative design solutions tailored to solving project specific challenges whilst optimising the use of offsite technology and maximising the benefits derived through the adoption of a DfMA delivery strategy. This has allowed PCE to build a portfolio of award


winning, multi-million-pound structural solutions across many sectors not usually associated with offsite for many leading Tier 1 contractors including Wilmott Dixon, Mace, Kier, Sir Robert McAlpine, BAM and Galliford Try amongst others. BIM & Offsite The principals of offsite and building information management (BIM) perfectly complement each other due to the level of definition created around any particular solution and the ‘kit of parts’ or system adopted in the delivery of that solution. Through the delivery of numerous government contracts and complex integrated design solutions with these Tier 1 contractors PCE has developed its BIM delivery model to achieve level 2 compliance and beyond. The ethos of BIM coupled with the digital age has presented many opportunities for PCE to develop systems and processes which optimise efficiency in both offsite and onsite delivery which

To PCE, BIM is not just about designing in 3D and collaborating with others in this virtual world. BIM and digital construction (DC) is about collaboration through the manufacture and assembly stages also. BIM and DC are the tools and systems which allow the optimisation and efficiency of every delivery process and every activity. It allows effective coordination through the offsite and onsite phases, it allows construction driven solutions to be developed by PCE’s designers, it creates safe systems of work before designs are finalised through the mitigation of risks and hazards, it optimises offsite and onsite logistics and allows informed decisions to be made as to whether offsite preassembly or onsite assembly is the correct approach and it allows PCE to effectively integrate other building systems in to the structural system to provide their clients with ‘smart’ solutions. The successful delivery of any offsite engineered solution is the effective resolution of any interfaces within the system and the key to efficiency in offsite construction is standardisation. To PCE, standardisation doesn’t necessarily mean that components must be the same, or ‘repetitious’. However, the principles of how components fit together, how components are manufactured, assembled, preassembled, handled, stored and delivered do need to be standard. The key to repetition is to make the processes the same, not the




3 structural materials. This approach to standardisation has allowed PCE to blend different materials and systems together to create a true Hybrid solution. Precast concrete components can seamlessly work in tandem with structural steelwork components and a composite system can be created using the premanufactured components with the use of insitu concrete techniques. However, to do this the D&B specialist must take control of the design and all the processes that feed into and from the design must be aligned to the DfMA strategy. PCE’s in-house design services have developed digital systems to maximise the benefits of standardisation and best practice whilst controlling every aspect of the design and any interfaces. Every component is manufactured and assembled virtually before the design can be finalised with manufacturing and construction teams validating the design in the 3D Design environment prior to the fabrication and site phases. This process allows key information about the manufacture and assembly of a component to be

added in the virtual environment such as specification data, manufacturing and assembly methodologies, temporary works requirements, lifting and handling guidance, stacking and storage restrictions and health and safety data, most of which will come from PCE’s existing ‘standards’ database and libraries. This results in ‘data rich models’ which can be used by all disciplines within the delivery of a project, from planning and programming (4D) through to cost management (5D). Digital Construction The management of data rich models has led PCE to create a broader Digital Construction strategy which encompasses every aspect of delivering DfMA strategies within their business. The creation of a cloud based ‘Digital Data Collaboration Hub’ which allows real time data to be collated and communicated across PCE’s project teams irrespective of where they are working in the country has been fundamental in the successful delivery of many complex projects whilst allowing the continued organic growth in the business and PCE’s capabilities. A cloud based digital

platform allows seamless information sharing across all business functions whilst workflows have significantly increased transparency and efficiency through removing duplication. All current and relevant project data is either linked into the 3D model via ‘tagging’ of components or is stored in the cloud within a project portal ensuring project teams can access what they need, when they need it. Digital notifications advise of upcoming key activities and when tasks are completed, digital inventory control manages materials on and offsite and digital quality control is linked to the BIM model. Assembly methodologies are linked to the 3D model with virtual toolbox talks and risk assessments being delivered alongside the 4D planning model so specific tasks and phases can be emphasised. Site logistics is also linked to the 4D model so the way a site changes during the construction phase can be communicated to PCE’s operatives along with the other specialists on site. PCE’s digital archive of best practice along with training videos and QR coding for issues such as COSHH are also available via the collaboration hub and can be accessed through PDA’s or Smart Phones. Best practice and innovation during project delivery are captured via an ‘App’ and is uploaded to the collaboration hub to facilitate cross business learning and to allow continuous improvement. At the end of a project, a complete history of what has happened during the delivery phase is available in a digital environment. A complete asset management model is issued to the client whilst all the data PCE requires to assess the performance of the project is easily collated and analysed to facilitate continuous improvement. This ‘Digital Construction’ approach has resulted in PCE delivering significant efficiency and cost savings to its clients through increased productivity, innovation and smarter DfMA solutions. For more information visit: Images: 01. Example from PCE’s Kingston University Townhouse Project BIM Model 02. Critical interfaces at PCE’s Kingston University townhouse project 03. PCE Digital data collaboration hub





From manufacturing plant to construction site, we investigate how Laing O’Rourke is spearheading change in the construction industry through design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) at their pioneering Explore Industrial Park manufacturing facility. As a result, more client organisations than ever before are recognising the need for innovative building techniques that are safer, cleaner and more efficient, minimising disruption, guaranteeing quality and cost, and critically saving time.

1 Laing O’Rourke has invested over £100 million in the Explore Industrial Park, with the aim of 70% of the projects the company directly controls to be produced through DfMA. This should see a corresponding 60% reduction in onsite labour and a 30% reduction in build times for most projects. Explore Manufacturing gives Laing O’Rourke a unique self-delivery capability that leads the construction industry in driving greater levels of design standardisation and construction quality. The business is made up of Explore Industrial Park in Steetley and CHt Manufacturing in Oldbury. The company’s manufacturing operations transform traditional construction methods into modern processes of assembly, using lean automation and quality assurance systems. It is these characteristics that recently attracted the Constructing Excellence (CE) Offsite Forum – a group of ‘thought-leading’ members from across the supply chain – clients, industry and users who share a vision for change through innovation and collaboration, to visit the state-ofthe-art precast manufacturing facility in Steetley at the end of September.


This visit is the latest in the quarterly offsite manufacturing visits that the Forum undertake as part of the wider education and networking initiative. The challenges facing construction are well documented. The combination of more demanding clients and stakeholders, deteriorating quality of traditional build techniques and increasing skills shortages mean the industry has reached a critical crossroad. With a call for a step-change in productivity and build quality, offsite and modular techniques offer the most realistic solution to this problem. The ideas behind this approach have existed for many years, however the entrenched self-interest and shorttermism that characterises construction has stifled its wide-spread application. As the industry exemplar, Laing O’Rourke is making the necessary investments to create real critical mass in the delivery of pre-assembly and modular solutions. Collaborative Approach Through its innovative DfMA methodology, Laing O’Rourke is driving increased productivity of the construction process, tangible quality improvements and the associated reduction in true costs.

Working collaboratively with their extensive customer base of public and private sector clients and the architecture, design and delivery supply chain, it is clear that Laing O’Rourke are driving this value-based agenda to become more widely understood and applied, creating the mechanisms which will enable offsite and modular design thinking to become the future industry standard for construction solutions worldwide. These principles align perfectly with the Constructing Excellence core objectives of creating a platform which stimulates debate and drives much needed change in the construction sector. Laing O’Rourke’s manufacturing and modular solutions are transforming traditional construction methodologies into a modern process of component-based assembly through optimising DfMA principles – including the social, environment and economic benefits. These include: • Safer, cleaner delivery with improved health and safety performance onsite and a safer, operational asset over its lifetime • Higher quality construction with guaranteed quality assurance levels achieved on the end-product • Speed – innovative construction projects delivered up to 30% faster than traditional construction, enabling an earlier return on investment • Standardise the invisible, customise the visible – an extensive range of interior and exterior options ensure complete design flexibility



Earlier adoption of the latest innovations, fully tested and approved prior to commissioning Greater sustainability through advantages in thermal and environmental performance, lower operational maintenance costs and less waste generation in the construction phase Less waste and greater onsite recycling of materials delivers a ‘greener’ construction outcome Greater efficiency in site logistics with up to 50% fewer vehicle movements reducing disruption to the surrounding communities State-of-the-art manufacturing facilities adopting lean automation processes utilising the latest technologies, providing the necessary scale and capacity to meet all project demands.

Digital Engineering The Laing O’Rourke digital engineering and building information modelling (BIM) offering is tailored to meet the requirements of their clients and it is this aspect of the factory tour that most impressed the CE Offsite Forum group. Laing O’Rourke deliver digital engineering solutions to enable high quality data management for effective decision making and critical to the company’s DfMA agenda. Digital engineering supports greater collaboration and more informed decision-making by providing a central data source. This helps create more unified delivery teams, while allowing the supply chain to see beyond their own activities to a more holistic view of the client’s objectives. Fundamental to Laing O’Rourke achieving true digital engineering is having the right blend of technical and cultural platforms. An inclusive environment based on openness, co-operation and knowledge-sharing that is underpinned by consistent processes and access points, allowing everyone involved in a project to navigate freely around the model and explore the data. In this respect, Laing O’Rourke is helping to lead the digital engineering agenda, training forwardthinking project leaders to embed it across the company’s culture. At the same time, delivery teams – both on and offsite – are driving digital engineering into their core business processes.


2 Product & Process Engineering Laing O’Rourke is revolutionising how they evolve the built environment within challenging constraints – driven by their investment in and development of their DfMA approach. As pioneers of offsite construction the company has driven this concept far beyond its earliest iteration. Once little more than the production of precast concrete components, today Laing O’Rourke is delivering an extensive range of modular solutions through their sophisticated manufacturing capabilities. These products range from columns, beams and cladding to smart walls and building systems – all provided to a cost, time and specification that traditional construction processes cannot compete with. Through early engagement in the design process, the DfMA approach allows the company to address construction and engineering challenges before work begins onsite – instilling confidence in methodologies, programme and budget. Using automated processes to manufacture construction components in a controlled offsite environment, DfMA allows the company to calculate materials requirements with absolute precision. This way, the industry’s most sustainable construction solution allows the elimination of waste from the outset. Laing O’Rourke clients are experiencing the benefits of DfMA on projects ranging from schools, hospitals, high rise residential and hotels and are now seeing the enormous potential applying


4 similar methodologies to large scale infrastructure schemes – informing the construction of power generation facilities, water treatment works, road and rail bridges. While these principles have been common practice in the energy and aerospace sectors for well over a decade, they are relatively new to construction. Should it become the process of choice though, Laing O’Rourke believe it will transform the construction industry – permanently. For more information visit:

Images: 01-04. The Constructing Excellence Offsite Forum recently toured the Steetley facility to better understand the DfMA approach


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In our continuing series reporting on a range of facilities across the UK developing and modernising construction practice, we report on the new £16 million research centre in Salford, that has just been given the go-ahead by funders to create a 21st century product testing centre for the built environment.

1 The unique facility at the University of Salford will offer state-of the-art testing for hundreds of UK companies innovating in the construction, energy, smart homes and digital sectors. Business leaders and politicians have welcomed the investment which will give Greater Manchester (GM) the world’s first all-weather research centre for whole building performance capable of cutting test times for new products from years to a matter of weeks. “From addressing fuel poverty, to widespread use of electric vehicles and the delivery of energy-efficient homes and buildings – we’re determined to push boundaries to make Greater Manchester one of the greenest city


regions in Europe,” says GM Mayor Andy Burnham. “The innovations and research delivered by our worldleading universities, including this new research centre coming to Salford University, will help change the way we build forever. Energy House 2.0 at the University of Salford will be a significant driver towards truly net zero carbon homes and workplaces, not just here in Greater Manchester but across the UK.” This project is part of the University of Salford’s strategy of industry collaboration and partnerships, developing spaces and a proactive environment to deliver mutually beneficial value from industry and academia, with collaboration in teaching, research and joint

enterprises. The new facility – Energy House 2.0 – is timely given the UK’s Industrial Strategy concentrating on ‘clean growth’ and also supports Greater Manchester’s plans to position itself as a world-leading green business and clean tech hub. Energy House 2.0 is a successor to the University’s hugely-successful Energy House, which opened in 2011 and has provided the science behind technological change and a raft of initiatives to save on energy bills particularly for Britain’s five million ‘fuel-poor’ households. The new blueprint is a much a larger, more flexible facility to the existing facility – a Victorian terraced house



2 inside an environmental chamber – where all sorts of buildings can be constructed, tested and demolished. The laboratory will create wind, snow, rain, solar simulation and temperatures between -20C and +40C. It houses sensor, thermal, data and visualisation laboratories and new product development unit under a single roof with viewing galleries and a board room. “We will be building two ‘greenfield’ chambers where people can build what they like and test it and we are there to help them do that,” says Professor Will Swan, Principal Research Investigator for Energy House. “Energy House 2.0 will unite teams of designers, physicists, electronic engineers, materials scientists and acousticians to support innovation in energy efficiency, new materials and building techniques, and to explore smart and connected homes, digital futures and wellbeing and health. The beauty of a both Energy House and Energy House 2.0 is that they can provide the same robust data around products in weeks that it may take researchers months if not years to collect in the field.”

Energy House 2.0 is designed to address the challenges of bridging the performance gap between how we think our buildings will perform and how they actually perform. “We need better quality data to give us a more detailed perspective of what is happening in our buildings and we need to think about buildings as systems – the performance gap can only be closed when we understand how the whole building performs.”

3 Mike Ormesher, Research and Product Development Director at the BBA, said: “Following the successful integration of Energy House 1 and its effective delivery of insight for energy efficiency and building physics, it is fantastic news that the University of Salford have decided to develop this support to industry to include Energy House 2.0. This facility is a much needed support mechanism for the UKs new and existing building stock and will provide the research quality we need as a certification partner along with many other industry partners, such as regulators, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, manufacturers, designers of all professions and indeed government. This is undoubtedly a great step in the right direction for effective assessment of products, systems and complete structures.” People living and working in buildings use 45% of all energy in the EU. As the world becomes more urbanised, creating bigger cities, it is critical to understand how buildings perform. The Energy House 2.0 will not only be about energy and housing but will be looking at wider opportunities to bring teams of industry and academic researchers together to work on the problems of the future built environment. David Kemp, Director at North West housing consortium Procure Plus said: “This will be a brilliant resource to support local business growth, carbon reduction and delivery of a host of other societal benefits. The ability to test products, services, and design and construction techniques in real buildings under controlled laboratory conditions will allow companies to get a real understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.”

4 The project is funded through the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. Energy House 2.0 is forecast to be completed in 2020. For more information visit: Images: 01. The Energy House 2.0 will include a New Product Development Lab and a Data Visualisation Lab to address issues of large complex interrelated data sets. 02. The first generation Energy House has been hugely successful for test data. 03. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is determined to put the area at the centre of the UK’s clean tech industry growth. 04. Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman of Urban Splash speaking at Explore Offsite North West, recently held at the University of Salford, debated the opportunities for offsite manufacturing within the North West region.





Longevity, lifespan and long term durability is a key consideration of specifying any construction product or component. With a focus on offsite manufacture, what can be understood on cladding and building finish standards and warranties?

1 Traditional construction in brick and block or timber frame with a brickwork cladding is a known quantity as far as the durability of the outer leaf is concerned. There are European standards for testing the long-term freeze-thaw performance of masonry units. Although the standard test does not give an actual stated lifespan in years, the industry understands that a masonry unit with a classification of F2 will have a 100-year lifespan. Offsite construction has a number of different finish types that can be used for the outer cladding, including renders onto insulation, renders onto render carrier boards, clay brick slips, acrylic brick slips, cement fibre boards and ship lap cladding, which can be made from various materials. These facades can be direct fixed or ventilated or drained cavity and combine any of the above finishes. When choosing a ‘pick and mix’ of finishes and fixing techniques, there is a risk that the finished facade has not been tested for its durability as a complete system.


As a test laboratory, Lucideon has seen many manufacturers assume that because they have chosen a render that has been tested and a render board that has been certified, their facade will automatically have a 60-year weatherability or durability classification. This is not the case – the render may well be capable of lasting for 60-years, but whether the render bond to the render carrier board is compatible and is able to perform over 60-years, needs to be proved. Likewise, clay brick slips with a relevant guarantee along with an adhesive and a sheathing board can be put together as they all have their own test certificates. Again, individual performance warranties do not give an overall 60-year performance guarantee; it must be proved that the materials are compatible and that the brick slip will still be adhered to the adhesive and carrier board after 10-years, and ultimately, after 60-years. There are a number of European Technical Approvals (ETAs) which subject systems to an accelerated

weathering test regime: high heat and humidity, cold water soak providing thermal shock, high heat followed by freeze at low humidity and wet freeze. A full test regime with a successful outcome will give a 25+ year design life for a facade if the normal caveats of good installation and an adequate maintenance regime are followed. The difficulty lies in choosing the correct test regime for the system in question. There are three test standards, but many systems fall outside of the scope of these standards and hence an experienced test laboratory is required to understand the method of proving the system. Once the system has been proven, a further desk study exercise will be needed to ensure that all ancillary components used in the system have their own sufficient guarantees and system compatibility to achieve a 60-year assessment. With such an expanding industry it will be easy for less diligent manufacturers to exploit the fact that there is unclear guidance and rules for proving the long-term performance of a system subjected to weathering. It would be a shame for the reputation of the industry is bought down by a small minority. Warranty bodies are expected to sign-off volumetric modules for a 60-year warranty with product test data instead of adequate system data. A lack of care may result in a ticking time bomb of failed facades 10-years down the line. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Offsite construction has a number of different finish types that can be used for the outer cladding including renders



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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FUTURE-PROOFING ENERGY EFFICIENCY Housebuilders who embrace a Fabric First approach will reap many cost and quality benefits, says Malcolm Thomson, Sales Director at timber frame manufacturer Scotframe, including the best of offsite manufacture.

1 Sustainable building used to be the exception rather than the rule, but shifting buyer attitudes are forcing housebuilders to act. New research from the NHBC Foundation and Savills, based on the views of more than 5,400 people who bought newbuild homes in the last four years, suggests that energy efficiency is now one of seven top priorities that influence the choice of property – right up there with the more traditional considerations like location and quality of the neighbourhood. If they want to stay competitive, housebuilders now need to consider how to appeal to budget-conscious buyers who don’t have money to literally burn on their fuel bills. To meet carbon reduction targets, building regulations across the UK are also introducing stricter standards. Architects, builders and developers should therefore be thinking about long-term energy efficiency measures right from the outset of a project. One way they could do this is by adopting a Fabric First approach to building design. Those of us in the structural timber sector have championed this method for years, but it seems the rest of the construction industry is beginning to catch up.


2 Fabric First prioritises the insulation and airtightness of the building over using more costly renewable energy or heating systems. Significant cost savings can be made over a home’s lifetime if it is designed in this way. Fabric First buildings minimise the need for energy consumption in several ways. Firstly, they take advantage of natural sunlight to warm the building up, using strategically placed openings and shadings. Secondly, because they are wellinsulated and constructed in a way that maximises airtightness and reduces draughts, they keep hold of that warm air. If like this summer, it gets too warm, these buildings reduce the need for air-conditioning through clever use of natural ventilation. A Fabric First approach is generally considered to be more sustainable than renewable energy systems like solar panels, or energy-saving technology such as smart home gadgets. This is partly because it doesn’t require the occupant to master complicated new tech or adjust their energy consumption habits – the building is doing the work for them. Also, a building’s fabric can’t be easily tampered with by occupants, so it will continue to perform as intended for decades. By using Fabric First,

housebuilders are ‘future-proofing’ their designs, ensuring they are still applicable as technology advances and more stringent building standards are introduced. Fabric First buildings can be constructed offsite, with the associated advantages of higher quality, increased speed, reduced labour costs and environmental benefits. Recently, the UK Government has made a significant effort to promote the benefits of offsite construction. It sounds obvious, but a well-insulated house is key to energy efficiency, and this is where offsite systems really deliver. Closed panel building systems are particularly effective, as they are manufactured in quality-controlled factory conditions. Our closed panel systems, for example, have insulation which is injected into the panels offsite and expands to fill every space. There are numerous other advantages to Fabric First. It doesn’t require maintenance – it’s essentially a ‘fit and forget’ approach, because once the house is built, it is job done. Conversely, the long-term need for regular upkeep and cleaning of renewable tech like solar panels could also be unattractive to many buyers, along with the effect of panels on a property’s appearance. Solar panels are only suitable for selected homes which are orientated favourably to catch maximum sunlight and have appropriate roof space, while Fabric First principles can be applied to every home in a development. The great news for housebuilders is that if an integrated building system is used, using a Fabric First approach is not necessarily more expensive or time consuming. So why not future-proof your product by building in energy efficiency right from the outset of your project, rather than as an afterthought? It’s a win-win for both housebuilder and customer. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. Construction using Fabric First principles create exceptional energy and quality benefits




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Since its unveiling earlier in the year, the Macallan Distillery has quickly become an iconic, award-winning timber building, showcasing engineered wood via the most complex timber roof structure ever built in the UK.


2 Built on the Easter Elchies estate in Speyside, the new flagship £140 million Macallan Distillery roof consists of five domes which mirror the surrounding landscape. The undulating timber roof structure comprising 380,000 individual components. Each junction and beam has a specific name and has been tested in over 160 different load conditions while ‘The Swiss Alpine Design code’ has been used to understand the effects of wind, snow and ice on the intricate structure. The 207m long roof comprises 1,798 glulam timber beams and 2,447 roof decks delivered in 130 just-in-time deliveries, making up a 3 x 3m waffle grid that carries 2,500 cassettes that support a natural meadow green roof. It took almost 12 months of work, using collaborative design


and bespoke parametric modelling software, to define the complex geometry and realise the fluidity of the structure. All the timber items were made in Wiehag’s factory in Austria and used advanced CNC machinery to meet the design team’s high standards of quality and finish, and Wiehags advanced barcode system ensured each piece was delivered when required to site. There were over 5,000 lifts, using four mobile cranes, to install the roof structure. In a similar way that timber barrels impart a flavour to whisky, the timber roof gives a unique character to this building. The 200mm wide glulam beams have a 160mm wide glulam core with 2x20mm structural LVL (laminated veneer lumber) cheeks

either side. The LVL cheeks form a channel at each bottom face of the beams, and the bottom face of the glulam core is bevelled to mirror the organic hilly geometry, as well as forming an exceptional neat detail when four beams meet at a junction. Wiehag’s prefab roof deck is built up with a LVL ceiling, timber joists and OSB panel on top, which serves as the base for the 12,300sqm of green roof build up. The amazing freeform design was by leading architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P) and structural engineers Arup. The engineering of the roof was undertaken by Arup in close collaboration with RSH+P all the way from competition up to tender with Wiehag undertaking the final construction design, manufacture and installation of the timber for main contractor Robertson Construction. For a project of this complexity Wiehag used their preferred installer L&S Baucon GmbH. The pre-installation at the distillery of the whiskey production stills and machineries further complicated the installation of the roof, and L&S Baucon had to develop some innovative propping solutions to work around the delicate


TIMBER copper structures and work alongside Wiehag calculating forces through props and designing connections for props that would allow them to work with hydraulic rams to lift the beams to exact locations once installed. This prop worked perfectly for all five domes.



STRUCTURAL TIMBER AWARDS 2018 Recently winning both the Engineer and Installer of the Year Award plus the coveted Winner of Winners Award, the Macallan Distillery is a landmark project. Brian Anderson, Project Director for Robertson, said: “The Structural Timber Awards highlight the exceeding levels of innovation in building with wood – from architectural design and engineering to construction. The Macallan is an example of all of the above and more. It was a complex, ambitious project that during construction involved up to 400 people specialising in more than 20 different trades onsite – which gives an idea of the true scale of the project. It’s an honour to be recognised alongside the wider businesses that contributed to what has been a once-in-a-lifetime project that we are immensely proud to have been part of.” For more information visit: | | |

L&S Baucon pushed the boundary with this timber installation and always look for new ways to make working on roofs more efficient but maintaining a very high safety standard. On the Macallan Distillery project they had to walk on the roof to install the timber decks so they could screw down the decks and seal the roof from water ingress. To do this they used the Luxline system which allowed the installers to move around freely but at the same time work on a fall restraint system – that was independently tested at the University of Munich – before introducing it to the principal contractor as a means of working safely on the roof. This allowed them to install the roof safely while working efficiently. Bill Robertson, founder and Executive Chairman, Robertson, said: “This once-in-a-lifetime project is one that Robertson has been honoured to be part of. The complexity of the construction work required a huge effort from various teams within our business, and their passion and dedication for the project is clear when you see the completed distillery and visitor experience. Throughout, we have placed great emphasis on understanding The Macallan’s vision for their Speyside home and there has been a real spirit of collaboration between us and all other partners. We congratulate The Macallan and hope visitors to the area enjoy this world class distillery.” Graham Stirk, Senior Partner and Lead Architect, RSH+P, added: “The Macallan estate truly is a special place, a place we have come to love and respect hugely. The vision was always ambitious but this enabled us to challenge our own thinking to create something so dramatic and aweinspiring. It has been an honour to play our part in shaping the next chapter for The Macallan.” Images: 01-04. The glulam and LVL structure was designed and built offsite and lifted into position to form the now iconic Distillery roof.






1 A new development that transforms the workplace experience and is specifically designed to appeal to the world’s fastest growing and dynamic businesses, is an exceptional example of the use of cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam. Developer Republic will create 650,000sq ft of high-quality, lowcost workspace with a wide range of amenities and extensive public space. The masterplan will be realised in two phases. Heyne Tillett Steel (HTS) completed phase one in early 2018 with the extensive refurbishment of Anchorage House, now known as The Import Building and has been created as part of the wider Republic masterplan in East India Dock, Tower Hamlets. HTS provided the structural design for the integration of an exposed timber structure into the atrium of the existing nine storey RC framed building, sitting over a single basement. Phase 1A of the project included partially infilling the atrium with an exposed glulam frame with CLT slabs to soften the aesthetic of the 1990s frame and extend the lettable area. The new structure is connected to the existing RC frame at each level to take the additional loading back to the original load paths with a series of bespoke structural connections between timber and concrete. Phase 1B included infilling the existing external arcade around the perimeter at ground floor level and adding a two-storey pavilion into the south-east corner of the building. 74


As onsite space was limited, timber members were pre-cut, drilled and machined in Wiehag’s factory in Austria. The metalwork was factoryfitted, enabling efficient, fast and safe installation. This also helped to minimise disruption to the buildings occupiers as well as lowering the amounts of waste and levels of noise produced.

waste timber was fed into Wiehag’s own power station, making it selfsufficient in heat and electricity. Offsite construction also allowed for better accuracy in predicting logistical issues which was vital in meeting the challenging phased programme required and helped to eliminate unnecessary lorry deliveries and lower energy consumption onsite.

Architects, Studio RHE, envisioned turning the existing 1990s office building into a space that felt renewed and contemporary and timber was used throughout to achieve this. The spruce glulam and CLT were factoryfinished with a light oak stain and helped to obtain the desired aesthetic appearance. The use of timber for the atrium structure is more than an aesthetic choice, however, it is a supporting structural element that is crucial to the overall refurbishment. The timber structure is much lighter than an equivalent in steel or concrete, vital in an existing building, requiring no additional foundations. Timber also aided the efficient delivery of the project on-time and on-budget. To build this project with an alternative method of construction, and not a factory manufactured, offsite solution, would have been vastly more expensive and time consuming

The timber structure is designed for 90 minutes of fire resistance, easily achieved by protecting the galvanised steel connectors by recessing them into the glulam and CLT. As most of the operations were offsite, the project achieved a RIDDOR free installation. The close and collaborative working relationship developed with main contractor Galliford Try, architect Studio RHE, timber subcontractor Wiehag and the rest of the design team became integral to the efficient delivery of The Import Building. HTS, Galliford Try and Studio RHE collectively pushed for the pre-fabricated solution, concluding it was the most efficient process for realising the project, on time and on budget.

The glulam and CLT used in this project is all PEFC-certified, resulting in hundreds of tonnes of CO2 being captured and ensuring the building remains carbon neutral for several years. The offsite pre-fabrication of the panels, using precise CNC machines, drastically reduced potential wastage on site. During production any

For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Offsite construction allowed for better accuracy in predicting logistical issues which was vital in meeting the challenging phased programme. Courtesy Heyne Tillett Steel


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Leading the way for offsite construction



Tackling the under-supply of housing in the UK is arguably the biggest single challenge facing the industry. Martin Hurn, Managing Director of Futurebuild Events, sees the answers to many of these challenges within the Offsite Hub.

1 The government’s plans to increase the infrastructure fund to £5.5 billion to support the construction of 650,000 homes in the UK is an initiative welcomed by Futurebuild. The question remains as to how to produce this quota of homes, efficiently and to a high standard. It’s clear that to meet these objectives, we need a major step change in how we fundamentally think about housebuilding. Offsite construction in particular, can help to provide a radical solution to meeting the large numbers required without impacting quality. Fortunately, confidence in offsite is growing in the wider industry, with forecasts putting annual growth in the sector at more than 100% – reaching £2.8 billion a year for buildings alone by 2020. This funding boost in housing infrastructure from the Government will only help to fuel the growth of confidence in the future of offsite. As the evolution of ecobuild, Futurebuild truly represents the fulfilment of the bold vision for the future that we announced following our acquisition of the event at the end of 2016. Within this vision, one area in which we particularly pride ourselves on is always being at the forefront of offsite.


For 2019, the Offsite Hub, in partnership with Explore Offsite, is back and bigger than ever with some of the most innovative and forwardthinking brands gathering from around the globe to represent the sector, including industry leaders such as Marley Modular, Portakabin and Hadley Group. The Hub will provide a platform for exhibitors to showcase the very latest they have to offer in offsite technologies and innovations to the UK’s largest audience of active buyers. As well as this, the event will be home to the most comprehensive programme of high-quality, offsitefocused content available at any industry event in the UK, with a focus on the latest innovations, technologies and approaches. The programme will include four dedicated offsite seminar streams over three days, which will feature even more CPD masterclasses and exhibitors will be invited to present the latest in offsite technology and lean manufacturing systems with case study examples. The seminars are backed by key trade bodies including the Structural Timber Association (STA), the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA), British Precast and the soon to be launched Light Steel Frame Association. Each will be hosting their own seminar theatre, taking the lead on their own stream of content, creating a platform for these associations to come together and offer a well-balanced and broad range of content on the latest innovations within their respective sectors. Through these seminars, the Offsite Hub will tackle, head on, the challenge of educating and inspiring the wider built environment about the potential

for offsite technology. It will be a showcase of collaboration between innovators and leaders in the sector, to achieve maximum engagement and impact with decision-makers across the industry. The Hub will also introduce a range of exciting new features for 2019, including a major feature build, exclusive Offsite café hosted by Offsite Magazine and the opportunity to engage with Cogent Consulting experts. The Offsite Construction Awards return to Futurebuild on the first night of the event, firmly placing Futurebuild forefront of all things offsite and celebrating the innovations in the industry. Futurebuild will also be working in partnership with Help Bristol’s Homeless, supporting their mission to change the face of homelessness and to promote the group’s message that everyone should have the opportunity to live in a place they can call their own. Help Bristol’s Homeless will be showcasing some of its converted shipping containers and the work it does with staff and volunteers to build this temporary accommodation while service users gain access to the help they need to secure a permanent home. Futurebuild 2019 is the perfect platform to position your brand at the forefront of the industry, find out more at:

Images: 01. The Offsite Hub will be a focal point for the industry at Futurebuild 2019


The future of Offsite Introducing Futurebuild 2019 The Offsite Hub, brought to you in partnership with Explore Offsite, is the UK’s largest gathering of offsite construction professionals working within this fast-growing sector. At Futurebuild 2019, the offsite offering has grown by 36%, with even more exciting full-scale builds and new system demonstrations


showcasing the latest advances and innovations from right across the globe. The focus will be placed firmly on exploring the most exciting emerging offsite technologies, materials and solutions.



In partnership with


Be part of the future Contact Trevor Crawford on +44 (0)20 3011 2546





Better productivity and higher quality are central to the improvements required within the construction sector and central to offsite manufacture. As an aid the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) alongside RIBA and RICS recently launched a new Quality Tracker Tool with distinct benefits for all those working in the built environment.

1 The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) launched a new free-to-download digital tool – the Quality Tracker – to improve the quality of outcomes in the construction industry. It will be piloted over the next six months on real construction projects. “This is a significant cross-industry initiative which will enable clients and construction industry professionals to achieve better long-term building quality,” says RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire. “The industry needs a shared definition and method of measuring quality, and better ways to account for risk and uncertainty – and this tool is an excellent response to those issues. I urge all industry professionals to pilot and help to shape its development.” The Tracker has outlined five key benefits for the construction industry •

Although quality targets may be discussed at the start of a project, they often get neglected as deadlines approach and costs rise. The Tracker is a constant reminder of quality targets.


• The Tracker sets up a formal ‘chain of custody for quality’ aligned to the RIBA Plan of Work, enabling all prospective and current members of the project team to better understand their risks. This improves collaboration, increases transparency, and averts disputes as project teams grow and change. • Post-completion, when signed-off, the Quality Tracker gives purchasers, tenants, investors and asset managers a straightforward account about the quality targets for the building they are buying into and its development history. • The Tracker allows clients to demonstrate their overall commitment to quality and differentiate themselves in the market. • Finally, the wider adoptions of the Quality Tracker will incentivise better quality in buildings which, in turn, will lead to improved human health, safety and wellbeing, and boot the construction industry’s reputation. Paul Nash, Past-President of CIOB and Chair of their Quality Commission, said: “Last year the CIOB established a Commission to examine the issue of quality in our industry. We needed to understand what was preventing or promoting the delivery of quality on construction projects. Our research identified that there was a need to raise standards across the industry and to improve education and training on quality. But importantly there was also a recognition that the industry needed to collaborate if it is to bring about the change that is so urgently needed. It is for this reason that the Building in Quality initiative is so important, and I would encourage our members and wider industry to support this initiative and work together to build a better industry.”

The CIOB Academy is also launching a brand new course focused on managing and delivering quality in construction, following months of work by a CIOB Commission of Past Presidents into the issue of build quality, and what practical steps can be taken to support delivery of quality construction and development projects. The Commission considered what the CIOB could do to promote a culture of quality in construction, focusing on potential solutions. One of the outcomes is the creation of the CIOB’s Construction Quality Management course. “Poor quality is costing the industry annually more than the combined profits of companies in the industry,” said Adrian Montague, Head of the CIOB Academy. “Construction quality management can deliver customer satisfaction and value. Setting and meeting quality objectives requires a sound knowledge of processes, legislation and compliance – the core of our new course. We want to see a ‘get it right first time’ approach embedded in the industry, which should prevent these unnecessary costs and improve customer retention. Quality management is as important to a company’s efficiency and reputation as meeting time and cost targets.” For more information on the Quality Tracker Tool pilot visit: For more information on the Construction Quality Management course visit: www.ciobacademy. org/product/construction-qualitymanagement/ Images: 01. Paul Nash, Past-President of CIOB and Chair of their Quality Commission



LET IT FLOW Offsite manufacturers are continually looking to refine and improve their build process in order to supply better quality product into the market all the while reducing production time, waste and cost.

1 While careful deliberation is given to the choice of sanitaryware within a bathroom, the practical aspects like drainage are often an afterthought rather than an initial consideration. Specialist wet room flooring manufacturer, On The Level (OTL),

prides itself on giving customers a choice of pleasing systems that fit in with their bathrooms. For designers and architects, this makes it easy to find the right drain to achieve a seamless result.

OTL’s extensive product range accommodates differing styles: square grating four-way fall complements a classic wet room design, suitable for mosaic or large format tiles. Increasingly popular is the Linear system due to its sleek finish, and the SuperSlim Tile-In comes in polished stainless steel, which can be flipped to show a tile insert for a minimalist look. Those seeking increased standing space will love the INFINITY I-Line. Featuring a one-way fall, the tray flows in a single direction towards the discreet 8mm channel edging the shower room wall. Exclusive to OTL, this ‘invisible’ drain is fully integrated: embedded into the floor, then layered over with adhesive and tiles. For customers wanting matching sanitary ware, OTL’s unique capabilities mean they can choose from a range of colours and finishes for their grates and channels, including matte and gloss. For more information visit:

Images: 01. OTL offer a unique range of wet room flooring products

Leading the way in wet room services Natural, sustainably sourced materials that provide you with durable and fully waterproofed foundations, OTL wet room systems come with peace of mind as standard.

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With the shift away from ‘traditional construction thinking’ to the adoption of assembly principles – offsite construction techniques and technologies are shaping the future of construction. NEW FOR 2019 - OFFSITE EXPO brings together those who are driving change in the construction sector – the event will play host to the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular solutions, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions. Exhibiting companies will also have the exclusive opportunity to participate in the unique Offsite Buyers Forum - a dynamic environment facilitating meetings with leading architects, contractors, specifiers and purchasing managers seeking the latest offsite innovation. Developed and curated by leading offsite experts Cogent Consulting, in partnership with leading industry trade bodies - a range of CPD accredited masterclasses will be presented by the industry pioneers who are making the headlines.

Align Your Products and Services With This Increasingly Important Sector Maximise your business development potential at the UK’s biggest showcase of offsite manufactured construction technology and solutions.


For more information contact


DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then the following industry events may be of interest:

DATE 12 Feb 19




Explore Offsite Housing

QEII Centre, London


Experts have hailed offsite construction as the only way to respond to the demand for new housing. Moving the construction of houses into factories enables the build to take place both efficiently and economically, making the national shortage of labour less of a concern. This conference brings together technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction solutions.

5-7 March 19


ExCeL, London

A fresh format that’s nothing like an ordinary trade show bringing together the most innovative, exciting and inspiring brands, companies, speakers and experiences. The centrepiece will be the comprehensive conference programme curated by top industry figures surrounded by eight unique ‘futurebuild hubs’ that will each explore a different aspect of the built environment. 5 March 19

Offsite Construction Awards

ExCeL, London

Celebrate the best in precision building design and delivery at the Offsite Construction Awards. The Awards will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and costeffective way to deliver a better built environment. Entries close 11 January 2019. 30 April 19

Tall Buildings Conference


Tall buildings present unique challenges in terms of both design and construction. Their sheer scale demands that particular attention is paid simultaneously to strategic and detailed issues. This event is intended to assist engineers in understanding the common challenges associated with transferring standard engineering principles and knowledge from low-rise structures to tall buildings. 9 May 19

Inside Offsite Factory Tour: Portakabin

Huntington, York

Portakabin are opening their factory doors to architects, engineers, contractors, developers and clients to allow them to discover more about volumetric modular technology. Designed and manufactured at the 250,000sqm Portakabin production facility in York, Portakabin buildings fulfil the demands of an increasing range of applications, from office space, childcare facilities and classrooms to health centres, hospitals, call centres and toilets and showers. 21 May 19

Solid Wood Solutions


Solid Wood Solutions will feature case studies on some of the major solid wood projects which have been delivered recently throughout the UK and Europe and this is supported by an exhibition of CLT and Glulam suppliers as well as complementary component manufacturers. 24-25 Sept 19



Offsite Expo

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

NEW FOR 2019 - OFFSITE EXPO brings together those who are driving change – the event will play host to the leading UK and international suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, pod and modular solutions. Exhibiting companies will also have the exclusive opportunity to participate in the Offsite Buyers Forum - a dynamic environment facilitating meetings with leading architects, contractors, specifiers and purchasing managers.




9 Oct 19

Structural Timber Awards


The Structural Timber Awards are back for 2019, celebrating it’s fifth year rewarding the very best in structural timber construction. Over 550 construction professionals will gather at the prestigious ceremony to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. 22 Oct 19

Modular Matters

NCC, Birmingham

Modular Matters conference and exhibition 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. Limited tickets available – book now to avoid disappointment!

Publications and Events Calendar 2019 Our 2019 calendar plots a programme of activity that could become an integral part of your campaign strategy.

Email for your FREE copy

05.03.19 05.03.19

Do you have a project that you think is worthy of winning an Offsite Construction Award? If yes, start your entry today! The closing date for award entries is 11 January 2019 – enter any of the 22 CATEGORIES FREE of charge


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