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OFFSITE AWARDS 2019 All the winning projects and people from this year’s bumper event


ACCORD & LOCAL HOMES Chris Handy explains how offsite delivers environmentally-friendly, super-insulated living


AIMCH A new housing industrialisation project could be key to tackling a national crisis




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CHAMPIONS AND CHALLENGES Welcome everybody. Hopefully you will have recovered from the exertions of Futurebuild where the Offsite Hub was a hive of activity throughout the three days. Congratulations once again to all those that came away from the Offsite Awards as worthy winners.

A few weeks ago, the Seismic consortium was launched to transform the way primary schools are designed and built – again funded by Innovate UK – Blacc, Bryden Wood, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), and two of the UK’s leading offsite specialists, Elliott and the McAvoy Group are set to enter a new era of partnering. We will be covering this in more depth later in the year.

You will be able to see the winning projects and people in all their glory in our special dedicated Awards section in this issue. The judging panel found it tough to separate the shortlisted entries in each category and were genuinely overwhelmed by the variety and quality of projects being delivered across the UK. The way the offsite industry is championing what it can do is inspiring.

Housing provision is front and centre of many conversations surrounding offsite. Richard Lankshear, Innovation Manager at NHBC tells us that in the past few months alone, they have been invited to eight different offsite factories producing a variety of systems and that NHBC has received a record number of systems to review. The power of offsite delivery will come as no surprise to Dr Chris Handy, Chief Executive of Accord – one of the most innovative housing associations in the UK – inside he outlines how they have been providing offsite solutions for years through its LoCaL Homes business and why offsite construction is the best way to produce high-quality, affordable and environmentally friendly homes.

As the offsite sector continues to develop and change rapidly, there is an exceptional amount of collaboration and co-ordinated development work now happening. This seems to me the only way that the offsite sector will truly make far-reaching progress and begin to loosen the stranglehold that ‘traditional’ construction has on the built environment. This issue we hear more about AIMCH, which received £4 million of funding from Innovate UK and is seeking to develop industrialised ‘near-to-market panelised offsite solutions built 30% more quickly and with a 50% reduction in defects, yet cost the same or less to construct than traditionally built homes.’

Many thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters. Enjoy…

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:











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44 | Moving Modular Housing





Hadley Steel Framing, part of the Hadley Group, has had its light gauge steel profiles installed in a nine-storey student accommodation in Exeter. The £40million development will provide accommodation for nearly 600 students and showcase steel-based offsite construction methods.

Held during Futurebuild – the annual Offsite Construction Awards spent the evening celebrating everything offsite. In our special dedicated Awards section in this issue, you can see all the winning projects and people including the coveted Winner of Winners.



46 | Flying High for Offsite

As one of the most innovative housing associations in the UK, Accord have been at the forefront of promoting offsite solutions for many years through its successful LoCaL Homes business. Dr Chris Handy, Chief Executive of Accord illustrates why offsite construction is an essential way forward.

The eagerly anticipated launch of the Light Steel Frame Association was held at futurebuild 2019. Managing Director of Cogent Consulting Darren Richards, outlines the requirement for a central representation, together with the aims and objectives of the Association.

56 | Identifying Industry Change

66 A new housing industrialisation project could be key to tackling the housing crisis. Stewart Dalgarno, AIMCH Project Director and Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group, outlines what this new development could achieve.

Raymond Millar, Construction Director at the McAvoy Group, describes how Dublin Airport used offsite construction to expand its passenger boarding facilities and achieve one of the fastest projects ever completed at the airport.

52 | Light Steel Frame Association


Factory production of modular units is a finely tuned process, with handling techniques and transportation of modules from factory to final destination equally in need of careful planning.

Interest around offsite construction in UK housebuilding is growing rapidly and this ‘surge’ has been reflected in the NHBC Standards 2019. Richard Lankshear, Innovation Manager at NHBC, outlines a busy period ahead for the organisation.

58 | Housing Conference Reveals Opportunities

Social media was a buzz as the Minister for Housing, Kit Malthouse, took to the speaker platform at the QEII, Westminster, London on 27 March to address over 250 construction professionals at the Explore Offsite Housing conference.

60 | Modular Mansions on the Horizon

Award winning regeneration company Urban Splash has announced the addition of a new timber-based modular product to its expanding offsite portfolio – Mansion House.



08 | Industry News

42 | A New Model for a New Era

70 | Precast Wins at Hox Park

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: a Seismic new collaboration assessing standardised module sizes and steel-framed solutions, new Sunesis schools and a £9 million deal will see developer Apex Airspace build 78 homes on rooftops across London.

Irrespective of personal views on leaving the EU, Brexit will undoubtedly have consequences on the economic and staffing model of UK construction for years to come. A new construction industry ‘action plan’ throws some light on what may lie ahead.

Located on the outskirts of Egham in Surrey, Hox Park is a new high-quality, precast concrete student development for The Royalton Group and Moorfield, which forms part of the phased masterplan for the former Brunel University site.












Part of the international Hadley Group, Hadley Steel Framing’s light gauge steel profiles have been installed in a nine-storey student accommodation in Exeter, called The Depot. The £40m development will provide accommodation for circa 600 students.

1 As part of the broader build, the student accommodation has been designed to include a large retail and shopping area on its ground level. The space comes complete with a number of restaurants and bars, which add to the area’s dynamic appeal. Hadley Steel Framing provided a complete system from conceptual design through to installation using its pre-panelised, offsite bolted frame in conjunction with its composite concrete decking floor system.

2 6

Working with student accommodation can be difficult, requiring intense planning to ensure that timelines


are upheld. The build at The Depot broke ground in July 2017 with the installation of the Hadley Steel Framing system starting on site in April 2018. Work was completed on the site in February 2019, with students scheduled to move into the accommodation from September 2019. It was important that the project was handed over on time, as the internal and external finishes and services still needed to be fitted out as part of the build programme. As a result, all the teams working on the project needed to consider time efficiencies


3 from the earliest stage of the project’s development. To this end, the specification team looked for products that could be delivered and installed on site as efficiently as possible. Hadley Steel Framing’s light gauge steel systems were considered ideal. The flexible systems could be delivered and installed easily on site and were used for some of the accommodation’s most critical components. This was particularly useful for the installation of the bathroom pods, which could be transferred by crane into position. The bathroom pods were installed across each of the 601 bedrooms, saving a considerable amount of time for the contractor. Installing these modular units was an easier process than the more traditional method of building the bathrooms in situ. As a result, the contractor could complete the task independently and did not need to spend additional money employing specialist trades. Hadley Steel Framing also supplied pre-assembled panels for the development, which could be simply erected on-site via the tower cranes. The products arrived on site with all of the openings formed and steel brickwork support plates already in place. This allowed the façade installers to begin their work immediately, which once again reduced the time needed for project completion. Hadley Steel Framing supplied the main structural components of the external and internal wall panels, composite floor


slabs, steel brickwork support plates, metal stairs and pre-panelised roof structure.

Speaking about the project, Henry Yolland, Package Engineer for the main project contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine, commented: “Hadley Steel Framing systems were used extensively throughout the project and made work much easier to progress. The company’s systems were particularly useful with regard to installing the bathroom pods, which we were able to simply crane into position and fit into place. The pre-assembled panels were very similar and once again, we could simply erect them via the tower cranes.” He continued: “Working on The Depot was an enjoyable experience, and it has been great to work on such a significant development. As with so many jobs in the construction industry, this project really came down to problem-solving. With Hadley Steel Framing we have found a very professional company with a great attitude to overcoming challenges.” As well as all the other steel systems, the project also utilised a scaffold-less edge protection system, as well as prefabricated steel frame stair units all designed and detailed in house by the Hadley Steel Framing technical team.

5 Work on The Depot has now been completed, with students scheduled to move in from the start of September. The project reaffirms just what’s possible when construction firms from across the supply chain work collaboratively to overcome complex challenges. What’s more, the development is testament to the time and logistical benefits that come from utilising more modern methods of construction, including offsite, proving once again that this modern form of construction can have widescale benefits if further embraced. For more information visit: Images: 01-05. The Depot is benefitting from Hadley Steel Framing’s light gauge steel and structural framing systems. (3) Courtesy of Ollie Richards, Sir Robert McAlpine



UK INDUSTRY NEWS New Consortium Launch Seismic Move

A new consortium has been launched to transform the way primary schools are designed and built. Funded by Innovate UK – the public body established to drive productivity and economic growth through innovation – and managed by construction consultants Blacc. The other partners in the Seismic consortium are Bryden Wood, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), and two of the UK’s leading offsite specialists, Elliott and the McAvoy Group.

reductions in lead times and build costs whilst accommodating individual design requirements”, said Jami Cresser-Brown, Director of Bryden Wood.

Around 100 new and replacement primary schools are needed every year in the UK at a cost of £5billion. This level of demand far exceeds the capacity currently available in the construction industry. The challenge is compounded by the general inefficiency of the construction sector compared to UK manufacturing. The new consortium has been established to carry out extensive research and development to engineer a range of standardised offsite solutions which will radically increase productivity and efficiency, drive down costs and reduce lead times in the delivery of exemplary primary schools.

Susan Hone-Brookes, Chief Engineer for Construction and Infrastructure at the MTC said: “This project will not only standardise different, market-leading offsite solutions for primary school construction, but it will act as a trailblazer to demonstrate the very latest offsite manufacturing technologies.”

Commenting on the partnership’s vision, Richard Crosby, Director of Blacc, said: “By applying greater use of standardisation, our aim is to develop a series of components to enable multiple offsite specialists to achieve unprecedented economies of scale and efficiency in manufacturing. This will bring a higher degree of stability, predictability and transparency to the procurement process – to the benefit of both the client and the supply chain. It represents a window into a brave new world for UK construction.” One of the solutions currently in development is the creation of a pioneering digital tool to accelerate the initial design phase for new primary schools. This user-friendly web-based app, which can be used by teaching professionals, will configure a primary school building on a specific site in line with DfE requirements, and using a standardised offsite solution to optimise efficiency. “By digitising the process of designing a primary school, we believe we can deliver significant


The Seismic project will also look at how standardised module sizes and steel-framed offsite solutions can be developed, costed and manufactured to achieve greater economies of scale and cost efficiencies for the construction of new primary schools.

David Clark, Head of Manufacturing and Innovation at the McAvoy Group, added: “This is a truly unique partnership of visionary organisations who are demonstrating the highest level of collaboration, trust and transparency. It is fantastic to be a part of such a ground-breaking project which we think will be a catalyst for revolutionising not just school design, procurement and delivery but the wider construction industry. There is also huge potential to take the best of UK manufacturing and apply that to offsite construction to realise even greater cost and programme efficiencies – with no compromise on design – to the benefit of the communities we serve.” James Cowell, Technical Director of Elliott, said: “This is a tremendous opportunity to take offsite to the next level whilst developing even more innovative solutions to meet the rising demand for primary school places. There are clear productivity issues across construction and offsite manufacture is a proven method of addressing that, as well as issues such as cost control, skills shortages, sub-standard quality and long lead times.” Source:


Mjøstårnet in Norway becomes world’s tallest timber tower

Mjøstårnet by Voll Arkitekter in Brumunddal, Norway, has been verified as the world’s tallest timber building by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. The 85.4-metre-high tower was built using crosslaminated timber (CLT), a pioneering material that allows architects to build tall buildings from sustainable wood. It has taken the title of world’s tallest timber building from the 53-metre-high Brock Commons Tallwood House in Vancouver, which has a hybrid wood and concrete structure. Treet in Bergen, Norway, which is 49 metres high, used to be the tallest all timber building until Mjøstårnet completed in March 2019. Mjøstårnet, the third-tallest building in the country, was designed by Norwegian practice Voll Arkitekter for AB Invest. The 18-storey mixed-use building contains apartments, the Wood Hotel, swimming pool, office space, and a restaurant Timber specialist Moelven Limitre installed the building’s timber structure, including elevator shafts made entirely from CLT, and columns made from glued laminated timber (glulam). Glulam is made from wood that is planed then glued together to form columns or beams, and can be used in the place of concrete or steel elements. CLT and glulam are strong enough to support large loads, and using timber means the carbon absorbed from the atmosphere by the trees is locked into the structure permanently. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) recently revised its guidelines to recognise timber as structural material in response to what it described as an “uptick” in the number of tall timber buildings around the world. For more information on Tall Building – why not attend the Tall Buildings Conference in London on 30 April 2019 –

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Sunesis Mosaic School for Derby

taking the total capacity up to 315. Independent property, construction and infrastructure consultancy, Pick Everard is providing project management and quantity surveying services for the project. The efficiency of the modular and offsite construction process will enable the school to be built in less than nine months. Work is scheduled to start in January and the project is expected to complete in time for the new academic year in September 2019.

Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure has been appointed to build a new primary school and nursery in Derby, which will provide more than 200 school places. Hackwood Primary will be a Sunesis Mosaic model, delivered through the Scape Venture framework. The £5million flagship project is the largest to be delivered through the framework, which builds certainty into public-private partnerships. The modular single-storey school, designed by Lungfish Architects, will house six classrooms and a 26-place nursery. The expandable layout will allow additional teaching space to be added in the future,

Rob Cant, Framework Director at Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure in the Midlands, said: “Innovative framework procurement options offer longterm social value for councils and the communities they serve. We are pleased to be delivering the new, first class education facilities at Hackwood Primary School as part of Scape’s Venture framework.” Mike Salter, Group Development Director at Scape Venture added: “Hackwood Primary School is a perfect example of how the private and public sector can work together through the Scape Venture framework to deliver a new community facility in the most efficient way. It’s an innovative and exciting collaboration with Morgan Sindall Construction & Infrastructure, Lungfish and Sunesis working together utilising our Mosaic offsite product to ensure the school is delivered quickly with minimal impact on the environment.”

Fran Cox, Operations Director at Sunesis added: “Hackwood is a fantastic example of the collaboration of different organisations, wrapping support around a client who had a challenging problem to solve. To have designed, procured and built a primary school within just 12 months is no mean feat and I am thrilled that Sunesis has enabled this.” Adrian Ceney, partner at Pick Everard, said: “We are delighted to be involved in a landmark project, which will complete the Hackwood Farm estate and benefit hundreds of children. The school is currently being fabricated offsite in Hull – the first of its kind in the UK and will be delivered to Derby ahead of the start of the academic year in 2019. The Mosaic product is ground-breaking and is enabling the school to be delivered quicker, something that is so important when it comes to meeting demand for much-needed school places, and with low impact on the environment.” Derby City Council has commissioned the new 14,000ft2 school in collaboration with residential developers Redrow Homes East Midlands and Miller Homes, which are funding the project as part of their plans to build more than 700 new homes on the neighbouring Hackwood Farm estate. Source:

Room at the Top for Airspace Homes England has struck a three-year, £9million deal with developer Apex Airspace to build 78 homes on rooftops across London. The government’s ’housing accelerator’ said the modular units would be built on five sites across the capital and would be mainly constructed offsite ’before being winched on top of buildings, minimising disruption to residents’. In 2016 HTA Design drew up a study for the developer which claimed that London had capacity for 140,000 rooftop homes. Under new planning rules currently being mooted by government, architects will be allowed to extend buildings upwards without planning permission under a proposed widening of permitted development rights. The sites earmarked for the new rooftop properties by the so-called ’airspace development pioneer’ will be built in Tooting, Wanstead, Walthamstow, Putney and Wallington. The pioneering funding marks the first time that the Mayor has supported any airspace developer. With a robust pipeline, this £10million funding loan will help deliver much-needed new and affordable homes to people across the capital, who suffer at the hands of a lack of affordability, a lack of choice and longer commutes. London’s population is expected to grow by one million over the next decade, and the latest figures suggest the capital needs 65,000 new homes per year in that


timeframe to meet this demand. Our own research has shown that there is potential for up to 180,000 properties in London alone by capitalising on unused spaces above residential, commercial and public buildings. James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development, said: “London’s housing crisis has been decades in the making, and we need to use every possible opportunity to build more council, social rented, and other genuinely affordable homes. Our £10million loan will help Apex work with councils and housing associations to use their innovative approach of building on existing rooftops, so we can create more of the new genuinely affordable homes that Londoners so desperately need.”


Arshad Bhatti, Founder and Chief Executive of Apex Airspace, added: “Today’s announcement is testament to City Hall taking an innovative approach to building more affordable homes and, as pioneers in airspace development, we are thrilled to be working in partnership with the Mayor. With a robust pipeline, this £10 million funding will help deliver much-needed new homes to people across the capital, who suffer at the hands of a lack of affordability, a lack of choice and longer commutes. Source:

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

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

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Leeds Looks to Fully Modular Approach

Offsite manufacturing plays key role in Essex resi scheme

Swan Housing Association will be making the majority of the 760 new homes at its Basildon factory. Two residential schemes in Essex featuring at least 760 homes, the majority of which will be manufactured offsite, have been given a funding boost thanks to a £30m loan from Homes England.

A planning application for the UK’s biggest fully modular council housing and apartment scheme to date, has been submitted by Leeds City Council and national building contractor, United Living. If approved, the scheme at Leeds Meynell (in Holbeck) will see 28 homes constructed in less than nine months, with the first residents moving in by early 2020. The average construction time for a development of this size is usually almost 24 months. United Living has been appointed as the principal contractor for the development and is working in partnership with Premier Modular and William Saunders Architects. Manufacture of the new homes is planned to begin in late spring 2019 at an offsite facility in Brandesburton, East Yorkshire. The property mix will comprise 14 apartments across two blocks, alongside ten individual two-bedroom homes and four, three-bedroom homes. Premier Modular will produce each entire module offsite, adding brickwork cladding, roofing, and placing the finishing touches to the exterior frames before transportation to Leeds. Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Communities Councillor Debra Coupar said: “We are delighted that this flagship project has reached this critical stage and are looking forward to delivering these homes on site. This project is a modern method of construction, changing the delivery of our housing and allowing for us to develop housing opportunities that our residents and communities want and need. We’re looking forward to seeing the houses once they are completed.” Helen Francis, Business Development Director (North) for United Living, said: “We’re incredibly excited to begin the construction phase of what will be our first fully modular development. Without compromising on quality, the speed of delivery will really set this project aside and – with radical solutions needed to


fix the UK’s national housing shortage – this could be a trailblazer for others to follow. If all goes to plan, from concept to completion we’re looking at almost halving the time it would take to construct these homes through traditional methods. We’re also currently progressing talks with a number of Yorkshire-based schools and colleges to deliver work placements during the build phase of this project.” Eugenio De Sa, Managing Director for Premier Modular, added: “We’re excited to be involved in this first prestigious pilot scheme for Leeds City Council. This project gives us the opportunity to showcase how using offsite construction can reduce programme schedules, as well as the quality of construction that can be achieved. The choice of modular housing means that the Council will have reassurance that the scheme will be delivered on time and to an extremely high quality. Working in partnership with United Living we look forward to meeting and surpassing the Council’s expectations by providing them with a new community of housing that their residents will be proud to live in.” The 28 new homes will be constructed with a ‘fabric first’ approach so that the construction envelope is highly insulated for each property. A key objective of this project is to ensure energy efficiency and to lower fuel bills thus reducing fuel poverty amongst Leeds City Council tenants. On completion, the properties will be managed by Leeds City Council. The development at Leeds Meynell has been procured under the YorBuild framework. The partnership approach between United Living, Premier Modular, William Saunders Architects and Leeds City Council has enabled the accelerated delivery of this project and could result in planning permission being obtained less than 30-weeks since the original concepts were drawn up. Source: uks-largest-modular-council-housingdevelopment/


More than 500 homes, including up to 110 affordable units, are being developed by Swan Housing Association and Basildon borough council on the site of the Craylands Estate, which is being renamed Beechwood Village. And on the redevelopment of the nearby Laindon shopping centre site, Swan and the council are buliding 210 homes on a scheme to be called Laindon Place. Homes England said it agreed the loan as part of its £290million estates regeneration fund. Work is expected to finish at both sites by the autumn of 2024. Sir Edward Lister, Homes England’s chairman, said the agency had been working closely with Swan Housing on both projects and it “strongly supported” the use of modern methods of construction in the schemes. Swan would make the homes at its modular factory in Basildon and by traditional construction methods, the housing association’s regeneration and development director Geoff Pearce. The partnership with Basildon would help Swan hit its target of building 10,000 more homes by 2027, he added. Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Caledonian Secure £38 Million School Projects Volumetric modular building specialist Caledonian has secured two large school projects in quick succession with a total order value of £38million. Haygrove School and The Sir Frederick Gibberd College were secured by Caledonian under Department for Education (DfE) frameworks. Caledonian was selected for both projects because it offered a full turnkey package including lead design, planning and installation, all the way through to hand over. Alongside this was the company’s track record of delivering other high quality teaching facilities, including whole schools, on time and within budget using its innovative modular building system. Caledonian will create a brand new £29million secondary school at the Sir Frederick Gibberd College at the site of the former Passmore School in Harlow, Essex. It will comprise a 1,200 place secondary school built over three storeys including a school hall, dining hall, drama studio and a 500 place sixth form teaching area as well as sports facilities and all associated external works and pitches. The design incorporates concrete floors and, being a component-based system, allows greater flexibility in design whilst delivering a DfE

compliant solution as well as all the efficiency and time saving benefits of a modular build. Work being undertaken at Haygrove School in Bridgwater will involve utilising Caledonian’s component based school solutions to replace the main school building with modern and efficient teaching environments. The construction work will be undertaken while the school remains open and works will be carefully planned to ensure minimal disruption. The three-storey building will consist of classrooms, double-height hall and studio spaces, offices, kitchen and associated rooms for educational purposes, along with enabling, groundworks and external works. As part of Caledonian’s consultative approach, the design of SFG and Haygrove School were informed by standards supplied by the Department for Education and through a series of engagement meetings with the schools and stakeholders. “Haygrove and SFG are both large projects, which, alongside our other recent new

Award-winning bathroom pods for superior quality, reduced time on site, and cost and programme certainty, combined with unparalleled service.

business wins, underpin our future growth strategy,” said Paul Lang, Chief Executive Officer of Caledonian Modular. “We have worked closely with the DfE and the schools, as we do on all our education projects, to deliver a modern, efficient teaching spaces that will open up further opportunities for young people in the area.” Both schools incorporate factory installed concrete floors to deliver an acoustically compliant, comfortable, safe and durable environment for occupants and up to 96% of the work on each module is completed by Caledonian in its quality controlled factory facility before being delivered to site. At the same time as the modules are being manufactured, Caledonian, operating as the Principal Contractor, will be carrying out groundworks and other works on site, meaning handover can be up to half the time it would take a traditional build. Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS REHAU Offer New Guide for Offsite Construction

REHAU has produced a new dedicated guide on offsite construction aimed at M&E contractors and building services engineers to help them negotiate offsite construction and get the best out of this way of working. The guide provides an insight into the reasons for the increase in popularity of the technique, which include the influence of government policy, the residential housing crisis and emergence of built-torent. Advice is also provided on the importance of embracing and adapting sooner rather than later and how this will pay dividends in the long run. With many potential users being members or affiliated to the main industry bodies, such as CIBSE, BESA, BSRIA and IME, the guide explores the current viewpoint of each of these organisations as well as highlighting the reasons for adopting the techniques on a range projects and what they can deliver. The guide focuses on three of the key applications currently experiencing growth; bathroom pods, utility cupboards and volumetric modular, while detailing the many features and benefits of working with prefabrication and preassembly. HVAC product integration and the key considerations for heating and plumbing products when utilised in offsite construction is also explored in the guide. Benefits such as the need for fewer joints in pipe runs, leak proof piping, durability of materials, space saving,

reducing the need for hot works, as well as quick and easy installation are all discussed. Drew Clough Product Manager for Building Solutions at REHAU, said: “In recent years we’ve seen a massive increase in the amount of building services projects adopting offsite construction techniques. As such, we felt it would be appropriate to give engineers the benefit of our extensive experience of working in this way and put together a guide to assist them. “Some engineers may not be familiar with offsite construction and all it entails. Like many things, at first it may seem daunting and a bit of a minefield to understand how it all works. Hopefully, they will find this guide useful in their endeavours and it is important to add that we’re always available and happy to provide any advice and technical support they may need afterwards.” ‘An M&E guide to offsite construction for building services‘ is the latest in a series of free-to-download guides from REHAU‘s Build Your Legacy campaign. This is an initiative created to encourage M&E contractors to consider how the product choices they make today will impact on a building’s performance in years to come. For more information and to download the guide visit:

Kier Unveils New Offsite Choice As Kier continues to embrace innovation across its business as a priority, with the adoption of offsite manufacture (OSM) integral to its vision, Kier has published The Choice Factory – a new publication discussing the benefits of OSM and why Kier is exploring this approach. The Choice Factory will be released in three volumes, presenting a unique view that draws from behavioural science, marketing and different fields to encourage us to consider the way in which choice is presented or ‘choice architecture’ and the impact this has on making a decision. “The benefits of OSM, both economic and technical, are well publicised across the industry,” says Jamie Hillier preconstruction director for Major Projects – Building. “The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), amongst many others, has been talking about the function, quality, time, cost, safety and productive use of labour and other resources for over 35 years. “OSM and MMC techniques is far from new to Kier and it is an area we have been active in for almost 100 years. Despite the defined benefits, the take up of OSM is varied at best. Key barriers include a lack of industry self-awareness, skills and knowledge gaps and an incomplete feedback loop – these have been widely reviewed. There have been many attempts to change the industry, but there are a number of recent advancements that might allow a new status quo to emerge.


“A surge of new collaborative partnerships and innovative materials has generated a number of benefits. At Kier we are constantly looking at ways to bring new products and techniques to our construction projects, most recently through our membership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre. This is helping us to forge new pathways, integrating manufacturing processes into construction and enabling us to develop prototypes of new offsite components and materials. “Crucially, the requirements of what we build has continued to evolve. Increasingly, we are seeing more complex projects delivering advances in operational performance and monitoring. Buildings of this kind have more intricate solutions and can benefit from OSM effectively integrating and simplifying the build stage.


“The concept of The Choice Factory is illustrative of our flexible approach to OSM. Rather than having a uniform solution dictated by a factory, Kier provides a choice of factory-based solutions from the extensive and diverse range of offsite solutions available. The expert knowledge and experience of our people allows us to provide clients with the best solution from the full spectrum of technologies available. We don’t let the factory dictate, we help our clients define the factory that’s right for them.” To read the first volume visit: www.kier.


OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION OF NEW HOMES (NH2) FRAMEWORK Four workstreams available: Volumetric, Panelised, Highrise and Turnkey

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS New Timber Frame Business Opens in Wales

Manchester MEP Looks to Four Firms

Developer Allied London and construction partner Lendlease have chosen four firms to deliver the MEP works for the £1.25billion St. John’s development in Manchester. NG Bailey, HE Simm, SES Engineering Services and Briggs & Forrester will work collaboratively to deliver a £100million package of works. St. John’s is Manchester’s newest city centre neighbourhood comprising of commercial, leisure and residential spaces. Piling and basement excavation works are presently underway for major elements of the site including the Manchester Goods Yard and tower 1 of the Nickle and Dime twin 36-storey build to rent towers. Housebuilding in South Wales is set to become faster and more efficient with the opening of a new timber frame business in Nantyglo, Blaenau Gwent. Taylor Lane (Wales) Ltd will produce timber frames for newbuild developments across the region. The launch event gave thanks to those who had aided and supported the new venture. Having purchased the premises on Limestone Road, Taylor Lane (Wales) is committed to the area. With over 30,000ft2 of manufacturing facilities, the company will provide timber frame solutions for contractors, developers and self-builders, and offer complementary products and services including design, estimating and project management. The business has provided immediate employment for local, skilled workers. As an independent business, Taylor Lane (Wales) represents a new challenge for Managing Directors, Barrie Lane and Colin Taylor. “We saw an opportunity to establish a new business and Wales made economic sense, as a location and employment base,” comments Barrie Lane, Managing Director of Taylor Lane (Wales). “We have already received incredible support and encouragement from the Council and local business leaders. We are looking forward to extending the facility and services of Taylor Lane (Wales), as the Welsh Government pledges funds to build 20,000 affordable homes over the next four years.”

Taylor Lane (Wales) welcomed Blaenau Gwent County Borough (BGCBC) Council Cabinet Members for Regeneration and Economic Development, Councillor David Davis and Deputy Leader – Councillor Garth Collier; members of the BGCBC environment and regeneration team, Director Richard Crook and Head of Regeneration Ellie Fry; Councillor Wayne Hodgins; representatives from Thomas Carroll Group and NatWest. Councillor David Davies, Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development added: “We are delighted that Taylor Lane have chosen Nantyglo to establish a new timber frame business. This will provide an added boost to the building industry in our area, especially as the Welsh Government is committed to building affordable homes throughout Blaenau Gwent. Additionally, timber frame house construction offers many benefits, they are quicker than traditional buildings to construct and provide many environmental advantages”. (Pictured L-R) Taylor Lane (Wales) joint managing director, Barrie Lane; former Wales International and British Lion, Brynmor Williams and Taylor Lane (Wales) joint managing director, Colin Taylor. Source:

The MEP framework contractors are being engaged early to drive value into the vast project. Together they will plan out and agree common installation methods, a collective approach to BIM and design. Paul Briars, Regional Director North West at NG Bailey, said: “We have a strong portfolio of Manchester-based projects and we look forward to building on our extensive experience, integrating our offsite manufacture capabilities, as well as offering a true end-to-end solution through the inclusion of our services division.” Tony Hulbert, Regional Preconstruction Manager at Briggs & Forrester Group said: “We are proud to work alongside our fellow MEP providers to deliver these essential services to the ambitious scheme over the next four to five years.” Greg Simm, operations director at HE Simm, added: “Our focus will lie on providing MEP services for both commercial and residential elements within the scheme, which will include the Nickel & Dime residential towers.” Glen Hardman, North West operations director at SES Engineering Services, said: “Being involved in such a project also presents an opportunity for SES to demonstrate its BIM Level 2 and offsite manufacturing expertise to great effect, as well as working in collaboration with the other appointed framework partners to support the local community and skills training initiatives this scheme can offer.” Source:



UK INDUSTRY NEWS MetroHome to Boost Offsite Social Housing Two established UK firms have responded to the UK’s housing crisis by announcing offsite manufacturing initiatives aimed specifically at the social housing sector. Atkins has teamed up with a new steel-framed housing system supplier to launch ‘MetroHome’, a concept designed to let local authorities build on small brownfield sites. Birmingham-based Colmore Tang Construction have also launched a division to supply land, planning and properties for social housing. The company said it was “keen to be involved with” offsite manufacturing for its new division. Philip Hoare, UK & Europe Chief Executive Officer of SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, said: “The UK’s housing crisis has had a detrimental impact on society for too long. If we want to get close to narrowing the gap between supply and demand the market needs disruption, and offsite constructed housing offers a great opportunity to bring a fresh approach to this decades-old housing shortage.” Participating in the Atkins initiative is Parabuild Solutions, a company launched in 2016 to provide a low-cost steel framed housing system. The first MetroHome houses will be built later this year in the London Borough of Lambeth.

Colmore Tang’s new social housing division, Colmore Tang Living, aims to source land in the Midlands to deliver up to 100 high-quality houses per site using unspecified offsite manufacturing methods. The company said it would be “a one-stop shop for sourcing land, achieving planning and delivering properties.” Andy Robinson, CEO of Colmore Tang Group, said: “We’ve long championed forwardthinking practices that bring significant benefits to the construction industry, and offsite manufacturing is a

fast, lean and efficient method that we are keen to be involved with.”

encouraging peer-to-peer learning, trust and bridging the gaps that exist in construction and design, with outputs that will contribute to improvements in the quality and volume of homes we deliver.”

L&Q Group director of development Fiona FletcherSmith said: “To achieve large volumes of building, while still maintaining quality, we needed to innovate. Offsite offers a world of exciting possibilities – faster build programmes and improved build quality, tackling the skills shortage and reduced project costs. Some people get nervous when they hear a part of their home has been built in a factory. But it actually guarantees better quality, because these are better environments for assembling and building in than the harsh outdoor climate.”

Meanwhile, UK volume housebuilder Weston Group announced the opening of a “housebuilding factory” in Braintree, Essex, to provide kitchen and bathroom assemblies for its residential developments. Source:

L&Q Announce 2025 Target A major housing association is to use offsite manufacturing on all its newbuild homes from 2025 after taking advice from a consortium including three major architecture practices. L&Q, which houses about 250,000 people, primarily across London and the South East, published an ambitious offsite strategy. The organisation is working with a panel including Hawkins Brown Architects, HTA Design and Pollard Thomas Edwards Architects, alongside engineers and contractors. First brought in to advise on the benefits of offsite technology, the panel is now developing design proposals. L&Q has committed to delivering 100,000 new homes with like-minded partners over the next decade. Construction services director Wayne Hill – who leads the product innovation team at L&Q – said: “The findings of the group were very positive and helped develop an approach that can utilise the efficient benefits of MMC while retaining the flexibility of traditional construction approaches. This has now formed the basis of L&Q’s phased roadmap towards fully integrated MMC build solutions. This approach to working between client, consultant and supplier is

The association launched its first range of pre-built product designs, including bathroom units and balconies, in March. Later in the spring, it will build its first offsite manufactured homes outside of London. By 2025 L&Q plans for all its new builds to feature some aspect offsite. By 2028 it aims to place its first entirely offsite manufactured home onsite.




UK INDUSTRY NEWS Project Etopia Aiming For New BRE Modular Construction Standard


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Modular homes provider Project Etopia will begin building a new weather and fire-resilient demonstration home at BRE’s Watford Innovation Park in April, with a target of being the first to be awarded BRE’s BPS7014 Standard for Modular Systems for Dwellings certification. The building will be a leading example on how modular housing can embrace eco-technology to create high-quality, greener homes that significantly reduce electricity bills for consumers. It will also have its ability to withstand hurricanes, fires and floods put to the test. The 108m2 three-bedroom detached unit will come in at around 20% less than a conventional home — around £1,200 a square metre for a smart home, which compares with build costs of around £1,500 per square metre for a basic traditional bricks and mortar construction. Its panelised walls will possess a 0.13 U-value, compared with a U-value in excess of 0.16 for a typical well-insulated wall in a newbuild brick property. All of the exterior wall superstructure will be constructed in an onsite time of 20 hours (16 hours for walls, four hours for scaffolding) compared with as much as three weeks for a traditional home. The Etopia build system is also not weather dependent. Project Etopia’s smart home will feature its own solar cladding in conjunction with Great British Voltaic (GBV), solar and tiles, triple glazing, as well as a Daikin Altherma Heating and Cooling System. It will also incorporate E-Smart’s plug-and-play smart home system with Samsung smart appliances. The new industry certification scheme – known as BPS7014 – will ensure new modular buildings adhere to the highest sustainability and building credentials by certifying construction systems and components. Details of the certification will be unveiled by BRE this summer. Project Etopia founder Joseph Daniels flew to India with BRE on 25 February to present Etopia’s vision for the UK at the country’s Global Housing


Technology Challenge conference in New Delhi. The country aims to build 10million affordable homes in urban areas by 2022. Joseph Daniels, CEO of Project Etopia, commented: “We wanted to lead modular house building into the mainstream in Britain so our focus is to build to the new standard. Modular homes, including those built by us, are going up around the country with a finish of such quality that most people wouldn’t realise they were standing in a home built using offsite construction methods at all. We firmly believe this is the future and the new BRE standard is going to play a fundamental role in increasing demand for offsite construction over the next decade. Modular homes are now not just as good as traditional bricks and mortar but better, with smart energy efficient technology woven into their very fabric.” David Kelly, Innovation Park Director of BRE, commented: “With a growing housing shortage in the UK, the industry and government are looking to offsite construction methods to speed up the rate of supply to meet demand. The BPS7014 standard for Modular Systems for Dwellings will be launched by BRE this summer. It will assure all parties — occupiers, insurers, lenders, asset owners and developers alike — of the quality, durability and integrity of modular construction, by demonstrating that they have been subjected to a rigorous independent review, testing and certification process.” Project Etopia was founded in 2015 and produces modular homes and high-quality school buildings that can be built in under four weeks. Its designs incorporate pre-installed energy-efficient technology such as solar power, heat recovery, mechanical ventilation and Passivhaus architectural design features to ensure each building is capable of producing more energy than it needs. Source:



Structural timber systems have advanced greatly in recent years and deliver genuine cost, performance, quality and programme benefits.

provision at tender stage and ensures that manufacturing members, suppliers and erectors of structural timber building systems work closely with customers to provide clear, concise information and health and safety guidance on all building sites.

1 NHBC Recognition The STA has reached a formal agreement with the NHBC, from January 2019 the NHBC will accept STA Assure Gold members as compliant with Chapter 6.2 of NHBC’s assessment processes for timber structures without the need for further review or completing a HB2445 form.

2 STA Assure was launched by the Structural Timber Association (STA) in 2017, implementing an independently audited scheme for all STA members classified as structural timber building system suppliers. This rigorous process adds further standing to the use of innovative offsite timber build methods. Offsite technology is hailed as the solution to resolving some of the most challenging problems facing the construction industry, most notably the shortfall in UK housing supply. The offsite manufacturing sector, especially structural timber technology, is witnessing unprecedented demand and it is therefore crucially important to be able to provide tangible evidence of quality and safety standards, together with robust processes and procedures.

STA Assure has also received formal recognition from six other the industry leading structural warranty and building control bodies including; LABC Warranty, Premier Guarantee, Protek Warranty, Build-Zone Warranty, Self-Build Zone Warranty and ABC+ Warranty for STA Assure Gold and Silver classified members. Site Safe STA Assure goes beyond factory process controls and includes auditing against Site Safe procedures. Winner of the Offsite Awards for Health & Safety – the STA’s Site Safe Policy provides members with processes to support their customers in achieving safety during construction on all structural timber building system applications. The award acknowledges outstanding health and safety disciplines, which empowers and protects construction professionals while enabling healthy onsite environments. Offsite Award judges were impressed by the policy strategy, which is mandatory for all STA members and is independently audited for the reassurance of insurance companies, customers and third-party warranty bodies. The policy stipulates information

Promoting Excellence To provide qualifiable evidence of excellent, STA structural timber building system supplier members: • Undergo an independent audit for the STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme on an annual basis • Operate Site Safe procedures to ensure timber construction is both safe and sustainable • Receive regular updates on the latest building regulations and legislation • Fully support sustainable construction and quality standards The STA Assure assessment creates a clear distinction in the expected performance levels of STA members and non-members within the structural timber arena. Only STA members undergo the rigorous independent audit, providing transparency, credibility and accountability, thereby safeguarding the interests of end users and enabling them to partner with reputable member companies to harness the multitude of inherent benefits that structural timber offers. For more information on the STA, STA Assure, Site Safe and membership visit:



Image: 01. Images courtesy of CCG 02. Andrew Carpenter at the Offsite Awards receiving the Health & Safety category winner trophy for Site Safe





AEDAS Homes, the first major Spanish homebuilder to champion offsite construction, has successfully launched Merian in Torrejon de Ardoz, a municipality of 136,000 people 20 minutes from Madrid. Merian is the first large-scale modular development in Spain.

1 With a gross development value of approximately €22million (£18.7 million), Merian comprises 54 highend terraced modular homes made of precast concrete and will be built and delivered in three phases this year. Designed by a renowned Spanish architectural firm, the modules are being produced and fully fitted out at the purpose-built facility of a leading modular manufacturer located 40 minutes south of Madrid. Setting of the 60 precast modules in the first phase of the development started in mid-December 2018, and now all ten units in Merian I are on site, with a total build and installation programme of 33 weeks. Angel Fernandez, Director of AEDAS Offsite Homes, said: “We put the success of Merian I down to our exacting standards for design and execution quality, and a growing interest in factory-built homes in Spain. Although offsite construction is a nascent industry here, we have found our customers to be well-versed in its advantages — they want to move into


their homes faster, they are looking for the quality that comes from a precision build, and they want a home that was built in a sustainable way and offers long-term value. So offsite is a perfect match for their needs. We put nine units on the market before Christmas, at a starting price of €370,000 (£318,000), and we sold all of them in two months. This clearly indicates that the Spanish market is ready for modular — Merian II is now on the market and selling well.” Each Merian house is comprised of six modules and has an average floor area of 197m2 (2,120ft2) on three levels, with options for three or four-bedroom layouts. The homes feature openplan living spaces and high quality, minimalist finishes that appeal to discerning homebuyers. The architectural concrete facades were designed based on the manufacturer’s years of experience and have been optimised for quality and durability while simultaneously reducing materials and labour costs.


2 From start to finish, the total build time per house is eight weeks, with setting taking place over a two-day period, and then three additional weeks for hook up and landscaping. “Over the next 18 months, we will be launching several more offsite developments here in Madrid and in Costa del Sol, with a total of over 160 units, said David Martinez, CEO of AEDAS Homes. “By 2022, modular should account for 10% of our total deliveries.” The Spanish homebuilder, which targets the mid to mid-high end of the residential market, operates in five major regions: Madrid; Catalonia; Mallorca, Valencia and Alicante; Malaga and Costa del Sol and Andalucia. With nearly 3,400 units currently under construction, the company will deliver over 3,000 new-build homes in 2019 and 2020. For more information visit:

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A NIGHT TO REMEMBER Held during futurebuild on 5 March – the annual Offsite Construction Awards spent the evening celebrating everything offsite. Over the next few pages you can see all the winning projects and people including the coveted Winner of Winners. With nearly 400 industry leaders and innovators gathering to celebrate, the annual Offsite Construction Awards has rapidly established itself as a highlight of the construction calendar and a platform to showcase innovation, celebrate best practice and recognise overall expertise in offsite construction. The Awards feature a shortlist of exceptional landmark projects, influential people and manufacturing excellence in the dynamic arena that is offsite construction. With 229 exemplary entries packed full of pioneering projects, innovative products and inspirational people, this year’s independent panel of judges had an onerous job selecting the winners.

Head of the judging panel, Darren Richards, Managing Director of leading offsite experts Cogent Consulting said: “There was an excellent turn out this year. It is so rewarding when the industry comes together to celebrate the best of the best in offsite technology. Mark Durden-Smith was a brilliant host – the consensus was that this was the best one yet!” The event rewards and acknowledges outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to deliver a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a betterbuilt environment. The winners include leading industry innovators and





projects that demonstrate excellence in the application of offsite technology. You can find out all about them here starting with the amazing work done at the Macallan Distillery. Full details of the Offsite Construction Awards plus a video of the evening can be viewed online at:



The prestigious ‘Winner of Winners’ Award was given to the highest scoring entry across all categories, and was presented to D&S Baucon for their role in the incredible timber roof at the £140million Macallan Whiskey Distillery visitor centre. The Macallan Distillery has quickly become an iconic building, showcasing engineered wood via the most complex timber roof structure ever built in the UK. Built on the Easter Elchies estate in Speyside, the new flagship £140million Macallan Distillery roof consists of five domes which mirror the surrounding landscape. The undulating timber roof structure comprising 380,000 individual components. 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. 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 D&S Baucon. The pre-installation at the distillery of the whiskey production stills and machineries further complicated the installation of the roof, and D&S Baucon had to develop some innovative propping solutions to work around the delicate 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. D&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.

Philip Duffy from D&S Baucon said: “The Macallan is a complex, ambitious project that during construction involved up to 400 people specialising in more than 20 different trades onsite – this gives an idea of the true scale of the project. It’s an honour to be recognised for what has been a once-in-a-lifetime project that we are immensely proud of.” For more information visit:








In 2014, Dandara began investigating the most efficient way to deliver over 2,000 Build-to-Rent (B2R) apartments across three sites in the UK, quickly establishing that offsite construction provided the perfect solution.

Precast concrete is the main method of construction for all of Dandara’s B2R projects, with solid precast construction extending to all floors, balconies, external walls and party walls. There are also over 3,100 factory-manufactured bathroom pods which have been specifically designed for Dandara Living to suit the B2R market. Each precast component has been produced in a controlled factory


environment and then stored offsite. Each component is then individually checked prior to arriving onsite. In total, there are over 15,000 precast components across projects in Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. As a company which operates throughout the UK, they understood very early on in the development of its B2R product that there was a significant onsite skills shortage within this sector, which would only



be compounded as more projects came on line. They therefore acknowledged that the technologies and methodologies used in offsite production would be the most efficient and effective way in which to deliver its B2R product to the UK market. During the research and discovery phase of the project, they visited all precast manufacturers currently operating in the UK to develop knowledge of their products and establish how they could work with them to refine the construction process to meet its requirements. At the Planning Submission stage, Dandara were proposing some of the tallest precast concrete buildings to have been constructed in the UK. Three years of pre-planning facilitated early involvement of specialist subcontractors and suppliers. Although its precast concrete structures have a longer design and offsite lead-in, their uniformity and consistency gave greater programme certainty and a shorter onsite programme compared with traditional forms of construction. Overall design, procurement and build priorities were ease of installation, longevity, limiting defects, low service and low replacement costs – all of which have been achieved. The use of concrete enabled them to design, specify and deliver 2,063 residential apartments specifically for the B2R market 30% more efficiently than would have been possible utilising traditional onsite construction methods. The uniform, precast modular apartment types were manufactured offsite and then assembled on onsite floor-by-floor, simplifying vertical services routes and loads from party walls and creating a highly efficient, more sustainable form of construction for large-scale residential projects. For more information visit:






The structural concept for the Cambridge Mosque combines Islamic principles with European sensibilities. The timber structure, covering an area of 4,000m2, will provide space for a prayer hall capable of accommodating 1,000 worshippers as well as a café and two apartments.

The aim was to develop a British mosque for the 21st century. The local archetype was the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, with its Gothic fan vault. Originally, the idea was to construct the chapel with masonry, but this would have meant that only the support beams would have been load-bearing and all ornamental work would have been purely decorative. For this reason, a wooden support structure was chosen, forming an ornamental pattern. Ultimately, the choice was made to use wood as the main building material as the clients explicitly focused on sustainability and advertised the building as an eco-mosque.


The structure itself is a master piece of timber construction engineering. The use of timber complements the mosque’s sustainable construction concept, which incorporates features such as solar energy generation and rainwater harvesting. In addition, the use of a natural material lends the building’s interior spaces a special atmosphere and vibrancy. The 30 free-form timber columns of the support structure soar upwards, merging with the lattice-like ceiling structure to form a vast tracery of timber, reminiscent of a grove of trees. The main structure consists of 30 free-form timber columns. In addition to those, the ceilings, the external and internal walls with a total area of 3,200m2, the 2,000m2 roof, and three of the huge building’s staircases are constructed entirely from wood. The roof consists of a ribbed construction, while the internal and external walls are made from a timber frame structure. Cross laminated timber (CLT) is used for the external walls, part of the roof and ceilings. The impressive support structure consists of around 3,000 free-form components. Every individual element of the timber structure was produced at BlumerLehmann AG in Switzerland, using state of the art CNC-machinery and CAD-technology. All forms of wood were used in the construction of the Cambridge Mosque. The most striking is certainly the free-form structure, composed of single and double curved glulam beams, with the original timber coming from forests in Central Europe. The walls are designed as timber frames, the two apartments with CLT and the roof as a ribbed ceiling with alternating load-bearing directions. The highlight, the dome, is milled from laminated veneer lumber (LVL). For more information visit:









After Galliford Try were selected as preferred bidder by the developer Regents Godiva, Sigmat were the successful light gauge steel frame (LGSF) system chosen to provide a full structural solution at Coventry University.

The 24,500m2 scheme at Godiva Place in Coventry has created a stunning 772-bedroom facility. Despite the normal challenges associated with such a large project, Sigmat’s holistic approach was invaluable in mitigating any emerging problems. In simple terms they designed the project and completed the technical drawings ahead of manufacturing and panel assembly prior to final frame erection onsite. The aim of the project was to deliver a student accommodation scheme within a given budget and time frame.


It needed to have elements of future proofing to enable student room conversion into something more like a studio apartment. A challenging city centre site that for buildability, had to be planned meticulously in relation to access near the HR steel podium transfer. An experienced company with a history of HR structural steel and LGSF was needed. Sigmat designed and installed the double HR steel podium transfers on blocks 1 and 2 as well as the future proofing element of HR steel goalposts allowing non-structural


walls below. A feature called ‘bat ears’ in house, enabled them to create interesting frame shapes that worked hard to bring an interesting ‘design’ to the structure and a key feature of the elevation adjacent to the by-pass. The aesthetic and architectural impact of the ‘bat ears’ feature was something new to Sigmat but embraced in order to produce the stunning feature shown in a supporting image. Sigmat were able to offer a build without the need for scaffold. The SigSafe system allowed the programme to be further accelerated by removing this element. The Sigmat system achieves an increase of 17.8% in structural efficiency when compared to many key competitors. LGSF is not only innovative, but can represent a combined saving that is delivered as either improved timescales, budget gains or the advantages of lower site impacts which in turn, enhance relationships either at client level or with locally based communities. A benefit with LGSF is the ability to bring additional trades in earlier allowing the programme to be accelerated to hit an end date critical to the new intake of students. LGSF systems have the advantage of speed over more traditional methods and are widely accepted to be up to 50% faster in terms of delivery, a statistic evidenced by this project. For more information visit:


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ILKE HOMES: GATESHEAD INNOVATION VILLAGE ilke Homes designs, manufactures, installs and commissions full volumetric homes and has taken offsite activity to the furthest level believed to be possible through their volumetric technology. This has been best showcased at Gateshead Innovation Village, where ilke Homes has installed the first homes on site for Home Group and Engie in a ‘race’ against traditional construction and other forms of MMC. Each 81m2 home is created from just three volumetric modules with the following, all factory fitted: a brick-

slip finished, steel framed, ground floor module complete with kitchen and WC, a weather-boarded, steel framed, first floor module complete with bedrooms and bathroom and a weather-boarded and concrete tiled, 40 degree timber truss, roof module complete with dual aspect solar PV arrays.

factory in Yorkshire and each pair of homes were installed in a single day. All that was left to complete on site were the services connections, a row of brick slips and the joint at the stairs. The fully offsite, volumetric nature of the ilke Homes solution enables ilke to design, manufacture, install and commission homes economically.

Two pairs of homes (12 modules) have been transported from ilke Homes’

For more information visit:





SES ENGINEERING SERVICES: GSK ASEPTIC MANUFACTURING FACILITY Investment in biopharmaceuticals is critical to the future of pharmaceuticals and for that reason, science-led global healthcare company GSK, committed £94million to designing and constructing an 11,500m2 highly complex and world-leading, state-of-the-art, aseptic manufacturing facility at its Barnard Castle site in County Durham. A crucial driver in GSK’s decision to opt for innovative offsite construction was the company’s desire to be able to replicate the design and construction


globally on secondary sites the world over, while at the same time building in the flexibility, by use of modular construction, to future-proof the design for 10-20 years. And, in so doing, removing the risk of drug regulatory impact, as well as reducing future design costs. The early appointment of the project team, particularly SES, ensured that offsite manufacturing principles, prefabrication and BIM could be applied to best effect. This was particularly the case in relation to SES when the contractor’s BIM


Level 2 expertise and experience combined with its bespoke offsite capability based at its in-house offsite manufacturing facility, Prism, ensured that the contractor was able to influence the M&E design at the outset of the complex and highly regulated facility. In terms of an offsite manufactured project, GSK’s aseptic manufacturing facility can be considered a ‘best in class’ example of this building strategy. For more information visit:





Robert Clack School – the largest school in Europe – has been delivered using a wide range of offsite solutions and will have 4,000 students. Mid Group were appointed to deliver the school following a failed initial procurement. The existing design delivered the area but had too many bespoke elements to allow efficient delivery. The Mid Group team took the design apart and broke it down to a simple number of components, fully adopting an offsite approach. The project involves a primary school, sports complex and three secondary school buildings. They adopted a wide range of offsite solutions, appropriate for each building type, rather than having one solution working inefficiently in an area. Within buildings, an Innovare wall scheme has been paired with an Oranmore precast flooring system, to maximise


thermal mass and minimise floor reverberation. Simplification saw 35% of cost removed from the project through a significant reduction in the programme, saving £4.5 million of prelim cost. An offsite approach enabled the scheme to go ahead, where a traditional solution had failed. The Mid Group team strongly believe in choosing the best offsite solution for each component of a project. This means that the business doesn’t just use a single approach, it determines what is best and then procures it. For more information visit:





The Marriott Courtyard Hotel is a self-stable, eight-storey, 250 room, volumetric modular hotel located at Luton Airport. The innovative £20million building is traditionally constructed up to first floor level, with seven storeys of steel framed modules on top, including modular cores. All 133 modules were built in Poland and shipped across the North Sea. All seven storeys of the 23 tonne modules were installed at a rate of one floor per week, complete with finished interiors, M&E and façade. Structural design of the hotel was

a complex undertaking, ensuring discrete modular ‘parts’ were designed, detailed and connected to form an integrated superstructure, while maintaining buildability and minimising site works. Construction of this building was perfectly suited to offsite construction techniques. Not only are hotels generally suited to modular construction with their inherent ‘stackability’ this project was structurally similar to the Marriott Hotel in Edinburgh (2017) resulting in economies of scale and cost certainty

benefits, but not at the expense of two ‘similar looking’ buildings – the layout, height and facades of both were completely different. The seven storeys of modules were installed in seven weeks, with a total construction programme of around eight months, which is significantly faster than a traditionally built equivalent. For more information visit:






Irwell Riverside is the third and largest project to date using factory-built Town Houses developed with Urban Splash. 27 two storey units arranged along Springfield Lane and 45 three storey houses set out in three parallel rows – create two new streets and a shared residents’ garden.


The completed scheme comprises 72 terraced Town Houses – a mix of two storey houses on Springfield Lane and three storey houses behind, arranged in parallel rows, maximising views to the river walk way and creating two new streets with a strong sense of community. The volumetric houses build on the unique strengths of those already delivered to sites in Manchester and Newcastle, but with important improvements feeding out of the on-going R&D programme. Customer choice remains the driving concept behind Town House and the primary reason for offsite construction. The design offers purchasers a choice of sizes, garden-focused or loft-style living space and open-plan or cellular layouts, as well as a range of kitchen, bathroom and finishes options to customise their home in over 130,000 configurations. Each of the available Town House layouts has been modelled using BIM to generate a full range of possible configurations. Town House is a new concept for mass housing, a direct challenge to the established housebuilders. It exploits clever modular planning to create spacious, flexible, modern and sustainable customer-designed homes that are manufactured offsite to a high standard and delivered to site fully finished.

Irwell Riverside is the third – and largest - project completed to date using shedkm’s modular, factorybuilt Town Houses developed with Urban Splash. The site, bounded by Springfield Lane, Trinity Way and the River Irwell, had seen many unrealised development proposals and lain empty for many years. That neglect,


and proximity to the Irwell, had seen the site develop an almost rural feel, despite its proximity to the centre of the Salford/Manchester conurbation. The scheme sought to maintain this quality, with existing trees retained and supplemented by significant new planting, tree-lined new streets and a shared residents’ garden by the river.


The houses are highly sustainable, employing a fabric-first approach to environmental design with a high performance building envelope (excellent thermal insulation and air tightness) to reduce heat loss and large windows to maximise natural daylight. Offsite manufacture allows more precise construction than traditional methods, with better continuity of insulation, fewer thermal bridges and consistently high levels of air tightness, all helping reduce the performance gap. For more information visit:


The BIM model drives the offsite solutions as we utilise a system that links the model to our procurement, scheduling, manufacture and monitoring. We are constantly striving to design once, build once and install once.



OUR LOCATIONS: York | Birmingham | Bristol | Glasgow | London | Manchester | Newcastle

Business Director North and Scotland

SES Engineering Services is recognised as one of the leading M&E partners in the UK, delivering for a wide range of customers by creating environments where our clients can excel. As a market leader, SES delivers building services that are derived from an exceptional level of technical authority.

NORTH EAST OFFICE Centre for Advanced Industry Coble Dene, North Shields NE29 6DE

We deliver bespoke design-led solutions and optimise productivity for the whole construction team, by maximising offsite manufacture in our quadruple award-winning production facility, Prism.


TELEPHONE 0191 258 6627 EMAIL



ISG & PREMIER MODULAR: BEAVER ROAD PRIMARY SCHOOL, MANCHESTER Utilising volumetric, offsite manufacturing, early engagement of the supply chain and standard repeatable designs, the three-storey, 2380m² Beaver Road Primary School provides accommodation for 550 pupils aged 9-11, including a full catering kitchen, double-height sports hall and all-weather pitch to the rear.

Beaver Road Primary School was part of a programme of six schools required to be complete by September 2018. The £7.2million, three-storey, 2,380m2 project saw ISG engaged in August 2017. Able to deliver from a standing start, ISG’s integrated team achieved RIBA stage 0-5 in 23 weeks.

It was imperative the programme was achieved – the only conceivable solution was modular offsite manufacture. Following extensive ground remediation and using a piled foundation system, the school was built entirely from an offsite, volumetric,

modular approach in partnership with Premier Modular. Digital construction (BIM Level 2) was used to coordinate designs and enable DfMA from the outset. Manufactured using a lightweight steel-framing system, the modules were optimised to suit classroom sizes and site logistics. There are 75 modular units in total, which took just under two weeks to bring into position, with the overall school completed within 23 weeks. The school was built around one base model developed across the wider schools programme. This standardisation across the schools – commonality and repeatability – has delivered design savings of £175k across the projects. For more information visit:




Named after the Lincolnshire born Dame Sarah Swift, who founded the Royal College of Nursing – the 5,500m2 Sarah Swift Building has been designed to house the School of Health and Social Care and the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln. Designed with simplicity, high quality and sustainability in mind, the Sarah Swift building provides purpose built, fully flexible spaces to support the University of Lincoln’s world class research and development programme. A key element of the brief for this specialist building was to create spaces that have the right environmental conditions, vibration levels and acoustic separation for their different functions, whilst ensuring the building remains simple to commission, build and operate.





EOS designed and manufactured a robust steel framing infill panel solution for the Sarah Swift project to meet the design and engineering brief. Bespoke zed bars were developed for overhang and intumescent paint clearance. The restrictive site presented access challenges and storage limitations - offsite technology provided the optimum solution. All deliveries were colour coded by floor and craned directly into the correct location. Through careful design detailing and value engineering, EOS were able to design and offsite manufacture the highest quality steel framing solutions to deliver and environmentally sustainable projects on time and to budget. For more information visit:





FP MCCANN: MARRIOTT HOTEL, MANCHESTER The new purpose-built Marriott Hotel on the edge of the Northern Quarter of Manchester encompasses 172 rooms across nine storeys, along with a café bar, fitness centre, conference facilities and associated servicing areas – in total covering an area of 7,785m2. FP McCann’s partnership approach and early involvement in the project, meant its expertise in designing and offsite manufacturing a made-to-measure precast concrete solution, was brought to the fore at the onset of the project. Crucial to the brief was achieving

maximum fire protection together with enhanced energy efficiency and acoustic performance. Its offsite manufactured precast insulated ‘sandwich’ panels provided a ready-made external envelope for the scheme, eliminating many of the pitfalls associated with traditional building methods. The precast concrete panels provided a strong, durable, energy-efficient, fire-resistant, composite cladding system with excellent tolerances due to factorycontrolled processes. The offsite manufactured panels comprise an outer leaf of precast concrete, an insulating layer and an inner leaf of plain grey concrete with a power floated finish. All aspects of the production process were undertaken in a factory environment, achieving the highest possible quality. Maximising

the integration of FP McCann components – the scope of works also included the installation of fully fitted bathroom pods, wall panels, floor panels, columns, beams, staircases and landings. For more information visit:



CALEDONIAN MODULAR: ACCOMMODATION PROJECT, HINKLEY POINT C (HPC) Caledonian successfully completed Phase 1 of HPC in May 2018. Phase 2 was completed on 12 July 2018. The modules were manufactured at its Newark factory and delivered to HPC in Bridgwater. Meticulous planning and attention to detail formed the basis of this successful project delivery. Caledonian completed Phase 1 and 2 of the £55m contract four weeks ahead of schedule.


The modular system developed by Caledonian meant that the accommodation units were delivered to site 96% complete, ready for rapid commissioning on site. Each 34 bedroom block was completed within just six weeks from delivery. Caledonian’s innovative modular solution for Hinkley shows what is possible with modern volumetric solutions – it enables the incorporation of extensive facilities and amenities for workers, such as large-span catering areas, sports and leisure spaces, lift shafts and atriums. The exterior design of the offsite modules set Caledonian apart on this project. At three storeys, the buildings are sympathetically executed to complement the surroundings, using natural timber and stoneeffect cement cladding, providing a


distinctive yet subtle exterior facade. The accuracy and consistency of the offsite build, combined with the fact that the modules can be de-mounted and reused once the development is completed made it a compelling proposition for Laing O’Rourke and the client EDF Energy. For more information visit:








Barratt Homes is the first major housebuilder in the UK to make a strategic decision at the highest level to embrace offsite construction. It developed a sustainability strategy which set out its intention to build 20% of its housing output in offsite. With sustainability, cost, speed and quality their key objectives, Barratt Group embarked on a project to investigate alternative methods of construction that would deliver the objectives and deliver benefits to their business. They undertook an extensive tender process to fully understand the benefits of timber frame and how they could make the transition to timber frame. This was a critical factor as site

teams would need to understand a new way of working to ensure that Barratt Homes reaped the benefits. They chose Stewart Milne Timber Systems, which met their requirements with expertise, collaborative partnership approach, ability to meet their volume needs and track record in delivering quality and consistent volume. This was the beginning of an unrivalled approach to the introduction of timber frame.

Stewart Milne have delivered over 3,500 timber frame plots across the UK. Over the last five years, they have completed timber frame projects with 20 of the 27 Barratt Homes divisions across the UK and have delivered over 3,500 timber frame homes across the UK. For more information visit:





Mid Group Project Manager, Mike O’Dell, has exemplified what can be achieved with offsite construction. In a period of 21 months since joining the Mid Group, Mike has delivered three separate school projects, each project taking approximately seven months from start to finish. Mike and the wider Mid Group team are major advocates of offsite contracting and have demonstrated that offsite solutions deliver projects more quickly, more cheaply and to a higher standard, time after time. Not content with just delivering projects, Mike has become a major advocate for offsite construction in many ways. Mike has taken on several apprentices at his projects, training them in the use of multiple different offsite solutions.




Mike’s enthusiastic engagement with the offsite market has seen him visit several suppliers up and down the country, taking the time to understand the different solutions available in the market. Mike has created a culture of openness and transparency on his projects. This encourages suppliers to proffer new ideas and ways of improving the works on site. The result is a cycle of continuous improvement, where those responsible for delivery are driving the improvement themselves. The success of the team in delivering these projects has resulted in supply chain partners wanting to work with the Mid Group again. For more information visit:

Combustible materials ban doesn’t mean an end to building with CLT... In response to recent changes in legislation, we’ve developed a fully compliant off-site manufactured non-combustible external wall solution The solution incorporates a panellised hybrid approach that seamlessly integrates CLT structural frames, offering: • Compliance with the latest regulations • No impact on the cost or programme • A lower carbon footprint for the buildings • An off-site façade solution

B&K Structures Limited Peveril House I Alfreton Road I Derby I DE21 4AG 01773 853400 I e.





HTA’s long term commitment to improving the quality of construction has led them to become market leaders in the use of modular construction for delivering new homes in the UK.


2018 has seen the completion of two more modular student housing schemes at Savoy Circus and Holloway Road whilst the anticipated convergence of modular construction with the emerging build-to-rent sector in projects at Greenford Green and George Street, both for Greystar and delivered by Vision Modular systems, will see the rapid completion of new professionally managed rental housing built to the highest construction standards. Its portfolio includes a wide range of building types including a hotel, affordable housing, a Build-to-Rent tower of 19 stories, open market sales apartments and five student accommodation buildings. HTA currently have a 249 unit Build-toRent development and a 45/33 storey double tower of 546 Build-to-Rent homes currently under construction in Croydon. At 45 storeys, this last project at George Street, will be the tallest modular structure in the world when it is completed in 2020. They have many schemes at early design stage which are intended to be delivered using modular construction and are collaborating with manufacturers and clients on how to implement modular designs. Because of its inter-disciplinary organisation they are being consulted on the development of construction systems and are working for two manufacturers to develop construction prefabrication systems that plan to enter the UK housing market in 2019/20.

HTA has designed and built a unique portfolio of volumetric modular buildings in the UK. This unrivalled success stems from a deep interest in prefabrication and a recognition that traditional construction often fails to deliver either the finished quality or measurable performance improvements required from new homes. Its work to date, either


completed or in design, comes to a total of over 7,500 units of accommodation, including 237 hotel rooms, 2,778 student accommodation units and 4,301 residential homes. This workload is expanding rapidly to encompass an international market, as well as exciting new opportunities here in the UK.


A key part of its work is to educate the industry, clients and Government by regularly presenting its work on offsite construction to events across the UK and overseas, teaching in universities and are currently writing a book on offsite construction in housing for RIBA and are working with BSI to develop an offsite PAS standard. For more information visit:







Mapleton Crescent is Europe’s tallest modular residential building and sets a precedent for design-led volumetric housing that seeks affordable and sustainable solutions to the UK housing crisis.

Designed for the Developer Pocket Living, it was constructed by Donban Contracting using their offsite manufacturing company, Vision Modular Systems, offering a full turn-key solution, having invested heavily over the years researching and developing their modular system. The slender 27-storey building located on a constrained site, has striking green glazed-terracotta tiles and provides a total of 89 apartments. At the time of delivery, the challenges posed on the 450m2 site included a culvert through the middle, river, TFL bus stop and a primary substation serving Wandsworth. All were adjacent to the site, located on a one-way street with a 24/7 loading bay for the neighbouring shopping centre. With 97% site coverage there was no space for site set-up, which is why innovative

Donban Contracting was needed. Building a majority of the scheme offsite offered the key solution to unlocking this site providing 89 new homes in just 18 months. This is the fourth project Donban Contracting, using Vision Modular Systems, has delivered for Pocket and is their most ambitious yet. At 27 storeys high, and built on such a compact footprint, which involved utilising a crane on the core, Mapleton Crescent is an incredible engineering achievement. The site was extremely constrained and complex. The brief was to provide 89 homes, 54 of which were affordable homes and the remainder being open market two and three-bedroom private sale homes. High-quality shared internal communal spaces and external roof

gardens were also required. Donban Contracting therefore had a very strict construction brief: 18-month construction programme, strict budget controls, maximisation of the benefits of offsite, reduce number of defects and better-quality control leading to better customer service. Donban Contracting have made no compromise on design, aesthetics or quality, ensuring site restrictions did not affect the development. Mapleton Crescent illustrates why modular construction has won the support of both government and industry, with Donban and Vision leading the way. The project demonstrates how high-quality, energy efficient homes can be built quickly, safely and more sustainably and why modular techniques will play an increasingly important role in delivering more housing. These homes have BOPAS accreditation and Premier Guarantee Warranties, ensuring this scheme is fully fundable, insurable and mortgageable. For more information visit:






MJH Structural Engineers are specialists providing unique solutions to the offsite industry. Through an intense focus on offsite and a solution-driven approach MJH have achieved offsite solutions at the leading edge of the industry.

In past year they have completed the design of several projects including the world’s tallest modular building at 44 storeys, and several smaller projects throughout London issuing over 2,300 modules for construction. To achieve these heights, they have extended engineering principles from traditional structural design to encompass the additional requirements imposed on


building by assembling large elements offsite and connecting onsite. They apply engineering principles and creative problem solving from fabrication to manufacture and through site assembly. MJH work closely with its clients and other experts in the offsite industry to move modular forward and extend the range of solutions provided.



Its team were also responsible for achieving accreditation and validation of an 18-storey modular system in a high seismic region. Theoretical analysis was investigated and verified by a scale model shaking table test of the 18-storey building. As a group they are now very focused on innovation and offsite solutions. In the past year MJH completed the design of a 44-storey modular build in Croydon, using the Vision Corner Post (VMS) corner post system. With concrete floors and an integrated steel support system within the modules the completed building is indistinguishable both internally and externally from a traditional building. The structure of the building is located at the corners of the module walls and intense engineering of the structure is undertaken to keep the steel tonnage a low as possible to keep the weight of the modules down. The system used is very flexible in terms of layouts and module shapes and allows for excellent design flexibility at planning stage. The system has been developed from the work at Apex with constant R&D and product development. MJH work with industry experts to extend engineering principles to encompass offsite construction and undertake R&D to innovate and solve critical issues in design, manufacture and construction. For both the system and wall system, MJH have designed more innovative connections which requires less site construction time allowing for advances in modular erection on site. This has reduced the time required to erect modules on site increasing productivity across the manufacturing and erection time. MJH were instrumental in the creation and engineering of this system providing innovative solutions to the structure and connections. For more information visit:

Engineering progress Enhancing lives

How do we build the future better with offsite construction? We have applied prefabrication and preassembly techniques to our heating and plumbing systems to improve efficiency, quality and space saving, always expect more from REHAU.




From launching an industrywide apprenticeship scheme to groundbreaking collaborations with I3P, MTC, P22 and CIRIA, Kier are building partnerships with a network of organisations to influence change

in offsite construction. Working with key government clients in infrastructure, justice and healthcare we have generated efficiencies across largescale programmes using offsite technology and standardised design. Kier have launched an internal strategy paper, advocating offsite as a strategic priority for the business. Supported by a dynamic offsite portal and social forum as a central hub for its activities, its core strategy team have maintained a visible internal presence to encourage engagement at all levels, sharing innovation and resource across Kier. Kier’s effort to showcase the benefits of offsite is evidenced by commitment to speak at high-profile industry forums and engage with public and private sector clients. They have captured and publicised key projects through a continued relationship with the world’s


most subscribed-to construction video channel and published a wealth of materials, broadcasting open support and encouragement to the growing pan-industry momentum towards the adoption of offsite. They are commitment to working with local supply chains and a diverse range of specialist contractors that extends beyond the transaction, helping to upskill via the Supply Chain Sustainability School. As a member of the steering group, Kier are working with the school to promote offsite activities and gain funding for CITB offsite training. In 2018 they presented at the School on its use of LGS framing systems and and have also organised offsite supplier conferences. For more information visit:



Setting new standards and even greater levels of performance, the patented i-FAST product innovation is the next generation of structural insulated panel (SIP)


technology. A complete offsite manufactured non-combustible walling solution, i-FAST delivers fire safety, and structural strength, enhanced thermal and acoustic performance - all in one panelised system. Through extensive R&D and design detailing, performance parameters are accurately delivered offering assurances to construction professionals. The i-FAST panels are faced with calcium silicate and factory filled with A1 rated stone wool. The staggered stud arrangement reduces thermal bridging and acoustic transmission whilst allowing protection of the stud in a fire scenario. This allows a unique proposal of a standalone panel system that exceeds 60 minutes fire resistance without reliance on additional lining boards.



The panels can be used to form the building structure or as infill. All components are recyclable, CE Marked or BBA Certified. The i-FAST system allows architects, specifiers and inspectors to be confident that the building will achieve a minimum level of performance and is fully supported by Innovaré Systems in-house design, manufacturing and installation teams offering complete control over the project. Structural strength, dimensional stability, insulation and acoustic performance are built into SIP technology. Performance is guaranteed without the need for additional treatments and coatings. As leading innovators in SIP technology, Innovaré Systems are taking these advantages to new levels. For more information visit:






VOESTALPINE METSEC: BIM BUILDING INFORMATION MODELLING BIM is the future of construction in terms of digitisation and collaboration. Metsec decided to become an early adopter and market leader utilising this technology via heavy investment, training its teams, updating its process, changing its culture and digitising its product. The result is Metsec is the first Tier 2 designer and manufacturer complying with BIM Level 2 for Design & Construction in the UK and first manufacturing company to receive the BSI Kitemark for BIM. They are leading the way in both offsite and traditional construction methodologies

and also recently secured ISO 27001 status enabling its BIM models to be encrypted in sensitive government projects. Metsec have invested heavily in ensuring they lead the way in adopting the practical benefits of BIM. This practical approach ensures that both their offsite and traditional market offerings are to the very highest standard. They believe that the BIM acronym that M stands for modelling is misleading and firmly believe that the M stands for management, and



The STA Site Safe policy provides members with processes to support their customers in achieving fire safety during construction on all structural timber building system

applications. The Site Safe policy is mandatory for STA membership and is independently audited, thereby providing reassurance to insurance companies, customers and third-party warranty bodies. The Site Safe policy is structured to provide members flexibility on how they achieve the seven key points as explained in the functional requirements. The Site Safe policy has been updated to simplify the process and to reflect that all buildings, regardless of size and location, will now come under the policy.

as such they use its Revit offerings as an integral part of its management systems. The Metframe offsite pre-panelised offering has an enviable place in the marketplace, where the BIM Level 2 accreditation forms an important part of its sales strategy going forward. By agreeing to and committing to the standard, BIM is now at the heart of Metsec’s strategy going forward. For more information visit:


The policy is to ensure that manufacturing members, suppliers and erectors of structural timber building systems work closely with their customers to give clear, concise information and appropriate assistance regarding fire safety on construction sites of all sizes. The STA Site Safe policy applies to all members who are employed to do work and stipulates information provision at tender stage. When a fire risk assessment is not carried out on a site with known risks and the customer ignores good practice, for example as given in the STA guidance documents, the STA member has a duty to inform the customer of the absence of risk mitigation. These actions are to ensure that the STA member has carried out their legal duties under CDM regulations. For more information visit:





Irrespective of personal views on leaving the EU, Brexit will undoubtedly have consequences on the economic and staffing model of UK construction for years to come. A new construction industry ‘action plan’ throws some light on what may lie ahead. construction sites in London were from overseas – with 28% coming from the EU. “Construction needs a twin-track strategy,” says Steve Radley, Policy Director at CITB. “We must do more to attract new talent to the sector and get better at retaining and upskilling the current workforce. Finally, the sector must fully embrace digital skills in order to become more productive and mitigate the widening skills gap.”

1 Earlier this year a group of major construction industry bodies published a clarion call for all those in the sector to ready themselves for the impact of Brexit. The Construction Leadership Council, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), the Construction Products Association, the Federation of Master Builders, the Home Builders Federation and Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), all came together to create a study based on extensive research over the last two years. ‘Building After Brexit: An Action Plan for Industry’ details specific steps the construction industry, government and CITB must take to lessen the impact of Brexit, based on extensive research undertaken since the EU referendum result. At the heart of the report is how to attract and retain industry talent. While the British construction workforce is largely homegrown, migrants play a critical role. Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show that one-third of workers on


CITB’s Construction Skills Network (CSN) forecasts that the construction industry will need to fill 168,500 jobs between now and 2023. If construction continued to grow at the current rate of 1.1% – the average growth rate for the last five years – to 2030 this would increase to just over 250,000 jobs to fill by 2025, and 410,000 by 2030. As it becomes harder to recruit foreign workers after Brexit, current skills gaps could widen significantly. The UK construction industry has historically had low levels of productivity. It is likely that in the short-term any gains will come from incremental improvements such as reducing project error rates. Here offsite construction provides huge positive benefits. Key international studies suggest that the direct costs of avoidable errors range from 5-20% of project value. Employers will work to adopt the skills and behaviours promoted by the ‘Get it right Initiative’ to reduce the frequency and impact of rework on construction sites. ‘Right

First Time’ is not just about productivity and profitability. It’s fundamentally about delivering quality, leading to greater customer satisfaction and better performing buildings and infrastructure. The report sets out specific actions regarding offsite methods, spelling out clearly that the UK Government should continue with the implementation of the ‘presumption in favour’ of offsite manufacture and being more productive by ‘developing a Future Skills Strategy to identify the skills required to modernise the industry, drive digitalisation forward and boost investment in modern methods of construction.’ This will drive investment, productivity and output and could follow the model of the Section 106 planning agreements. Investment at scale is also required to make significant steps forward in the adoption of offsite. Whatever happens post-Brexit, it is clear that adoption of more offsite construction and digital technologies could reduce the demand for the traditional construction trades, with more of its recruitment coming from professional and technical roles. For more information and to download a full copy of the report ‘Building After Brexit: An Action Plan for Industry’ visit the CECA website: Images: 01. ‘Building After Brexit: An Action Plan for Industry’ is the result of two years of pan-organisation study

WANT TO LEARN MORE? You might be interested in forthcoming Construction Productivity Conference taking place in London on 21 November 2019. Register your interest by emailing


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Factory production of modular units is a finely tuned process, with handling techniques and transportation of modules from factory to final destination equally in need of careful planning.

cladding during the lifting, transport and construction stages. Ultrasonic, air leakage testing and thermal imaging can be used to benchmark panel or module performance in the factory and at the finished construction phase. Benchmarking the performance facilitates the assessment of any deterioration during the transportation and installation processes and also proves conformance with the requirements of building regulations.

1 large impact on modules as higher forces are generated during the journey. The method of transporting the modules must be considered at the design stage and may need to incorporate additional components like bracing or thicker gauge materials to assist during the lifting and transportation processes.

2 Modular housing can be tested during the development stage for both structural and environmental performance. There are a variety of different testing methods that will prove the module or panels are fit for purpose and will meet the building regulation performance standards when constructed in the factory. During the design stage, the sizes of the modules are considered in relation to the sizes of lorries available for standard transportation. The buoyant offsite industry in the UK has encouraged manufacturers from overseas to enter the UK market. Importing offsite housing into the UK can involve very long distances and shipping – sea crossings can have a


If transportation, storage and installation (TSI) are not considered at the design stage, this can have an impact on the condition of the building after installation, both structurally and environmentally. Panels and modules can be damaged during the initial lifting process, panel joints can open up, the framing elements can be permanently deformed or the cladding system can suffer cracks. Modules can be damaged by the transportation process or at the final lifting stages when delivered to site. The point at which the damage is sustained and the effects of any damage can be monitored and assessed, and the results used to redesign the transport routes, lifting plans or the module. There are various techniques available for measuring the effects of TSI. One such technique is the live measurement of the stresses and strains generated in the frame or


Accelerometers fitted onto panels highlight problems caused by lorry journeys, e.g. hitting potholes or braking hard. The live real-time readings collected remotely from stain gauges fitted onto the modules enable an understanding of the consequences of these common transport hurdles. Deterioration of the modules may not always mean that they are no longer fit for purpose, as they could still be above the standard performance requirements. Results need to be assessed in line with building regulations and British Standards. Transportability of modular buildings has an impact on costs. Handling techniques and storage can impact carbon footprint and affect safety requirements during installation. The offsite industry claim that a factory-built system creates a consistent and quality product that is not found in traditionalbuild. The success of a modular building is dependent on the factorybuilt modules arriving at site and being erected onsite in the same condition as they left the factory. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. If transportation, storage and installation are not considered at the design stage, this can have an impact on the condition of the building after installation, both structurally and environmentally








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1 Raymond Millar, Construction Director at The McAvoy Group, describes how Dublin Airport used offsite construction to expand its passenger boarding facilities and achieve one of the fastest projects ever completed at the airport. There has been a surge in interest in offsite construction to support airport expansion as operators look for more innovative solutions to build new world class facilities. The benefits of offsite solutions are proven – reduced work on highly constrained, secure sites, shorter programmes, less disruption to airport operations and greater certainty of delivery on time and on budget. Dublin Airport is one of the fastest growing airports in Europe. South Gates is a new €22million passenger boarding facility which has been developed to meet the huge growth in passenger numbers. It provides seven boarding gates to serve nine aircraft stands and can accommodate around 1,000 passengers at a time and up to 8,000 people a day. The dedicated passenger boarding zone was constructed offsite by McAvoy to reduce the programme for earlier occupation in order to meet the rising demand for flights from the airport. The use of an offsite solution allowed the airport operations to continue uninterrupted, with the minimum disruption. It also allowed the fasttrack programme for the project to be achieved.


Project Challenges •

Programme – the building had to be delivered to a critical and short programme to accommodate additional flights. It was operational within a 16-month planning, design and construction schedule.

A highly constrained site – the space for the new facility was restricted within the South Apron and the fully operational airport site.

Full integration of airport M&E services – all mechanical and electrical services – including data communications, fire and security – had to link into the existing live airport terminal systems, which was a hugely complex operation undertaken by McAvoy.

Open plan environment – clear uninterrupted spans of over 19m were required for the 120m long facility. This was achieved by engineering the building modules to incorporate hot rolled structural steel beams which removed the requirement for internal columns – and which was a modular industry first.

• Stringent fire safety standards – the scheme had to be designed to meet stringent fire safety regulations that exceeded Building Regulations.


• Enhanced acoustic specification – a specially-designed ceiling solution was developed using suspended panels in different shapes and orientations. This provides a high standard of acoustics and its chequerboard appearance has created a strong visual feature as well as a sense of space. “This is one of the fastest projects we have ever completed at the airport,” said Iain Heath, Project Manager at Dublin Airport. “From planning to the first flight in just 18 months. The finished building speaks for itself. It is a handsome new facility with high quality finishes and clean architectural lines. We were working to a very constrained programme to have the building operational ahead of the busy summer season. The project and its innovative use of offsite construction is a fantastic achievement for the whole team. “We were impressed with how McAvoy used BIM and virtual reality. As an airport we have a complex approvals process, but the digital techniques allowed the senior management team to ‘walk through’ the building and to experience the facility, which facilitated design sign off. In addition to the programme benefits, offsite construction also meant fewer trades working on site and a smaller site footprint. This approach had far less operational impact for the airport and the closure of fewer aircraft stands with reduced timeframes.” The new South Gates Terminal was Highly Commended at the Offsite Awards 2019. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. Dublin Airport South Gates Terminal is a hugely successful example of pioneering open plan modular construction


MPBA representing the industry for 80 years in the Offsite Sector. THE MODULAR & PORTABLE BUILDING ASSOCIATION The voice of the modular industry

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It was a night to remember for the EOS team at the Offsite Construction Awards, the evening was topped off with the ground-breaking Sarah Swift Building at the University of Lincoln, winning the award for Healthcare Project of the Year.

1 Named after the Lincolnshire born Dame Sarah Swift, who founded the Royal College of Nursing – the 5,500m2 award-winning £19million building houses the School of Health and Social Care and the School of Psychology at the University of Lincoln. The new academic building accommodates a diverse range of learning and research spaces, including teaching areas, offices, laboratories and nurse training facilities, which will support continued growth in the disciplines and enhance the student learning experience.


Designed with simplicity, high quality and sustainability in mind, the Sarah Swift Building provides purpose-built, fully flexible spaces to support the University of Lincoln’s world-class research and development programme. The University is committed to creating sustainable buildings that will further scientific research without compromising the environment. To create a sustainable facility, the engineers focused on delivering simple solutions designed for long-term use.


As the five-storey building houses laboratories that include vibrationsensitive equipment – the main contractor had to meet certain design specifications. A key element of the brief for this specialist building was to create spaces that have the right environmental conditions, vibration levels and acoustic separation for their different functions, whilst ensuring the building remains simple to commission, construct and operate.




In order to achieve the most effective design possible, the engineering team developed 3D models of all rooms at an early stage to ensure the users’ requirements were clearly captured. This resulted in a flat slab structural design that allowed for a straight forward installation of services and permit for greater flexibility of use in the future.

The construction partners carefully considered the building services strategy to ensure it was energy efficient yet robust, devising an overall environmental approach that maximises the use of daylight and natural ventilation while incorporating mechanical ventilation to ensure the close control environments required in some areas.

EOS designed and manufactured a robust steel framing infill panel solution for the Sarah Swift project to meet the design and engineering brief. Bespoke zed bars were developed for overhang and intumescent paint clearance. The restrictive site presented access challenges and storage limitations – offsite technology provided the optimum solution. All deliveries were colour coded by floor and craned directly into the correct location.

As an advanced high-performance offsite solution, steel is a robust, rigid and dimensionally stable material that does not suffer from movement created by moisture related issues. After water, steel is the most recycled product on our planet, with research showing that 99% is reused or recycled.

Offsite construction projects can be delivered in up to half the time compared to traditional methods, delivering radically reduced build programmes, leading to less time onsite and ultimately, a faster return on investment. Through careful design detailing and value engineering, EOS was able to design and offsite manufacture the highest quality steel framing solutions to deliver this environmentally-sustainable project on time and to budget.

Light gauge steel framing systems offer unparalleled freedom to construct faster and more accurately. The combination of strength, durability and precision engineering ensures steel framing systems offer broad parameters to explore innovative solutions and optimise value engineering. This offsite construction project was delivered in half the time that could be achieved using traditional methods, delivering a rapid return on investment. Steel is renowned for its longevity and ability to be multicycled – providing no onsite waste thus enabling a more sustainable future. Factory controlled manufacturing conditions eradicate

the risk of onsite variability, delivering safer construction and improved health and safety onsite – reducing the risk of unexpected delays and costs during the build. Steve Thompson, Managing Director of EOS said of the awards success: “Not only is the building outstanding but the pioneering work that is taking place within makes this accolade even more rewarding. Through close collaboration with the architects and engineers, we were able to design and offsite manufacture the highest quality steel framing solutions to deliver an environmentally sustainable project, that met the challenging brief. This award is testament to a progressive approach, the dedication of the EOS team and the partnerships we have formed with some of the most forwardthinking companies in the construction industry.” With over 14 years’ expertise across all construction sectors – EOS specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of bespoke steel framing systems for the offsite markets. To find out more about EOS’s awardwinning design and manufacturing services visit Images: 01-03. Sarah Swift Building at the University of Lincoln





Winning the BIM/Digital Construction Award at this year’s Offsite Construction Awards highlighted Metsec’s position at the forefront of the construction industry’s drive towards a digitised future. It is also testament to the company’s belief in the benefits of BIM and collaborative construction. Ryan Simmonds, Sales Director for Framing at Metsec, explains more.

2 Collaboration Delivers Benefits BIM facilitates a truly collaborative approach to construction, allowing designers, contractors, systems manufacturers and installers to function as a true team, working seamlessly towards the finished project, streamlining communications, eliminating errors and delivering time and cost efficiencies.

1 Everyone in the construction industry is aware that BIM stands for Building Information Modelling. It is the process of designing, constructing or operating a building, infrastructure or landscape asset using electronic information. In practice, this means that a project can be designed and built using datasets and images digitally, even before the first spade goes in the ground.


At Metsec, we prefer to see the ‘M‘ standing for Management, where BIM becomes far more than a modelling tool for design. Properly implemented, BIM instils a disciplined approach to the entire construction process, from design through to completion as well as the future management and maintenance of the building.


In the offsite construction arena, BIM provides exceptional potential to exploit the benefits of collaboration, with all disciplines co-ordinating their efforts and activities towards a common goal – customer satisfaction! True collaboration from the outset of a project means that designs, issues, priorities and construction methods are all agreed at the initial stages and fully understood by all parties, eliminating, or at least minimising, room for error. The benefits run

BIM LEADS THE WAY throughout every stage of a project – the designer’s vision is translated into working drawings with precise detailing, materials and systems specifications, and schedules agreed well ahead of onsite activity. This allows all those involved in the process to see how different elements affect their area and iron out any anomalies. At design stage, for example, working on the Queen Square project in Bristol, Metsec’s ability to provide fully-detailed Revit files showing the cold rolled steel elements of the SFS infill walling solution in 3D allowed contractors, Skanska to see how the system would integrate with the wider structure and achieve the best performing framing solution for the project. At later stages, collaboration between the framing system manufacturer, framing installer and main contractor ensures that materials are manufactured, delivered and installed at the right times, obviating the need to store materials on site for prolonged periods and reducing waste in time and money. BIM Leads the Way BIM offers a structured, measured and comprehensive approach to team working, with a fixed set of processes and procedures to guide users and participants on how best to employ collaborative methods. Design co-ordination is an involved process fraught with potential pitfalls and BIM’s regular data exchanges ensure that the whole team is working on the same, and most up-to-date, model, allowing possible conflicts to be flagged and dealt with promptly and before they are implemented. The objective of BIM is to satisfy the three components of a successful project, namely time, cost and quality, by managing the project using an efficient, collaborative and reliable method of work. Sharing a 3D model with all parties communicates the planned end result in a clear, concise and fully comprehensible way, enabling the entire project team to understand the requirements and see what they are working towards. The information held within the model can be extracted from Cobie files. Within these, if done to Level 2 standard, the manufacturer will host the correct file extensions and product parameters to allow asset management in future years.

3 BIM, BEP, BIP However, another crucial element of BIM is the promotion and adoption of collaborative working. The digital designs, including product parameters, are shared with all parties to outline the work planned and give everyone the opportunity to fully understand what is proposed and all the requirements, including specifications such as fire and acoustic data. The BIM Execution Plan (BEP) is a critical document as it underpins project integration and brings together all of the tasks, processes and related information. The BEP should be agreed at the outset and defines what BIM means for the project. It outlines the standards being adopted, outputs required, when these should be supplied and in what format, plus any supporting documentation. As a working document, the BEP is regularly being reviewed and evolving throughout the project, ensuring design teams, suppliers, manufacturers and all other stakeholders have all the relevant information, engendering collaboration between all parties. The BIM Implementation Plan (BIP) is the blueprint for integrating BIM into an organisation’s working practices. This should align to the objectives and aspirations of the organisation, its business partners, its skill base, levels of investment and the nature and scale of projects that it wishes to undertake now and in the future. Hosting these documents in a centrally co-ordinated Common Data Environment (CDE) means they can be updated, accessed or extracted at any time throughout the project. Adding all other BIM documents, including the 3D drawings, gives all those involved in the project full visibility and input, promoting a collaborative approach throughout.

4 Delivering Results At Metsec, BIM is part of our strategic vision. We were one of the first companies to recognise the benefits that it brings and became an early adopter of the technologies and disciplines essential to its successful implementation. It is now at the core of our framing business and is delivering real results for us and our clients. Our investment in, and commitment to, BIM has seen us become the first Tier 2 Designer and Manufacturer, complying with BIM Level 2 for design and construction in the UK and the first manufacturing company to receive the BSI Kitemark for BIM. Uniquely, we have also secured ISO 27001 status, enabling our BIM models to be encrypted for sensitive government projects. Our approach has seen improvements in collaboration, design time, manufacturing time and accuracy, all of which adds up to greater efficiency in the construction process and, ultimately, enhanced customer satisfaction. For more information visit:

Images: 01-04. BIM and digital technology are driving quality and project efficiency throughout offsite manufacture





The eagerly anticipated launch of the Light Steel Frame Association (LSFA) was held at futurebuild 2019. Speaking on behalf of the LSFA, Managing Director of Cogent Consulting Darren Richards, who has facilitated the formation at the request of the sector, outlined the requirement for a central representation, together with the aims and objectives of the Association for the coming year.


Through a robust strategy to raise the profile of light steel frame technology and the creation of new marketing platforms, the LSFA will drive take-up and specification throughout the wider construction industry.


Steve Thompson, Managing Director of leading steel framing innovators, EOS said: “For well over a decade we have seen the need for a trade association that will unite our industry and promote the substantial benefits of advanced steel framing systems. Offsite steel system manufacturers are operating in exciting times. Whatever the construction market, there has never been a better time to capitalise on the raft of benefits that factory-based offsite technologies can deliver. The LSFA will help us get that message out there, EOS are proud to be a founding member and part of the steering group.”


As headline sponsor, the LSFA supported the Offsite Light Steel Frame Masterclasses running across the three days of the futurebuild event which featured some of the UK’s leading light steel frame innovators and founding members of the Association. “The masterclasses clearly demonstrated the market-leading position of cold rolled light steel frame systems in the offsite sector,” commented Alan Wildsmith, Project Manager - Structural of the Hadley Group. “Our own Technical Director Roger Taylor delivered a session

LIGHT STEEL FRAME ASSOCIATION highlighting the evolving technologies that are transforming the way buildings are designed and delivered. The LSFA has the full backing of the Hadley Group, we are proud to be part of an Association which provides the industry with an authoritative and united voice, to support the overall marketing objectives of our sector.” The LSFA has been launched with the support of leading offsite consultants Cogent Consulting and their sister company Radar Communications, who saw a lack of promotional marketing activity from the light steel framing sector, particularly relating to housing delivery. Panelised and volumetric modular offsite manufactured steel systems play a vital role in meeting government targets and resolving the housing crisis. Based on the number of enquiries received from within the industry and from specifiers seeking LSF solutions, both organisations believe that the time has come to consider a single body Trade Association. This Association will represent all aspects of LSF manufacturing and construction, offering the required skill sets and experience to mobilise this entity successfully. Other representative bodies focus is around technical insight and innovation surrounding steel production. The LSFA’s remit will focus on industry marketing initiatives and engagement with architects, engineers and contractors to ensure greater use. The launch event also included an announcement regarding the collaboration between the LSFA and the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) who will become official Technical Partners. “Although we have different remits, the collaboration between the LSFA and the SCI will progress our shared ambitions,” said Mark Wilkinson, Product Certification Manager for the SCI, “The launch at futurebuild earlier this month was a success and our alliance with the LSFA will further strengthen the industry in terms of PR and marketing, while we provide the focus on the development of supporting technical information.” To encourage a collaborative approach the Light Steel Frame Association operates under a unilateral membership structure, with one

2 The key event on the 2019 calendar is Focus on Framing, which is taking place at the NEC in Birmingham on 04 June and hosted by LSFA. The event will shine a spotlight on pioneering projects using light steel frame technology. Speakers will highlight the significant role that steel plays in many of the UK’s major developments across all sectors – from residential to commercial, education, retail and leisure. This new event has been hailed as a brilliant opportunity for delegates to gain insight and network with those who are shaping the future for the light steel frame industry and to receive a full update on the strategy of the Light Steel Frame Association. Focus on Framing will shine a spotlight on pioneering projects through informative case studies, presented by those who conceived and developed the buildings that are gaining global attention. Focus on Framing speakers confirmed to date include • • • • • • • •

Darren Richards, Steering Group Member of LSF Association & Managing Director - Cogent Consulting Richard Lankshear, Innovation Manager – NHBC A representative from Sigmat Peter Burchill, Business Development Manager - EOS Robert Clark, Head of Business Development - Fusion Building Systems Colin Westpfel, Head of Design – Balfour Beatty A representative from voestalpine Metsec Andrew Way, Associate Director – SCI

To find out more or to book your tickets, visit standard fee for all manufacturing members to gain access to an extensive package of benefits. Membership benefits for manufacturing members will focus on manufacturing marketing opportunities and profile-raising initiatives designed to increase market share. Members will also benefit from a range of digital marketing and event opportunities, plus access to media packages and discounts to various events throughout the year. There will also be a membership structure for supply chain members and for affiliate members, including engineers, contractors, architects and project managers.

The Association also aims to engage and positively influence stakeholders, government departments, ministers and relevant industry bodies to influence legislation and industry regulations. The LSFA is striving to enhance the profile of the sector with a forward-thinking attitude and an open-minded approach to collaboration, that will drive the industry forward. If you are interested in joining the LSFA please contact: Images: 01. Official Launch at futurebuild 2019 02. Light Steel Frame being installed on site





John Gilbert, Premier Guarantee Technical Standards Manager, provides technical guidance on the treatment of cross laminated timber (CLT) and its structural use. A number of CLT products have third-party product approval for the use as a structural plank for construction use. However, it is also important that manufacturers have a quality management process to ensure consistent quality. Usually these approvals and manufacturing processes are for the solid plank and therefore full designs of the construction including its external cladding are required on a site-by-site basis. CLT as a structural timber product isn’t preservative treated. It is also difficult to ‘post treat’ the panels due to the compact layers of softwood timber making penetration of the preservative across the full cross section difficult to achieve. So, it is important that the design keeps the CLT panel completely dry, particularly at ground level and around critical junctions. Where structural timber, such as these wall panels are to be used in an external wall construction consideration should be given whether timber treatment is necessary if the species of the timber isn’t sufficiently naturally durable. The vulnerability of timber in external walls is particularly critical where the timber is positioned in certain areas including at the horizontal damp proof course without the inclusion of a treated sole plate. Whilst the use of CLT panels in external walls is a relatively new occurrence in the UK, wall panels incorporating CLT have been successfully used in Europe. Premier Guarantee are actively involved with the Structural Timber Association (STA) and have recently supported and endorsed technical guidance produced by the STA. The recently reviewed CLT guidance is available at:


FOR OUR WARRANTY PURPOSES Where projects are proposed that incorporate CLT wall panels, they must not be used with a render or other cladding system that is directly bonded to the wall panel. A drained and vented cavity must be provided. The CLT panel must be suitably protected as follows: At DPC level The CLT wall panels can be positioned directly onto the horizontal DPC (over the substructure walls) without a treated timber sole plate providing that: • The DPC extends at least 50mm past the face of the CLT and in the case of the cavity wall side -extends down 50mm below the horizontal DPC without bridging the cavity. • The lowest level of the CLT panel where it sits onto the horizontal DPC must be not less than 150mm above the finished ground level. The residual cavity must extend 225mm below the lowest horizontal DPC level. • Open brick perpends/weeps should be sited under the external horizontal DPC in the cladding at 1200mm centres. • Measures to prevent cold bridging at the substructure wall/ground floor/CLT wall panel junctions must be in place. • Ground levels immediately in front of the external wall should slope away from the building cladding. • CLT panels must not be constructed into ‘troughs or pockets’ e.g. for an internal wall panel on a structural slab. The risk of hidden damage from accidental water leaks could lead to moisture collecting around the panel. Above Horizontal DPC level •

All exposed end grain to the wall panel must be suitably treated (e.g. end grain edges of the panel or where holes are cut through the panel to form openings – windows, doors, flues etc.) The end grain sealant should extend 50mm onto the panel sides.

• There must be a drained and vented cavity with a minimum 50mm residual cavity retained. • The external wall insulation must be a ‘breathable’ type insulation and directly fixed to the CLT wall panel. • An approved breathable membrane must be installed to protect the insulation on the cavity side. • Suitable approved wall ties must be used which are secured to the CLT panel.• The CLT panels should be protected on the ‘warm side’ by a suitable vapour control layer (VCL) unless interstitial condensation risk analysis calculations prove that the risk of interstitial condensation will not occur within the construction • The structural engineer must provide details of suitable mechanical fixings to secure the CLT panels to the substructure. Generally • The project using CLT panels must be supported by full structural design specifications. • General construction should follow the guidance contained within timber frame section of the technical manual. • Detailing for gas membranes must be considered on a project by project basis and you should consult with our warranty surveyor for further advice.


ARE YOUR PRODUCTS AND SYSTEMS APPROVED? As part of our warranty application process, developers and builders must ensure that the products and systems they use on site are approved by us in line with the requirements of our Technical Manual. Using products and systems that are not approved by Premier Guarantee may lead to lengthy delays on-site and could result in the development being rejected for structural warranty cover. Our product and system approval process has been developed to help manufacturers gain accreditation under our technical requirements, allowing them to be promoted as an approved system provider, giving customer’s confidence in using their products and systems on sites registered with Premier Guarantee.

construction, giving developers and lenders the confidence and trust in your product. As a leading provider of Structural Warranty in the UK, being approved by Premier Guarantee would: • Enable your product to be approved for use to over 2000 Premier Guarantee registered Developers and Builders throughout the UK.


• Provide assurance to our clients and lenders that your products and systems are approved to perform to a consistently high quality standard and remain durable for a minimum of 60 years.

Our approval process is one of the most robust in the Structural Warranty market. It audits manufacturers on design, quality control, assembly, transportation and on-site

• Allows you to promote yourself as an approved system provider giving your customers the confidence to use your products and/or systems. | 0800 107 8446 2 Shore Lines Building, Shore Road, Birkenhead, Wirral, CH41 1AU @PG_Live

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MD Insurance Services Ltd is the Scheme Administrator for the Premier Guarantee range of structural warranties. MD Insurance Services Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.



Interest around offsite construction in UK housebuilding is growing rapidly and this ‘surge’ has been reflected in the NHBC Standards 2019. Richard Lankshear, Innovation Manager at NHBC, outlines a busy period ahead for the organisation. While some of the systems are innovative in the use of new materials or even 3D printing, more frequently they are using established building technologies, but it is where and how they are assembled that is ‘Modern’. At NHBC, we identify MMC as offsite manufacture, innovative technologies and other non-conventional methods of construction that form the structure and envelope of the home. This includes sub-assemblies, volumetric and panelised systems manufactured offsite as well as site-based MMC.


2 Last year NHBC received a record number of modern methods of construction (MMC) systems to review via our dedicated online hub, which lists more than 50 current systems that we now accept as acceptable for use in homes that can achieve an NHBC warranty. This surge of activity is mirrored across many parts of the industry. In the past few months alone, we have been invited to eight different factories producing a variety of systems assembled offsite as well as witnessing new technologies onsite such as cross laminated timber (CLT) homes and storey-height aerated concrete panels. 56

Not all offsite manufacture is necessarily MMC, as many established forms of construction (timber or steel frame for example) are assembled offsite. However, if the panels are closed in the factory so that they cannot be inspected onsite, then we will treat them as an MMC system. At NHBC we have a specific way of assessing MMC systems before they are used onsite. In this way, builders and homeowners can gain comfort that a review has been carried out in advance against the requirements of the NHBC Standards. The process, as detailed on the MMC Hub, includes a desk study of the design and evidence of performance of the system, a review of the factory production controls and witness of a pilot scheme to see how the design can be built on site. We then inspect the construction of the finished home on site to warrant the whole home. We know that the vast majority of homes are built with traditional cavity masonry – 75% in 2018, with 15% in timber frame and around 1% in light steel frame with the balance in framed structures or unique systems. However, with the growth in MMC variety of construction methods appears to be increasing, so from April 2019, we will start collecting data on all construction


methods, including those using innovative technologies or offsite construction. What is interesting is the change in types of systems that we have been asked to review over time. There was a notable spike in 2016 with the number of offsite manufactured panelised systems and a number of onsite technologies such as insulated formwork and thin bed-joint mortars. However, while the number of systems submitted continues to rise, we are seeing more and more volumetric systems submitted – nearly one in three enquiries in 2018 related to volumetric systems. This trend is reflective of the research carried out for the NHBC Foundation report on MMC published in December 2018 that suggests that volumetric modules may be gaining greater acceptance with time. The research findings showed that better quality is the primary factor, closely followed by improved efficiency, accelerated delivery and increased productivity. In our opinion, the focus on better quality is paramount. Not just because MMC has the potential to reduce defects, but because if quality is not delivered, then the benefits of productivity or efficiency are not achieved as projects are then delayed on site while defects are rectified. For more information visit: Image: 01. The NHBC Standards 2019 reflects the increase of volumetric modular system use 02. Modules being constructed at the Premier Modular facility in East Yorkshire

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Social media was abuzz as the Minister for Housing, Kit Malthouse, took to the speaker platform at the QEII, Westminster, London on 27 March to address over 250 construction professionals at the Explore Offsite Housing conference. in this country to build homes faster but also to help us increase capacity and productivity. We all know about the 300,000 houses a year by the mid-2020s, that’s going to mean all of us thinking differently about the way we do things. I have been increasingly concerned about capacity and productivity, so I was keen to come along today and urge you to do what you can to promote these new techniques.”

Despite the political wranglings over Brexit, he was in good form and even cracked a few jokes saying: “I was very keen to come and talk to a group of people who are exploring new techniques because it looks like we’re going to be doing the same over the road this afternoon.” The audience were enthused by his comparison between the digital camera revolution and offsite construction technology shared in his opening: “Back in 1975, there was a guy who invented the digital camera, he took this to his management, but they turned him down, saying no thanks, keep quiet, in fact keep it secret. And that company was Kodak, who at the time dominated the world of photography. Forty years on, it’s a footnote in history, gone, bankrupt within two or three years of the advent of the digital camera – a technology which it itself invented.” The Minster then moved on to the challenge in-hand: “We have to revolutionise the way we do things


He then moved onto funding, adding: “Now, you might ask the question, well, what are you doing to help us? We’ve got about £2.5billion of our home building fund which is out there now, supporting MMC projects. We’re pushing as hard as we can to encourage local authorities to include offsite approaches in their development plans, and we’re starting to see members of the industry embrace offsite technologies, not least in the affordable housing programme where we similarly are trying to support the Housing Associations using these kinds of techniques.” A difficult act to follow, Kit Malthouse concluded his address with a Q&A session which ended with tremendous applause for the candid way in which he handled the questions. Under the banner of Modern Methods of Construction: Building Better, Building Faster – Senior Land Manager of Homes England Phil Collings explained how Homes England aims to achieve high-quality homes within well-designed neighbourhoods to work towards solving the housing crisis. Homes England work across


three main areas of business – land, loan investment and affordable housing grants – and recognises that the construction skills deficit is a barrier to building at scale, which is why innovation is vital in driving productivity and increasing house building against a backdrop of a shrinking labour force. Phil outlined that Homes England will implement offsite construction pilot sites that will provide opportunities for developers to test offsite technologies in a shared risk context and obtain technical data linked to pace of build, cost of build, material wastage, labour productivity, sales performance, snagging/quality performance and liveability issues. With up to 200 funding agreements anticipated for completion in 2019/20, equating to 30,000 new homes, a £4.5 billion fund to support the SME house building sector and a £1.7billion fund to support 22 strategic partners who will deliver circa 40,000 homes by March 2022 – Homes England are working with partners to scale up offsite construction ambitions. In 2016 Mark Farmer CEO and Founding Director of Cast Consultancy gave stark warnings in his now acclaimed ‘Modernise or Die’ report, he has now turned his attention to developing a standardised definition of MMC. At Explore Offsite Housing Mark Farmer provided an update on the MHCLG MMC Working Group Activity. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is to agree a standardised definition of MMC with relevant terminologies and create a single independently-created hub for data collection.

EXPLORE OFFSITE HOUSING Mark also presented a Warranty Assessment Protocol (WAP) and a 10-point MMC checklist on unified assurance linking to mortgage and insurance products. Amongst the quality-control requirements, the checklist stipulates that technical longevity assurance of end products must be clear, that a mainstream warranty is always required, that a UK single, unified assurance platform is desired, that better definitions of MMC need to be adopted, that product and process assurance should be better linked to people via skills and competency certification and that better education and awareness of the latest technologies are needed. Collaboration, Confidence and Consumers – Overcoming the Challenges to Greater Adoption of MMC was the topic for the Deputy Chairman of the Home Building Federation (HBF). Peter Andrew MBE explained the impact that offsite approaches have had on the housing industry by tracking the progress that they have made, increasing housing supply by 78% in five years. Peter discussed the role of HBF as

the representative body of the home building industry in England and Wales. Sustainability and Innovation Coordinator Jack Brayshaw of multiaward-winning Barratt Developments presented MMC: The Journey so Far describing how Barratt Developments use factory manufactured systems to rapidly deliver high-quality houses. These systems include panelised masonry build and offsite components, offsite panelised roofing solutions and offsite modular garage systems. Barratt Developments are also considering a range of further offsite systems to enrich their build processes. Jack discussed how Barratt Developments use Application Industrialised Methods to Construct Homes (AIMCH) to deliver high-quality MMC. They measure the success of MMC systems using third-party research and internal data gathering that includes a quarterly review of the site build programme and a review of site KPIs. Darren Richards, Managing Director of offsite experts Cogent Consulting and Chair of Explore Offsite Housing

said: “The event was very well received – both in the room and across social media channels. The conference and exhibition provided fantastic insight for members of the construction industry to tap into the huge opportunities on offer across the offsite construction sector. The event format provided a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all delegates.” To keep up to date with the Explore Offsite series of conferences and exhibition go to:

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1 Award winning regeneration company Urban Splash has announced the addition of a new timber-based modular product to its expanding offsite portfolio – Mansion House. The modular apartment concept, designed by architect shedkm, comes just three years after the launch of its maiden, customisable Town House development at New Islington in Manchester. It is the third modular product in the Urban Splash suite after it unveiled Fab House – two-storey homes designed by George Clarke and TDO Architecture – in North Shields last year.


Where hoUSe is Urban Splash’s range of modular build homes, Mansion House are the first apartments in the range – small groups of apartments with one shared entrance, so owners can enjoy their own space without feeling completely isolated and have a sense of ownership over shared spaces including lobbies, hallways and landings. Mansion House is a mediumrise apartment block comprising six to


ten apartments, which will be launched for sale at New Islington. In keeping the buildings small, Urban Splash hopes they will resurrect ‘neighbourly’ living by homeowners. The homes are created using 2D modular technology by a factory in Bilbao, and come with a number of design features with dual aspect views a perk for every occupant, while sustainably sourced cross

MODULAR HOUSING laminated timber (CLT) will be used for the main structure, feature walls and ceilings and the finish will bring a unique aesthetic with environmental benefits thanks to the high insulation performance of the CLT. Mansion House is all about space. Extra high ceilings and a dual aspect flood the place with light and provide long views, making the apartments feel spacious in every direction. Add to that each apartment has a generous balcony, and if you’re really looking to maximise the sense of space, the two top-floor apartments at Mansion House have an additional ‘lantern’ that increases the ceiling height to nearly 5m. Comparisons in Mansion size to average newbuild apartments are impressive with Mansion ceiling heights being 2.84m (compared to a 2.35m average on other newbuilds), Mansion door heights of 2.4m versus 2.1m average. Average windows are much smaller too to save on glazing costs – whereas Mansion windows are huge to let in as much natural light as possible – the largest windows are 2m x 2.4m. “We are delighted to introduce Mansion House as part of our evergrowing suite of modular homes,” says Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman and co-founder of Urban Splash. “It is a product which once again challenges design convention and something we believe will redefine the concept of apartment living, creating a series of flexible one and two-bedroom homes which combine state-of-theart materials and construction with a lifestyle enhancing design. “Town House has been incredibly well-received, with sites completed, sold out and occupied in Manchester, Salford and North Shields – whilst a fourth site, Port Loop in Birmingham, is now on sale. There’s a track record which shows that buyers have responded well to what we’ve created – notably the design, the choices and the future-proof structure which takes away any limitations – we’ve taken the best of that to create a modular apartment form, something which is a unique residential proposition.” As with Town House, home owners will be able to choose a layout that suits how they want to live. There are nine flexible apartment layouts to choose from. Centred on the kitchen,

2 the apartment options on offer range from a ‘simple kitchen’ layout – where living space is maximised, to an island kitchen and a galley layout, for those who place the kitchen at the heart of the home. Crucially, as with Town House, the inner walls are non-loadbearing, meaning that rooms and layouts can be changed to customer desire in the future.

“Our starting point for Mansion House was to challenge and rethink the trend towards larger, monolithic and increasingly impersonal apartment blocks and towers springing up in our towns and cities,” says Ian Killick, designer at shedkm. “Instead we have focused on creating great places to live – and, whilst the aesthetics are important – the design of Mansion House blocks mean that we are evoking community living and encouraging neighbourly living.” Situated adjacent to Urban Splash’s Town Houses in the heart of New Islington, overlooking the Marina and opposite Cotton Field Park and the OFSTED-Outstanding New Islington

3 Free School, Mansion House is in a prime position. Urban Splash is also the final phase of regeneration at New Islington, which – alongside neighbouring Ancoats – has undergone years of regeneration to become one of the city’s most desirable districts. The first Mansion House apartments will launch for sale early summer 2019. For more information visit: Images: 01. The Mansion House concept will offer flexible modular apartment living 02-03. CLT will form the main structure, walls and ceilings





As one of the most innovative housing associations in the UK, Accord have been at the forefront of promoting offsite solutions for many years through its successful LoCaL Homes business. Dr Chris Handy, Chief Executive of Accord illustrates why offsite construction is an essential way forward.

1 manufacturing, we commissioned our first offsite development utilising a tried and tested timber frame system that we imported from a cooperative organisation in Norway. This organisation had been successfully building homes in this way for over 60 years. Working closely with them and learning from their considerable experience, we successfully delivered a number of schemes together.

2 At Accord we want to create better homes for our customers, homes where people want to live and build their lives. We strive to provide high quality homes that are environmentally friendly, super-insulated and cheaper for our customers to run without compromising on innovative design.


Offsite manufacturing is just one of the solutions that will help to meet vital housing needs and the Government’s demand for 300,000 new houses per year by the mid-2020s. Following five years of research and development into offsite


The results we achieved, compared to that of traditional building methods were significant. The feedback we received from our customers on these early projects was extremely positive, with residents seeing their heating bills halved for example. Wanting to build on these successes, in 2011 Accord opened its offsite manufacturing facility in Walsall – LoCaL Homes – making us the first housing association in the UK to produce houses in our own dedicated offsite factory.


3 Having our own factory has allowed us to achieve: • High quality precision houses with zero defects (ISO9001) • Environmentally friendly homes (ISO14001) • High thermal performance • Cost certainty • Award winning, flexible designs • Value for money • Job creation • Faster construction times • Safer working conditions (OHSAS18001) Due to the increasing demand for more affordable homes, and knowing we had a solution by producing timber framed houses, we took the strategic decision to open a larger facility in Aldridge, in Walsall. In 2018 the factory was officially opened by Housing Minister, Kit Malthouse MP who said: “innovation is crucial to delivering the homes communities need.” It took a lot of hard work and commitment to be able to grow our business, as well as an innovative approach to rethinking development, and we have worked with Walsall Council, who has supported everything we have done. We have also had support from all political parties for everything we have set out to do and achieved. The investment in the new factory has not only enabled us to manufacture over 1,000 homes per annum it has also allowed us to expand our product lines and create

4 new local jobs, whilst helping to tackle some of the issues around skills shortages within the construction industry. The projects where we have utilised our offsite system are achieving between 10-15% saving on the build cost, compared to traditional methods. This demonstrates a clear benefit for other housing associations who want to develop offsite houses. Accord are happy to work with other housing associations and local authorities to help them provide an alternative method to housebuilding, even supporting them to open their own offsite factory, if that is the approach they prefer. We are firm believers that offsite manufacturing is the way forward for the construction industry, and marks a significant step forward for the housing sector in its drive to support the Government’s ambitions to meet the demand for houses here in the UK.

5 The knowledge and experience the team has developed since the launch of our first factory over seven years ago means we have been amassed considerable expertise, constantly innovating and improving and adding to our product line. We are not a start-up, we have been doing this now for some 12 years. We are genuinely excited about what our LoCaL Homes new factory signifies for the future, creating affordable and visually striking beautiful homes. For more information visit: Images: 01. Dr Chris Handy, Chief Executive (left) with Deputy Chief Executive Alan Yates at the opening of the Aldridge facility 02. LoCaL Homes Manufacturing Facility 03-04. The standard of housing being produced and delivered is quality, cost-effective and highly sustainable 05. There is also an emphasis on job creation and training





Manchester City Council engaged Premier Modular via its framework partner, ISG, to deliver eight schools over two phases in less than fourteen months.

1 A collaborative partnership between ISG, Premier Modular and a full complement of design team partners from the outset of the tendering stage generated much greater cost and design efficiencies than if we had been brought in later. The benefits realised through knowledge sharing and collaboration resulted in reduced timescales in design and on-site. This solution-focused approach meant Premier Modular and ISG were successful in delivering the whole package of works within the required timescale and budget of £25m. Contracts were awarded for the six schools in the second phase of these works in August 2017, all of which were delivered in time for the start of the new school year in September 2018 - a critical driver for using offsite construction; up to 75% of the buildings were manufactured offsite, greatly reducing the risk of accidents on site. Disruption is minimised, with reduced transport to site and waste reduced as materials are cut to size. The scheme was Manchester City Council’s first scheme to be delivered with a fully integrated BIM Level 2 Asset Information Model, and all schools achieved BREEAM Very Good. Early engagement with the supply chain was crucial to ensuring all data required for this was captured smoothly and efficiently.


2 Although one base model was developed for the overall scheme, using offsite manufacturing has meant that design changes could be accommodated to incorporate the differing end-user requirements of the various schools. Repeatable component designs were used at each with internal and external finishes being adapted to suit planners and match the new buildings in with existing buildings on the different sites. The partnership has truly gained from the understanding that comes from working together. Benefits have been realised through aligning working practices and improved communication; providing commercial and programme savings as well as improved quality and minimised defects. The success of the scheme has a whole has been evidenced by two of the schools being successful in top Industry Awards. St Margaret’s CofE School won the Digital Construction Category in the North West Regional Construction Awards 2018. Beaver Road Primary School was named Education Project of the Year in the 2019 Offsite Awards; whilst the full scheme of eight schools saw ISG and Premier Modular receive a Highly Commended award in the Digital Construction category also in the 2019 Offsite Awards.


Having delivered award winning offsite solutions throughout the UK for more than 60 years, Premier Modular prides itself on its ability to provide the highest quality buildings, for temporary and permanent applications, offering a skilled and knowledgeable turnkey design and build service. Part of a large multi-national industrial group, Waco International, Premier has the strong financial backing provided by the Group, which has enabled it to build a substantial modular hire fleet. With a strong commitment to research and development, Premier ensures they bring the most innovative products to market, for both hire and sale. Premier Modular’s 25 acre site with five factories can deliver a minimum of 1800m2 of buildings per week, equating to a 2FE primary school every two weeks. Modules are constructed to exacting quality levels in a controlled environment, U-Values are higher than building regulations and exceptional airtightness ratings can be achieved. In a market requiring an increased rate of build, building standards are increasing and sustainability is of growing importance, Premier Modular’s offsite construction has to be the only the solution. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. New schools delivered in the Greater Manchester Region


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A new housing industrialisation project could be key to tackling the housing crisis. Stewart Dalgarno, AIMCH Project Director and Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group, outlines what this new development could achieve.

1 The government has stated that the UK needs an additional 120,000 homes each year to address the housing shortage. That’s a challenge that the housebuilding sector simply can’t meet using traditional construction methods alone. There are too many hurdles to overcome for that to be a realistic option – skills shortages, an ageing workforce, poor productivity, low output and a materials shortfall, to name but a few. A high standard must also be maintained for housebuilding. Homes need to be affordable, energy efficient, and of a high quality, leading to increased customer satisfaction and improved building performance. Industrialisation through digital working, offsite construction and lean site assembly processes can be part of the solution, but they have not yet broken through as viable mainstream alternatives to traditional 66

2 methods of building homes. The Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) project aims to change this. AIMCH, which received £4million of funding from Innovate UK under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, aims to develop industrialised nearto-market panelised offsite solutions. The ultimate goal of AIMCH is to deliver homes which are built 30% more quickly and with a 50% reduction in defects, yet cost the same or less to construct than traditionally built homes. The project has the potential to impact on 35,000 homes being delivered by AIMCH partners across the UK each year. The project will develop digitally integrated solutions around design standardisation, Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and Building Information Modelling (BIM),


linked to advanced manufacturing, supply chain integration, enhanced offsite panelised systems and lean construction practices. The project will gather hard evidence and data from live sites to inform decision-making and business case for change and investment. We are confident AIMCH will be a major change catalyst in the housing sector by identifying and developing industrialised near-to-market panelised offsite solutions needed to meet current and future housebuilding demands. These will be benchmarked to current methods and solutions trialled on live housing projects, with successful new methods then being commercialised and brought to market in volume. We expect that the project will result in new digital design tools, manufacturing advancements, improved near-to-market offsite systems and lean site processes. By

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3 leading to high quality homes that can be built quickly and viably, we believe AIMCH will be the catalyst the housing sector needs to move towards advanced digitally integrated manufacturing and site assembly, whilst overcoming the challenges that the sector faces today and helping it get to where it needs to go in the future. This collaborative innovation project involves a mix of housing providers and tenures, high-profile and entrepreneurial companies, differing offsite construction systems, and is backed by leading researchers. The project partners are all really excited about the possibilities of AIMCH and are confident it will be a gamechanger for the housing sector. It brings CSIC and the MTC’s innovation and industrialisation expertise and capability in key technologies such as design and simulation, and process and manufacturing systems development, including automation and visualisation, together with high profile housing and offsite manufacturing providers, who provide scale, innovation capability and a clear route to market. At Stewart Milne Group, we’ve always sought to innovate through digital working, advanced manufacturing and offsite construction. As well as developing around 1,000 homes a year, we also manufacture 8,500 offsite timber frame homes for third party clients, with aspirations to double


4 AIMCH The Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH) project, funded by Innovate UK, could transform how homes are built through industrialisation. The project is a collaboration between Stewart Milne Group, Barratt Developments PLC, London & Quadrant Housing Trust Ltd, Tarmac, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Forster Roofing Services Ltd as the SME partner. The project will be managed by Limberger Associates. The three-year AIMCH project aims to tackle a range of challenges and become a major player in the housing sector by identifying and developing industrialised offsite solutions needed to meet current and future housebuilding demands. The project has potential to impact on 35,000 homes being delivered by AIMCH partners across the UK, each year.

this in the future. As the UK’s largest housebuilder, the project’s private housing partner Barratt Developments PLC sold 17,579 homes in the year to June 2018. Barratt is forging ahead with its adoption of offsite production, trialling new technologies and strengthening supply chain relationships. The project’s social housing partner, L&Q, is one of the UK’s most successful social businesses, housing around 250,000 people in 92,000 homes, primarily across London and the South East. It aims to build 100,000 new homes over ten years, with at least 50% of these genuinely affordable, with 100% commitment to offsite construction. Tarmac is developing concrete offsite housing solutions, including piloting the manufacture of offsite concrete garages. This work provides the basis for AIMCH to trial the viability of a


possible mainstream housing solution. Similarly, SME roofing contractor Forster Group wishes to develop and commercialise a novel kit of parts roof tiling system, including integrated PV, which fits perfectly with AIMCH’s aims. AIMCH also has the support of Homes England, and is a named project within the Farmer Review, as an example of the type of game-changing industry project needed within the housing sector. What’s more, as well as providing much needed homes, AIMCH also has the potential to deliver wider sector benefits in terms of jobs, investment and growth. For more information visit: Image: 01. Stewart Dalgarno, AIMCH Project Director and Director of Product Development at Stewart Milne Group 02-04. Industrialised offsite solutions will be explored in depth by AIMCH over a three year R&D period. Courtesy MTC/CSIC


THREE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER An innovative combination of three reflective, low emissivity wall construction membranes from Protect Membranes has been used to deliver the magic formula for a flagship affordable modular housing scheme in Swansea on behalf of Gwalia Housing/Pobl Group.

1 Based on the former Four Seasons Social Club site, the development is made up of 41 timber frame properties, offering a mix of one, two and three bedroom homes that provide a modern living space in keeping with local architecture.

Appointed by main contractor Morganstone, timber frame specialist Seven Oaks Modular constructed the wall panels offsite in their factory, followed by delivery and installation onsite. Installing Protect’s reflective membrane solution helped Seven Oaks Modular to reduce material waste during manufacture and value engineer without severely impacting labour cost. The timber frame panels incorporated Protect TF InterFoil, a vapour permeable, reflective membrane installed on the cold side of the insulation, with the foil facing into an airspace to deliver low emissivity performance. This was combined with Protect TF200 Thermo, a reflective, external breather membrane and Protect VC Foil Ultra, an internal vapour control layer on the warm side of the insulation to help create a radiant

barrier. This system achieved the client’s target U-Value of 0.19W/m2K and achieved important insulation savings, with a reduced thickness of PIR needed for the 140mm stud without increasing the overall wall footprint. For details of how Protect products can be incorporated into both modular or traditional build, whether residential or commercial, please visit, email or call 0161 905 5700, quoting ‘Four Seasons.’ Images: 01. Protect TF InterFoil being installed at Seven Oaks’ factory



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1 Located on the outskirts of Egham in Surrey, Hox Park is a new high-quality, precast concrete student development for The Royalton Group and Moorfield, which forms part of the phased masterplan for the former Brunel University site. Designed by Studio Partington, a total of 499 studio and ensuite bedrooms are housed within four new accommodation blocks, three to four storeys in height, orientated around a series of beautifully landscaped courtyards which are accessed through a new entrance square. Crisp bronze powder coated aluminium cladding to the top storey of each block reduces the perceived height of the scheme, while subtle detailing around windows cast delicate shadows onto the brickwork, changing the proportions of the openings as the sunlight changes through the day. From start to finish, Hox Park has taken two years to construct, and just a few months to assemble with thanks to the adoption of precast concrete offsite construction, completing ahead of the 2018/19 academic year. Studio Partington worked closely with the contractor, GRAHAM, to devise solutions that would increase the overall capacity of the scheme, and significantly reduce construction time and costs.


Precast construction allowed for accuracy and consistency, both of which are vital when constructing a repetitive programme within a restricted timeframe. Concrete walls and floors were meticulously detailed by GRAHAM to house all services within the structure and omitting the need for a ceiling void or a complicated floor build up and allowing for generous floor to ceiling heights throughout. An ideal canvas for student living, precast concrete offers great acoustic barriers between rooms, is easily maintainable and provides durable interiors. Expanses of thermal mass and significant insulation to external walls maintains a naturally cool environment in the summer, and warmer in the winter, eschewing the need for additional heating which in turn reduces energy costs. Offering a quick and standardised solution to bathroom instalments, prefabricated bathroom pods were also installed throughout. Single elements within the bathrooms can be easily replaced, while communal services for cluster and studio flats can be accessed via a door from the main corridor to reduce disruption to students when carrying out maintenance. Designed to make students feel at home, all rooms are bright and spacious and feature a comfortable double bed, generous storage space


3 including a built in double wardrobe, a desk for study and an ensuite with walk in shower and WC. 200 studio rooms have fully functioning kitchenettes, equipped with a ceramic hob, combi oven and fridge/freezer and a breakfast bar, while 299 ensuite bedrooms are orientated in clusters of four to eight rooms around a communal kitchen, dining and living space. Rob Joyce, GRAHAM’s London office Director, said: “The redevelopment of Magna Carta Park is an exciting scheme and the work we have carried out alongside Studio Partington on behalf of Royalton Group has provided the grounds with a new lease of life and transformed the disused campus into a new academic hub.” With the help of GRAHAM, the team were able to shave a total of ten weeks off the construction process which enabled the project to be completed on budget and in time for the start of the 2018/19 academic year. The successful delivery of high-quality accommodation also helped to maximise letting potential – almost all of the rooms were reserved upon completion. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Hox Park has used precast concrete panels to create a high quality and superbly finished learning and living environment.

Guidance from The Concrete Centre Concrete is inherently suited to tall construction, with the many benefits that concrete can provide including fire resistance, thermal mass, acoustic separation and robustness. These benefits assist with the construction of buildings that are safe, cost-effective and easy to maintain or accept change-of-use. Two recently-published guides on tall buildings are available to download from The Concrete Centre website. These publications highlight the methods of construction available along with examples and benefits associated with their applications, together with case study exemplars. @concretecentre Image: 24-25 storey towers at Hoola development, London. Š Jack Hobhouse


CALLING ALL LEADERS AND INNOVATORS IN THE STRUCTURAL TIMBER INDUSTRY Occasionally there is an event that grabs the attention of the construction industry – the Structural Timber Awards is one such event. Put it down to perfect timing with the heightened interest in offsite manufacture and construction. Or it could be the upsurge in product innovation?

The Structural Timber Awards have not only grown in popularity but also in stature – picking up an award on the night not only generates media attention but also the accolade of being evaluated by a respected judging panel. The winners will be announced at a high-profile dinner on 09 October 2019 at the National Conference Centre, Birmingham. As a major event in the construction calendar, the Awards will sell out tickets to over 600 national business leaders and high-profile decision makers from the construction industry, and importantly not just structural timber solution suppliers but architects, engineers, clients and contractors from some of the biggest names in the sector. The head of the judging panel and Chief Executive of the Structural Timber Association (STA), Andrew Carpenter said of the Awards: “Once

again it is my great pleasure to be involved in the Structural Timber Awards. As an advocate of timber technology, it is rewarding to witness the inspirational achievements that are taking place within our industry. The award ceremony is one of the highlights of the year when the industry comes together to reward and celebrate those who are creating an architectural legacy of great structural timber buildings.” Entry Deadline: 31 May 2019 This is your opportunity to take centre stage at the Structural Timber Awards and take your place alongside those considered to be the nation’s best. Being shortlisted, gaining a ‘highly commended’ certificate or ultimately, winning an award will earn recognition within the timber community and the wider construction industry, leading to an abundance of fresh prospects and business development opportunities.

Do you have a project, product or company that you think is worthy of winning a Structural Timber Award? If yes, start your entry today! Categories include: Social Housing Project of the Year, Private Housing Project of the Year, Custom or SelfBuild Project of the Year, Education Project of the Year, Healthcare Project of the Year, Commercial Project of the Year, Retail or Leisure Project of the Year, Low Energy Project of the Year, Engineer of the Year, Architect of the Year, Client of the Year, Contractor of the Year, Product Innovation Award, Pioneer Award, Project of the Year, Project or Construction Manager of the Year and Installer of the Year. The Structural Timber Awards are free to enter and the closing date for submissions is the 31 May 2019 – to find out more and enter go to:

If you want an opportunity to network with some of the industry’s most influential people, then tables of 10 are available for just £1,650 +VAT. The event presents a fantastic opportunity for hosts to entertain key clients and celebrate the best of the structural timber industry.




WET ROOMS ARE THE ANSWER For over 15 years, On The Level has offered invaluable advice on showers for use in accessible spaces for the UK’s ageing demographic. According to the Office for National Statistics, it is estimated that by the year 2066 there will be an additional population – roughly the size of London – aged 65 years and over. Having worked with very specific client requirements for accessible users, we have vast experience of real-life situations. We understand that living requirements change as people get older – mobility becomes more challenging and traditional bathrooms don’t always meet needs. Our stepfree, level access wet rooms provide practical, functional and user-friendly spaces that are accessible for all. The construction industry is facing pressure to respond to the national housing crisis and will have to think far more creatively if it is to

provide bespoke spaces for our ageing population, as there will be an additional 353,000 older people with complex needs by 2025, requiring 71,000 extra care home beds. Part of the solution will be developers embracing modular offsite construction to speed up delivery and make projects cheaper and more efficient. These modular bathrooms can be fitted into existing care homes, integrated into a specialist project, or even be slotted into someone’s home in the form of a bolt-on annexe. Regardless of the setting, our level access floors provide users with made-to-measure, hazard-free environments in which to relax and unwind safely.

1 Got any questions or want to discuss your modular wet room or shower requirements with us? Contact us on: or 0843 7830 034. Images: 01. Modular wet rooms could provide a range of answers to the UK’s ageing population



This pivotal industry event has been launched to inform the wider construction industry about the rapidly growing offsite manufacturing sector. Offsite Expo is designed to be the most dynamic construction event of the year, featuring a combination of advanced factory-based manufacturing approaches, the latest products and innovative systems plus updates in BIM and digital technology. Offsite Expo will run from 24-25 September at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry and will bring together influential organisations and professionals who are driving international best practice and advanced technology in the offsite construction sector. Traditional construction methods are struggling to keep pace with demand, and manufacturers are rethinking the way buildings are designed and assembled to address more challenging programmes, consistency of quality and effectively meet budget requirements. The shift away from traditional construction is highlighting the vast need for offsite techniques and technologies. Offsite assembly principles are reshaping the built environment for a healthier, safer future that simultaneously reduces building costs and construction timeframes. Catering for a range of budgets and resource, Offsite Expo will play host to UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers who will be showcasing quality panelised and volumetric modular systems, as well as pod and prefabricated MEP solutions across all technologies. Exhibitors will include some of the industry’s leading and emerging names, who are developing the most innovative products, systems and processes which are helping to advance offsite technology.


Here are ten top reasons why YOU should exhibit at the Offsite Expo: 1. Align your products and services with this increasingly important sector. 2. Benefit from our range of flexible exhibition and sponsorship packages available to offer a wide range of promotional opportunities to suit any marketing aims, resources and budgets. 3.

Situated in the heart of England and within two hours’ drive of 75% of the population - take advantage of the event’s central location with excellent public transport links and local accommodation.


Raise your company profile and equity through direct interaction with your key target audience allowing you to generate highlyqualified leads.


Gain access to the Offsite Buyers and Specifiers Forum and meet hard to reach architects, contractors, specifiers and purchasing managers who have the power to procure your products and systems.


Position your brand alongside those shaping the future of offsite construction - including key industry bodies, trade associations and media.




7. Take advantage of the extensive digital and traditional event marketing campaign. 8. Learn more about international best practice with speakers from around the globe at the Offsite Summit and identify opportunities for future collaboration and knowledge transfer. 9. Gain industry intelligence from the event’s leading offsite experts – Cogent Consulting, who will be offering free one-to-one offsite consultations. 10. Relax in the knowledge that our dedicated team will guide you every step of the way from pre event, onsite and post-event The 2019 Offsite Expo will provide countless opportunities for exhibitors, specifiers, architects, contractors and purchasing managers alike. This event is designed to streamline the buying process in the construction sector, by providing easy access to the best offsite solutions in one space to take the hassle out of the specifying process. Exhibitors will have incredible opportunities to promote their products and services as well as pick up invaluable industry insights from around one hundred masterclasses presented by industry pioneers.

To be part of this significant inaugural offsite event contact: or call 01743 290042. To find out more about Offsite Expo go to:


Award-winning structural and civil engineering consultancy specialising in modular building design. Over 25 years of experience in the design and procurement of offsite developments with projects in the UK and overseas.


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