Offsite Magazine - Issue 17 (May/June)

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NHBC ROUNDTABLE Government funding, convincing lenders and securing routes to better quality housing


INSIDE PORTAKABIN The iconic modular building specialists recently opened up its York manufacturing facility


PROJECT ETOPIA Joseph Daniels predicts a brave new world for UK construction free of bricks and mortar


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


Welcome everyone. A key thread within the offsite sector over the last few weeks – and reflected in various parts of this edition – is cold hard cash. Investment, funding and huge sums of money have been pumped into businesses to provide a springboard to greater industry maturity. Financial giant Goldman Sachs announced a £75million capital investment into modular housing manufacturing with TopHat – a business that only started production in 2018. Spotting a market opportunity, Goldman Sachs are hoping that this level of funding will propel forward a ‘technology-driven’ approach to making homes and drive ‘critical change’ within the housing supply chain. Japan’s biggest housebuilder has also moved into the UK housing market. Sekisui House – one of the world’s leading housebuilders and pioneers of offsite construction – struck a multi-million deal working with Homes England and Urban Splash. £55million will be pumped into developing Urban Splash’s ‘House’ business, with £22million of that new equity. With big bucks, global experience and unrivalled expertise in modular homes, Yoshihiro Nakai, President of Sekisui House, said “Our technology and know-how can help resolve pressing

social issues in the UK. I want to see us play our part effective immediately.” This issue we focus on Project Etopia – expanding rapidly from its base in Ellesmere Port. Having already invested £7million with Etopia, Lord Stanley Fink, has joined the firm’s board as its ‘hands-on’ Chairman. With enormous experience in financial services and ex-Chief Executive of mega hedge fund The Man Group, you would think he knows a bit about investing wisely – or at least taking a calculated risk! “I remain utterly convinced that offsite construction will prove to be a major part of the solution to the housing shortage in Britain,” he announced. Wise words. Indeed, Gordon More, Chief Investment Officer at Homes England was equally evangelical when he said that if we are to increase industry’s capacity to build high-quality homes offsite, it’s vital others ‘join us in our mission’. This climate of snowballing investment proves that offsite manufacture is increasingly an attractive investment proposition but that factory-based manufacture has a dynamic future, challenging the stranglehold ‘traditional’ construction has had for too long. Many thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters. Enjoy…

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:








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Lighter by Design



38 | Building Better High-Rise



AEDAS Homes, a leading listed homebuilder in Spain has recently launched its second large-scale modular development, Etheria, in El Cañaveral, an up-and-coming area in Madrid that is popular with first-time home buyers and just 20 minutes from the city centre.





NHBC works collaboratively with the housebuilding industry to raise standards of new homes. They recently hosted a roundtable event discussing key issues surrounding funding and investment in the offsite sector and how to further understanding and confidence in offsite technology.



As part of the Inside Offsite factory tour programme, modular building specialists Portakabin, opened up its York manufacturing facility to explain to a select group of visitors the offsite manufacturing process.

Amid stagnating housebuilding levels and the financial roadblocks faced by many trying to buy, the UK needs to embrace a new method of constructing homes. Joseph Daniels, Chief Executive of Project Etopia has ambitious plans to change the ways things are built.



08 | Industry News

24 | Offsite Expo 2019

News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: Japan’s biggest housebuilder moves into the UK housing market, TopHat secure a £75m capital investment from Goldman Sachs and McAvoy appoints new Chief Executive and Managing Director.

Find out how the show is shaping up, read about what to expect later in the year including how to get involved as an exhibitor/ sponsor and more about Offsite Connect.

Tall buildings present unique challenges in terms of design and construction. The sheer scale of these mega-towers demand unique engineering solutions.

42 | The Tranquil Face of Framing

Underlining its commitment to making the design process as efficient and collaborative as possible, voestalpine Metsec has created a new facility on its website allowing design, construction and installation teams to understand the company’s Metframe building system.

46 | A Healthy Outlook for Offsite Delivery

Daniel Minks, Sales Director at Hadley Steel Framing, assesses the uptake of offsite construction in the UK healthcare sector.

54 | Modular Makeover at RSPCA Radcliffe

Integra Buildings has completed construction of the £1.1million, state-of-the-art rehoming and education centre at the RSPCA animal shelter in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire.

56 | Room at the Top

Rooftop developments and exploitation of ‘airspace’ is a way that offsite methods and volumetric modular delivery can deliver a new dimension to the housing market especially in high density locations.

64 | Doing more – better – faster

Citu is successfully building a carbon negative housing development in Leeds – the first family homes to be constructed in the city centre for more than 90 years. Jonathan Wilson, Development Director, Citu explains more about offsite design and why timber is so important.

66 | Transformational Timber

Alex de Rijke, partner at dRMM – one of the UK’s foremost architectural practices – outlines why timber is so essential to contemporary building design.

72 | ‘Flight’ connections at Manchester Airport

Invisible Connections is working with precast concrete and design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) specialist SCC Design Build, to construct stair cores at Manchester Airport.












AEDAS Homes, a leading listed homebuilder in Spain and the first to bet on offsite construction as a value-making proposition, has recently launched its second large-scale modular development, Etheria, in El Cañaveral, an up-and-coming area in Madrid that is popular with first-time home buyers and just 20 minutes from the city centre. The design-led development of 41 contemporary terraced homes has a gross development value of approximately €17million (£14.7 million) and employs a volumetric 3D steel construction system. Designed by Estudio Lamela, the pre-eminent Spanish architectural firm responsible for Real Madrid’s prefabricated modular residence, the 124 modules that comprise Etheria are being precision built in Toledo by a leading Spanish volumetric building specialist. Setting of the modules will begin this July and is expected to finish in November, giving Etheria a total build and installation programme of approximately 30 weeks.


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Angel Fernandez, Director of AEDAS Offsite Homes, explained the company’s design ethos, saying: “We have a responsibility to contribute to the improvement of the European residential real estate market, by promoting its conversion to ‘Industry 4.0’ and making it more attractive to both customers and development professionals. We have a clear goal – to increase productivity and be able to ensure the health of the sector in the years to come by making it more resilient. “Automatisation, using databases, standardising products and building offsite, as is the case with Etheria, makes it possible for us to increase our housing productivity. In this sense, the design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) strategy has reshaped our approach. By designing in concert with manufacturers, architects and engineers at the earliest stages of the process, we can improve both quality and quantity in equal measure,

COVER STORY AEDAS HOMES all while reducing construction time frames by a third. It’s all about doing things in a way that is faster, leaner and smarter.” With the Etheria development, AEDAS offsite homes has opted for a volumetric 3D steel construction system, which is the result of a new strategic agreement signed with one of Spain’s leading modular building specialists. The 124 steel structure modules have steel-reinforced cast concrete slabs, which appeals to discerning home buyers in Spain, and are being produced at a new factory in Toledo. The factory’s layout is based on an assembly line concept that is designed to increase productivity and ensure quality control at every stage in the process. There are 11 stations, and modules move on rails from one station to the next, starting in the structure welding area and ending their journey in the quality control area, where they are checked and wrapped before being transported to site. In order to maximise the number of homes on site and to optimise the installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, houses are paired, with three modules on the ground floor and three modules on the first floor. This unique solution means that each house has one-and-a-half modules per floor, with the kitchens and bathrooms grouped in the central modules. Once MEP installation is complete, a party wall is installed to divide the central modules and create two separate homes that are mirror images of one another. From start to finish, the total build time is just six weeks, with setting taking place over a two-week period. For the facade, the design team chose through-coloured fibre cement panels. Fernandez explained the choice of material, saying: “This type of ventilated facade is exceptionally well insulated, which you can imagine is extremely important to our customers, given how hot Spain’s summers are. From a DfMA standpoint, it offers us a standardised, lightweight solution that can be manufactured elsewhere and transported to the facility where the modules are being constructed, then set on an aluminium substructure which is integrated into the steel frame – this further streamlines and speeds up the build process. And this type of facade has a really clean, modern look,

3 which is favoured by our customers. So this choice of material really adds a lot of value.” All the high-end Etheria homes feature open-plan living spaces designed for comfort and functionality, with the needs of modern families in mind. Each house has an average floor area of 162m2 (1,740ft2) laid out on three levels. The modules that make up the ground floor and first floor are set on fully finished basements, and homebuyers can choose a three or four-bedroom layout, depending on their needs.

“Based on how warmly the market received the first phase of our first offsite development—Merian in nearby Torrejon de Ardoz,” adds Angel Fernandez. “We decided to move up our launch of Etheria, putting it on the market in April at a starting price of €405,000 (£350,000). With Merian, we discovered that the appetite for high-end modular is there in the Spanish market, and we expect that Etheria will replicate our success earlier this year.” David Martinez, CEO of AEDAS Homes, explained the homebuilder’s vision for its offsite line, saying: “With Etheria coming on stream, we now have three offsite developments on the market in Madrid—Merian I and II, and now Etheria—and we will be launching additional projects here as well as in Costa del Sol this year. All in all, we currently have plans to put more than 180 offsite homes on the market this year, and we will be scaling up in 2020. Our target is for modular to account for around 10% of our total deliveries by 2022.

4 “We are also making a big push to incorporate high-quality prefabricated components into our traditional builds, which is our core business. Between this year and next, we will be working with our contractors to install 4,500 high-end bathroom pods in our multi-storey developments, as well as installing next-generation modular internal wall systems in 2,000 units. By incorporating these components into our developments, we are looking at considerable time savings, which is great for our customers, and limiting the impact of construction cost inflation, which is great for our bottom line.” AEDAS Homes currently has well over 4,000 units under construction across 63 developments in the five regions where it operates: Madrid, Catalonia, Mallorca, Valencia and Alicante, Malaga and Costa del Sol and Andalucia. In 2019, the company plans to deliver more than 1,000 newbuild homes, and close to 2,000 in 2020. For more information visit: Images: 01. Modular factory, Toledo, Spain 02. Etheria living/dining room 03. Etheria access to underground carpark 04. Etheria back garden at dusk



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Sekisui House Moves into UK

Japan’s biggest housebuilder has moved into the UK housing market after striking a multi-million pound deal that will see it work with Homes England and Urban Splash to deliver thousands of new homes across England. Sekisui House – one of the world’s leading housebuilders – are pioneers of offsite construction. The £90million deal, which has been facilitated by lead real estate and financial advisor JLL, comprises a total new investment of £55million into Urban Splash’s ‘house’ development business. It provides a significant boost to the UK’s modular housing industry and will help to speed up production of much-needed new homes. Sekisui House have invested £22million of new equity, with £30million of equity and debt funding coming from the Government’s Home Building Fund, administered through Homes England. Experienced entrepreneur Noel McKee, founder of We Buy Any Car, has also made a sizeable investment in the new partnership and will take an incremental c5% stake. Yoshihiro Nakai, President and Representative Director of Sekisui House Ltd said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to work together with Homes England and Urban Splash to establish our operations and help to create outstanding communities in the UK. Using modern methods of construction to build high quality homes with short build times is one of our company’s great strengths. Our technology and know-how can help resolve pressing social issues in the UK, and I want to see us play our part effective immediately.


These operations can also help bring vitality to UK regions, and we will work to make the strongest connections with the local communities.” Minister of State for Housing, Kit Malthouse MP, said: “Sekisui House bring with them a proven track record in harnessing the modern methods of construction that are transforming homebuilding. Backed by Government investment, today’s announcement will support our urgent mission to deliver more, better and faster home construction to ensure a new generation can realise the dream of home ownership.” Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman of Urban Splash, said: “We believe that there is a real opportunity in the UK housebuilding industry. We hope to leverage our 25 years of place-making experience and our recent investments into modular housing by bringing in new partners; having looked far and wide we chose Sekisui House from Japan because of the company’s unrivalled global experience in modular construction and shared values and philosophy that we are making homes not units, and a joint belief in the need for a green future. We are also proud to partner with Homes England – part of the UK Government – because of their commitment to modular and desire to grow capacity in the UK housing business. We are incredibly excited about the accelerated production of muchneeded homes and evolving traditional practices as we embrace the benefits of innovative offsite construction.”


Based in Osaka and founded in 1960, Sekisui House, have cumulative sales of over two million homes, over twenty-thousand employees and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Nagoya Stock Exchange. They aim to create homes and communities that improve with time and last for generations. With ‘Love of Humanity’ as its corporate philosophy, Sekisui House believes that homes should offer comfort, security and peace of mind for residents, while maintaining harmony with the environment and its surroundings. Homes England, the government’s housing accelerator, has been instrumental in providing significant financial support and expertise to the new partnership as well as providing assurance to the investors. Sir Edward Lister, Chair of Homes England, said: “When Homes England launched last year we said we’d disrupt the housing market to increase the pace of construction. By helping bring one of the world’s largest and most innovative housebuilders to UK shores, we’re putting our money where our mouth is. By creating a more diverse landscape – where smaller builders such as Urban Splash get a stronger foothold – we’re rebuilding the building industry; driving up quality and improving consumer choice.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Modular Eco-building for Kent Holiday Resort

Caledonian secures £25m Wembley student accommodation project

Oxfordshire based Green Unit have installed their ARC™ eco-building at the environmentally-conscious, self-catering holiday resort, Great Field Farm, near Canterbury. The premium eco-building, known as the Green Unit ARC™, was manufactured offsite in modular sections and delivered to the Great Field Farm site virtually complete. The 90sq m building is equipped with a green roof, a heat exchange system, infra-red underfloor heating and smart sensors to regulate pollen, CO2 levels, ventilation, heating and lighting. The building’s three bedrooms comfortably sleep six people, and it boasts a westerly facing glazed end where guests can enjoy stunning sunsets within the state-of-the-art kitchen and a beautiful living space. The new accommodation offers a unique opportunity to expand their environmentally conscious business, allowing the couple to cater to the demand for larger families and groups. “We chose the Green Unit ARC as we liked the idea that it can be built under cover in the winter and delivered practically complete,” said owner Lewana Castle.” And that disruption on our site is minimal, so not affecting our other holiday guests. We pride our business on offering guests the space and freedom of the outdoors, but with the warmth and comfort of a house, and the new ARC building offers exactly that. Our guests will love the new experience of living in the round of the curved building, and I think they’ll be interested in the ARC’s sustainable features and clever technology. Jonathan Finnerty, Managing Director of Green Unit, added: “The Great Field Farm project marks an important milestone for Green Unit as we deliver the ARC into what we expect to be the first of many businesses within the UK tourism sector.” The building’s unique curved design mimics the natural environment, and the use of sustainable materials creates a calm and relaxing getaway for holiday goers in the heart of the Kent Downs. Source:

Caledonian, working with Bowmer + Kirkland, has been awarded a £25m contract to manufacture the accommodation modules as part of a £54m development for the University Campus of Football Business, First Way Campus in Wembley. The majority of the 678 bedrooms have now been manufactured by Caledonian at its 40 acre site in Newark, Nottinghamshire. They will be installed by the company utilising its sector leading modular building system. At 10 storeys, the project really shows what is possible with Caledonian’s modular building solutions. On this project, the Caledonian approach and recent advances in process will provide bedrooms that are 96% complete prior to shipping to site. Caledonian was selected because the company demonstrated how its modular building system would help meet the strict deadline dates on this project, which required handover by July 2020 in time for Euro 2020. Fire compliance capabilities of the Caledonian modular system also featured highly in the selection process, due to the high rise nature of the 10 storey development. Caledonian provided the client and design team with confidence post Grenfell, providing a pre-engineered fire compliant modular solution suitable for a development of this scale.

Damian Flood, CEO of Cole Waterhouse, said: “We liked the modular building solution proposed by Bowmer + Kirkland and its supply partner Caledonian for First Way Campus because it was a practical way of meeting the strict schedule. We are providing Wembley and the UCFB students with a fantastic campus that will include a number of facilities for students including purpose built accommodation (678 beds), seminar rooms and staff office spaces as well as amenities such as a café style restaurant, a gym and library/IT suite.” Paul Lang, CEO of Caledonian Modular, said: “Our ability to deliver to a strict schedule and have an existing fire compliant solution made a compelling proposition for First Way Campus. The development rises to 10 storeys and that really shows what is possible with our modular building solution.” First Way Campus is situated a few minutes’ walk from Wembley Stadium, and will include a mix of purposebuilt student accommodation as well as academic, office and outdoor space. Developers Cole Waterhouse brokered a deal with Unite Students, a leading provider of student accommodation in the UK. Caledonian has incorporated the Unite requirements into the design to provide a higher standard student living experience than is traditionally expected. Source:



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Goldman Sachs Invests £75m in TopHat

Heathrow Offsite Hubs Edge Closer Heathrow has announced the names and locations of the 18 shortlisted sites that remain in the running to help deliver the expanded airport, signalling the project has reached a new and significant milestone on its path to delivery.

TopHat, the UK’s leader in technology-driven modular housing manufacturing, recently announced a £75m capital investment by Goldman Sachs. Founded in early 2016, TopHat commenced production in early 2018 at its state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in South Derbyshire. Chief Executive Jordan Rosenhaus said: “We are incredibly excited to have Goldman Sachs as an investor in TopHat. This transaction is a sign of the tremendous progress TopHat has made since it was established and the significant market opportunity in the housing and digital construction sectors in the UK. We look forward to engaging with our key clients and stakeholders to partner in delivering more of the high-quality, good value homes that the UK so badly requires.” Tavis Cannell, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, added: “TopHat’s technology-driven approach has the potential to make a significant impact on the UK’s housing shortage. Their speed, efficiency and high standards make them uniquely positioned to drive critical change in the way the industry currently operates and improve the housing supply chain. We look forward to supporting their continued growth.” Gordon More, Chief Investment Officer at Homes England, also said: “If we are to increase industry’s capacity to build high-quality homes offsite, it’s vital others join us in our mission – so we welcome today’s announcement by TopHat and Goldman Sachs. This represents a significant investment in a growing SME business that is delivering a real step change in the housebuilding industry. For our part, we look forward to continuing to work with a range of developers to drive innovation and make homes happen.” The first residential site to use TopHat’s product is the historic Kitchener Barracks in Chatham, Kent, which will welcome residents in the second quarter of 2019. Source:


The sites have been selected from a longlist of 65, all of which were visited during a nationwide tour which concluded in the summer of 2018. The longlisted locations were then all invited to take part in a prequalification questionnaire which helped to determine which sites were best placed to be involved in the delivery of Britain’s largest infrastructure project. In the autumn, the 18 sites shortlisted will now have the opportunity to pitch to the airport’s bosses for their chance to become one of the final four construction centres, to be announced early next year, ahead of work starting in 2021. The final four sites will become offsite construction centres that will help to deliver Britain’s new runway bringing jobs and economic opportunities to every corner of the country as Heathrow looks to construct as much of the expanded airport offsite as possible. This innovative approach will also help to make the project more affordable and sustainable – by transporting assembled components in consolidated loads. In addition to the economic opportunities, the Logistics Hubs will bring to the whole of the UK, Heathrow’s ongoing Business Summit series will also provide small businesses throughout the country the opportunity to become part of Heathrow’s supply chain ahead of


expansion. The 11 summits are spread throughout various regions and nations across the country, organised in conjunction with regional business groups such as Chambers of Commerce, LEPs and the FSB, giving hundreds of SMEs access to one-on-one appointments with Heathrow’s top suppliers. Emma Gilthorpe, Heathrow’s Executive Director for Expansion said: “Our expansion plans are progressing apace and continue to be refined thanks to feedback from a wide range of stakeholders. Heathrow is as committed as ever to creating a plan that delivers for every corner of the UK. Logistics hubs are key to achieving that. This innovative approach will be more cost effective, efficient and sustainable, helping to unlock much needed capacity quickly and responsibly. “Logistics hubs are also integral to harnessing the skills the UK needs post-Brexit. We are working with other major infrastructure projects to see if they might also benefit from these hubs, creating a bright, new future for the UK’s construction sector. One in which we’re better utilising new technology and offsite techniques to spread the benefits of major projects like expansion nationwide.” Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS CSIC & STA Partner to Boost Timber Innovation Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and the Structural Timber Association (STA) have announced they are joining forces to support structural timber businesses across the UK to innovate and grow. The partnership will build on the existing relationship between the two organisations, formed through several key collaborative projects that CSIC has already supported, with both the STA and its member company’s CCG, Stewart Milne Group and Scotframe. This formal partnership will create a strategic relationship between CSIC and the STA. It will deliver a supporting programme of activities and provide numerous benefits for STA members, including: a series of innovation events for the timber sector, hosted at CSIC’s Innovation Factory, discount on use of CSIC’s Innovation Factory, which provides access to state-of-the-art equipment including an offsite cell and CLT/glulam vacuum press, as well as training and seminar spaces for up to 120 people. Plus support for STA members to understand the benefits working with Building Information Management (BIM).

Stephen Good, Chief Executive at CSIC said: “CSIC is keen to develop partnerships with organisations like the STA whose objectives align with our own, because we know that by collaborating, we can deliver greater support to groups of construction businesses to help them innovate and grow. “CSIC already undertakes a range of activity relevant to the structural timber sector, such as being an associate partner in Offsite Solutions Scotland and funding numerous collaborative projects with STA member companies. Formalising our existing relationship with the STA will offer greater opportunities for structural timber companies to participate in innovation activity and collaborate with client bodies, supply chain partners, public sector and academia.”

Alex Goodfellow, Vice Chair of the STA added: “Innovation has always been at the heart of the structural timber sector and our alliance with the CSIC is testament to the very progressive and forward-thinking approach of our industry. Along with championing and supporting innovation, our partnership will also ensure that products, practices and new buildings are robustly tested, and performance is well understood and evidenced to maximise the benefits of technically advanced timber systems and offer assurances to clients and end-users.” Pictured: Stephen Good, CSIC Chief Executive and STA Board Member and Managing Director at CCG Calum Murray Source:

ilke Homes Sets up New Development Team Modular homes specialist ilke Homes has set up its own national development team to offer high-quality housing end-to-end – from land purchase through to planning and delivery. The new team will be headed up by Ben Miller, who joins from housebuilder Crest Nicholson. Dave Sheridan, CEO of ilke Homes, said: “Considerable momentum is building around modular and other offsite construction techniques to significantly step up housebuilding in the UK. Homes England’s new strategic partnerships with registered housing providers have put money behind accelerated build programmes, with a focus on deploying modern methods of construction to deliver new and better homes faster. This has created unprecedented demand for our offering and a need to support our clients across the whole development cycle.” The rapid growth in demand for the company’s modular houses comes from local authorities, housing associations, developers and from institutional investors into the private rental sector (PRS). ilke Homes’s new land development offering will be operational from May 2019 and will cover mixedtenure developments, with a focus on offering turnkey delivery to existing clients who are looking to accelerate the pace of their development efforts within existing


resources, together with investors and land owners. It will in particular support clients who have limited capacity in house. Ben Miller is setting up the new team and will make further appointments in the coming months. He brings with him considerable experience building land development businesses in the South West, South East and the Midlands. He has a proven track record of fostering partnerships with key stakeholders, deploying the technical and design ability needed to deliver planning permissions within a defined business plan. In his new role at ilke Homes, Ben’s target is to add a further 1000 homes per annum to the company’s current output. “With Ben we’re putting a true powerhouse at the heart of our new land development offering,” adds Dave


Sheridan. “He built Crest Nicholson’s Midlands business from scratch and turned it into their highest performing region. He clearly knows how to make things happen. We’re genuinely chuffed that we can make this great talent available to our clients, helping them deliver better homes faster.” Ben Miller said: “Quality and scale is what ilke Homes excels at and I’m excited by the prospect of making a real difference quickly. The factory in North Yorkshire can precision-manufacture houses at volume, adding much-needed capacity to the UK housebuilding sector. It’ll be my team’s mission to find and develop the perfect places for these fantastic houses, addressing the country’s desperate need for quality housing.” Source:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS Sevenoaks Modular Invest £6.5m in Metal Box Site Sevenoaks Modular, a Neath-based specialist in timber frame construction, aims to invest £6.5million in acquiring and regenerating a large part of an iconic industrial site in Neath. The old Metal Box factory site will undergo a renovation overhaul and is to be renamed the JCG Buildings. The company has been growing rapidly since it was formed in June 2018 on the back of a growing demand for modular construction solutions in the UK. This move should allow it to go from producing 1,000 homes per year to more than 3,000 per year.

will benefit the local economy, allow us to keep pace with demand and all while pushing an environmentally friendly agenda, both in terms of the style of construction we champion and in terms of how we will regenerate the site itself.

methods that save time and money and this site is perfect for our expansion into this way of working across all the businesses. We look forward to creating many more high-quality jobs in the town and returning this site to its former glory.”

Sevenoaks Modular will acquire around half of the Metal Box factory site from Neath Port Talbot Council, which bought the factory in 2019. It will move all its operations to the site once it has been refurbished as will its sister companies Hale Construction and Hale Homes, both part of the Hale Group. Supported by the public and private sectors, the company will make a significant investment to regenerate the site and anticipates all the work will be completed and the site fully operational within 12 months.

“The entire site will be self-sufficient in terms of the energy it will generate and require – it will be a fantastic case study for the benefits of the circular economy. Our aim is to be sustainable, redefine the buildings and restore the site to its former glory but in an innovative and eco-friendly way. We want it to be a landmark of the town again, which the community can be proud of, while also benefiting the local supply chain and keeping jobs and money in the region.”

The Metal Box factory site was occupied for more than 70 years by the Metal Box container factory but has been vacant since 2016. With support from the Welsh Government’s targeted regeneration Investment programme Neath Port Talbot Council bought the site in 2019 with plans to turn it into a business zone to create jobs.

Charlotte Hale, Director of Sevenoaks Modular, said: “This is about making a significant investment that

Jonathan Hale, Chairman of Sevenoaks Modular and JG Hale Group, added: “The construction industry is increasingly moving towards more offsite construction

Pictured: Charlotte Hale, Rob Jones (Neath Port Talbot Council), Jonathan Hale Source:


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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UK INDUSTRY NEWS Morley Street Mill Looks to Offsite Fusion Building Systems, the offsite manufacturer of light gauge steel frames has been awarded a contract by Solus Homes to provide a two-storey superstructure for the renovation of Morley Street Mill in Loughborough, Leicestershire. The former home of the Morley hosiery factory is being sympathetically redeveloped by the Loughborough housebuilder to provide luxury apartment accommodation across six storeys, for sale on the open market. Northampton-based Fusion Building Systems’ contract is to design and manufacture offsite, the light gauge steel superstructure which will form the upper two floors of the development, to be positioned on top of the existing 18th century structure. The low weight of Fusion’s light gauge steel panelised system was one of the primary reasons it was chosen by Solus Homes, enabling the developer to retain as much of the original building construction without compromise. With individual exterior wall panels weighing up to 80% less than the same area in traditional building materials, the benefits of using a light gauge steel system are significant. This will be the first time the two companies have worked together and Solus Homes Managing Director

Mark Hornsall, said: “I was aware of Fusion through industry connections and had seen some of their work locally. We discussed a similar mill restoration project they’d worked on in Leeds and after touring their manufacturing facility and reviewing their design and engineering capabilities, I was eager to see how their system could work for us. While lightweight materials are a driving factor in this project, I’m interested to see how offsite construction might speed up our site process – ultimately influencing the build quality of our developments and their commercial viability.”

see the benefits of working with our offsite system for themselves – through the predictability of cost, timelines and accuracy of construction.”

Stewart Hackney, Fusion Building Systems Business Development Manager, added: “It’s been a pleasure to work through the plans for Morley Street with Solus Homes and as this project progresses, we hope they’ll


industrial sector – and provided real-life experiences and graduate roles for NTU students,” said Professor Nigel Wright, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at NTU.

Managing Director of Building + Places at AECOM UK & Ireland. “An important element of our partnership with NTU is sharing knowledge and expertise to foster innovation and improve our understanding of current and future challenges facing the industrial sector. Our renewed partnership with NTU will focus on research that will be of most value to our clients, as well as training the next generation of engineers with the skills that industry needs.”

Demolition works at Morley Street started back in July 2018, followed by construction work in November. Fusion has an eight week build programme planned for the site and will shortly start on the design element of its work, before moving to production and then on to site in May 2019. Solus Homes plans to reach completion by April 2020.

AECOM and NTU Renew Partnership The successful strategic partnership between Nottingham Trent University (NTU) and global infrastructure services firm AECOM has been renewed. The partnership has involved joint research such as testing new materials’ properties for use in 3D print applications, rapid structural testing, research on improving skills for offsite construction, and a project looking at how artificial intelligence can be used to optimise building materials for structures. Other aspects of the partnership have seen collaboration on key areas of activity including teaching and learning, student and staff placements, and graduate recruitment. During the past two years, the organisations have also held several joint workshops to share knowledge and explore areas of mutual interest including lean design, Industry 4.0, energy demand reduction and sustainable development. The long-term goal of the partnership is to jointly bring new products, processes and services to market, according to NTU. “Testament to the partnership’s success is being able to extend the partnership for an additional three years, allowing for more knowledge exchange activities that will continue to directly inform the relevance of NTU courses and research – which included helping to optimise manufacturing and testing methods across the


As well as several student placements at AECOM offices, the partnership has seen 10 NTU graduates recently joining the company, with more than 130 NTU alumni now employed at AECOM. Five of the company’s apprentices are also currently studying at the university. “Over the past two years, we have seen the range of benefits that greater collaboration between industry and academia can bring,” said Richard Whitehead,



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UK INDUSTRY NEWS CCG ‘Pushes boundaries’ in Glasgow

New Offsite Guide from BSRIA BSRIA has launched its highly-anticipated new free to download topic guide ‘Offsite Construction for Building Services’. It is an ‘at a glance publication’ to give readers a glimpse of the subject and suggests further reading. Installing several mechanical and electrical (M&E) systems on a live construction site can be challenging, with limited space, health and safety considerations and often to a demanding schedule. The guide highlights: offsite construction for services distribution – namely: vertical services risers, larger assemblies, horizontal distribution, offsite construction for packaged rooms – and inside or outside? Plus: if offsite construction is right for the project in hand? John Sands, Principal Consultant at BSRIA and the guide’s author said: “As with any technology or process, the use of offsite construction needs to be considered carefully to get the best from it. Working in a controlled, purpose-made environment can increase productivity, with no distractions from other construction site activities or issues. Time spent on site is also reduced as assemblies arrive ready to be put in place, together with reduced downtime in the factory where work isn’t affected by other events on the construction site. The controlled environment enables quality to be improved – the right conditions can be provided for the task and quality control procedures followed – rather than the general conditions of the construction site. But it is worth remembering that flexibility can be reduced as it is harder to accommodate changes that occur on site if the assemblies are being made in the factory – especially at short notice.”

An innovative new affordable housing project has been completed in the Kinning Park area of Glasgow. Admiral Street, located adjacent to Paisley Road West in the south of the city, was once home to a confectionary factory in the mid-1900s and had been a gap site until being purchased by CCG (Scotland) Ltd in 2016 before being developed as a mixed-tenure housing solution on behalf of Southside Housing Association. A total of 35 one and two-bedroom apartments are provided with 20 properties available for social rent and 15 for mid-market rent, managed by Southside HA and Southside Lettings respectively. All apartments have contemporary, spacious living arrangements and have access to amenity space, private parking and cycle stores whilst the mid-market rental properties were delivered with the addition of integrated appliances and flooring styles. An enhanced building fabric – thanks to the use of CCG’s own-manufactured timber frame system – and solar PV will also ensure long-term energy savings for residents. Margaret McIntyre, Chairperson of Southside Housing Association, said: “The Association is delighted to work once again with CCG to deliver a sustainable and affordable housing development of both social and mid-market rented properties. This development has


allowed the Association to add new energy efficient housing to its existing stock and complements other development projects we have recently delivered in the area.” Admiral Street is a first for CCG. For over three years, the firm has researched the applied use of cross laminated timber (CLT). Rather than constructing solely using the material, an innovative hybrid solution of the firm’s timber frame system and CLT has been used with the removal of traditional materials from the common areas of the building. “CCG is not afraid to push boundaries, said CCG chairman and CEO, Alastair Wylie. “Our capabilities in offsite construction are well known but by using a hybrid solution as we have at Admiral St, we have been able to further improve quality and streamline the site environment. By replacing wet trades with timber, we constructed Admiral Street more efficiently with a streamlined site environment; we constructed faster and have vastly reduced the building’s carbon footprint thanks to environmental advantages.” Source:


Some ‘watchpoints’ flagged for consideration include: • Consider early on in the project if offsite construction techniques are to be used on the project. • Make sure that the Invitations to Tender (ITTs) ask potential contractors for their experience of offsite construction projects and techniques • When considering offsite construction, make sure that the designers know – it may affect the design solutions that are put forward. • Make sure that offsite construction is allowed in the programme – overall time may be reduced but certain things may need to happen at a different time. For example the design may need to be finalised or frozen earlier than normal • There are different scales of offsite construction, from widespread services distribution to local applications such as packaged plant rooms, see what suits the project. TG 17/2019 Offsite Construction for Building Services is free to download from BSRIA visit:

UK INDUSTRY NEWS New Appointments at McAvoy The McAvoy Group has appointed its first Chief Executive and a new Managing Director, further strengthening its management team. Eugene Lynch has taken up the position of Chief Executive, having held the role of Managing Director at McAvoy since 2007. He will lead the Group’s expansion into the residential sector and will spearhead the investment, development and launch of a new offsite housing factory. Mark Lowry has joined McAvoy as Managing Director, taking full responsibility for the existing business and the continued delivery of its strategic growth plan. He has more than three decades of experience in leading highly successful companies in the construction industry. He was a Group Director of CRH, the second largest building materials group in the world, which employs 90,000 people in 3,700 locations and has sales of €26.8 billion. Commenting on these new board appointments, Orla Corr OBE, Chairperson of The McAvoy Group, said: “This is a really exciting phase in the history of the Group. We have an ambitious growth strategy in place which includes plans to double the size of our existing business by 2025. This will be achieved by retaining and expanding our market share in the healthcare, education, infrastructure and commercial sectors and by growing our modular hire business.”

“We are very pleased with how the market has received our launch into the offsite housing sector, which has generated a lot of interest and commercial opportunities for the business. Under Eugene’s leadership, we aim to be manufacturing around 1000 new homes a year by 2023 under the Smart Living brand.”

position of Chief Executive. Mark will be a tremendous asset to the Group as we implement our strategy throughout the UK and Ireland. He brings a wealth of construction and leadership experience to his new role which will be invaluable as we take our industry-leading approach to offsite to the next level. We look forward to welcoming him to the McAvoy Board.”

“As Managing Director, Eugene has made an enormous contribution to the Group over the last 12 years, providing a solid foundation for the next stage in our growth. We are delighted that he has taken up the new

Pictured: Eugene Lynch (L), Mark Lowry (R) Source:

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UK INDUSTRY NEWS £500m CCS Modular Drive Picking up Partners

Integra Buildings has been named as a supplier for the Government’s newly-launched Modular Buildings Solutions framework – a four-year drive to deliver construction projects for the public sector. The ground-breaking modular construction drive has been launched by Crown Commercial Service (CCS) – an executive agency of the Cabinet Office that supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2017/18, it delivered £354million in commercial benefits including savings for central government, and £247million for the wider public sector - helping to deliver world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers. It will aim to employ innovative, offsite modular construction solutions to deliver cost-effective and high-quality building projects for a wide range of public organisations, including in the healthcare, education and defence sectors. Managing Director Gary Parker said: “The Government is making a very serious commitment to modular building and being named on the framework is massive for us. At a time when all businesses are having to deal with uncertainty, this will give us the confidence to create new jobs and invest in our people and facilities because of the potential value of the work. In our fastgrowing industry, it’s vital to keep investing in people


and technology, so being a part of this framework will help us to secure the long-term future of the business. The CCS framework has an estimated value of £495million over the next four years, beginning in May. Integra is one of 24 preferred suppliers, including major modular manufacturers such as Caledonian, McAvoy and Portakabin, alongside 19 small and medium enterprises. Suppliers will be able to bid in up to seven ‘lots’ to deliver projects across a wide range of sectors. The new CCS framework is its first national, cross-sector modular building campaign – a potential step-change for the industry. Chris Turner, Commercial Director at Integra Buildings, said: “There’s been nothing of the size of this framework in our industry before. The Government has recognised that offsite construction can help achieve best-value for taxpayers, not only in capital costs, but also running costs, by building facilities that are energy efficient and low maintenance. Our aim is always to engage with a client very early in the design process and work closely with them to develop a high-quality building solution that is competitive in pricing.” John Welch, Deputy Director of Construction Services at CCS, said of the framework: “CCS is really pleased to be able to provide the public sector with


such a comprehensive solution to their temporary building requirements. The current generation of modular buildings are solid, well-insulated and can be appropriately specified – providing a quick, safe and cost-effective answer to our customers’ needs. Although we have put education and healthcare sector customers at the forefront of our framework design, this framework has been prepared to serve all aspects of central government and the wider public sector for their temporary and semi-permanent modular building requirements.” To win a place on the CCS framework, companies were subjected to a rigorous assessment of factors such as its financial standing, health and safety record and product quality. Previous customers were contacted for references and the business also had to demonstrate commitment to cyber security by achieving accreditation from the Government-backed Cyber Essentials scheme. “We’re immensely proud to be named on the framework,” said Gary Parker “Being involved alongside the likes of McAvoy, Portakabin and Caledonian is a real vote of confidence in Integra and our people. We’re now punching with the industry’s big hitters.” Source:


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

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INDUSTRY NEWS World’s Tallest Modular Hotel Nears Completion Marriott International has announced that a Marriottbranded hotel will open in late autumn in New York City as the world’s tallest modular hotel. With prefabricated and pre-furnished guestrooms and topped with a modular roof and modular rooftop bar, the world’s tallest modular hotel is expected to open in late 2020 as the AC Hotel New York NoMad. The 168-room, 26-story AC Hotel New York NoMad is scheduled to rise at 842 Sixth Avenue with prefabricated guestrooms arriving at the hotel site fully constructed, inside and out. Besides finished, painted walls, each “module” will contain a fully outfitted guest room – with beds, sheets, pillows, flooring and even toiletries. The hotel’s roof and rooftop bar are expected to be produced using modular construction, and its more customised public areas such as the restaurant and lobby are expected to be constructed using traditional methods. “The world’s tallest modular hotel in one of the world’s greatest destinations will act as a game-changing symbol to ignite even greater interest in modular among the real estate and lending industries,” said Eric Jacobs, Marriott International, Chief Development Officer, North America, Select and Extended Stay Brands.

Robots Ready for Construction

“This is the moment where modular construction takes centre stage,” says Danny Forster, a leading modular building advocate whose firm, Danny Forster & Architecture, designed the project. As he explains it, “This hotel takes every advantage of offsite manufacturing, as you might expect. But it does so in a way that defies expectation. We wanted to demonstrate that modular building can do more than just harness the efficiencies of the factory. It can produce a graceful and iconic tower. And yes, it can do so at the rate of an entire floor a day.”

Marriott, which has the largest pipeline of hotels in North America, began researching modular construction in 2014 to offset lengthening hotel construction times – a trend attributed to the nation’s building boom and resulting labour shortages. Since 2011, Marriott has seen the average time to build and open a hotel in North America increase by as much 50%, depending on factors such as location and size of property.

Researchers from Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment are conducting a research project into an innovative housing construction method which could help to bring down the cost for house buyers.

“At the end of the project, we envision that the consumer, the house buyer, will be able to select various options from a website and then we will be able to produce all components based on consumer demand. It is hoped that through this initial project, our solution could bring dramatic benefits not just to the Scottish housing market, but also to the Scottish construction market. We would then hope to develop a range of ideas and solutions, from logistics, to design, to the real testing of CLT joints, and formation of insulated composite panels. While this particular solution is tightly integrated with one design product, it is likely to be relevant to other building projects. We plan to develop a family of houses and other buildings using the technology developed through the project.”

In collaboration with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and timber engineering firm, Glulam Solutions Ltd, the project will focus on the robotic fabrication of a cross-laminated timber (CLT) joint. At the moment, most construction takes place as manual assembly onsite, which can lead to delays, inaccuracies, material defects and material waste. Robotic offsite fabrication will bring the benefits of industrialised production systems to construction. Theo Dounas, Learning Excellence Leader at RGU, believes the research project has the potential to significantly improve construction methods, helping to increase the quality and output while reducing costs and time. “This proof-of-concept research project will look at process of designing a simple timber prototype house to address pressing market needs within Scotland and the UK,” he said. “The innovation lies with the integration of a house design prototype and its robotic fabrication out of complex CLT panels manufactured offsite.




Syd Birnie, Managing Director of Glulam Solutions Ltd, said: “This is our very first project linking an academic concept to our commercial approach and it’s an exciting prospect getting the chance to use CSIC’s robotic facilities. We are crying out for more innovation in the construction industry and we hope this is the first of many real advancements for timber engineered building solutions.” Source:

INDUSTRY NEWS Hertfordshire IQ to Boost Offsite Manufacturing

In a move to become the UK’s leading place for green businesses, Hertfordshire IQ aims to boost the offsite industry with the development of three million square feet of new commercial space, ideally placed for offsite manufacturers and its supply chain. The Enterprise Zone – which is just 30 minutes from London – sits in the heart of a housebuilding hotspot, with over 100,000 homes to build by 2036 and a need to speed up the delivery of quality homes. Based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire IQ provides sustainable, flexible workspaces, tax breaks and collaboration opportunities with industry experts including the BRE Group, who are keen to work with new partners on research and development projects. Jake Berry, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth said: “Since their creation, Enterprise Zones have been the foundations of success for over 1,100 businesses, attracting £4.28 billion of private sector investment and creating over 51,000 jobs – proving the UK is a great place to do business. “Hertfordshire IQ aims to become the leading place in the UK for businesses operating in modern construction, agri-tech and related digital and

environmental technologies and the £680,000 investment from the Local Growth Fund has opened the door for up to 800 new businesses, creating over 8,000 new jobs. Hertfordshire IQ will also form the commercial heart of the Hemel Garden Communities development at Hemel Hempstead, creating around 10,000 high quality new homes in a wonderful setting.” With a focus on sustainable clean growth, businesses demonstrating low carbon operations will be able to benefit from tax breaks through a business rates relief scheme. The development is being created using sustainable methods and materials with additional investment in transport links and digital connectivity. Demand for new homes in the area is high, with an estimated 60,000 homes needed every year on the edge of London. Government has indicated that one million homes will be built in the Oxford/ Cambridge corridor, creating huge potential for offsite manufacturing. Councillor David Williams, Leader of Hertfordshire County Council said: “Our vision is for Hertfordshire to be made up of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable communities, where people choose to live and work and long-term initiatives like

Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter will be important in achieving this. Local jobs are crucial to achieving sustainable growth, and we have a key role to play in supporting small and medium-sized businesses so that they can grow and thrive. We believe that Hertfordshire IQ will make Hemel Hempstead a world-renowned location for green and environmentally-responsible technology.” A new innovation hub will also be built at BRE, providing increased capacity for start-ups and incubation to access leading science and research. As businesses flourish and outgrow their incubation space, larger workspaces will be available in Hemel Hempstead. The construction industry has a strong foothold in Hertfordshire, with many major firms headquartered in the area and a large skills base in advanced manufacturing and digital technology. Hertfordshire IQ is already home to sustainable logistics park owners Prologis and several construction industry supply chain businesses. Source: @HertsIQ



INDUSTRY NEWS Mitton Group Team up with Enviro Building Solutions

Scape Calls for Increased Offsite Delivery

A mass building programme of 640 new schools will be needed over the next two years as an additional 385,000 pupils join England’s school system. Latest research by Scape Group shows 12,835 new school classrooms will be needed to keep-up with demand. Over the next two years, every region in England will experience at least a 3% increase on the current number of pupils. London, the South East and the South West can all expect to see the largest increases alongside Birmingham and Manchester.

In a move designed to enhance levels of efficiency, sustainability and quality, mechanical and electrical (M&E) services specialists Mitton Group have entered into a new partnering agreement with modular and portable building company Enviro Building Solutions. The agreement will see Mitton provide M&E services for building designed and constructed by Enviro Building Solutions across the UK. Enviro Building Solutions have been designing and constructing modular buildings for over 30 years, serving sectors including healthcare, education, retail and commercial. With the business seeing significant growth and projects becoming larger and more complex, the company was looking to partner with an established and responsive M&E specialist capable of designing and installing high quality, sustainable mechanical and electrical services to match customer requirements. The two companies are also geographically close, with Enviro Building Solutions operating as modular building manufacturers from their base in Halifax, West Yorkshire, and Mitton Group headquartered in Bradford. First fix will be completed in Halifax before Mitton teams attend on site to complete and commission each individual project.


Jonathan Collins at Enviro Building Solutions, said: “Partnering with Mitton Group ensures we and our clients have access to the highest quality M&E services. The proximity of their head office to our manufacturing site is an added bonus, whilst we will benefit from the convenience of their operational depots across the UK when completing work on site.” Mitton Director Jonny Knowles, added: “Our new partners produce a premium quality product designed to provide answers for a range of accommodation requirements. Their professional approach matches our own commitment to quality and performance at every stage of the project.” Pictured: (left to right) Craig Ready and Jonathan Collins, Directors, Enviro Building Solutions, Jonny Knowles, Director, Mitton Group and Richard Shannon, Director, Enviro Building Solutions. Source:


Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, said: “As with many critical issues that desperately need political attention, education has dropped down the agenda as government bodies focus on Brexit and our future position with the rest of the world. We must collectively focus on delivering a strategy and solutions which not only provide high-quality, modern spaces for teaching and learning but also offer our colleagues in local authorities cost certainty, value for money and timely delivery. “It is vital that we focus on solutions that will allow us to create additional school places quickly and resourcefully, without compromising on quality. Offsite technology is one answer. While the Education and Skills Funding Agency started its push for modular four years ago, only 70 schools have been built using offsite construction so far. Modern methods of construction not only enable quick construction but can also cost local authorities significantly less.” The School Places Challenge 2019 report provides an up-to-date assessment of the state of school places provision across the UK. Among Scape Group’s recommendations on how to tackle the School Places Challenge, it calls for the adoption of offsite construction as the main method of building for all new schools and extensions to ensure that they are built faster than traditional methods. To download a copy of the report visit:

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Construction is at a critical crossroads and offsite technology is now recognised as providing the most important solutions to many of the problems facing the industry.







In response to construction demand for a dedicated offsite technology exhibition Offsite Expo has been launched. Taking place at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry on 24 and 25 September 2019 - Offsite Expo is the brainchild of leading industry experts who understand the urgent need for a dedicated event which showcases international offsite best practice and innovative technology, engaging architects, engineers, contractors and clients from all vertical markets. Offsite Expo brings together the sector’s most influential organisations, individuals, commentators and business leaders who are driving change in the construction sector. The event will play host to the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular systems, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions plus complementary digital engineering techniques and DfMA tools. Presenting a compelling proposition – Offsite Expo will feature a combination of advanced offsite manufacturing approaches and smart digital construction technology that is transforming the way buildings are designed and constructed.

Offsite Expo - the event built around the radical thinking and revolutionary technologies that are transforming the construction industry.







24 & 25 SEPTEMBER 2019








>100 >100 BUYERS &


24 & 25 SEPTEMBER 2019






>3000 >3000




FREE admissionTICKET






in the Offsite Focus Sessions

professional development






here to do business


leaders in their field COST TO VISIT

FREE admission


FOCUS SEMINAR SESSIONS leaders in their field






COUNTRIES represented in the Summit





Contact a member of the team and secure your stand space or sponsorship package today! Chris Ruff t: 01743 290 040 e:


Julie Williams t: 01743 290 042 e:

COUNTRIES THEATRES For more information visit represented in the Summit

in the Masterclasses

EXPERIENCE - the Future of the Built Environment

In an ever-changing world, the key to success is adapting to change and embracing the future. The case is unequivocal – offsite technology challenges outmoded construction practices and is a progressive step that is set to revolutionise the way buildings are designed and assembled. Every major review of the construction industry has in some way recommended a move towards advanced factory-based construction methods – the offsite expo technology showcase is destined to become the pivotal event in providing direct access to this rapidly expanding and fast-moving sector. Driving change and promoting innovation in the sector – Offsite Expo has been created to make accessible to all the latest product and process developments and outline the business opportunities that lie within factory-based manufacturing technology. Through high profile speakers taking part in the Offsite Summit and the Explore Offsite Masterclasses, the event will challenge outmoded ideas and showcase new techniques via leading industry pioneers.

EXPECT - International Innovation Get to grips with the latest international offsite methods and smart digital technology - the Offsite Summit provides a dynamic and interactive experience by focusing on international offsite best practice. Advanced offsite approaches and smart technology is changing the face of construction globally and we can learn from the way that other countries are addressing similar challenges. The latest information is crucial to success - featuring speakers from around the globe, the Offsite Summit showcases international best practice in offsite construction and technology.


With over 30 international speakers ranging from clients and architects to engineers, manufacturers and project managers; the Offsite Summit will showcase some of the most innovative and ground-breaking offsite projects from around the world – facilitating knowledge transfer and collaboration. Delegates will have the opportunity to interact with speakers during panel Q&A sessions, structured networking and evening drinks reception. Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer is a prime objective for the Offsite Summit, with the potential to identify collaboration opportunities.



OFFSITE EXPO 2019 EXPLORE - Offsite Masterclasses

With 100 confirmed eminent speakers, gain insights and learn from the best - meet experts offering in-depth analysis and technical knowhow in an extensive range of CPD Accredited Offsite Masterclasses – all free of charge. Presented by a host of UK industry pioneers in two dedicated theatres, the Explore Offsite Masterclasses will focus on key industry innovations and will provide a comprehensive and balanced perspective on this rapidly emerging and advancing sector. Speakers include:

EXPECT - Smart Technologies

EXPOSURE - Be Part of the Offsite Event of the Year

Architects, engineers, specifiers, contractors and clients/developers will be able to view the widest display of new and innovative offsite solutions within the built environment and interact with an extensive range of offsite technologies including:

The show which will attract circa 3,000 visitors and is geared towards creating a dynamic forum for businesses to showcase offsite technologies, the latest smart digital construction techniques and become a place for people to engage with key industry contacts, meet face-to-face with suppliers, acquire new knowledge and network in vibrant surroundings.

• Framing Solutions in Concrete, Timber and Steel • Modular Volumetric Systems • Bathroom and Kitchen Pods • Pre-engineered MEP Building Services • Prefabricated Building Components • Digital/ BIM/Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) With over 100 exhibitors, features and offsite technology showcases, the Offsite Expo will provide practical knowledge for visitors who will be able to interact directly with offsite technology suppliers and full scale features.

Through a range of options, exhibitors and sponsors can cost-effectively access this rapidly growing, lucrative sector. Exhibiting companies will also have the exclusive opportunity to participate in the unique Offsite Connect Buyers and Specifiers Forum - a dynamic environment facilitating meetings with leading architects, contractors, specifiers and purchasing managers seeking the latest offsite innovations. The Forum is a relaxed and focused way to connect with new

business contacts within the built environment sector and to find new customers! With the shift away from ‘traditional construction thinking’ to the adoption of assembly principles – offsite construction techniques and technologies are shaping the future of the built environment. Geared towards creating a dynamic forum for businesses to showcase offsite solutions and the latest smart digital construction technologies, Offsite Expo will be the offsite event of the year.

EXPERIENCE REGISTER FOR YOUR VISITOR PASS Offsite Expo is the place for people to engage with key industry contacts network in vibrant surroundings and acquire new knowledge.

To book your FREE place at this event go to: Note: This event has a maximum capacity of 5,000 visitors and passes will be allocated on a first come basis via the online registration system.



OFFSITE EXPO 2019 OFFSITE CONNECT – Buyers & Specifiers Forum

Exhibitors will have the exclusive opportunity to participate in the unique Offsite Connect Buyers and Specifiers Forum, a lively environment facilitating meetings with leading architects, contractors, specifiers and purchasing managers seeking the latest offsite innovations for live projects. Exclusive to Offsite Expo exhibitors – the benefits of the Forum are: • 100 hand-picked buyers and specifiers from top contractors and clients • Highly effective way for buyers to meet with the offsite supply chain • Structured to maximise networking and business opportunity during the event • Transactional focus - buyers with live schemes seeking supply chain partners Registration for buyers and specifiers wishing to participate in the Offsite Connect activity can be done online at:

EXHIBIT - GET INVOLVED The event will take place on 24-25 September 2019 at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. The venue is easily accessible for all exhibitors and visitors, with 2,000 free car parking spaces, onsite hotel, discounted local hotels and local train/airport links.

To learn more or book your exhibition and sponsorship packages: Contact Julie Williams on 01743 290042 or

GETTING TO OFFSITE EXPO - Register online:

Located at the



in the Ericsson Hall

Only a 20 minute drive away


Situated in the heart of England, the Ricoh Arena is within


Coventry Arena Station


3 OTHER TRAIN STATIONS within 8 miles


800 YARDS from JUNCTION 3 OF THE M6 Within EASY REACH of the M1 and M40






NHBC works collaboratively with the housebuilding industry to raise standards of new homes. They recently hosted a roundtable event discussing key issues surrounding funding and investment in the offsite sector.

As an important cog within the housing machine, NHBC engages with key stakeholders influencing the offsite sector, including developers, investors and lenders that are seeking assurances surrounding the quality of homes being built are fit-for-thefuture. “NHBC is very supportive of modular and offsite manufacturing,” says Graham Sibley, Senior Market Development Manager, NHBC. “We want to ensure there is sufficient quality in the end product and that is one of the issues that we come across when talking to the market – in particular lenders and investors – about the perceived risk around new technologies and long term durability of homes.” The levels of investment flowing through the offsite industry and the sometimes eye-watering amounts of money being injected into factory developments, product research and system design is unseen since the last hey-day of offsite in the mid-2000s and can only increase productivity and quality.


This new money will provide some answers to the giant problem of housing provision across the UK and boost the programme to build better schools and healthcare facilities. Funding and cash promised by Homes England via the Accelerated Construction programme and ‘presumption in favour of offsite’ has smoothed progress. This move by government has raised the profile of offsite delivery and encouraged a wider interest of private equity and institutional backing entering the system, with several housebuilders and housing associations funding their own offsite developments with selfconfidence. However, the government can only provide so much money, time and expertise to bolster construction and housing market development – especially as UK governance continues to be dogged by Brexit. The long term answers rest with industry pioneers and dynamic thinkers to use the flow of investment wisely, to deliver a successful, sustainable expansion of offsite manufacturing.


Searching for Investment There seems to be a knowledge gap – or more to the point a ‘lack of time’ gap – in tracking down and seeking out potential funding opportunities, array of ‘catapult programmes’ and wider fiscal incentives. Too many small bits of innovation are happening and the competitive nature of those means that time is at a premium. “There are all sorts of SME-focused offsite investment opportunities,” says Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting. “These aren’t exploited well enough and aren’t understood well enough. There are support mechanisms that exist but many in the offsite sector are too tied into the manufacturing and delivery aspects of the business, and aren’t seeking those pots of cash out.” Beyond the funding options available from public sector, the deep pockets of large private capital investment is seen as essential to sustained development and growth. Private equity firm TDR Capital are a major investor in modular provider ilke Homes. “You need large backing to

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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NHBC ROUNDTABLE grow exponentially. There is also pressure mounting to restructure procurement practices generally and make planning a quicker, easier process to navigate – potentially incentivising and offering a fast track option – where certain obligations can be relaxed or refined. There are cases where the time taken to process a planning application is actively hindering one of offsite construction’s key benefits. “The delays surrounding planning and the length of time it can take to get a project started on the ground are frustrating,” says David Foster, Project Director for Joint Ventures, Network Homes. “It’s not good for any aspect of the industry. What would be helpful would be creating a way to incentivise or fast track solutions using offsite.”

get to scale rather than some of the other funding models that are SMEfocused,” says Nigel Banks, ilke Homes’ Product and Marketing Director. “It requires significant investment behind you. It is very difficult to grow at speed in a profitable way without that. That is a real challenge for the smaller players but in many ways it is not about asking about subsidies and funding, it is about creating a pipeline and certainty of demand.” Arguably the most high-profile entrant to the offsite sector in the last two years has been Legal & General, who grabbed many headlines when making a £50million investment in a new factory development near Selby, geared towards tackling the housing market. Rosie Toogood, Chief Executive at Legal & General Modular Homes agrees that it is not easy. “To build an offsite modular factory at scale takes tens of millions of investment and some time. That is something that not every entrant into the market has. Over the next few years we will see some big players emerge in the market. It is healthy to have competition and choice for customers and having a number of suppliers, manufacturers and developers at scale will keep the supply chain innovative.”


“In the short time that I have been involved I have seen a lot of change in Homes England. They have a genuine desire to help the offsite manufacturing industry to stay for the long-term and become a fundamental part of how we deliver homes.” Rosie Toogood, Chief Executive, Legal & General Modular Homes Funding for growth and project development is available – Homes England has been crucial and even in its ’embryonic form’ is actively encouraging partnering with developers and offsite providers to enter the market. “It is a challenge as an SME – even for an SME of size – to continue to grow with self-funding,” says Mike Fairey, Director at Fusion Building Systems. “Ultimately growth has to come from perpetuation of sales and cash into the business. The dilemma is how to make that next leap – where you need millions – it is difficult to invest further funds without securing consistent volume to base that investment decision on.” Supply Not More Money In the long run, everyone involved in specifying offsite manufacture wants certainty of pipeline, volume, timing and costs and then confidence will


As pointed out by many offsite manufacturers recruiting new staff, team members that have come from manufacturing or automotive backgrounds are ‘astounded by the uncertainty of the sales cycle involved in the housing market’. The lack of secure pipeline of projects and sluggish speed projects move to work in progress onsite is unattractive, costly and adds to what is a burdensome risk profile for all aspects of the supply chain. Something that investors, lenders and insurers don’t want to see. Pocket Living have gained a lot of traction in the offsite market – especially in London – and have been delivering high profile modular schemes since 2016. “The suppliers are saying we need guarantee of pipeline,” says Alun Macey, Head of Construction at Pocket Living. “And we are saying we need guarantee of competence and mortgageability. If you can generate demand among developers and underwrite risk among manufacturers – everyone becomes a lot more comfortable – it’s a dual assimilation.” Simply put, if we look at some of the trends in construction skills we are not going to get to the numbers of homes needed without offsite. In London, initiatives including the Mayors Innovation Fund and London Community Housing Fund are supporting delivery of affordable homes and creating an environment to support a healthy offsite sector. But is it enough? “There is more that can be done,” says Francesca Lewis, Housing

NHBC ROUNDTABLE ATTENDEES Facilitator: Darren Richards – Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Nigel Banks – Product and Marketing Director, ilke Homes Jeff Endean – Director, Cast Consultancy Mike Fairey – Director, Fusion Building Systems David Foster – Project Director for Joint Ventures, Network Homes Francesca Lewis – Housing Policy Manager, Greater London Authority Alun Macey – Head of Construction, Pocket Living Graham Sibley – Senior Market Development Manager, NHBC Rosie Toogood – Chief Executive, Legal & General Modular Homes Gary Ramsay – Editor, Offsite Magazine

Policy Manager, Greater London Authority. “But we need to pin down where the gaps are and how we can help, rather than pouring in money or underwriting risk at scale. The public sector can’t afford that so we need to synthesise that argument better.” There is plenty of private equity and individuals ready to step into the market but it’s all about ‘aggregated demand’ and pipeline. Whatever business model has been made and investment put in place, a surety of demand and guarantee of work flowing through the factory is required, to be able to ‘press the button and get on with making it’. Moving Markets We need a market full of commercially viable offsite-based solutions that clients and developers can choose from. The Homes England pilot schemes are set to be a great catalyst to demonstrate various forms of offsite – not just volumetric modular. “They are an opportunity to pin down policy learning,” adds Francesca Lewis. “What lessons are there to understand if precision manufacturing was prioritised on these sites, what does that look like? What barriers do you run into and what additional government intervention is needed? We need an evidence-based programme to plan from.”

What are the key criteria funders and investors are looking for when investing in homes built using offsite? Or when investing in offsite manufacturing facilities? Warranty providers, NHBC, BOPAS et al, is hugely important to give assurances to funders and investors. But what else is stymying the large volume roll out of offsite manufactured homes? “The issues being raised surround repairability, maintenance, adaptability and the implications around modifying for future use,” says Graham Sibley. “How do you value a home using MMC? These are what valuers and surveyors consulting to lenders and investors are concerned with. That long term asset value of a home built using non-traditional methods. NHBC’s approach is that we are assessing offsite products on the same basis as any standard material and offering warranty on the same terms as a traditionally built home. This should convince investors in the long term.” Ultimately, the lending community including the Association of British Insurers, Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association, need to be better educated and engaged with what offsite manufacture can do. It is finding a way to do this, so they get the right assurances and feel comfortable and dispel some of the industry scepticism – often based on lack of knowledge and fear of the unknown.

“Problems arise when you go from delivering 24 units on a single site to 150 units on four sites – you can manage the risk by going to two or three different manufacturers – then lose economies of scale – or worry about one manufacturer and whether it can carry all the work without slowing down.” Jeff Endean, Director, Cast Consultancy Stressing that offsite is a ‘change in process not materials’ is sometimes difficult to explain. “The penny drops when people visit the factory,” says Nigel Banks. “When they see the same plasterboard, the same windows, same kitchen and get their head around the robustness of what is being designed. They see that largely, it is wellunderstood components put together in a different way.” Having the correct accreditation and set of ‘badges’ isn’t everything. Those from disciplines unfamiliar with factoryled precision engineering, need to see and understand the system benefits themselves and weigh-up the risk – or often lack of it. To see a factory in operation helps understand the process, allay fears, meet expectations and helps a lot. Ultimately it is about trust and understanding the product.



NHBC ROUNDTABLE But it is up to the manufacturers to convince a fickle money market that the assurances are there. “You validate a manufacturer like you validate a contractor,” says Alun Macey. “You expect the accreditation to be in place – BOPAS, BBA etc. – and that provides comfort. That is the starting position, then you look at how sophisticated they are as a business. Are they just a manufacturer or turnkey provider? If lenders can get comfortable with a contractor they should apply the same logic to a manufacturer.” Critical Thinking Perhaps the offsite construction sector – in all it formats and materials – can help itself by defining specific projects or initiatives that would help propel the industry forward collectively – something as straightforward as protection of volumetric modules during transportation – that could benefit every part of the industry. Those with an eye on lending money or guaranteeing longevity are looking for proof of quality and long-term efficiency. Working on individual and collaborative R&D is not being exploited enough – many across the offsite sector seem unaware of the financial returns available under HMRC’s R&D Tax credits – where investment into new innovative products and systems can be partially recovered. There is no shortage of money ready to be invested in offsite manufacture, whether it is private equity, institutional investors or dynamic, growing companies self-funding factory developments and expansion – this is done in the knowledge that what they do works. The issue is not the size of sums of money to succeed, but the slow pace of the ‘normalisation of offsite’ and pipeline of work to satisfy the risk profiles and levels of investment. Again, Homes England are playing an important role here and have proved that government can help facilitate a degree of confidence. The offsite world is not short on visionaries. It is now about hammering home to the money markets and wider community of clients and developers that offsite has less risk than they realise and offers a raft of gains. The concept of risk has many facets and negative connotations but as long


LESSONS & OUTCOMES Collaborative Pursuits – there is scope for those in the offsite sector to work together to fund research projects that serve common goals. Funding Progression – SMEs need a secure pipeline of work to be confident about injecting capital to expand facilities and take a big ‘leap forward’. Supplying Demand – the public sector can promote demand and indirectly support the offsite market but consistent project pipeline and long-term demand is needed more than grants and subsidies. Mythbusting – people can get carried away with their fears and risk. Improved data and delivering more successful schemes will demonstrate that offsite homes can be delivered at volume easily. Sustainability – not enough is said about the green credentials, energy consumption and performance standards that underpin offsite – this is appealing to tenants and the general public. R&D Tax Credits – open to all irrespective of size of company. You must prove and demonstrate that what you are developing is unique to recover sizeable returns. Factory Visits – offsite is a change in process. You can easily dispel myths and allay fears surrounding offsite by showing the precision factory process.

as risk is visible and managed, is just another part of the process to get a project successfully over the finishing line. As in many aspects of the construction sector the pace of change can be slow. However the adoption of offsite manufacture and the changing patterns of investment and money flowing from various directions is changing the way the industry is perceived. With better, well-rounded statistical evidence and hard data underpinning the numerous benefits that offsite truly delivers beyond all doubts, the investment landscape will change even more. New entrants to the offsite market are bringing a


modern, contemporary high-tech feel that is attractive and ‘legacy operators’ that have been in the industry for many years, are busy retooling and refocusing their efforts. This is all geared towards making UK housing better quality and healthier but also easier and quicker to build. Many thanks to NHBC for hosting the Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the discussion. For more information on NHBC visit: For more information on offsite related activity visit:

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Our ongoing spotlight features on Centres of Excellence geared towards improving UK construction skills, technology and offsite delivery, falls this issue on the Construction Innovation Hub.

1 Since launching as the Transforming Construction Alliance in late 2018, the re-fashioned Construction Innovation Hub (CIH), has set its sights firmly on integrating more technology and smarter thinking into UK construction, including increasing research and development surrounding offsite thinking. It aims to be a ‘catalyst for transforming the UK construction sector through manufacturing technologies and digital ways of working – boosting productivity, exports and asset performance.’ The alliance brings together the specialist expertise of the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), BRE and the University of Cambridge Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB). The driving investment to get the partners together came from Innovate UK that awarded £72million to the Transforming Construction Alliance in November 2018. This was done with a view to ‘build smarter, greener and more efficient buildings, much faster and cheaper than we do now. From the introduction of virtual reality to offsite manufacturing.’ The crux being


developing new techniques and skills to deliver better homes and the built environment generally, but to drag the construction industry firmly into the 21st Century. The MTC has an established and well-proven track record in supporting manufacturing innovation across a range of sectors: “There is huge potential for transformation of large parts of the construction sector to a manufacturing industry,” said Neil Rawlinson, Strategic Development Director at MTC. “The widespread appetite for change throughout the industry and the impact that this change will have on so many aspects of life in the UK make us enormously excited to be delivering this pivotal role. The MTC brings several key capabilities to the hub, such as design and simulation, process and manufacturing system development, including automation and visualisation. The complementary skills of the alliance partners will ensure we deliver for Industry and government.” Developing offsite manufacture and challenging traditional delivery patterns and institutional construction


behaviour is central to what the CIH is hoping to achieve. Speaking earlier in the year, Sam Stacey, Challenge Director, Transforming Construction at UKRI, said: “Digital technologies will be used to design buildings based on components in the same way cars are built now. Manufacturing processes will be developed to produce these to high standards – enabling rapid production of buildings to lower costs, while also delivering better performing schools, hospitals and homes to the benefit of businesses, public services and people. Buildings will be produced with less waste, to use less energy and be recycled at the end of their lives. Data will become an increasingly valuable commodity – with material traceability, so we will know what has been installed where and to what standard – making buildings safer.” As a partner within the CIH, the CDBB will be pivotal in this generational change in technology when applied to construction, including understanding data inform a raft of construction decisions, virtual and augmented reality, robotics – on and off the building site – and of course BIM. New digital approaches to quality control, testing and validation and regulatory compliance are all about streamlining, what for many parts of the construction sector, are still very much 20th Century. “CDBB will collaborate widely to deliver a digital programme that will create the framework to underpin the future built environment and grow export opportunities for the UK,” says Professor Andy Neely, ProVice Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge and Director of CDBB. The CIH aims to enable buildings to be built faster, more sustainably and more economically. These buildings will go on to perform better in terms of ongoing running costs as well as


2 social and environmental outcomes. “The UK construction industry is facing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change and modernise,” says Keith Waller, CIH’s Programme Director. “Ensuring the UK’s construction industry is best equipped and fit-forthe future will increase safety on sites, with fewer workers put into dangerous environments. This in turn will make the sector attractive to a more diverse workforce.”

As a shape of things to come CIH has teamed up with the George Clarke’s Ministry of Building Innovation and Education (MOBIE) to challenge school students in the UK to design a home for the 21st Century. The 2019 MOBIE and CIH Student Design Challenge will ask students to design the ultimate 21st century house which may begin as a starter home but be extended to accommodate a multi-generational family. It is MOBIE and the CIH’s intent for the winning home design to be developed by architects and

3 professionally structurally engineered, enabling the manufacture and assembly of modules at the MTC in Coventry. It is hoped that elements of the design will be showcased at major home and design events later in the year, with the full design showcased in virtual reality. Images: 01-03. The CIH is set to be at the forefront of changing the approach to construction and digital design. Courtesy MTC/BRE/CSIC

CONSTRUCTION INNOVATION HUB Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) The MTC is established to provide innovative manufacturing processes and technologies in an agile environment in partnership with industry, academia and other institutions. The MTC houses some of the most advanced manufacturing equipment in the world, creating a high quality environment for the development and demonstration of new technologies on an industrial scale. This provides a unique opportunity for manufacturers to develop new and innovative processes and technologies. For more information visit: BRE BRE is a world leading, multi-disciplinary, building science centre with a mission to improve buildings and infrastructure. BRE generates new knowledge through independent research and uses this to underpin the delivery of standards, testing, certification and qualifications that help to ensure buildings, homes and communities are safe, efficient, productive, sustainable and enjoyable places to be. BRE customers use the organisation’s expertise and services to deliver their social, environmental and economic goals. For more information visit: Centre for Digital Built Britain (CDBB) The CDBB is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future and transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure. It seeks to understand how the construction and infrastructure sectors could use a digital approach to better design, build, operate, and integrate the built environment. For more information visit: The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) The ISCF builds on the UK’s world-class research base and delivers the science that business needs to transform existing industries and create new ones. The ISCF is delivered by Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation, the single voice for the UK’s research and innovation landscape. The ISCF Transforming Construction Challenge seeks to revolutionise the way the UK designs, constructs and operates buildings and infrastructure by realising the potential for the integration of advanced manufacturing both off, and onsite, with state-of-the-art digital design, while realising the potential for Active Buildings powered by integrated energy generation and storage technologies. For more information visit:





RICS published a fresh ‘policy position’ at the end of April on its approach and opportunities surrounding offsite construction drawing on recommendations from its report in 2018 on solutions to the housing crisis. updating its guidance to reflect this by producing a new home survey standard to be released in autumn 2019 and updated valuation guidance.

1 The UK construction sector is a strategically significant part of the UK economy. Representing around 6% of GDP and 10% of employment, every year an estimated £150billion is invested through the public and private sectors. The sector has been struggling to meet growing demand for its services in residential, with the Government’s target of 300,000 new homes per year unlikely to be met. The stage is set for offsite homes to achieve scale. The concept has potency in the generation of a new model of home design, selection, and consumption especially in the submarkets of ageing population, social housing and build to rent. As offsite is more adaptable/ customisable housing authorities can also build more housing to meet the requirements of different participants, such as those with disabilities or the elderly. It is also being increasingly utilised in the build to rent industry as the customisable nature allows for standardisation, increasing yield and reducing voids and costs to users, as well as specification fit-out for frequent tenancy turnover including wider doorsets and cassette replacements. Offsite is able to deliver on ‘whole of life’ housing and its ability to be able to adapt and to be recyclable can serve them across many differing life stages. The four accessibility elements of a house that makes them age and 36

wheelchair friendly (level access to entrance, flush thresholds, wide door sets, and a bathroom at entrance level) are also elements that make for a good family home, especially those with young children and pushchairs. Traditional builds are generally not built with the four elements of accessibility and their upkeep means that adaptions to make them fit for an aging population are often of great cost. Investors and lenders must engage with the sector to recognise and calculate the long-term value of products. Improved integration and collaboration between lenders and builders – through schemes like BOPAS – will help lenders better understand products and build confidence in the quality, durability and marketability of the product. Regardless of tenure, investment approvals must become systematised, like mortgage approvals for second-hand property despite, arguably, resales having a greater risk profile in regard of the three criteria; quality, durability and marketability. At the moment, the second-hand home sales process is clear and lenders have tolerances for bulk retail lending. Chartered surveyors and valuers also have a key role to play, and must add knowledge of MMC technologies, especially regarding their durability and cost in use, to their reporting skillset. RICS are therefore


Digitisation may be deployed both in the production process to achieve precision engineering and assembly. BIM and digitisation has the potential to transform stakeholder confidence in the product including that of investors, manufacturers, builders, surveyors, lenders, insurers, managers, and, of course, consumers. Through BIM, Prop Tech, big data, AI and the ‘internet of things’, performance can be tracked throughout the building’s life. This means there is continuous data from design, manufacture, build, and management, which can feed back into design. Government and industry must work together on the creation of apprenticeships and training products that support the rollout of offsite and encourage new entrants into construction. This must be funded and otherwise enabled strategically, including the encouragement of SMEs. This requires resourcing and incentivising new delivery agencies such as local authorities, local housing companies, special purpose vehicle’s (SPV’s) and joint ventures to recognise and utilise emerging technologies. While offsite is not a panacea that will resolve all the problems in the sector, once fully embedded, will go some way to improving our capacity to meet need. The policy update contains a list of recommendations for Government to boost the expansion of offsite construction. For more information and to read the statement in full visit: Images: 01. Digitisation is used in the production process to achieve precision engineering and assembly. Courtesy ilke Homes

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Tall buildings present unique challenges in terms of design and construction. The sheer scale of these mega-towers demand unique engineering solutions.

1 Those who are shaping our city skylines congregated at 99 City Road London, at the Tall Buildings Conference in April to provide unique insights into the engineering feats that are creating a legacy of iconic superstructures that are transforming the built environment. Over 300 delegates gathered to learn from industry pioneers on how to build high-rise better, addressing the complexities of transferring engineering principles from low-rise to high-rise structures to deliver the UK’s most prestigious projects, and offsite construction techniques featured prominently throughout. Offsite Magazine was on hand to capture the salient points from the day. The morning session was chaired by Lara Kinneir, Director of New London Architecture (NLA), who has a multidisciplinary design and strategy background, having worked in architectural and urban design practices, academia and local government. With an interest in applying an in-depth understanding of the processes required to deliver positive urban change – Lara kicked off the event with findings from the NLA’s annual London Tall Building Survey detailing the increase in the number of proposals, particularly outside the City boundaries.


2 Keynote speaker Steve Watts, Chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat and Partner at Alinea Consulting – took the audience on a journey, taking in mega-structures from across the globe. Opening with a quote from 2001 by Urban Theorist, James Howard Kunstler: ‘We are convinced that the age of skyscrapers is at an end. It must now be considered an experimental building typology that has failed.’ Steve took an in-depth and at times a satirical look, encompassing innovation, economics, demand, values, competition, incentives and egos! Through iconic imagery Steve Watts, compare city skylines from across the world a decade ago and how they look today. In his case study presentation Albert Williamson-Taylor, Director at AKTII shared - the technical innovation involved in One Park Drive. Part of the Wood Wharf Development for Canary Wharf Group, this 58-storey tower will stand approximately 205m tall, providing quality residential space with amenities such as a gym, pool and lobby on the lower three floors. The site is located within the old dock, so the tower is constrained only by a new Cofferdam that forms the boundary.


The substructure consists of 1.8mdiameter piles, with a higher frequency of 1.5m-diameter beneath the core, founded in the Thanet sands at depth. The 2.5m-deep raft extends beyond the retaining wall that forms part of the double-storey basement wall. The structural concept adopted for the tower superstructure typically consists of reinforced concrete flat slabs supported by reinforced concrete blade walls and columns. The afternoon session was chaired by Darren Richards, Managing Director of the offsite experts, Cogent Consulting, said of the event: “This is a wonderfully inspiring sector – brimming with innovation that is born out of necessity to solve some incredible engineering and construction process challenges. It is great to see offsite construction technology and techniques featuring so prominently in many of the projects covered.” Christian Bocci, Senior Partner at Weston Williamson + Partners, posed the question: Is London ready for its first mile high building? In his address Christian explored innovative typologies for tall buildings and possible sites for a mile-high tower. He also examined what a tower of this enormity might mean in terms of jobs, homes, trade and place shaping design.






6 London’s skyline is changing, and he considered the tall buildings that are no longer confined to the Square Mile – instead are a key part of the new polycentric city. Christian explored how this migration from the centre brings new challenges and opportunities. Pressure on the urban realm requires new thinking in public space design, public transport connectivity and new technologies that will unlock innovative tall building typologies offering myriad high-quality spaces for Londoners. So, is London ready for its first mile high building? A tough question which somewhat divided the audience. The 2019 Tall Buildings Conference highlighted design and building technology innovation in the highrise sector – facilitating learning and knowledge transfer and provided the platform for much discussion and debate. Following the great success of this inaugural event, the Tall Buildings Conference will be back in 2020. A ‘Call for Papers’ will run through to the end of November and proposals can be submitted via the website. For more information visit: Images: 01. The Shard - Image courtesy of WSP 02. Lara Kinneir – Director of New London Architecture 03-04 Tall Buildings Conference 05. Steve Watts - Chairman of the Council on Tall Buildings & Urban Habitat and Partner at Alinea Consulting 06. Image courtesy of Design Delivery Unit

The Shard: Innovations in Design and Construction presented by Tony Palgrave, Project Director of Mace and John Parker, Director at WSP: With a height of 310m, the Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe. The design and construction of the Shard incorporates numerous innovations that helped to ensure the building exceeded client expectations in cost, programme and lettable area. Tony explored some of these innovations and showed how the contractor, designers and client worked together to achieve a successful project.

Balancing Design and Constructability was the topic for Dmitri Jajich, Structural Engineer Director at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill - who delivered an in-depth case study on Manhattan Loft Gardens: Manhattan Loft Gardens is a 143m tall, 42-storey, residential tower in Stratford, London. The tower is perhaps most distinguished by two triple-height sky gardens that take the form of notches cutting completely through the building at levels seven through ten and again at levels twenty-five through to twenty-eight. His presentation focused on the unusual post-tensioned outrigger and construction sequence design.

Sky High Living in Birmingham was the theme for Adam McPartland, Director of Glancy Nicholls and Dave Tyson, Managing Director at Design2e: Sharing insight into Birmingham’s emerging tall building scene, focusing on both the design and construction of The Bank development – Birmingham’s first skyscraper in a decade and plans for the city’s tallest building.

Partner at PLP Architecture, Kevin Flanagan shared a case study on the Oakwood Timber Tower: Discussing smart buildings for smart and green cities using mass timber technology to reduce stress, to improve immune systems and health. Kevin centred his address around the theme that innovation is ‘creating mischief’, disregarding norms, pre- conditions, and prejudices - seeing beyond ‘group thinking’ to envision new individual potential.

Rory Bergin, Partner: Sustainable Futures at HTA Design and Michael Hough, Director for MJH Structural Engineers delivered a presentation featuring George Street, Croydon: This scheme is set to be the tallest volumetric modular tower in the world. George Street will be delivered in just 24 months, from construction starting, to residents moving into their new homes. With two towers, a 38-storey and a 44-storey, scaling 135 metres this ground-breaking development will provide 546 new homes.

Peter Goring, Operations Director at Mace delivered a case study on the Jump Factory: This presentation took an in-depth look at Mace’s new ‘jumping factory’, which is being used to construct two residential towers at 30 and 26-storeys tall, at a rate of one storey every 55 hours, using a significant portfolio of offsite technologies.

A detailed case study of the Atlas Building was presented by Neil Morgan Collins, Director at Design Delivery Unit: Exploring the challenges associated with delivering the 40-storey building on a very constrained site and above the London Underground and Thames Link, Neil explained how the Design Delivery Unit team have overcome these challenges to make this stunning architectural vision a reality.

Founding Director of Maccreanor Lavington, Gerard Maccreanor shared the challenges surrounding the Blackfriars Circus: Taking a look back at historic developments in the City of London and sharing his insight into the future, coalescing around the Blackfriars Circus development.





With the recent 2019 – 2025 Global Light Gauge Steel Framing Market Report showing a continued rise in the price of steel over the next six years, the time is right for the industry to unite and join forces.

1 Created to meet unprecedented demand and support the development of the sector, the Light Steel Frame Association (LSFA) is driving the industry forwards in terms of profile raising and presence. With a focus on growing market share and maximising the groundswell of interest in offsite technologies, along with their technical partners the Steel Construction Institute (SCI), the LSFA recognises that the time is right for the steel industry to come together and collaborate on many levels. Mark Wilkinson Product Certification Manager for the Steel Construction Institute said, “Although we have different remits this collaboration will progress our shared ambitions and further strengthen the industry in terms of PR and Marketing, while we continue to provide a focus on the development of supporting technical information.”


It is this forward thinking and collaborative attitude that is set to drive the industry forward, with members of both the SCI and the LSFA able to continue to enjoy the high quality technical information produced by the SCI, along with the added benefits of profile raising and business development opportunities. The LSFA since their soft launch at futurebuild, where they announced their intention, have since been busy creating new opportunities for their members to develop their businesses. This includes the Focus on Framing event - which was the perfect opportunity for architects, engineers and manufacturers in the steel industry to come together and network. Steve Thompson Managing Director of 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 is proud to be a founding member and part of the steering group.” To learn more about the Light Steel Frame Association, visit their newly launched website or visit Offsite Expo in September where LSFA will be facilitating a number of masterclass presentations and members will have a substantial presence Images: 01. Light steel frame technology - courtesty of EOS



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Raising the profile of light steel frame technology The LSFA is established to influence legislation and regulation to support the overall objectives of the light steel frame sector and associated supply chains. By promoting the performance and productivity benefits of using advanced offsite manufactured, non-combustible panelised and volumetric modular steel systems – the Association’s primary objective is to support our members to exploit new and existing markets.



To join or for more information contact us today at or call 01743 290 001


Membership brings genuine commercial benefits by being part of an organisation that unites the industry in a common goal for the benefit of the entire sector.



Underlining its commitment to making the design process as efficient and collaborative as possible, voestalpine Metsec has created a new facility on its website that will allow design, construction and installation teams to easily understand and incorporate popular, standard construction details for the company’s pre-panelised building system, Metframe.


1 Sixty interactive 3D models have been created and organised into two distinct areas, each aimed at specific disciplines within the construction team, although all professionals may find the information useful. As its name suggests, Metframe Architectural Details features 3D computergenerated, colour illustrations of a variety of common construction details, including window and



brickwork, door in internal panel, stairwells with concrete half and quarter landings, balcony and internal party wall with concrete floor.

building’s design and giving a clearer understanding of how the various building elements interact with the system.

Each of the twenty-four details in this section is designed to provide support for architects and other members of the design team by demonstrating the ease with which Metframe accommodates different areas of a

From the section’s main screen, users are able to filter the details according to their particular area of interest by making selections from a number of predefined criteria, including fire protection, rainscreen,



4 insulation, composite decking and disproportionate collapse bar. Thumbnail versions of the details provide a quick and easy visual key which, when clicked, take the user to the detail itself. Here, the user can interact with the 3D illustration, zooming in and out using the scroll wheel of a mouse and rotating the model in all three dimensions by clickholding and moving the mouse in the desired direction. The illustration incorporates numbered hot links which enable the user to zoom into specific areas and explore the detail further. This is accompanied by a brief explanatory text on the detail itself. The screen also features a ‘Revit download’ button through which users can request Revit files which can be incorporated directly into their own design files, providing useful additional information and enhancing BIM compliance. Each screen also suggests a number of other details related to the one being viewed and which may be of interest to the user. The second section of Metframe 3D Details shows thirty-six Base Level Details. Aimed mainly at the contractor and installer, this area is designed to assist with the most common steel

to steel connections encountered during the installation of Metframe. Illustrations include a typical panel, window detail, brick tie rules for movement joints and connections to different building elements such as steel beams and concrete foundations. As with the Architectural Details section, this area of the website enables details to be filtered according to a predefined list, but with different criteria. Here, users can select from twenty-three filters, including floor penetrations, concrete floors, brick tie channel, joists and balcony. Selection and presentation of the detail of interest is in a consistent style to that used for the Architectural Details, with users able to interact with each model in a similar fashion and request Revit files for incorporation into the building’s design and construction information systems. “The new Metframe 3D Details facility expands our support to the entire project team,” says Ben Gallimore, Technical Manager for Metframe and lead on the project. “From architects and design through to final installation of the Metframe system. The illustrative models provide a clear understanding of how Metframe is incorporated into the most common building structures and provides clear, easy to understand details.

5 “In designing the system, we were also keenly aware of the need for projects to be BIM-compliant and enabling users to request Revit files from the details facilitates this. Initial feedback on the utility has been very positive and we are confident that it will prove invaluable to the design and construction team, adding further to the support that Metsec provides.” For more information visit: Images: 01-03. ‘Sixty interactive 3D models have been created and organised into two distinct areas to make those using the company’s pre-panelised building system, Metframe easier to use 04. 66 Queen Square 05. Smithfield Square





Through advanced Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) protocols, EOS achieve fast-track construction programmes without compromising on quality. As a major project delivery strategy these factory-based methods reduce construction time and facilitate an earlier return on investment.

1 Until the end of the twentieth century, delivery processes tended to follow a sequential process: design, bid, build. Lengthy time periods between each phase dragged construction processes out and stunted productivity. Fast-track offsite manufacture for onsite assembly provides a clear schedule for high outputs, with stringent systems to track professional schedules, milestones and enable the smooth collaboration between contractors and clients. Construction clients may not fully understand the dynamics of fast-track construction and so EOS see part of their role as specialist steel framing designers and manufacturers, helping them get to grips with the cost model and identify where savings can be made without compromising on quality. The adoption of offsite construction involves upfront capital costs – this is often the point where the comparison is made between traditional building methods, that in isolation could potentially be viewed as the cheaper option, without taking into consideration the numerous


advantages of factory-based methods. From less material waste onsite with vast reductions in associated disposal costs, to improved quality with less investment in snagging, reworking and delays – comparing cost models is complex. The greatest gain of fast-track construction is shorter construction times with reduced prelims and site management costs – bringing developments rapidly on-stream. The main benefit of these shorter schedules is improved cash flow. By generating earlier rent or sales income, construction financing costs are reduced - delivering a better and faster return on investment. Working in full compliance with all relevant building standards, including the new Building Regulations relating to residential builds over 18m, which came into force at the end of 2018 – EOS manufacture robust light steel framing panelised systems and volumetric modules for non-loadbearing and loadbearing applications. Delivering a consistently high quality of finish with fewer defects than traditional building methods, EOS achieve advanced lean manufacturing processes in a BSI compliant facility where the use of leading-edge technology delivers precisionengineered components. The prefabrication of the individual steel elements takes place under controlled, highly regulated and safe factory conditions. In addition to existing accreditations of ISO9001:2018, and ISO14001:2015, EOS has now complimented its lean and safe working practices with ISO 45001:2018 in recognition of excellent occupational health and safety management systems.


EOS strive to develop excellent working relationships and their team of specialists will be on hand at Offsite Expo on stand G17 to offer advice and discuss project requirements. EOS have also designed and will construct one of the two Explore Offsite Masterclass Theatres where Peter Burchill, Business Development Manager for EOS, will present an in-depth case study on The Ram Quarter – a multi award-winning project delivered through fast-track construction methods using a range of bespoke solutions from the EOS product portfolio including: SFS infill, loadbearing steel systems for internal pods, together with complete Thruwall® systems delivered in partnership with other members of ETEX Building Performance which includes Promat, Siniat and EOS. With a comprehensive spectrum of products and services – underpinned by a substantial investment in stateof the-art technology - EOS has the capability and capacity to meet the exacting demands of the construction industry. With no hidden costs for deflection heads or transport, EOS guarantee a very competitive pricing structure and can provide a lump sum total cost which will not alter, providing the specification remains unchanged. For more details on products and services go to: To register to attend Offsite Expo for free visit: Images: 01. The Ram Quarter



Sarah Swift Building

With expertise in panelised, volumetric modular and pod technology - EOS specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of loadbearing and non-loadbearing light steel framing systems (LSF) for the offsite markets. As part of Etex Building Performance, a division of the Etex Group that combines the solutions of three prominent manufacturers – Siniat, Promat and EOS – we are uniquely placed to develop opportunities for innovative specifications to meet today’s challenging projects.

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

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



Our fully inclusive service from concept to completion, ensures rapid construction of our load-bearing structures. Optimising value engineering, we deliver a range of fully tested and warrantied light steel systems with a load-bearing capability of up to nine storeys.

Through collaborative working and by forming strategic alliances, EOS Facades take a partnering approach to deliver award-winning modular and panelised systems for offsite markets. We offer a comprehensive range of services for conceiving, designing and manufacturing light steel framing solutions.

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

T: +44 (0) 1325 303030




Daniel Minks, Sales Director at Hadley Steel Framing, assesses the uptake of offsite construction in the UK healthcare sector that could benefit from further adoption of offsite construction methods.

1 Modular systems lend-themselves primarily to buildings with a relatively uniform layout which is why our success in these sectors has been primarily linked to staff accommodation and extra care facilities. If the sector is to adapt modular/panelised framing more widely, then architects will need to engage with industry specialists such as ourselves at initial design stage to ensure their layouts work within the parameters of our systems. They will then see huge benefits in efficiency,


programme advantages and of course, cost savings. Given the advanced level of systems testing we have in place for fire, acoustics and thermal performance, we are very well placed to help drive this sector forward. Developing healthcare facilities is often considered one of the most complex construction projects there is. Due to their high-profile nature, delays rarely go unnoticed and healthcare developments are notorious for running behind schedule and over-


budget, often resulting in negative backlash from the public. There are a number of benefits to increased levels of offsite construction in the healthcare sector, which could help address many challenges. With speed of delivery and cost-efficiencies two of the most commonly cited benefits of the modular process, the healthcare sector could do well to embrace these methods. As well as the obvious benefits associated with offsite construction,

STEEL there are specific benefits that are well suited to healthcare environments. Temporary wards can be erected quickly to facilitate times of increased demand. For the upgrade or expansions of live hospital sites, offsite construction can be much less disruptive than more traditional construction techniques, which can make a difference to the overall patient, staff and visitor experience. Accessibility is another key area to consider. With much of the UK’s healthcare facilities located in urban areas that do not have easy access points, the benefits of offsite construction are impressive. For example, with much of the work executed offsite in the factory, the number and frequency of deliveries to site can be kept to a minimum, meaning constant site access is not as much of an issue.

The NHS has high expectations when developing healthcare units, to provide a sustainable, energy efficient and costeffective contemporary building. The patient, staff and visitor experience must be at the heart of a successful healthcare project. This is now infinitely possible with the use of hybrid or modular construction methods. In fact, by incorporating steel frame structures into the overall development, sustainability and reduction of waste targets can be met given the material’s unique sustainable characteristics. A new wing at Northumbria’s Specialist Emergency Care Hospital is currently being developed using offsite methods. It is slated that following a hybrid approach will contribute to a significant reduction in the build programme from at least two years, bringing it down to just under 12 months, meaning increased access to some vital healthcare facilities in a quicker time frame. During a time when pressure on the healthcare system is huge, such examples of speed and quality must be welcomed. There is no Government scheme currently driving offsite construction in the healthcare sector. However,


3 with the inherent benefits it can bring to a service under increasing strain, it is likely that more and more hybrid building solutions will be incorporated into healthcare facilities in the UK. Today’s modular buildings are just as good, if not better than their traditional counterparts, but with the added advantages of speed and lower cost. If the country is to continue to overcome the growing need for increased facilities driven by longer life expectancy and, in turn, an ageing population, then more attention needs to be given to offsite construction methods as a potential solution to address the country’s healthcare development needs. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Northumbria’s Specialist Emergency Care Hospital is currently being developed using offsite methods 02-03. Installation of prefabricated steel profiles can save time and money on site

Hadley Steel Framing are a founding member of the newly formed Light Steel Frame Association which aims to raise the profile of light steel frame technology and will drive take-up throughout the wider construction industry. For more information, visit:




SCI PRODUCT CERTIFICATION With over 30 years of expertise in the sector and with the SCI Assessed scheme already recognised, SCI Product Certification has been developed to serve the steel industry better than anything currently on offer. Increasingly, government and public sector bodies are specifying requirements for accredited, robust third-party certification. The scheme will:

because of its fit with the Government’s Transforming Construction agenda. We have therefore been developing SCI Product Certification for the following products:

• Help manufacturers differentiate their products and gain acceptance in the market • Help meet the requirements of warranty providers such as NHBC, Premier Guarantee and LABC etc • Provide confidence to specifiers, end-users and other interested parties that the products fulfil specified requirements.

• Individual structural elements • Cladding and roofing • External wall systems • Light steel framing systems • Modular building units.

We believe that the offsite construction market will grow significantly in the coming years, not only because of its ability to solve the critical need for more housing, but more generally


Following positive comments received from UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) during the accreditation pre-assessment carried out in the latter half of 2018, SCI is currently working with a number of manufacturers to test the robustness of our complete certification process. This is in readiness for the formal assessment by UKAS in June.

SCI Product Certification will provide assurance that a product meets all relevant and current requirements.

SCI hope to be in a position to issue the first certificates later this year. For more information on the scheme visit: Contact +44 (0) 1344 636501 or email: Images: 01. Steel systems play a significant part in the offsite industry

Increasingly, organisations, government and public sector bodies are specifying requirements for accredited, third-party certification. With this in mind the SCI certification Schemes have been developed to: help manufacturers differentiate their products and gain acceptance in the market help meet the requirements of warranty providers such as NHBC, Premier Guarantee, LABC etc. provide confidence to specifiers, end-users and other interested parties that the products fulfill specified requirements


SCI has been a trusted, independent source of information and engineering expertise on all forms of steel construction for over 30 years. Who better to certify your steel products and systems?

For further enquiries

please contact SCI Product Certification on:

T: +44 (0) 1344 636 501

E: | W:



» Typically 30% faster build time compared to traditional methods

» Independent and accredited Edge Protection system

» Floors constructed in 2-3 weeks » BIM level 2 compliant

» Suitable for use with a variety of external finishes

» Zero waste

» NHBC/SCI approval for up to 15 storeys

» High thermal, fire and acoustic performance

» Manufactured in a controlled factory environment

» Complex structures are easily incorporated

» FORS Silver accredited for HGV Metsec deliveries

voestalpine Metsec plc



Following the government announcement regarding the presumption in favour of offsite construction, the UK requirement for advanced volumetric modular systems is on the rise.

1 As the most efficient offsite building technique for timber, steel and concrete designs – volumetric modular systems that deliver at scale and increase productivity, are very much in demand. MPBA Chief Executive, Jackie Maginnis, explains the increase in specification: “Construction clients appreciate cutting-edge building techniques, particularly with the short lead times of modular construction, which rapidly delivers buildings that are energy efficient, fully compliant with building regulations and can be tailored to meet individual customer requirements.” The demand for customisation in modular building compels the manufacturing industry to develop new methods for adaption of mass production to meet individual customer needs. Because of this, design processes have evolved in line with construction processes. The MPBA assists members in their collaboration with architects, designers 50

and engineers to orchestrate design protocols, conceive products for manufacturing processes and integrate these into final designs. Production and configuration processes have been developed by conducting functional requirement analysis to identify design parameters for volumetric modular construction. By investing in ongoing research and assisting with the introduction of innovative manufacturing methods, the MPBA is at the forefront of research and development, supporting members across numerous sectors to embrace technological processes that are used in other industries, such as automotive and aerospace – to advance productivity throughout the construction sector. As experts in the sector, the Modular & Portable Building Association (MPBA) and member companies will be out in force at Offsite Expo with an extensive display of volumetric modular technologies.


Offsite Expo will provide an informative experience for those looking to investigate modular and portable buildings – eminent experts from the MPBA will be available to provide advice on modular building processes based on ongoing research into volumetric technologies. Benefits of volumetric technology are wide-ranging, including environmental advantages, energy efficiency and guaranteed quality. Modular buildings can be continually adapted as client needs evolve. Modules can be relocated and are designed to withstand long-distance transportation and craning. Ideal for either temporary or permanent applications, numerous finishes are available for modular projects to meet the exacting needs of clients. As the single recognised voice for promoting and marketing products and services, the MPBA helps members to remain competitive in the multi-billion-pound offsite industry. If you would like to get involved in developing new specification and procurement methodologies for modular building techniques, visit the MPBA at stand B5 to find out how modular and portable construction could revolutionise your project. For those operating in the modular and portable building sector, becoming an MPBA member will offer extensive benefits to businesses, including access to networking sessions, training courses and events. The MPBA have recently launched a Volumetric Homes Group to reflect the huge demand for innovative offsite housing. For more information visit: Images: 01. Innovative architecture using volumetric modular technology

West Hill Special School - The McAvoy Group

Tekla Structures is intelligent 3D modelling software designed to help you deliver all types of structural modular elements at the right time to the right place. Integrating design and detailing with manufacture, project management and efficient information sharing Tekla Structures can do it all. Together we are shaping a smarter future for construction. TRANSFORMING THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS


Returning for 2019, MODULAR MATTERS demonstrates the application of volumetric modular technology across a range of vertical markets including; education, leisure, student accommodation, private residential, affordable housing and specialist applications.

22.10.2019 NCC, BIRMINGHAM

In partnership with

To book your place, visit CALL FOR PAPERS OPEN UNTIL 30 JUNE 2019



As part of the Inside Offsite factory tour programme, modular building specialists Portakabin, opened up its York manufacturing facility to explain to a select group of visitors the offsite manufacturing process.



1 Portakabin is a name synonymous with modular construction. Employing around 1750 people and now operating in ten countries, the firm has been manufacturing in York since 1961. Although well known for the hire and relocatable arm of the business, it is a central player in offsite construction and has long been one of the key manufacturers and pioneers of modular building systems across the UK. The benefits of building offsite are commonly understood by many clients, specifiers and architects – the importance of improved speed and higher productivity, reduced waste and sustainable construction, better costcontrols, improved quality and health and safety, so the day dug further into what makes offsite construction an attractive proposition.


The factory tour focused on the manufacturing skills behind Portakabin, where visitors had explained to them the important role offsite manufacture is playing in key markets including education and healthcare, and why it is an effective and efficient way to build. “Steel framed modules deliver excellent performance,” said Rob Snook, General Manager. “We try to complete the building as much as possible in our factory to minimise work on site to ensure minimal disruption. Before the building leaves the factory it can be fitted with insulation, electrics, plumbing, heating, doors and internal finishes, ensuring that the product is delivered to a very high standard and reduces the need for tradesmen on site, thus reducing disruption and time on site. All buildings are rigorously checked both during and after manufacture


4 and due to the majority of work being completed in the factory setting, a very high and consistent quality standard can be achieved and maintained.” With 700 people employed at the York facility including 300 operatives in the 250,000m2 factory, it is constantly busy. First stop was the production area for its single module buildings (SMB) including the Solus, Titan and Titan Buildings System, Portaloo and Konstructa. The SMB buildings range from 3m to 18m in length and are manufactured complete for delivery to site and are designed to be fully relocatable and extendable. SMBs can be used for a wide range of applications ranging from office accommodation to marketing suites to teaching spaces, surgeries and storage.


5 The main part of the tour observed the production facility for the modular building solutions. This gave everyone the opportunity to view the precision managed flow of steel wall and floor sections and components. Managed via lean manufacturing processes and Kanban assembly line, the option of cutting, bending, shaping and painting of metal components in-house gives manufacturing control and the project teams the ability to respond to the needs of any project, while still ensuring that the manufacturing process is as efficient as possible. “We manufacture piece parts, insulated wall and roof panels and bring together all the components made on this site and by outside suppliers to assemble modules, designed using Design to Manufacture (D2M) Software,” adds Stuart Norris, Senior Product Development Engineer. “Once the assembly of the modules is completed they are put together in the yard as part or whole buildings and fitted out using our own labour and specialist subcontractors before being delivered to the client’s site to be erected as the finished building.” This involves what Portakabin calls the ‘5S Culture’ – Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain – all designed to make the production process as streamlined as possible. The units exemplify the next generation of modular buildings. “The line follows the principles established in the automotive industry, adds Stuart. “The highly accurate floor jig has been specially designed and

6 manufactured to handle the greatly increased product range.” Visitors were led through the manufacturing stages starting at the floor assembly bay which can produce 18 lengths, two widths, two different constructions, ground and upper floors, nine different geometries with options of a concrete or Thermowood timber floor deck. The tour continued through the production line for bases and short wall assembly to the Foam Panel Production Line – a multi-million investment in 2017 – that saw the installation of the world’s largest ‘high pressure injection open pour press’. After watching apertures being cut with a multi-function CNC Router to form apertures for windows, doors, rooflights, ventilation, pipe and cable penetrations – any openings through the wall or roof panels – the final stage of the production process saw the apertures removed, windows and doors fitted, the module assembly and final fixes. Completed modules are pushed along the track which extends out of the assembly shop under the fitting out gantry crane, where it is picked up using the multi-point lifting frame and positioned in the fitting out yard as part of the building for the completion of the offsite fit out. “On average 90% of fit-out is done in the factory,” adds Rob Snook. “Modules are made weatherproof and moved into the fitting out yard where

the buildings are fully assembled and tested. All the fitting out takes place in the yard, including partitions, plumbing and M&E before dismantling and transporting to site. We have our own transport and logistics department and therefore maintain full control of the whole process ensuring we can deliver our ‘on time and on budget’ promise.” After the tour finished, the afternoon saw a CPD presentation and workshop exercise, that discussed the benefits and barriers to volumetric modular solutions over alternative construction methods, and the developing trends in architecture and building design. Feedback from all attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with visitors shown the key processes behind modular building and offsite manufacture. These processes now offer many innovative and unique architectural features giving the freedom to create internal spaces that are comfortable, welcoming and encourage productivity for building owners and users. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Portakabin Head Office, York 02-04. The modules are created using the latest lean production and modern factory techniques 05. Precision CNC machinery makes openings for windows, doors, rooflights and various services 06. Global Academy – the UK’s first university technical college to be built offsite






1 Integra Buildings has completed construction of the £1.1million, state-of-the-art rehoming and education centre at the RSPCA animal shelter in Radcliffe-onTrent, Nottinghamshire. The centre will provide greatly improved facilities for staff, animals and visitors who want to offer an abandoned pet a forever home. In addition, a new education suite will help members of the community, and especially young people, learn about the centre’s work. Working to plans drawn up by Williams Architects, the Integra team designed and built the 24 modular sections that make up the new animal centre. Once completed, the units were transported by lorry to the Radcliffe site, where they were carefully craned onto foundations and assembled. With all the modular units in place and expertly connected, the building was fitted out and decorated to create a showpiece facility. “We’ve really enjoyed working on this project,” says Gary Parker, Integra Buildings’ Managing Director. “Our superb team puts a great deal of pride and hard work into every job, but having so many animal lovers on the

staff means this has been one of our most enjoyable projects. I think that shows in the finished building. Projects like this go to show that, far from the outdated prefabs image, our modern, bespoke modular buildings are the way forward for the construction industry.” Integra delivered the project for Williams Architects and is the latest in a series of successful projects that the companies have worked together on. Rachel Jenkins, Project Architect from Williams Architects, said: “We decided to go with a modular build because, with cost in mind, we were able to achieve a higher quality of design within budget than with a traditional build. It also helped minimise disruption for the RSPCA Radcliffe team. It was a big plus to be able to lift the sections in. “It’s far from a typical style of modular building. For example, we incorporated roof lights along the ridge of the building, which created a light and airy interior. We were also able to add design features such as backlit animal cut-out shapes on the front of the building, and paw prints embedded into the floor to guide visitors. All of this provided a challenge in terms of the modular build, but the Integra team were enthusiastic and innovative in finding solutions.”

The Radcliffe Animal Centre is an independent charity and financially independent from the national RSPCA. The new building is the culmination of a programme of investment over the past decade to replace outdated facilities, beginning with accommodation for the animals in the centre’s care. Mike Marriott, Technical Director at Integra Buildings, added: “This design pushed the boundaries of what can be achieved within a factory build, including pitched, vaulted roof sections with orangery-style roof lights, which were all factory-finished in modular sections. “Coupled with a perpendicular-build, two-storey section, this complemented the design. Considering the intricacies involved, the fact that all of the modular sections connected accurately on site is a great testimony to skills of our design, manufacturing and installation teams. Essentially, this is a permanent building which has been constructed offsite to accelerate the programme and has provided a showcase building which the RSPCA Radcliffe team is delighted with.” Centre Manager Ella Carpenter, said the RSPCA Radcliffe team were hugely impressed with the quality of design, build and materials, saying: “We went for a modular building because of speed of delivery of the project and to ensure minimal disruption to our normal operations and the welfare of the animals. We’re so pleased with how it has come together. It’s a highquality building with lots of impressive architectural features. It also looks great, which is important as we’re a gateway building off the A52 leading into the village of Radcliffe.” Work is now under way to connect services and prepare the centre for use before it becomes operational by the summer. For more information visit:

2 54


Images: 01. RSPCA Radcliffe, a new modular-built rehoming and education centre 02. (L-R) Integra Buildings Managing Director Gary Parker, Commercial Director Chris Turner, Centre Manager Ella Carpenter, Rachel Jenkins of Williams Architects and some four-legged friends. Courtesy Alex Cantrill-Jones, ACJ Media


‘EXTREME’ WALL MEMBRANES DELIVER CLASS W1 PERFORMANCE FOR SEVERELY EXPOSED SITES Protect Membranes, UK producer of construction and roofing membranes, has introduced two new waterproof breather membranes designed for use externally on timber frame, SIPs and CLT wall panels, achieving a Class W1 resistance to water penetration.

1 Launched in tandem with the STA Advice Note 18 published by the Structural Timber Association in consultation with NHBC, the products are designed specifically for buildings sited in severely exposed locations which are typically high altitude, open to high winds and on westerly coastal sites in England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Protect Thermo Extreme is a low emissivity, insulating breather membrane with microporous film and microperforation technology to ensure high watertightness and vapour permeability. This protects the outer sheathing from moisture and allows vapour to pass into the external wall cavity. Featuring a highly reflective surface, Protect Thermo Extreme helps deliver low overall U-values when the foil faces into an unventilated airspace, achieving an aged thermal resistance R-value of 0.77m2K/W, incorporating printed branding. Protect TF200 Extreme is a high performance membrane used on the cold side of the insulated panel to minimise the risk of interstitial

condensation, with microporous film technology to ensure high vapour permeability and exceed requirements recommended by TRADA and NHBC. It offers a temporary, first line of protection to the whole of the external wall. Both membranes are CE marked, available ex-stock in 3m widths and 100m lengths and produced in the UK. For more information visit:, email or call 0161 905 5700, quoting ‘Extreme.’ Images: 01. Protect ‘Extreme’ breather membranes are designed specifically for buildings sited in severely exposed locations

At the forefront of Quality Technical Building Envelope Solutions




As one of the UK’s leading providers of rainscreen systems, metal fabrications and bespoke full envelope solutions, quality is at the core of the innovative PSP Architectural operation. From the early design stages and advanced manufacturing processes, to the final delivery - the highly experience team, turn an architectural concept into an exceptional engineering reality.

T: 01388 770490




Rooftop developments and exploitation of ‘airspace’ is a way that offsite methods and volumetric modular delivery can deliver a new dimension to the housing market especially in high density locations.

1 When property consultancy Knight Frank developed its SKYWARD research project to estimate the scale of the opportunity to build on top of existing buildings, it found that 40,000 homes could be built in central London alone, with 23,000 buildings suitable for rooftop development without impacting on London’s skyline.

supermarkets are also increasingly looking to maximise asset value with an additional layer of living. Sainsbury’s has been reported to be developing plans in Whitechapel, Ilford and New Cross Gate with the potential to create 2,500 homes above stores as it the aims to ‘improve the efficiency’ of its £11billion property estate.

The study which used the latest geospatial mapping software, highlighted that more than 28million square feet of potential additional residential floor area could be developed, with this airspace having a potential value of £51billion.

Rooftop developments are primed for success in dense urban areas and London is the epicentre of UK airspace developments. Offsite construction methods are a boon due to minimal disruption to neighbouring buildings during installation and the factorycontrolled quality of modules. Pioneers of airspace developments in the UK has been Apex Airspace who have described airspace as a ‘sleeping market’.

The concept of airspace is very simple. Development of a building upwards can take place on top of existing properties, usually above existing residential or commercial buildings. Modular construction lends itself perfectly to the addition of extra levels of living space craned on top of existing property. Retailers and


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, recently provided a £10million development loan to Apex Airspace, to help roll out airspace developments


in the capital and alleviate London’s acute demand for more affordable housing. The announcement marked the first time that the Mayor has supported an airspace developer. With London’s population expected to grow by one million over the next decade, the latest figures suggest the capital needs 65,000 new homes per year in that timeframe to meet this demand. The funding, which has been granted through the Mayor’s Innovation Fund for affordable housing projects, will enable Apex to forge a wider range of partnerships with London’s councils, housing associations, and private market freeholders to scale new opportunities in both inner and outer boroughs. “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,” says James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development.

AIRSPACE DEVELOPMENTS “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.” The price and scarcity of land in London plus the huge competition for available sites has driven new thinking and innovative ways to provide homes and although everyone has different views about how to use that space – ‘the key is that it is new space.’ “We have invested heavily in airspace development,” says Arshad Bhatti, Founder and Chief Executive of Apex Airspace. “Our research shows there is potential for up to 180,000 properties in London alone. This would represent 42% of the need identified by the London Plan, up to 2025.”

“It’s not surprising that developing airspace is becoming so popular,” adds Paul Olliff, Legal Director at Ashfords LLPs’ Real Estate Team. “Particularly in London, given the lack of space on the ground and the lack of residential housing, coupled with the advances in construction techniques. The funding authorised by the Mayor of London for such a development shows its rise to prominence on a national and political scale.” The nature of rooftop development can be a complicated process. Not all buildings are suitable for development. It is paramount to ensure the structural integrity of the building plus access routes for cranes. For anyone pursuing this approach there are also a raft of legal issues revolving around existing tenants, leases and building usage. “Early consideration of title is a must,” says Tony Dicarlo, Managing Director of rooftop and modular developer Innerspace. “Knowing who the stakeholders of the building are, who the occupiers and leaseholders are, understanding what the leases say and any restrictive covenants. From a developers point of view it’s extremely important you need to be aware of who has claim of the airspace above the building.”


3 Certainly the extension of permitted development rights (PDR) to convert offices into residential buildings has provided a boost to airspace developments and for ‘upward extensions’ to go ahead. As a means of increasing housing output and addressing the crisis in housing supply it makes sense but does it come at a cost? “Airspace development is an area of construction requiring specialist skills, experience and in-depth understanding of the complexities that such developments are laden with,” says Aaron Emmett, Managing Director of developer Click Above. “The need for more homes is acute and where an opportunity to increase the size, or change the purpose, of an existing building occurs, it would appear prudent to do so if it creates no adverse effect. “Whilst utilising offsite construction means that there is relatively little on-site disruption, the fact that the installation process requires significant planning from a logistics perspective means that this simply can’t be an area of development that will welcome all-comers. It is also a means of construction firmly rooted in

specialist design. An airspace project is heavily design-led from the outset and the manufacturing process only commences once we are sure that the homes have been designed so that people will be proud to live in them.” Every building will have its own unique challenges and it is the developer’s job to ascertain whether the cost and complexity of the work is ultimately justified in terms of properties created and income received, both for the developer and the preexisting interested parties. Rooftop developments alone cannot solve London’s housing crisis but it can be a key factor in tackling a problem with no end in sight. For more information visit:

Images: 01-02. Airspace is a ‘sleeping market’ perfect for offsite methods to provide additional living space. Courtesy Apex Airspace 03. (L-R) Apex Airspace’s Val Bagnall, Arshad Bhatti and James Murray, London’s Deputy Mayor for Housing & Residential Development





A SWIFTPLAN RESPONSE FOR SWANSEA UNIVERSITY Wernick’s modular buildings promise 60+ years design life while offering the flexibility to relocate or re-configure the building if required. Flexibility, plus accelerated build-times, make modular buildings a perfect fit for the higher education sector – colleges and universities can respond to an influx of students or refurbishment work elsewhere on campus – all while causing minimal disruption to surrounding areas. “We are delighted our local University has once again selected Wernick to deliver their new teaching accommodation,” said Stuart Wilkie, Managing Director at Wernick Buildings. “Higher education institutions such as Swansea University are leading the way – embracing modern methods of construction and all that modular buildings have to offer.”

1 Modular buildings specialist Wernick have been appointed to deliver a new teaching facility for Swansea University at its prestigious Bay Campus. A two-storey, 60-module building will be built using the latest innovations in offsite and modular design and build. Modules will be manufactured in a quality-controlled factory environment in six weeks, with ground works on campus taking place simultaneously. Handover is scheduled for November 2019 – an end-to-end build programme of just 22 weeks. The building, procured through Fusion 21’s Education and Modular Buildings Framework will accommodate multiple departments and over 1,000 students. It utilises Wernick’s latest modular system – Swiftplan®. As well as ensuring building efficiency, the system allows for greater versatility for the addition of architectural features. The University building takes advantage of this versatility with curtain walling providing open, sun-drenched areas and rainscreen cladding will give it a contemporary feel.


Swiftplan’s® industry-leading noncombustible wall-panelling system will ensure an extra level of safety, and a hybrid natural ventilation system will provide a comfortable environment for occupants. The comprehensive interior fit-out includes folding partitions to create flexible spaces, lecture suites, PC labs and quiet zones. The H-shaped structure will sit alongside a range of pioneering buildings on the campus, including the UK’s first energy positive office – the Active Office, conceived and designed by SPECIFIC Innovation & Knowledge Centre and delivered by Wernick in 2018. Like the Active Office, manufacture of the new teaching facility will take place at the Wernick Buildings factory in Port Talbot – right across the water from the Bay Campus. While the principal driver of a modular solution is time, the method presents a range of environmental benefits too. For example, up to 90% fewer vehicles arrive on site and less waste for landfill is produced at each stage of the build. Concrete and plaster use is significantly reduced as are CO2 emissions from onsite generators.


Ian Macpherson, Associate Director - Estates & Facilities Management at Swansea University added: “We are very pleased to have appointed leading modular building supplier Wernick to deliver this new teaching accommodation at our Bay Campus. The new facility will provide additional teaching and learning environments to accommodate our growing student population, as well as offering flexible space to support a range of nonteaching activities and events to enhance the student experience here at Swansea.” For more information on Swiftplan, Active Office and Wernick’s modular buildings visit: For more information visit: Images: 01. The modular building, procured through Fusion 21’s Education and Modular Buildings Framework will accommodate multiple departments and over 1,000 students

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Despite political turmoil and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the structural timber sector remains resilient. The demand for timber building systems continues to be underpinned by the UK Government’s clear commitment to address the housing crisis. Assure quality initiative, members are required to complete workbooks and an online test to examine practical and theory-based knowledge, which will take up to one year to complete.

1 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 arena, 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. The Structural Timber Association (STA) and their members are committed to strive for technical excellence and assured performance, which will become expected as the implications of the Hackitt review are digested, and regulatory reform starts to take effect. In light of this, the independently assessed, STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme is quite possibly the most important initiative developed by the Association in recent years. Receiving widespread stakeholder endorsement from all the major warranty providers including the NHBC – STA Assure has been created to evidence quality and provide reassurance for construction clients. 60

As part of the scheme STA members: • Undergo the independently audited STA Assure Membership and Quality Standards Scheme. • Operate Site Safe systems to ensure timber construction is both safe and sustainable. • Receive regular updates on the latest building regulations and legislation. • Have access to dedicated technical support service, advice notes and technical documents. • Fully support sustainable construction, quality standards and adhere to a Code of Conduct. Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme The Association now manages the STA Timber Frame Competency Award Scheme requirements with CITB, to improve timber frame erectors’ skill levels and acknowledge the competencies of existing timber frame erectors. The training programme can support the achievement of gaining an SVQ or NVQ in Timber Frame Erection, allowing installer companies to access sites that require CSCS cards. The scheme sets industry-wide standards for erectors and installers of structural timber frames. As part of the STA


Site Safe Policy The Offsite Award winning Site Safe Policy and the audit process have been developed over many years. By following the policy, members can engage with customers and enable the best project outcomes. Only STA members undergo the rigorous independent audit, Site Safe creates a clear distinction in the expected performance levels of members and non-members within the structural timber arena. Offsite Expo Sponsor The Structural Timber Association and their members will have a high-profile presence at Offsite Expo - featuring throughout the Explore Offsite Masterclass Seminar programmes across the two days of the event. Renowned for its renewable, lowcarbon benefits and sustainable credentials, the most pioneering solutions will be on show across the timber portfolio encompassing cross laminated timber, glulam, timber frame and structural insulated panels systems. As the largest UK trade association within the structural timber sector, there are a host of reasons why construction professionals should work with STA members - for more information visit the STA at Offsite Expo to discover or go online: Images: 01. Image courtesy of CCG















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Amid stagnating housebuilding levels and the financial roadblocks faced by many trying to buy, the UK needs to embrace a new method of constructing homes. Joseph Daniels, Chief Executive of Project Etopia has ambitious plans to change the ways things are built.

1 Although the housing crisis has been brewing for some time, not enough consideration has been given to the potential of offsite construction to turn the trend around. Project Etopia was founded in 2015 with the ambition of building affordable homes with technological and environmental specifications that should come as standard in all newbuilds. The landscape has not shifted considerably since then, as the lack of affordable homes on the market has continued to leave many locked out in the cold, knowing their dream of home ownership will remain just that. But change is slowly happening. The government has started to recognise the potential of modular projects, with Homes England providing cash to such schemes and Chancellor, Philip Hammond indicating his support for offsite methods of construction. The traditional method of


building homes is a dinosaur — people are just yet to have their eyes opened to that fact. Project Etopia aims to be at the forefront of spearheading this switch to offsite construction. Etopia’s houses are constructed using a panelised system, with the panels delivered to site for assembly. Delivering panels, rather than complete homes, has made it easier to adapt designs if anything unexpected crops up in the latter stages of the build. It also reduces our transportation costs and drastically reduces CO2 emissions. Prime Minister Theresa May’s move to boost council house building by scrapping borrowing caps that have limited how much they can build, means authorities are increasingly likely to commission their own projects. However, councils still have spending pressures and, even if they


are able to borrow more, they will still be keen to show value for money and pay loans off sooner rather than later. Importantly, they need to be sure they can achieve a high-quality project that is deliverable quickly and costeffective. Modular housing delivers in all three areas. And there has never been a more pressing need for a transformation in the way housebuilding is conducted.

The private sector built more homes in 1959 than it did in 2017, and the government remains some way off its target of building a million homes by the end of 2020. Meanwhile the UK population is expected to increase by 5.5% in the next 10 years, widening the gap between housing supply and demand even further.


2 Any authority that remains glued to traditional bricks and mortar builds condemn themselves to an average 25-week build time. Compare that to four weeks for an Etopia modular home and it’s abundantly clear that if politicians are truly committed to turning the housebuilding landscape on its head, they need to look to modular. For example, the superstructures of our first four houses in Corby, Northamptonshire, were up in just 34 days or 8.5 days per unit and our unit in Namibia has been constructed in just eight hours. Much of the world has already embraced offsite construction, with Sweden leading the way with more than 80% of new homes using some kind of modular technique. While the choice of materials and methods vary greatly around the world, the fast building time is an attractive advantage as countries battle similar housing shortages. Protecting the environment is another area where modular housing sets a benchmark far apart from its brick and mortar counterparts. Building projects do not happen in isolation, and they have an impact on the country’s carbon levels. The government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, has recommended the UK sets a legally binding contract to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Modular housing can lead the way in meeting this goal within the construction industry, by installing solar panels as standard

and embracing other renewable technologies — not to mention the fact that modular housing often has technological advantages over brick properties. For example, our panels have better thermal efficiency, with a superior U-value of 0.13 compared to 0.16 for a typical well-insulated wall in a new build brick property. There is a further ‘green’ angle to offsite construction. Housebuilding traditionally has had an environmental cost but this is dramatically reduced by using offsite methods, as projects of the same scale can be completed in a matter of months. This means there is less noise pollution and HGV traffic, and a reduction in all the CO2 associated with fleets of trucks ferrying materials to and from the development. Emissions are reduced 75% with our system against conventional builds, simply through the materials used. As we move forward, offsite construction is poised to grow rapidly as its benefits and quality are proved. The growth of modular will outpace traditional bricks and mortar in the coming years and will come to be the primary building method in the next decade. There is no reason why offsite construction cannot match the 300,000-houses-a-year target the government has set. Bricks and mortar has fallen at this first hurdle — modular can jump it and then some. As for Project Etopia, we put no ceiling on our own ambitions. Our first goal is to build 21,500 homes a year in the UK

3 by 2025, providing high-quality ecofriendly homes with smart technology for tens of thousands of people. Although the housing crisis looms large in the UK, the situation is just as bleak around the world. Our first international pilot project has been completed in Namibia, and it demonstrates how British manufacturing can play a role in building the world’s homes. We seek to raise standards abroad just as we are at home. It is not enough to merely provide a place to live. A home must be high-quality, built to the highest design specifications, and constructed with the environment in mind. Homes of the future do not need to be costly — for the owner or for the environment — and change is coming sooner than you think. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. The 50,000ft2 factory in Ellesmere Port is a collaboration with partner company 4wall and can produce five three-bedroom homes per day 03. Etopia Project, Corby, Northamptonshire





Citu is successfully and rapidly building a carbon negative housing development in Leeds – the first family homes to be constructed in the city centre for more than 90 years. Jonathan Wilson, Development Director, Citu explains more about offsite design and why timber is so important.

1 Buildings currently account for two thirds of CO2 emissions in the UK and it takes 65 tonnes of CO2 to build a typical newbuild house. Trying to meet the Government’s housing target of 300,000 new homes annually in masonry houses will cause 19 million tonnes of CO2 emissions pa. And unlike other sectors building emissions are worryingly static. With embodied carbon – CO2 emitted from the build – there’s been no progress at all, because buildings tend to use the same carbon intensive materials. We are also seeing larger housebuilders not only slow in the uptake but, in some cases, actively lobbying against targets.


In sharp contrast, the Citu House is manufactured by 10 operatives in a 15,000ft2 factory which consists of some of the world leading timber frame and posi-joist machinery. The factory is set up with two process lines, one for the timber framing and one for the floor cassettes. Keeping up with demand at the start three years ago was a particular challenge as the whole process and product was a new concept. At the end of Year 1 Citu were comfortably keeping up with demand and planned to double capacity in Year 2 and further double in Year 3. This target is on track as the team refines and introduces new, lean and


innovative process solutions. The key to being able to eliminate embodied carbon is in a timber-framed design, built from timber panels manufactured in our own factory, just a few hundred metres from the building site, and then assembled onsite. An important part of the success of the Climate Innovation District is that we quickly realised there was no point making something world class in a manufacturing facility, to then compromise quality and efficiency by applying traditional construction techniques on site. Instead we established a multi-skilled fit out teams and in-house erection team. This




60-strong team is directly employed by Citu Manufacturing and set to grow. Having the teams in-house allows Citu to apply lean techniques and manufacturing concepts to the construction environment – paving the way for a new modern-day construction method.

Citu is now the principle designer, client and contractor for the product, allowing the team to make the necessary changes, ensuring efficiency throughout the whole process in ‘design for manufacture, erection and fit out’. All this innovation turns timber into a negative carbon option for the construction industry. With its ability to absorb rather than causes emissions the timber turns the Citu Home into a carbon store. Research conducted by the University of Leeds using the RICS’ whole-life carbon assessment analysed every component involved in building a Citu Home and calculated the embodied carbon in every nail, board and screw. It also analysed the emissions involved in the transport, assembly and construction and found that each Citu Home built sequesters and stores 23 tonnes of CO2 = a negative emissions technology. To date, the Citu Works factory in Leeds has already built the components for the first 28 of these homes, upscaling to build 750 homes per year. By building that many Citu Homes it saves 66,000 tonnes of CO2

4 pa – the equivalent of taking 14,000 combustible engine cars off the road annually. Extrapolate that out – if the government’s target of building 300,000 new homes per annum was met by building Citu Homes – over 26 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, 7% of the UK’s annual emissions would be prevented. Timber homes last hundreds of years keeping CO2 out of the atmosphere but that’s not forever. Disposing of them conventionally the CO2 will end up back in the atmosphere, this is where Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) comes in. This allows decommissioned timber buildings to be burned, creating energy – the carbon stored within them captured and pumped underground. BECCS is currently seen in a few pilot projects globally but this kind of technology is already effectively being baked into existing climate agreements.

A recent Journal Nature study calculated that the social cost of carbon is approximately £325 per tonne i.e. an average tonne of CO2 emits £325 worth of damage to the global economy via damage from storms, wildfires, droughts etc. What if the price of building materials included the social cost of carbon? Build in a social cost of carbon per tonne – timber still is the cheapest construction material. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Climate Innovation District, Leeds 03-04. Factory-manufactured timber components provide a highly sustainable building method.





Professor Alex de Rijke, Founding Director, dRMM Architects – one of the UK’s leading architectural practices – have been at the forefront of timber construction for many years. Here, he outlines why engineered timber is so essential to contemporary building design.

The history of architecture can be understood by material development rather than successive styles. For example, 18th century was defined by brick, the 19th century by steel and the 20th by concrete. In 2004 I predicted that engineered timber would define the 21st century. dRMM has explored its endless potential ever since. When the Building Centre invited dRMM to stage a new exhibition presenting their timber architecture, the ‘Forest of Fabrication’ exhibition and symposium was conceived. The show features 24 dRMM projects designed across 24 years; 12 built and well-known, 12 unbuilt. All have pushed design and technical boundaries in exploring the opportunities and challenges of timber structures. The exhibition showcased models of the original Naked House, Kingsdale School, Timber Stadium, Endless Stair, Floatopolis, Sky Health & Fitness, Maggie’s Oldham and the Stirling Prize winning Hastings Pier. It also included research projects including Timber Tower, a mixed-use 160m tower designed as a timber homage to Marina City, Chicago and a relevant proposal for today. Why do architects want to build high? Especially in timber? Like testosteronefuelled explorers driven to go further, the challenge is apparently irresistible. The biggest erection wins the global reputation, the research stakes, the media interest, the TED talk and naturally the short-lived title, the World’s Tallest Timber Tower… but this is a recent preoccupation of the profession.

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dRMM Architects were and are pioneers of engineered timber architecture in Europe, exhibiting the first cross-laminated flatpack prototype house in Oslo in 2006, and realising school buildings from 2007. In 2009 dRMM proposed a 6000 seat Handball Arena for the 2012 London Olympics, and a ten storey all-timber apartment building design to developer Lendlease for the Athlete’s Village. This was eventually built in concrete frame, but Lendlease did go on to




build ‘Forte’ a 10 storey CLT tower in Melbourne in 2014 and many timber projects subsequently. In 2008, dRMM, collaborating with Norwegian practice Helen & Hard, proposed 14 storey timber towers in Stavanger, Norway. These were designed as all-timber structures and eventually built in 2014 as a concrete and timber hybrid. A decade later many architects want to build in timber, and predictably want to build high. But how high is high in timber? Although unbuilt proposals have competed for the title, including the 2016 PLP Architects 80 storey ‘Toothpick’ in London via Cambridge University, currently the world’s ‘tallest timber tower’ built at 85.4m is Mjøstårnet in Brumunddal, Norway completed in March 2019 by Voll Arkitekter. However, in the UK building very tall residential buildings in 100% timber is less likely following the UK Government’s decision to ban timber in the external walls of residential buildings over 18m. Architects and manufacturers are now developing new façade systems which can be used alongside CLT core, floors and internal walls to meet the new regulations, and continue the drive to build high in residential. However, the relevant question is not how high can you build, but do you really need height to achieve urban density? And if so, at which height does it stop making sense to use 100% timber? As a timber architecture specialist I hesitate to advocate very tall all-timber structures for the sake of simply being higher, or to pretend that what are

4 inevitably hybrid structures are actually ‘timber’ towers, as often claimed. Concrete, steel, glue and glass are always essential components of the design – what is important are the ratios. To build high in 100% timber, whether as a frame or mass wood panel construction can mean using more timber than is efficient. The topdown progressive compression loads on a timber frame mean that the lower levels of a tall tower would literally be a forest of wood.

paradigm for carbon production, pollution and waste is the desired future.

The considered answer to this century’s architecture is not the ‘tallest timber tower’ but clever composite structures as well as new high density 6-12 storey building typologies; i.e. how we make cities desirable and sustainable places to live and work. Mixing in but reducing steel and concrete to the absolute minimum, whilst exploiting timber’s unique ability to invert the construction industry

For more information visit:

For over 30 years in academe and practice I have been an outspoken advocate of engineered timber’s outstanding versatility, weight to strength performance, sustainability, speed and limitless expression. I will continue to in the UK and internationally, with the added imperative of the climate change crisis.

Images: 01. Maggie’s Centre, Oldham 02-03. Forest of Fabrication exhibition 04. Hastings Pier was crowned the UK’s best new building, winning the 2017 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize





The UK has a magnificent heritage of timber architecture dating back to the thirteenth century – B&K Structures are now building on this legacy using ground-breaking offsite manufactured hybrid engineered timber and steel systems.


2 As the UK’s leading sustainable engineered timber specialist, B&K Structures is creating groundbreaking award-winning structures with outstanding green credentials. Their progressive approach reduces environmental impact and improves build quality. Orsman Road – A Flagship Commercial Space B&K Structures once again collaborated closely with timber advocates, Waugh Thistleton Architects to offer an innovative solution for this challenging commercial build. The project called for a structural solution which would maximise space and achieve a rapid construction process. 6 Orsman Road, or as it is now known OR6, is a six-storey building which


3 effortlessly showcases the sustainable benefits of engineered timber technology combined with innovative light steel framing systems. Designed by timber advocates, Waugh Thistleton Architects – this flagship commercial space has been developed in line with the borough of Hackney’s timber first policy. The project brief called for a sustainable structure which would maximise the space available and would allow for a speedy construction process so that the client could maximise their return on investment by letting the space as early as possible. Not only was reducing the timeframe of the construction process vital to allowing tenants to move in sooner, also central to the brief was creating a premium office space that would enable the client to attract a high calibre of tenant.


In a site-specific structural system, the building’s core, walls and floor slabs are formed using 6,770m² of high grade cross laminated timber, which allowed B&K Structures to construct a lighter, better quality building more quickly, with reduced foundations and fewer deliveries to site. The material itself contributes to the acoustic and thermal insulation properties and has verifiable health benefits. The timber structure locks carbon within its fabric, an intrinsically sustainable and contemporary approach to construction that produces high quality, high performance buildings. The stepped-back upper floors create large terraces overlooking the canal to the north and the city to the south. The deep-set, ribbon-like windows minimise solar gain and the north façade features a lightweight curtain walling system with opening windows. Inside, the exposed timber floor slabs in combination with the long span cellular steel beams create a contemporary open plan industrial aesthetic. Offsite Expo B&K Structures will have a high-profile presence at Offsite Expo, designing and building one of the two Explore Offsite Masterclass theatres, where Managing Director, Andy Goodwin will present a detailed case study of the Orsman Road development. Operating since 1974, B&K Structures has worked with some of the UK’s renowned clients to develop outstanding buildings with green credentials. For more information on their product portfolio and full range of services go to: Images: 01-03. Orsman Road – A Flagship Commercial Space designed by timber advocates, Waugh Thistleton Architects

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Offsite manufacture aims to increase UK Construction’s productivity with factory-produced quality and speed on site. Claire Ackerman, Director at the Concrete Centre, explains how concrete achieves this with additional supply chain benefits, a proven structural performance and versatile aesthetic. When considered over the whole life of the building, concrete structures provide a carbon-efficient solution that can be further enhanced by reuse and ultimately provides materials that are fully recyclable at end-of-life.

2 1 Precast concrete products are readily available from factories located around the UK. Bespoke units, made to order, can also be manufactured, although lead time should be allowed for design and manufacturing of bespoke units. The UK concrete industry has years of experience working on a vast range of projects and offer a complete service from design through manufacture to installation. Quality control Precast products are produced in a factory environment allowing high levels of quality control and uniformity. Production takes place in an enclosed space, giving protection from the weather, allowing manufacture to occur in all conditions. Consistency of material colour and texture is important for architectural precast concrete and precast factories have dedicated concrete supplies ensuring there is consistency of supply. A consistent product can always be produced as the same moulds are reused time and time again. 70

Sustainable concrete Designers can influence the sustainability credentials of concrete, with the opportunity to specify responsibly sourced concrete (certified to BES 6001), cement replacements and recycled and secondary aggregates. With a UK manufactured product, with the majority of constituent materials UK sourced, traceability and security of supply is made simpler. More information is available in The Concrete Centre guide ‘Specifying Sustainable Concrete’. Performance in use credentials such as fire, durability and acoustics – together with the ability to use concrete as a finish and avoid the need for additional materials – project teams can meet and exceed client’s expectations on sustainability. The benefits of concrete’s thermal mass can add to the energy efficiency of the building in reducing both heating and cooling loads and therefore running costs. Designed to last Concrete is durable, frequently allowing building reuse, rather than replacement. If the building is to be demolished, precast units have the potential to be reused in the future.


Range of finishes Precast concrete can offer a wide range of colours and textures, often with mixes developed to mimic stone. Manufacturers of architectural concrete offer samples for reference, using a wide range of combinations of aggregates, pigments and finishing techniques as well as embedded surface materials such as stone, terracotta/ceramic tiles and brick. The use of offsite concrete elements and solutions are well established as a construction method throughout the world and provides solutions for a great variety and complexity of layout, shapes and façade treatments. Precast concrete is virtually unlimited in its application including the entire structure or selected elements such as frame, floors, walls, stairs or balconies. The advantages of factory production, combined with the inherent benefits of concrete, provide compelling reasons to use precast concrete. The Concrete Centre will be at Offsite Expo, Ricoh Arena Coventry, 24-25 September 2019. For more information visit: Images: 01. Dandara Living 02. Student accommodation, Birmingham for UNITE by FP McCann

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



Invisible Connections is currently working with precast concrete and design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) specialist SCC Design Build, to construct stair cores at Manchester Airport.

1 Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is undertaking a transformation programme that will position the airport as a ‘Global Gateway’, offering more routes and creating increased economic growth in line with aviation forecasts. As part of this development the airport is expanding its terminal facilities, apron space and customer car parking facilities to accommodate increased demand. With many multi-storey car park (MSCP) projects already to its name, SCC Design Build (working for BAM) successfully manufactured and constructed the precast concrete frame and cores (incorporating flights and landings) at the newly completed 6,500 space ‘meet and greet’ MSCP at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3. As part of its innovative build process, SCC Design Build (SCC) used telescopic connectors by Invisible Connections extensively throughout the structural frame and cores, being SCC’s tried and trusted connection solution for rapid construction. With a clear pedigree in car park construction and an existing presence on the airport, SCC was the natural 72

2 choice by Galliford Try for the newest 7,669 space car park that will link to Terminal 3 and have buses to the other terminals. Although a steel frame was chosen for this latest car park, SCC was appointed to construct the stair cores in precast concrete, chosen for its fire properties and the stabilisation of the structural steel frame. There are 10 stair cores in total, which vary in height up to five storeys. All 10 cores incorporate precast flights and landings, with six of the cores also housing the lift-shafts. Building on the success of several previous project collaborations, Invisible Connections was chosen by SCC for its landing-to-wall system of telescopic connectors. The RVK101-30 pinned connection detail was specified to tie landings to the core walls (tying into REDiBOX PIN recess formers) thereby satisfying the Engineer’s design requirements for robustness. It’s increasingly common to combine precast concrete stairs and landings with core walls which are either precast or poured in-situ. When connection methods are left as an afterthought,


3 using traditional rolled steel support angles is often the only practical, yet inefficient, fixing solution. With a little up-front planning, there’s much to gain by incorporating telescopic connectors, which come with a host of advantages – such as improved health and safety, robustness compliance, and significantly improved cost effectiveness. Indeed, a recent study found that using telescopic connectors instead of rolled steel angles reduced man hours by 80%, which contributed to a total 33% reduction in direct costs. For more information visit: Images: 01. Precast parapet beam with TSS and BSF telescopic connectors cast in ends 02. Precast stair flights and landings incorporating RVK101-30 telescopic connectors and REDiBOX PIN recess formers in walls (photo taken prior to grouting operations) 03. One of ten precast stair cores currently being constructed for the steel framed car park (the recently constructed precast framed car park can be seen in the background)




Quality craftsmanship has long been recognised as a hallmark of good building, but in the past it was a slow, painstaking process. In the 21st century, speed is of the essence – but it’s not the only challenge for architects and developers.



Using offsite construction processes, Sapphire Balconies bridges the years to deliver balconies embodying quality craftsmanship and time-saving processes to today’s construction sites. It’s often said that balconies add visual and lifestyle value to high-rise residential buildings. But because balconies are either built in-situ or bolted on to the main structure – rather than being an integral part of it – they have tended to be at the centre of cost, timing and safety issues on some building sites.

well as meeting the aesthetic and economic requirements of architects and developers and providing valuable ‘outdoor’ space for residents. Sapphire’s Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies are delivered fully assembled, including balustrades. They are then simply craned into position and slid on to steel support arms for final attachment. Minimal further finishing is required, making this time-saving installation so fast that it is possible to fit more than 30 balconies in a single day.

With the high demand for new residential accommodation driving demand for faster building, architects and developers have welcomed the new materials and methods now available for use within modern regulatory standards. But while offsite has become virtually the norm for high-rise homes, there are still some challenges related to the detail. Balconies, for example, challenge designers to reduce installation time and costs – as well as contributing to increased site safety. It would be a tough challenge without Sapphire’s own offsite solution.

There’s no requirement for on-site storage, which is a great help on inner-city building sites where space is invariably very limited. Sapphire’s balconies are delivered by thirdparty logistics specialists who collect and store balconies in line with site programmes and crane availability. This flexibility gives contractors a faster and more reliable flow than the alternative ‘just in time’ approach. On delivery, the prefabricated balconies can go virtually straight from lorry to lift – although in practice they may go to a temporary holding area to release lorries more quickly.

Sapphire Balconies is a specialist offsite manufacturer of balcony systems which complement offsite processes on building sites – as

Building on specialist factory production lines adds real quality to Sapphire’s craftsmanship. There is a high degree of quality control at each



3 stage of the process, ensuring not only that each balcony is sized for a perfect fit, but also that it provides ample rigidity to overcome any risk of a ‘bouncy balcony’. In fact, building in this way ensure levels of quality that are almost impossible to achieve with on-site construction. The offsite approach also saves money. For example, because the balconies are fixed by installers from inside the building, external scaffolding can be removed prior to balcony installation. In practice, these two processes can even be simultaneous as Sapphire’s Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies can be installed top-down. This is possible with Sapphire’s counterbalanced lifting system, which offsets the crane hook. Sapphire’s offsite process also helps to reduce overall costs through the time and material efficiencies that can be enabled in a dedicated factory environment. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Balconies are designed and built in a precision factory environment 3. Sapphire’s Glide-On™ Cassette® balconies are delivered fully assembled, including balustrades and are then simply craned into position and slid on to steel support arms for final attachment.

Explore our proven modular solutions case-studies/pomonawharf-trafford/

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Finding the right lightweight, quick to install balconies for your MMC/Offsite constructed concrete, steel or timber frame project.

Sapphire’s revolutionary aluminium CassetteŽ balcony system. Glide-On innovation enables rapid installation of factory finished balconies to reduce onsite costs and program. Contact us to discuss your MMC project challenges.

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GUIDANCE ON BUILDING REGULATIONS: APPROVED DOCUMENT B: 2018 Following the Independent Review, and subsequent Interim Report by Dame Judith Hackitt, the Government has introduced an amendment to the Approved Document B: Fire safety, with significant impact on the design and construction of buildings above 18m.

1 These amendments came into force on 21 December 2018 and of particular relevance to membrane specifiers and installers is a clarification to Regulation 7, which requires most components used in external walls over 18m to meet Euroclass A1 or A2. Use of membranes as part of the external wall construction: 12.14 Particular attention is drawn to the following points. a. Membranes used as part of the external wall construction should achieve a minimum classification of European Class B-s3, d0. This clarification is due to the complexity of manufacturing a noncombustible membrane which is still vapour permeable. Some European membrane products which quote A2 ratings do not breathe sufficiently to comply with BS5250, meaning using these membranes in the UK climate could make the building unhealthy and result in a much greater risk of condensation issues and mould growth.


Incorporating Wraptite® in the Design Makes Sense • Complies for use on buildings over 18m under 2018 Part B amendments with Wraptite at Class B,s1,d0* • Included within BS8414 testing with cladding manufacturers • EPDM not needed to the frame of the building • Less EPDM required at window details • Easier detailing for corners, openings and movement joints • Hygrothermal Modelling (WUFI) will identify whether the construction requires a VCL. In some instances, a VCL may be unnecessary, meaning easier a quicker install of dry lining package • Improving airtightness may allow changes to thickness or type of insulation used when modelled through SAP or SBEM • No need to tape sheathing boards as Wraptite is positioned across the whole board • By using Wraptite externally, a wind and watertight envelope can be achieved faster, with the outer cladding removed from the critical path. This allows internal works to begin earlier.


Fireshield® - a vapour permeable membrane with a fire proof surface Fireshield is the culmination of leading research to produce a vapour permeable membrane with a fire proof surface, its unique intumescent composition actively reacts to prevent fire taking hold. Fireshield complies with BS5250, BS4016 and NHBC requirements for vapour permeable walling underlays. It is installed and fixed to the substrate in the same manner as standard breather membranes using mechanical fixings. Applications include both commercial and residential buildings including apartments and student accommodation, as well as rainscreen cladding and applications over 18m high. • Fire proof surface – unique intumescent composition actively reacts to prevent fire taking hold • Vapour permeable walling underlay for use either directly onto sheathing or insulation • Class B, s1-d0 but performs differently to other similar class products • Complies with BS5250, BS4016 & NHBC requirements for vapour permeable walling underlays • Suitable for applications over 18m high. *tested over 12mm calcium silicate board/fibre cement board as per BS EN 13238:2010. All tests carried out to EN 13859-2 standard. For more information visit: Images: 01. Membrane specifiers and installers need to be fully aware of changes in the Building Regulations and the changes in structures above 18m



MAGPLY A1 BOARD Tested in accordance to BS EN 1365 - 1:2012 Integrity: 154 MINS Insulation: 126 MINS


1 2


1 12mm Magply 2 Light Gauge Steel Frame


3 Rockwool Insulation 4 12mm Magply with 70mm cover strip

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ALL SET FOR SOUTHAMPTON As a select company from Aquarian’s Approved Installer Network, cladding specialist T&T Facades made use of more than 4000m2 of the Gebrik system. Tom Rutter, from T&T Facades said: “Gebrik’s comparative ease of delivery, storage and installation meant that challenging programme targets could be met. It also made planning more straightforward, knowing that the product could be relied upon to replicate traditional brickwork while increasing productivity. Aquarian delivered on their promises – when they said something would be delivered on a certain date, or something would be done, it was.” Aquarian’s expert team worked closely to support the project through design and installation, with attention given particularly to the two separate buildups, which included a 15mm drained cavity with timber battens and a larger cavity using helping hand brackets to achieve deep window reveals. As the building is over 18m it was also crucial that any approved details were in accordance with Gebrik’s BR135 Assessment report.

1 When main contractor Galliford Try needed the perfect cladding solution for a new landmark development in Southampton, they turned to Aquarian Cladding Systems for help. The external cladding supplier’s Gebrik brick cladding system was the perfect choice for Vincent’s Walk, an impressive development in the heart of Southampton by Victoria Hall Management. Standing between 8-11 storeys high, it provides accommodation for more than 280 students and includes a cinema room, gym and roof terrace, plus retail space on the ground floor.


Chosen for its exemplary aesthetics, reliability and time savings, Gebrik was also vital in overcoming one of the project’s main challenges. Will Bond of ArchitecturePLB, who worked closely with Aquarian at the early stages, explained: “The challenging programme steered the project towards a light-gauge steel frame solution, but it was unable to take the loads of the proposed traditional masonry facades. Gebrik provided a lightweight alternative to traditional masonry that was delivered within the tight programme time for the main contractor.”


For Aquarian’s Managing Director Paul Richards, Vincent’s Walk is yet another success story for Aquarian and Gebrik. “We’re extremely proud of Gebrik’s ability to adapt to and thrive in challenging environments,” said Paul. “And we are thrilled to have been involved in a project as ambitious and exciting as Vincent’s Walk.” Aquarian Cladding, based in North Somerset, supplies brick and terracotta cladding systems to the UK construction industry across a wide range of sectors, from residential to commercial. For more information visit: Images: 01. The Gebrik brick cladding system was the perfect choice for Vincent’s Walk



Aptus Fastener Systems have developed the most comprehensive range of certified fastening solutions for the modular housing market.

Power Clamp – lifting device for transportation of solid panels and beams. HECO-Topix Countersunk & Flange Head – German innovated CE compliant structural screws through ETA. Pitzl Connectors – certified wood connection systems manufactured according to the highest quality “Made in Germany”


FOR OUR LATEST BROCHURE T: 01773 740410 E: @aptusfasteners




ROCKWOOL, the world’s largest producer of non-combustible stone wool insulation, has introduced two new ranges dedicated to timber and steel frame construction applications. James Mills, Product Manager at ROCKWOOL explains more.



The Timber Frame Slab and Steel Frame Slab stone wool solutions are specifically designed to help developers take advantage of the many performance characteristics associated with ROCKWOOL noncombustible insulation, alongside a quick-to-install, durable and sustainable solution that’s perfect for offsite and on-site construction.

the range to offer enhanced thermal performance of 0.034 w/mK at optimal density which can meet or exceed the requirements (thermal) of Part L of the Building Regulations. The Frame Slab insulation is also a Euroclass A1 Fire Rated (non-combustible) product. This ensures exceptional fire safety performance both during construction and when the property is occupied.

for cutting – 600mm for steel frame and 570mm for timber – the slabs will friction fit into standard 600mm frames with no gaps. As ROCKWOOL Frame Slab is manufactured from stone, any waste can be collected and 100% recycled by ROCKWOOL to offset the cost of landfill and help offsite housebuilders enhance their sustainability credentials.

The ROCKWOOL Timber and Steel Frame Slabs have been designed to provide the best of all worlds, moving beyond insulation products that address only the thermal requirements of a building. Both products are produced using new high-speed spinning techniques to provide a low lambda as well as a low product weight, enabling builders to achieve U-values while benefiting from insulation slabs that are easy to handle and install.

With its dense, non-directional fibre structure, ROCKWOOL’s Frame Slab will provide excellent sound insulation performance. It effectively traps sound waves and dampens vibration, reducing external noise as well as acoustic intrusion from between rooms within the same property as well as from outside.

For more information on the Timber and Steel Frame Slabs along with insights into the full range of ROCKWOOL non-combustible solutions for frame housing visit:

ROCKWOOL Frame Slab is designed for fast, high quality wall and floor installation. ROCKWOOL has designed


ROCKWOOL Frame Slabs are an engineered density product designed to provide a tight friction fit which minimises waste as well as speeding up the installation process. Available in widths specifically to fit into framed constructions to reduce the need


Images: 01-02. ROCKWOOL’s two new ranges are dedicated to offsite construction applications.


BEAUTIFULLY BESPOKE – THE PERFECT SOLUTION, EVERY TIME On The Level offers a range of wet room floor solutions, and bespoke options to help architects, interior designers and property developers/specifiers who are looking for a turnkey service for their bathroom project.

This unique bespoke service is what puts OTL ahead of the competition, no matter the size or shape of bathrooms, it allows freedom of design. Formers are manufactured to suit client requirements and waste positions can be altered to suit project configurations and layouts, and all bespoke formers are available delivered within 5-7 working days.

The flexibility of OTL bespoke takes ‘impossible’ away and brings bathroom ideas to life. The OTL bespoke service USPs include: • Dual outlets available for large wet areas • OTL tanking is manufactured to their exacting standards • Bespoke colour match available to compliment sanitary ware and colour schemes • Joists in the way? OTL bespoke allows you to position the gully almost anywhere in the floor • OTL offer help with design, providing technical drawings and .dwg files • Made in UK and FSC® certified • No hidden costs, all bespoke formers are price banded by size

• The only wet room manufacturer to use birch plywood. Flexible, long lasting, and inherently strong. With over 30 years’ experience designing and manufacturing wet room floors, all OTL formers are manufactured and hand-finished in their Bedfordshire factory. The perfect solution for unique projects including open plan showering, unique sized bathrooms, volumetric or modular buildings. Got any questions or want to discuss your modular wet room or shower requirements with us? Contact us on: or 0843 7830 034.


IDENTIFY EVERY R&D OPPORTUNITY MCS are an independent consultancy helping businesses and institutions to access the government grants and incentives they’re entitled to. Could your company qualify for widely available funding? From R&D claims, Patent Box to Land Remediation and Creative Industry tax relief, publicly funded incentives and grants are a valuable resource for businesses – yet so many fail to claim. Is your company one of the 97% of businesses that incorrectly assume they can’t apply for funding to support their innovative work? Don’t miss out on the potential of this valuable financial support. We know that perceived barriers such as complicated reporting requirements and a lack of awareness or difficulty in identifying eligible activity can stop businesses from accessing this crucial funding. But we can do all that for you. With our proven track record of successful client claims and extensive experience liaising with HMRC, we’ve

helped hundreds of SMEs and large corporates to get the funds they need to support innovation and improve cash flow. At MCS Corporate, we take care of the full process, ensuring that it’s smooth and hassle free at every step – to reduce the impact on you and your team. Our friendly experts can: • Find grants and incentives in your sector • Evaluate your eligibility • Identify the criteria you need to meet to get funding and assistance • Prepare and submit full applications and documentation on your behalf • Liaise with the awarding body, including HMRC, on your behalf. MCS Corporate has years of experience working in the R&D cost recovery sector. We’re specialists in identifying and submitting eligible

claims for R&D Tax Credits/Allowance, Patents, Creative Industries and Grants on behalf of our clients. We have a proud track record of success and proven capabilities in securing largerthan-expected claims returns. Better still, we work on a success fee only basis – meaning there’s no risk to you. We’ll do all the work and charge a fee only when your claim is successful. We partner with ambitious companies to extend the global, domestic, technological and economic effects of their work. You can read a selection of case studies and view additional resources on our website. Get in touch and we’ll be able to quickly and efficiently assess your funding eligibility. For more information visit:

MCS Corporate Strategies Ltd For all R&D Tax Claims / Land Remediation / Patents / General Cost Recovery

MCS Corporate Strategies Ltd For all R&D Tax Claims/Land Remediation/ Patents/General Cost Recovery

01926 512475


ASSESSING THE PERFORMANCE OF MODULAR HOUSING In order to obtain warranty on a residential modular construction, the property must undergo an assessment for it to be granted a mortgageable life of 60-years. What do these assessments entail? It’s possible that post ageing structural analysis has not been considered in test standards as test laboratories may not have the capabilities to carry out post weathering examinations.


2 Assessments are carried out by warranty bodies or qualified test laboratories. The assessment often consists of a desk study that checks the design life and performance of the individual elements that makeup the system. Assessments do not always consider the compatibility and performance of full systems – it is not sufficient to take individual components even if they have proven performance, and assume that they will be adequate in the short or long-term. For instance, a brick slip will have a specific water absorption which may be low, medium or high, and this needs to be stated when CE marked. The compatibility of the brick slip with an off-the-shelf adhesive could be 84

affected by its water absorption. A high water absorption brick may adhere better to a non-cementitious adhesive and not so well with an epoxy type, however, unless testing is conducted, only assumptions can be made. A guarantee of the long-term visual performance of a house should not be made on assumptions. The durability and design life of a nontraditional build is always considered on the visual appearance of the cladding – what should be considered is the structural and environmental performance of the building after a defined time span. The test standards available for the durability of cladding prescribes an accelerated weathering regime which represents a design life of +25-years. The only post weathering tests considered are the aesthetics of the system, the adherence of any finishes (i.e. brick slips or render) and a hard body impact representing low impact accidental imposed damage. What should be considered is an assessment of the continued structural performance of the building.


To prove a realistic design life, a test panel or module should also undergo wind loading. There are test standards that prescribe a series of wind pulses to be applied to a façade – these represent the application of 10year blocks of typical wind loading, under both positive and negative loading. The thermal performance, airtightness, watertightness and acoustic performance should also be considered. Perhaps warranty bodies should think about increasing the scope of their requirements to include post weathering wind load tests, which would represent a full 60-years of wind loading. This would provide a true measure of the performance of a building and could fill the gap that currently exists due to a lack of longterm data. As the offsite and modular industry is relatively new, it has to be recognised that data does not exist to prove real-time, long-term performance. Insurance bodies issue their warranties for a 10-year period and in turn require a 60-year durability assessment, which is generally produced via a desk study. If the 60-year durability study is to give confidence, then maybe the warranty bodies should “put their money where their mouths are” and provide an extended guarantee of 60-years? For more information visit: Image: 01-02. Offsite and modular buildings often have to undergo a range of tests that traditional build does not due to their relative ‘newness’








Lucideon can help you at all stages of the design and construction process for offsite and modular buildings, from materials selection and manufacturing to installation and verification. Our wide-ranging testing, process and verification capabilities cover every aspect of your products, so you can create a comprehensive, reliable solution.

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LONG LIVE OFFSITE There is now a lot of talk around terminology for the industry and this has been highlighted in the recent publication of the MMC Definition Framework. Developed by a specialist subgroup of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) MMC cross-industry working group, this is a seven category definition framework that enables ‘a full and future-proofed range of Modern Methods of Construction’ used in homebuilding to be better understood with regularised terminology. One objective of this is to enable confidence building in the industry which in turn will encourage investment. Will offsite play an instrumental role in increasing supply of homes? The Government is more committed than ever to investing in the industry. Continued support is essential to realise the potential of MMC and ensure opportunities are achieved.

Support of start-ups and SMEs is crucial, as is a focus on upskilling talent.

realised, but it’s never been more likely. The industry is very much alive and about to really grow.

Jim Roach, Managing Director of ARV Solutions says: “As the leading recruiters in offsite, we have seen a hugely increasing demand for teams of talent from start-ups, and with continued investment support and education, opportunities for growth are now real and vast.

“It is important to us at ARV Solutions to add real value to everything we do. As specialists for construction, manufacturing, sales and technical recruitment, offering permanent, contract, interim and executive solutions. We offer additional services including, project recruiting, benchmarking salaries, succession planning, interviewer skills training, competency-based interview questions helping you develop your workforce and grow your business.

“We have seen the high profile start-ups, with many more under the radar currently, coming in with major investments, committed clients and well-developed offerings. Further investment, and commitment from client organisations of all kinds is key to continue to drive innovation and ensure the offsite evolution can be

For more information visit: or call us on 01179592008

0117 959 2008 | |

With a huge passion for the construction industry, we are the UK’s leading recruitment consultancy for the offsite sector and it’s supply chain.

Call today for confidential advice on your career

• Exclusive vacancies • Permanent | Contract | Executive Search • Consultants who are experts in their field • We work with award winning companies from market leaders to start ups

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For 25 years we’ve designed and tested structural product solutions for ranges such as Cross-laminated timber, building the UK’s most reliable construction connectors to help you Build Better, Stronger Structures. Connect with us: 01827 255600 | |


OFFSITE EXPO PROFILES Offsite Expo will play host to the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised, volumetric modular solutions, pod and prefabricated MEP solutions. Here are a few companies that will be at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on 24 & 25 September 2019:

Britlift are a designer and manufacturer of lifting equipment, specialising in the lifting of modular homes, bathroom pods, commercial modules, containerised structures and precast components. With a wealth of experience in the design and manufacture of lifting frames and lifting systems to the Offsite Construction sector, Britlift are the Offsite sector partner of choice. For more information visit:

Dulux and Dulux Trade are two of the brands owned by AkzoNobel, which creates paints and performance coatings for trade and retail customers worldwide. Akzo also own the Armstead, Sikkens, Hammerite, Polycell and Cuprinol brands. Sustainability is one of our key drivers and we offer a number of paint, specification, colour and delivery services to ensure that we can truly partner with our customers. If you need any help with anything paint related, please come and speak to us. For more information visit:

Elliott provide permanent, semipermanent and temporary off-site accommodation solutions for a wide range of projects across the UK. Thousands of customers choose Elliott because of our diverse range of products, our national coverage and availability of our modular/hybrid solutions. Our knowledge, experience and reputation for delivering complete turnkey projects has been developed with over 55 years’ experience, providing solutions to all market sectors. Elliott also offer a complete 360o product range and industry leading project management for seamless delivery. For more information visit:

The Eurotec GmbH is a medium sized company engaged in the development, production and sale of products in the construction sector. To this end, we supply products for the areas of timber-frame construction, deck construction and concrete fastening. We supply specialist dealers across Europe, who are responsible for distribution to skilled tradespeople. For more information visit:

Howick manufactures high-technology roll-forming machines for steel framing automation, and distributes globally to 75 countries. Howick combines software with hardware that makes building possible in less time, with more precision and efficiency. Driven by accurate computer control our machines turn metal sheets into steel profiles ready for assembly into frames, trusses, floor cassettes, walls. We are proud to be a part of the “modern methods of construction” groundswell where technology driven construction brings solutions of efficiency, speed, increased quality, time and cost savings. For more information visit:



Intelligent Steel Solutions Ltd is a design, manufacture and installation company offering high quality cold-formed structural steel to the construction industry. LSF is an innovative solution that is now a growing trend within the UK construction industry. It is being used for everything from small bespoke renovation projects to large-scale new build developments of up to nine storeys in height. For more information visit:


4wall is a ‘unique patented hybrid Offsite Building System’ that encapsulates ‘Modern Method of Construction’ principles to provide a ‘Composite Structural Panelling System’ that has been designed from first principles by industry leading experts with decades of Offsite experience and a wealth of industrybased knowledge. After 5 years of extreme and diverse Global product testing and research into repeatable mass production techniques for the panelling system Istidama now has the technical certainty and production experience to offer the UK its first truly ‘off the shelf’ volume Offsite construction system. For more information visit:

Kerkstoel 2000+ is one of the most innovative concrete companies in Europe. Part of the Kerkstoel Group and is based in Grobbendonk (Belgium), Kerkstoel 2000+ specialises in the production of precast concrete walls and floors. Every precast element is made to measure in a highly automated factory. Based on the architect’s design (general arrangements and cross-sections), structural calculations, formwork and installation plans, Kerkstoel 2000+ develops an installation plan, with all the necessary details, so that everything runs smoothly and according to plan on site. For more information visit:

Established for over 20 years, Premier Guarantee has provided cover for over £57 billion worth of properties across the UK and Europe, with multiple offices across both. With one of the UK’s largest national networks of Risk Management Surveyors, we provide clients with regular onsite technical support and knowledge. Our Product Approval process is one of the most robust in the Structural Warranty market. It audits manufacturers on design, quality control, assembly, transportation and onsite construction, giving Developers the confidence and trust in the approved product. For more information visit:


As one of the UK’s leading industrial storage racking manufacturers Stakapal provides a unique and unrivalled level of service from our 72,000 sqft purpose built factory in Norton Canes, Staffordshire. Our production facility houses a wide range of modern manufacturing equipment including roll forming lines, press braking cells, robotic welders and a fully automated powder coating system. For more information visit:

National reach with a local knowledge. Walker Timber is a market leader in timber engineering and construction. Our reputation is built on the quality of our products and the standard of work that we offer. We offer our customers a single point of contact and can provide everything for the build without needing to outsource from elsewhere – from the timber frame, floor and roof to MDF finishings. Our team can take care of estimates, contracts and design – right through to arranging the erection of the project. For more information visit:



GET STRAIGHT TO THE HEART OF THE INDUSTRY AT THE HOME OF OFFSITE INNOVATION... Secure your exhibition space today - contact the team at




DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then the following industry events may be of interest: 27 June 19

FP McCann Factory Tour

Byley, Middlewich

As a part of the Inside Offsite programme, FP McCann are opening their factory doors to construction professionals to allow them to discover more about precast concrete. FP McCann’s specialist precast division manufactures a wide range of high quality precast components including flooring and twin-wall solutions, with the ability to manufacture bespoke precast solutions to match customers exact requirements. This tour is free to attend and suitable for architects, engineers, contractors, developers and clients. 24-25 Sept 19



Offsite Expo

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

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




24-25 Sept 19

SUMMIT 24-25 Sept 19


9 Oct 19

Offsite Summit

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

The Offsite Summit will bring to life some of the most inspirational and ground-breaking offsite projects from around the world, and profile some of the largest offsite manufacturing facility investments. The event will focus on knowledge sharing and collaboration opportunities by facilitating a unique networking opportunity right at the heart of the UK’s largest exhibition of offsite construction technology. Offsite Connect

Ricoh Arena, Coventry

Offsite Connect is an interactive Forum which offers a structured, highly effective way for buyers and specifiers to meet with new and existing offsite industry suppliers exhibiting at Offsite Expo. The Forum is aimed at senior personnel with an influence over procurement decisions or specifications with live projects or a significant pipeline. If you would like more information email Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham


The Structural Timber Awards are back for 2019, celebrating its fifth year rewarding the very best in structural timber construction. Over 600 construction professionals will gather at the prestigious ceremony to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. There are 17 categories available to enter, all free of charge - ENTRY DEADLINE 14 June 2019. 22 Oct 19

Modular Matters

NCC, Birmingham

Modular Matters conference and exhibition will focus on the latest developments, innovations and investments in the volumetric modular offsite sector and aims to engage with industry pioneers from within the offsite supply-chain, leading designers, specifiers, engineers and ground-breaking clients. Limited tickets available – book now to avoid disappointment! 21 Nov 19

Construction Productivity Conference


Construction Productivity Conference is the ‘must-attend’ event if you are looking to address inefficiencies and poor productivity within the construction sector via upskilling, use of AV/VR technology, software, training and new technology methods of construction – such as offsite methods. This Conference will be split into three plenaries: Product, Process and People and is aimed at: developer clients, architects, engineers, contractors, government departments, councils, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships and building technology suppliers.

With the latest news, exemplar case studies, comment, interviews and feature articles from leading lights in the industry plus company spotlights and profiles, Offsite Magazine aims to inform, inspire and spread best practice about this highly efficient way to improve the UK construction landscape. This magazine is a bimonthly publication and the annual subscription fee is £29.70 plus VAT for all six issues (£4.95 per copy).

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

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BE PART OF THE MOST DYNAMIC OFFSITE EVENT OF THE YEAR! With the shift away from ‘traditional construction thinking’ to the adoption of assembly principles – offsite construction techniques and technologies are shaping the future of the built environment.

NEW FOR 2019 - OFFSITE EXPO brings together those who are driving change in the construction sector – the event will play host to the leading UK and international offsite manufacturers and component suppliers showcasing a broad spectrum of panelised and volumetric modular systems, plus pod and prefabricated MEP solutions. BOOK YOUR EXHIBITION SPACE NOW!

For more information on exhibiting contact