Offsite Magazine - Issue 19 (September / October)

Page 48



On the eve of Offsite Expo 2019, Hadley Group hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss issues surrounding the ways offsite technology can be better promoted to the wider construction sector and what obstacles are still proving barriers to greater uptake.

Arguments about how to deliver an improved built environment in the UK over the next decade are complex. The housing numbers required are much repeated and albeit successfully pushed to the background by recent Governments – the pressure to develop a more sustainable, low carbon and environmentally aware brand of construction is huge. As a part of this, the role offsite construction has to play has never been more important. Over the last two years in particular, offsite has seen its status grow to an all-time high. But problems still surround lack of knowledge about what offsite can truly deliver, and why the necessity of early supply-chain engagement and collaboration during the project cycle is critical.


How can the offsite manufacturing sector engage more with institutional funders/lenders and businesses that are providing finance to projects that are using offsite technology to remove a potential ‘barrier to finance’ and facilitate greater confidence in the sector? Over recent months, the levels of investment flowing through the offsite industry has been sometimes eye-watering with vast amounts of money being injected into factory developments, product research and system design – unseen since the last hey-day of offsite in the mid-2000s. This new money will provide some answers to the giant problems faced by construction UK – especially those surrounding housing provision. Funding and cash promised by

Homes England via the Accelerated Construction programme and governments policy for ‘presumption in favour of offsite’ has smoothed progress. This public sector support has encouraged a wider interest of private equity and institutional backing entering the system, giving industry lenders greater confidence in manufacturers with much more robust balance sheets. However, both central government and cash-strapped local authorities can only provide so much money, time and expertise to bolster construction and housing market development. 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 in a controlled manner.