Page 1




DESIGNED SEALED DELIVERED Is London ready to roll out a new generation of housing?


AUGMENTED FUTURE FOR OFFSITE MANUFACTURE AR/VR and advanced manufacturing technology


LEAN FACTORY THINKING Defining and understanding it’s long-term value





FOLLOW US ON TWITTER UNDER: Twitter.com/ExploreOffsite ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES PLEASE CONTACT: Julie Richards // T: 01743 290001 E: julie.richards@offsitemagazine.co.uk BACK ISSUES VISIT: www.offsitemagazine.co.uk FRONT COVER Maggie’s Oldham – ZÜBLIN Timber. Courtesy Alex de Rijke 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 www.radar-communications.co.uk For offsite enquiries please contact: E: info@offsitemagazine.co.uk DISCLAIMER: The content of Offsite Magazine does not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or publishers and are the views of its contributors and advertisers. The digital edition may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising, or websites, provided for the sake of convenience and interest. The publishers accept no legal responsibility for loss arising from information in this publication and do not endorse any advertising or products available from external sources. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the publishers. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the final issue of Offsite Magazine of 2017. It has been a busy year across the offsite industry and many insiders report a definite shift in the way that offsite manufacture is being talked about by clients, specifiers and developers across the UK.

This has been partly due to the ongoing fallout of Mark Farmer’s landmark report Modernise or Die and in this issue Mark reflects on some of the feedback over the last 12 months. He points out, the construction industry faces unprecedented future challenges and while pushing people towards the pre-manufacturing sector as a potential key solution – it is now time for the offsite sector to recognise how it has to also change to seize the opportunity of a lifetime. A second landmark report has been the London Assembly’s Designed, Sealed, Delivered – that gave a resounding vote of confidence to the wider use and contributions that offsite manufactured homes can do to help solve London’s deepening housing crisis. Nicky Gavron AM also takes some time out of a busy schedule to outline some of the reports strategic findings and future recommendations. Vision, adopting a new mindset, integrating behavioural change – ultimately it’s all about seeing and doing things in a different way. Forget

the ‘same old, same old’. The use of augmented and virtual reality, smart software and robotics are becoming the new routes to productivity and reliability. Still seen as a bit ‘sci-fi’ these are the new modes of working to future-proof the industry. Integrating this technology into manufacturing is at the heart of what the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is trying to communicate. The centre’s Allan Griffin is convinced that the construction industry’s adoption of advanced digital manufacturing technologies in smart offsite factory settings is a daunting but necessary task. There is plenty to enjoy across this edition including Richard Lyle from Turner & Townsend Suiko views on ‘Lean Factory Thinking’ and the offsite manufacturing supply chain, a couple of key UK infrastructure projects including Custom House station, some stunning steel and timber case studies – including the wonderful Maggie’s Oldham – featuring CLT manufactured and installed by ZÜBLIN Timber plus a key piece of offsite research from Leicester’s De Montfort University. Finally, a very special thanks from me personally to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters that have been a huge part of the magazine’s success throughout 2017. See you next year…

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email: gary.ramsay@offsitemagazine.co.uk








Maggie’s Oldham – the world’s first building made from hardwood CLT – opened earlier this year. The first ever structural use of engineered tulipwood for an entire building was created from CLT manufactured by ZÜBLIN Timber and could be a trailblazer for future CLT adoption.

The London Assembly Planning Committee recently published its milestone report into the contribution of offsite manufactured homes as a part of the solution to London’s housing problems. Nicky Gavron AM provides an overview on the report’s findings and recommendations.





One of the leading facilities in the UK helping manufacturers to become more competitive and attuned to advanced technologies and processes is the University of Sheffield’s AMRC. What can the construction industry learn from this cutting edge institution?

The main principles of Lean Factory Thinking are commonplace in most manufacturing industries worldwide. Richard Lyle, Director, Turner & Townsend Suiko considers the growing opportunity for this approach for the offsite manufacturing supply chain.



08 | Offsite News News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: the launch of Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s pioneering new Innovation Factory, a new schools chief at Sunesis and 121 bids are submitted for the new Heathrow Airport logistics hubs.

20 | Modernisation or Transformation – Time to be Bold One year on from the publication of Modernise or Die, Mark Farmer explains how his findings of systemic failure are perhaps less disputed than the suggested path he proposes the industry should take to future-proof itself.

22 | Making the Market Shift A recent Roundtable Event hosted by SIG Building Systems, brought together a select group of industry experts to discuss how to expand the use of offsite manufacture across the housing market and wider construction sector. Gary Ramsay reports on the key points. 34 | Nation Building – Investing in the Future Infrastructure delivery is at the heart of making the UK more competitive and prosperous but as a new report from Arcadis outlines – UK infrastructure construction needs enormous amounts of investment for the next decade to get anywhere near delivering the government’s ambitions. 36 | Custom House – The New Era London’s new Elizabeth Line will feature a number of striking buildings. One will be the new station at Custom House where a joint team from Crossrail, Atkins, Arup, Allies & Morrison and Laing O’Rourke collaborated to create a beacon for both the Elizabeth Line and the community. 38 | Free-form Landmark for Abbey Woods Wiehag’s design, supply and installation of the ‘free-form’ roof structure over the new Crossrail Railway station at Abbey Woods in London is an eye-catching and structural triumph, comprising solid wood and steel to form the distinctive manta ray shaped roof. 48 | Digitising Construction David Clark, Innovation Manager the McAvoy Group, assesses the latest techniques for digitising construction and how developments in cutting-edge new technology is taking offsite construction to another level of precision. 50 | Internet of Pings Smart technology is changing the face of construction with a range of devices making complicated tasks easier from robotics to digital software efficiencies. Steve Mansour, Chief Executive Officer of construction insurance specialists CRL, gives a different perspective on a changing building landscape. 66 | Here We Go Again? The offsite industry is undergoing a massive state of change and development with interest levels in the process higher than ever before. Research being undertaken via Leicester’s De Montfort University by Professor Mark Lemon and Yann Bomken of Poplar Consulting, is trying to pin down how permanent and lasting this interest may be.




HEALTHY ARCHITECTURE WITH CROSS LAMINATED TIMBER Maggie’s Oldham – the world’s first building made from hardwood cross-laminated timber (CLT) – opened earlier this year. The first ever structural use of engineered tulipwood for an entire building was created from CLT manufactured and installed by ZÜBLIN Timber and could be a trailblazer for future CLT adoption. Maggie’s is the well-known charity that provides practical and emotional support to people living with cancer. Built on the grounds of specialist NHS cancer hospitals, Maggie’s Centres are warm and welcoming places with qualified professionals on hand to offer a programme of support shown to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. Designed by dRMM Architects, engineered, manufactured and installed by ZÜBLIN Timber, Maggie’s Oldham is constructed from 20 panels of five-layer cross laminated American tulipwood, ranging in size up to 12m long.


American tulipwood CLT was pioneered in 2013 by dRMM, AHEC and Arup for its unparalleled strength and lightness, speed of construction and sustainability and tulipwood CLT is one of the most sustainable timber species because of how fast it replenishes, through natural growth alone. American tulipwood is approximately 70% stronger in bending than a typical CLT grade softwood with the structural CLT panels for Maggie’s Oldham developed by CLT specialists, ZÜBLIN Timber.

“From the Oldham project inception we knew it was the right material for Maggie’s, not only structurally and visually, but conceptually,” says dRMM co-founder Alex de Rijke. “An elevated, open plan, all-timber and glass building – with trees growing through it and every detail considered from the perspective of use, health, and delight was always going to be special. The applications for sustainably grown hardwood, particularly fast growing tulipwood CLT is endless.” For ZÜBLIN Timber (and all project participants), Maggie’s Oldham is one of the most important developments in a decade of research and development into structural timber innovation and one that could broaden the use of CLT in the construction industry.

2 6

“This centre proves that a building made of tulipwood CLT is possible and it can be done on a strict budget and in record time.” says David Venables, European Director of AHEC.


COVER STORY ZÜBLIN TIMBER ZÜBLIN TIMBER No matter if your project is a multi-storey building, a geometrically complex structure or a building (timber glass) facade – ZÜBLIN Timber is your partner to realise your vision in timber. Design & Build - hand in hand with local project teams of architects and engineers ZÜBLIN Timber develop, design, produce and build timber solutions with 100% passion for your project. Offsite Production - direct access to own modern production facilities ensures flexible and individual manufacturing of a high variety of timber components like CLT, glulam and timber facades. Key benefit of inhouse production is to deliver your project in time and budget. Installation - using decades of experience in project management, project execution and the assembly of timber structures, ZÜBLIN Timber teams are able to guarantee clients a reliable, high-quality construction process. ZÜBLIN Timber stands for ambitious and pioneering solutions in timber construction. We are your single-source provider for the development, production, delivery and execution of high-quality construction systems, from timber projects, timber engineering and timber facade installation. ZÜBLIN Timber works hand-in-hand with its clients to develop efficient solutions and a sustainable quality of life. For more information visit: www.zueblin-timber.com

A difference between the Endless Stair and Maggie’s panels was that the former were handmade, while the panels were machine-produced by seasoned German CLT manufacturer ZÜBLIN Timber – who also produced tulipwood CLT panels for AHEC’s The Smile – a 34m upward curving rectangular tube designed by Alison Brooks. Some panels used in Maggie’s Oldham were also curved.

They also included custom cut-outs and a routed recess detail, so doors could close flush without additional door frames. The centre stands atop 4m steel legs on concrete pads within Royal Oldham Hospital grounds. Its garden slopes down before and panoramic vistas stretch to the Pennines. dRMM chose tulipwood for the design of Maggie’s Oldham for the positive influence wood has on people. Wood is known to significantly reduce blood pressure, heart rates and recovery times: it has more health and wellbeing benefits than any other building material, according to Wood Housing Humanity Report 2015. Among those won over is Maggie’s Chris Watson.



“Our initial nervousness about using this wood this way proved ill-founded,” he said. “It was an extremely efficient construction process, completed in a year, due to the large amount of offsite fabrication.” “ZÜBLIN Timber pioneered CLT back in 1993. Now, with over 25 years of experience in designing and building in CLT, ZÜBLIN Timber prooves again to be a pioneer and CLT specialist by introducing hardwood CLT.” said Daniel Kreissig, Project Manager of ZÜBLIN Timber and responsible for UK projects. Images: 01. Treet, Bergen 02. Sheffield Winter Garden 03-06. The CLT used for Maggie’s Oldham has been a key factor in creating a calming, natural and structurally strong solid timber building. Courtesy Alex de Rijke/AHEC/Tony Barwell





OFFSITE NEWS Construction Innovation Factory Launches

New Printed Modular Concept Developed A team led by Grimshaw architects has created a prototype for a ‘printed’ modular housing system which can be built and be ready to occupy in just three weeks. The modular, zero-carbon housing model, uses prefabricated panels to allow for a high degree of customisation. The system provides a diverse set of configurations using prefabricated panels connected along a grid-like system with a discreet central service column passes through the heart of each house, joining subterranean heat and storage systems to the floor underfoot.

Hundreds of delegates interested in the future of Scottish construction were among the first to see Construction Scotland Innovation Centre’s (CSIC’s) pioneering new £2M Innovation Factory, when it launched on 11 September. The launch event brought together over 300 construction professionals for a series of industry-leading speakers, interactive workshops and demonstrations, all taking place within the new Innovation Factory itself. The Innovation Factory, located at Hamilton International Technology Park in Lanarkshire and supported by Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Enterprise, will allow anyone within the construction industry to access 35,000 sq. ft. of workshop space fitted out with state-of-the-art production and prototyping equipment and technology. Construction businesses of all sizes can use the facility to test and develop new products, processes, systems and solutions, from early stage ideas through to commercial realisation. The building will also provide a range of collaboration and training facilities to allow organisations in the private, public and academic sectors to share knowledge and information. The workshop space and equipment will also be used for training purposes, allowing the industry to attract and develop fresh talent and build new skills using the latest virtual reality and drone technology, automated manufacturing equipment and advanced robotics as part of a move towards greater productivity. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “The opening of CSIC’s Innovation Factory, the only facility of its kind in the UK, will offer businesses across the country access to cutting edge technology and a state-of-


the-art facility. We want to see more collaboration in the future, across the public and private sector, and I would encourage everyone to get involved and make the most of the Innovation Factory.” The new facility will house state-of-the-art construction and manufacturing equipment, complete with a five tonne overhead gantry crane for heavy lifting. The equipment which will be available to use at the new facility includes a cross laminated timber (CLT) production table capable of manufacturing 3 x 9m panels and glulam timber components using homegrown timber. There will also be an offsite closed panel ‘cell’ to assist Scottish offsite construction firms in developing higher performing multi-layer construction systems and for training a new generation of offsite operatives to deliver Scotland’s 50,000 new homes. David Philp, Global BIM/IM Consultancy Director at AECOM and Chair of the Scottish BIM Delivery Group, said: “These are exciting times for the construction industry, with the dynamics and behaviours of both client and supply chain organisations becoming more collaborative, technologically advanced and outcomebased. A momentum is building in the convergence of these themes, unlocking a new wave of innovation in an ever modernised sector. The Innovation Factory is a fantastic facility which will play a huge part in helping Scotland’s construction organisations to innovate, collaborate, learn and adopt high-value advanced manufacturing processes. Having the factory open is a massive boost for the industry.” To find out more about the Innovation Factory and how to take advantage of it, contact the CSIC team on: hello@cs-ic.org or visit: www.cs-ic.org

The Atelio home has been designed in collaboration with emerging south-east London practice SAM Architects, manufacturer Tufeco and the Carbon Free Group. The shell of the house is made from recycled materials and ‘produced in a fast, automated manufacturing process’. The team claims the dynamic digital control of production from the BIM model means it will take just five hours to ‘print’ the average house and then only four days to erect the shell. SAM Architects partner Melanie Schubert says the Atelio system brings: “A new concept to the housing market with a modern customisable design for everyone. The houses and apartments focus on natural daylight with large floor-to-ceiling windows; rooms with dual aspect focused on a connection to nature. Atelio provides houses and apartments which don’t just meet the minimum standards.” Grimshaw Associate Principal, Paolo Vimercati adds: “The Atelio vision empowers a new way of community living, and our methodology reflects a fresh approach to earth-friendly living. We have developed a landscape driven planning concept that encourages a community spirit through engagement with the environment.” The product is produced through a fast, automated manufacturing process - directly from a BIM model to the production line - meaning that the current time for ‘printing’ an average house is five hours. The shell of a house can be erected within four days, while the fit-out can be completed and ready for occupation within 21 days. The first mock-up of the highly adaptable zero-carbon housing system was shown off at the Build Show at UK Construction Week in Birmingham. Source: www.atelio.co.uk https://grimshaw.global


OFFSITE NEWS Integra Buildings Celebrates 20-Year Milestone

SES Lands University of Strathclyde M&E Contract

SES Engineering Services (SES), has secured a £3.9m mechanical and engineering (M&E) contract for University of Strathclyde’s Sports, Health and Wellbeing Centre. In its first collaboration with Graham Construction on a Scottish project, SES will design and deliver full M&E services for the new facility, which will sit adjacent to 100 Cathedral Street in the centre of Glasgow. This £28m project forms part of the University of Strathclyde’s multi-million pound investment on its city centre campus and is the next major step in providing a first class learning and teaching environment for students, staff and the City of Glasgow. The new Sports, Health and Wellbeing Centre will provide stateof-the-art training facilities and advanced teaching provision for sports coaches, physical education teachers and fitness professionals.

Modular specialist Integra Buildings is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a raft of major new contracts as it moves forward with ambitious expansion plans. The business – one of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers of modular buildings – has seen rapid growth, driven by the company’s reputation for quality, project performance and innovation. The past year has seen Integra complete two of its most prestigious projects – a £2.4m education block for Wellington College in Berkshire, one of the world’s leading coeducational day and boarding schools, and a £2.1m project for Mencap in Leeds for the design and construction of a nursery and community space. Recently the business has won its largest contract yet, a £4.6m project for sports changing facilities at multiple sites, as well as a £3.3m scheme for a new primary school in the south east, and is in the process of completing another significant project, a £1.6m scheme for a classroom extension and new teaching block in Leeds. Integra has also secured approved and favoured contractor status on six frameworks with local government and public sector organisations across the country. It means East Yorkshire-based Integra marks 20 years in business in buoyant mood, with the company recording a record turnover of £18.6m in 2016 and forecasting revenues of £21m this year. Integra operates from two sites east of Hull, at Burstwick and Paull, currently. With production running at full capacity at both sites, the company is executing


a £3m growth strategy to take the business to the next level. The plans involve consolidating all Integra’s functions in a single, fit-for-purpose operation at Paull, following the purchase of six acres at that site for £1.6m, adding it to 2.5 acres the company previously owned and operated there. The acquisition is being followed by a further investment of £1.4m in new facilities. Integra has now secured planning permission for a new, two-storey modular office block at the heart of the Paull site which will showcase the quality of materials and design available to the company’s clients. The offices will include dedicated training areas, a business lounge and meeting rooms, which will also be available to clients and suppliers. The new facility is scheduled to open in April 2018, allowing Integra to vacate the Burstwick site.

Colin Walker, SES’ Business Director Scotland said: “Following previous successful collaborations with Graham Construction in the North West of England, SES is thrilled to work with them again on this landmark higher education project for the city of Glasgow. This proven partnership will be instrumental in achieving the planned project completion of June 2018. Central to securing this project was our focus on pre-construction activities and our ability to take ownership of the design process, and our expert team looks forward to working with the client team to deliver the best end result.” SES’ dedicated offsite manufacturing facility – Prism – will be used on the project with a proposed 4,900 man-hours being removed from site. SES Engineering Services is currently delivering the MEP contract on Edinburgh University’s £25m project to establish a world-leading Data Technology Institute.

Integra manufactures modular buildings offsite for permanent installation across a wide range of sectors, including sport, leisure, education, healthcare and commercial operations, and highly-durable, anti-vandal modular buildings used predominantly for welfare, canteen and toilet facilities on construction sites.

SES has also strengthened its Prism team with the appointment of Laing O’Rourke’s Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) Operations Manager Lewis Jones. Lewis will be responsible for leading the offsite and prefabrication charge at the heart of SES’ £300m national growth strategy. Lewis Jones said: “I’ve been extremely impressed by the whole team, its commercial awareness and the outstanding level of innovation coming from the factory floor. Where Prism and SES have truly exceeded is in their ability to transfer those ideas into demonstrable and game-changing time, cost, logistical and safety benefits.”

Source: www.integrabuildings.co.uk

Source: www.ses-ltd.co.uk

The redeveloped Paull site will also include two, new bespoke manufacturing facilities that will double capacity, with the build of the new offices planned as the company’s first project on these production lines.


OFFSITE NEWS Heathrow Hubs Attract 121 Bidders

step-change in Britain’s construction industry and give Britain a leading-edge in an untapped new sector that can then be leveraged to support other major projects around the world. Communities across Britain are keen to take up the challenge with such an overwhelming number of sites bidding for the chance to upskill their communities with a world-class construction legacy for decades to come.

In April 2017, Heathrow invited communities across Britain to showcase how their area could help build expansion by hosting one of four UK logistics hubs. The hubs are a key part of Heathrow’s plans to promote SMEs and ensure every corner of Britain benefits from the building of an expanded Heathrow by decentralising the supply chain.

Heathrow will be the first major infrastructure project in the UK to pioneer the large-scale use of logistics hubs – aiming to build as much of the project offsite as possible. The hubs will work by pre-assembling components offsite before transporting them in consolidated loads to Heathrow just as they are needed. This method will boost the project’s efficiency and cut emissions by transporting components to site in fewer lorries. Research by WPI Economics earlier this year revealed that integrating an offsite manufacturing supply chain into a major project has the potential to reduce the overall cost of the project by as much as 25% whilst speeding up delivery by up to 30%.

There has been an overwhelming response as 121 sites from across Britain bid to become a Heathrow logistics hub and help build Britain’s new runway. Expanding Heathrow will be Europe’s largest privately-funded infrastructure project. By promoting the up-take of offsite manufacturing on such a high-profile project, Heathrow is aiming to drive a

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye said: “Expanding Heathrow is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to really boost growth across Britain – and not just with more capacity at the nation’s hub airport, but from building it. Over 100 communities across Britain have put themselves forward to host one of our pioneering logistics hubs and we couldn’t be more impressed

by the applicants. Together we’ll build an expanded Heathrow – boosting growth outside London, leaving a world-class construction legacy for the UK and delivering expansion faster, cheaper and with less impact on our local communities.” All applications will be considered by Heathrow and a list of potential sites is expected to be announced later this year. Suitable locations will demonstrate the logistics hub will have a positive economic impact in their area as well as having good connectivity, access to a relevant supply chain, strong local skills, support in their region and adequate facilities. In a Memorandum of Understanding with the Scottish Government, Heathrow agreed that one logistics hub will be based in Scotland. A shortlist of potential sites is expected to be announced later this year. Source: http://mediacentre.heathrow.com

PHIL WILBRAHAM HEATHROW CONSTRUCTION DIRECTOR Phil Wilbraham will be presenting at Explore Offsite Infrastructure in Birmingham on 05 December Full details at: www.exploreoffsite.co.uk



OFFSITE NEWS McMullen Facades Secures 30-storey Southbank Place scheme

Carbon Dynamics & FIT Homes Under the Spotlight

McMullen Facades – part of the Lakesmere Group – has secured another new contract with key client Canary Wharf Contractors after being selected to deliver the specialist glazed façade for a new 30 storey residential tower that forms part of the new Southbank Place scheme in London. The new £18m contract will see the McMullen team deliver an innovative offsite solution to the Patel Taylor designed tower using a bespoke unitised bay window system that has been developed in conjunction with supply chain partner Hueck and manufactured at McMullen Facades’ dedicated manufacturing facility in Portadown, Northern Ireland. The project will also see McMullen collaborating closely with Laing O’Rourke’s Expanded Group to deliver the ultimate in offsite manufacturing. Mega precast panels will be manufactured to accommodate two bay windows with Juliet balconies which will be installed by McMullen in Laing O’Rourke’s Expanded offsite facility. All precast panels will be installed directly onto the building structure via tower crane, impressively completing an entire floor in approximately four days. Various smaller precast panels with screens, vents and sliding doors also make up the scope of works. In addition, the project will include traditional ground floor screens with entrance doors and a plant screen on the roof. The McMullen team have developed a new system that unitises the plant room screen in order to mitigate some of the risk of working at height. The new system takes the assembly work off site and the small amount of on-site fixing work is designed to take place away from the leading edge. The new façade contract at Southbank Place is the latest to be awarded to McMullen Facades by Canary Wharf Contractors and follows the specialist’s recent appointment to deliver the façade for a new 42-storey residential development which forms part of Canary Wharf’s New District regeneration. McMullen and Lakesmere also previously worked with Canary Wharf Contractors to deliver the cladding and glazing package at the flagship Canary Wharf Crossrail station. With McMullen having already played a key role in the initial design stages, production is currently underway and installation will begin onsite during late 2017. Source: www.mcmullenfacades.com


Timber modular housing pioneer Carbon Dynamic welcomed minister for local government and housing, Kevin Stewart MSP, to its Invergordon factory where it’s currently developing Saltire Award-winning ‘Fit Homes’ in partnership with Albyn Housing Society and NHS Highland.

the opportunity to demonstrate our work to develop a fully digitised process, which includes our use of Virtual and Augmented Reality. By driving efficiency, innovation and progress in the circular economy, this approach could transform the industry, should it be adopted more widely.”

The minister toured the facility with project leaders and viewed the homes in advance of them being transported to Alness and installed with the latest sensors and ‘internet of things’ technology this autumn. The homes, which could potentially transform the relationship between health and housing by helping to prevent episodes or events leading to ill health through data capture and health analytics, were developed through co-design with partners, tenants and health and care professionals, making the project the first of its kind to be developed in the UK and possibly, the world.

Alongside Matt, the project is being led by Lucy Fraser, Head of Innovation at Albyn Housing Society, in partnership with Dr Angus JM Watson, Director of Research and Development at NHS Highland. Lucy added: “By combining innovations in modular construction, digital technology and health and social care, we believe the Fit Home provides a sustainable model that will not only have the potential to prevent episodes or events leading to ill health, they could enable people to live independently in their communities for longer.

The Minister said: “This government is committed to tackling homelessness and we will continue to work with a range of partners, not just in housing but in other areas such as health, to address the underlying causes of homelessness, including for disabled people. It is one of our ambitions that disabled people in Scotland should live life to the full in homes built or adapted to enable them to participate as full and equal citizens. Matt Stevenson, Managing Director at Carbon Dynamic, added: “It has been fantastic to welcome the Minister to Invergordon and show him the wide range of projects we currently have in development, all of which have been created to deliver social and environmental impact. The visit has also given us

The pilot phase of the Fit Home project – 16 homes at Dalmore in Alness, Ross-shire – will provide proof of concept. The project concepts are being supported by a Scottish Government housing grant and funding from the Inverness-Highland City-Region Deal, whilst researchers at the University of the Highlands and Islands will develop the proof of concept research with financial support from the Digital Health and Care Institute. Image: From left) Kevin Stewart MSP, Matt Stevenson, Managing Director, Carbon Dynamic; Lucy Fraser, Head of Innovation, Albyn Housing Society and Professor Angus JM Watson, Director of Research, Development at NHS Highland Source: www.carbondynamic.com www.scottishhousingnews.com


OFFSITE NEWS Eurocell Slots in Timely Solution for Offsite Approach

Northumberland College Launches New Training Partnership Northumberland College has established a training partnership with ORCA LGS Solutions. ORCA aims to deliver 10,000 units of affordable housing within five years, using offsite mobile manufacturing that will employ and train local labour, utilising light gauge steel (LGS), which results in over 50% faster construction than traditional methods. The College and ORCA have partnered to support a UK government mandate to reduce the vulnerability of the skills shortage and increase housing supply using offsite construction. ORCA entered the UK market in 2012 and has delivered over 70 projects utilising light gauge steel. John-Paul Fraser, Managing Director at ORCA, said: “The UK housing crisis is compounded by a skills shortage for traditional methods. With our method – a 100m2 – which is the average UK house size, can be manufactured and assembled in eight hours and an unskilled person can be trained to assemble and install within four to eight weeks.”

Eurocell, the UK’s leading manufacturer, distributor and recycler of window, door, conservatory and roofline products, is promising to deliver a whole host of benefits to the timber frame and offsite construction sectors with the launch of its new InSite window solution. InSite will enable timber frame manufacturers to install fully glazed, fully finished windows into wall panels as part of the factory production process, thereby reducing onsite disruption and labour costs while saving time on build programme schedules. There are also significant health and safety benefits with factory fitting and reduction in manual handling, as well as an estimated 30% improvement in transportation yields because the windows are fully recessed, allowing panels to be stacked flush when loaded. InSite comprises market-leading PVC-U window performance with an innovative fixing method that allows factory fitting of the window directly into the wall panel. Once the timber wall panel has been erected on-site, the windows are checked to ensure they are plumb and square and then simply secured to the first fix position by pushing the frame outwards to lock it into position. An intelligent design modification enables cills to be simply clipped on and mechanically secured once the windows are locked into position. The whole panel assembly can be made watertight within one day so interior trades can begin work immediately, saving time on programme.

As part of its development, the InSite system has been fully tested, including resisting wind load pressures well in excess of 200mph – significantly beyond the highest Category 5 hurricane winds rating (156mph+). Design calculations have been verified by independent timber frame structural engineers. Owing to the controlled nature of manufacture, the installed windows offer leading energy efficiency performance, with a U-value of just 0.8 W/m2 possible, a level that far exceeds current Building Regulations requirements. Talking about its launch, Chris Coxon, Group Head of Marketing at Eurocell, says: “InSite is an engineered solution that gives offsite construction specialists an opportunity to increase efficiencies and quality at key stages of the manufacturing and building process, so they receive the benefits they promote to their clients and streamline the construction process further, resulting in a safer, faster build time.” “Since there is no need to store windows on site there is no danger of damage or theft and the reduction in manual handling also significantly cuts the number of health and safety issues to be dealt with. Programme time is not affected by issues like scaffolding obscuring the installation of windows, especially as preparing InSite for external cladding and internal plastering can all be done from the inside. Similarly, site traffic is reduced because there are no window deliveries.”

ORCA held an awareness session at Northumberland College during the summer, the College then supported the organisation through an interview process, following which, successful candidates undertook the first phase of a training programme that saw them complete a two- week orientation course at the College. Jill Robinson, Contracts and Employability Manager at Northumberland College, said: “Following initial training, ORCA has accepted 12 talented candidates. Trainees are now commencing the ORCA training programme enabling local unemployed people to achieve a new skill set to build houses.” Northumberland College has invested over £10 million at its campuses in recent years where facilities include a dedicated Construction Academy. In addition to this a brand-new £2.5 million centre for science, engineering and digital technologies will open in September. The College’s Business Training Solutions Team offer a full range of support to around 1,000 businesses across the region including employability programmes that optimise the recruitment process by ensuring candidates are matched to a particular sector with the right attitude and commitment to enhance the workforce. John-Paul Fraser, Managing Director of ORCA, said: “This is an exciting time for ORCA and the college working in partnership to create jobs locally and increase housing supply in the UK. We want Northumberland to become ORCA’s centre of excellence for training, delivering 10,000 units per year nationally and creating over 1,200 jobs.” Source: www.orca-lgs.com www.businessts.co.uk

Source: www.eurocell.co.uk/insite



OFFSITE NEWS Bathroom Pod Manufacturer on Target for Record Year

New Offsite Schools Chief at Sunesis

Offsite Solutions has secured £30 million of orders in the last six months – a record order intake in the history of the business. This unprecedented performance is a 50% increase on the same period last year, and has secured projects for the business from 2017 through to 2019. It is a reflection of the increasing demand for pods, which improve the quality, speed and efficiency of bathroom construction. Offsite Solutions has seen a significant increase in orders and enquiries for residential schemes, particularly mixed-use developments and in the buildto-rent sector which is performing strongly in urban centres across the UK. Other trends reflected in the latest order intake include more interest in factorybuilt bathrooms from the care homes sector and an increase in the scale of those projects, particularly from the larger care home providers. University students are demanding higher specification and 4*+ standard living facilities and the competition for places means the accommodation provided has to meet those requirements. As a result, steel-framed bathroom pods with traditional tiled finishes are increasingly being specified for high-end student residences. Commenting on this year’s record order intake, James Stephens, Managing Director of Offsite Solutions, said: “It is extremely positive to see such a strong order performance, which is testament to the hard work, skills and commitment of all our staff across the business. We are continuing to invest in product design, unrivalled quality control, and in our manufacturing capacity to meet the needs of our diverse customer base. We remain committed to pushing the boundaries with the speed, scale, complexity, efficiency and sustainability of our bathroom solutions, to the benefit of our customers. 2018 will see us manufacture our 90,000 bathroom pod which will be another tremendous milestone for the business and for the offsite sector.” In July this year, Offsite Solutions announced a £5 million investment programme to expand its production facilities in Somerset to meet the growing demand for its factory-built bathrooms. This will be the biggest expansion programme in the history of the company. The first phase of the expansion has already been completed – a new 45,000sqft production facility that has doubled capacity for steel-framed bathroom pods. A £3 million investment will bring all the company’s production operations together in a new, purpose-designed, state-of-the-art factory. Source: www.offsitesolutions.com

Sunesis is targeting a £100 million pipeline of orders within three years for its pre-designed educational solutions following the appointment of Bedford Borough Council’s Head Of School Infrastructure & Partnerships, Fran Cox, as its new Operations Director. Fran Cox joins Sunesis in a newly created seniorlevel role to oversee expansion plans, as increasing numbers of local authorities and private developers use its models as a fast, efficient and cost-effective way to meet their urgent need to provide extra school places. Last year the Department for Education forecasted that 750,000 extra school places would be needed in England by 2025 to keep up with the population increase, with schools seeing sixteen consecutive years of rising pupil numbers. Fran Cox said: “It’s a really exciting time to join Sunesis – there is huge potential and having experienced Sunesis schools as a client, I know they have already been extremely valuable to councils in meeting their chronic need for new school places. Sunesis offers clear timescales for delivery, flexibility where it’s needed, and absolute certainty of cost, providing an attractive solution for local authorities. I am very much looking forward to driving Sunesis through its next phase of growth.” Sunesis aims to be part of the solution to this challenge and has already delivered 28 primary schools since its first school was commissioned


in 2011, alongside a further 40 Connect school extensions, creating over 18,000 new places in total. Sunesis currently offer a range of three pre-designed primary schools in a variety of form entry sizes and with designs that can be adapted by customers to meet their specific needs. All are offered with absolute certainty of cost, time and quality – with fixed prices between £2.8m to £5.5m and fast-track programmes to complete within nine months of being commissioned. Tim Carey, Willmott Dixon’s National Product Director, added: “Fran’s arrival is an important next stage of our growth as an established provider of new schools. Her experience at Bedford Borough Council will give us the quantum leap to roll out Sunesis to even more customers, supported by our new ability to licence the system for other contractors to build.” Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, said: “Fran’s experience in commissioning new schools provides a real depth of insight into the needs of local authorities and the issues they face. The country has a very significant school building challenge ahead, with over 2,000 new schools needed in the next few years, and Fran will help Sunesis to play a vital role in filling the gap in school places nationally.” Source: www.sunesis.co.uk


OFFSITE NEWS Mayor of London Green Lights Offsite Deal

As we went press on the last issue of Offsite Magazine, The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan announced an investment of £25 million as part of an innovative deal to boost new factory-built affordable one and two-bed homes for first-time buyers in the capital. The Mayor’s investment in Pocket Living will see work start on at least 1,059 new homes by March 2021, with a third expected to be built offsite. They provide homes for first-time buyers, typically one or two-bed flats that are sold at least 20% cheaper than market sales. Pocket homes are aimed at local people who must already live in the borough and be first-time buyers. The deal also ensures all homes built remain affordable for the lifetime of the building. The funding from the Mayor – all of which will be paid back in full by the end of the next decade – will help finance ongoing site purchases for development. It will enable Pocket to increase its rate of delivery of high-density flats on small brownfield sites to provide more new and genuinely affordable homes for Londoners. Pocket will also look to use offsite construction where appropriate to speed up delivery. The Mayor believes offsite construction is another


valuable tool that should be utilised and encouraged further as part of a range of measures needed to tackle London’s housing crisis, because it means homes can be built more quickly. The funding package is part of the Mayor’s Innovation Fund, using investment secured as part of Sadiq’s record-breaking £3.15 billion deal with government in November last year. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The housing crisis is the biggest challenge facing Londoners today and I have been honest from the start that we won’t be able to turn things round overnight. For decades, we have simply not built enough new and affordable homes in the capital, meaning that for too many Londoners the dream of buying their own home is getting further and further out of reach. That is why I am working with Pocket Living to build more than a thousand homes for first-time buyers, using the latest offsite construction techniques to provide attractive and affordable homes as quickly as possible. I will continue to use more of my £3.15 billion of funding to invest in innovative schemes like this to build the genuinely affordable homes Londoners need.”

Marc Vlessing, CEO of Pocket Living, said: “Our mission has always been to open up the housing market to hard working young Londoners on low to middle incomes by delivering homes they can afford. This growing group is greatly in need of innovative housing solutions. City Hall’s support for Pocket is yet another demonstration of the Mayor of London’s commitment to tackling the capital’s housing shortage and increasing the range of affordable housing options. “We are proud to receive the Mayor’s backing for Pocket Living’s award-winning approach to design and the use of modern methods of construction to help those priced-out and not eligible for social housing to get onto the property ladder. Delivering homes for Londoners means initiatives between the public and private sector are crucial for the capital to thrive in the years ahead.” Source: http://bit.ly/2x0ctc2


OFFSITE NEWS CCG Continue Edinburgh Affordable Housing Commitment

The Craigmillar Town Centre Masterplan will see this entire area in the East of the city transformed through the creation of more affordable homes and a new retail centre, along with a public square and neighbouring community play park.

The new homes are being constructed using a timber frame system that is manufactured in CCG’s bespoke offsite manufacturing facility in Cambuslang. Delivered to site complete with insulation, internal wall linings, windows and doors pre-installed, the system brings assurances of quality and a faster speed of construction – the entire development was completed wind and water tight in just 29 weeks. Also highly energy efficient, the thermal performance of the timber frame system will bring long-term energy savings for future residents who will begin to move in early 2018.

As Craigmillar 19 and 20 has progressed, CCG has also worked with the City of Edinburgh Council on an additional development in Craigmillar, sites 12-15, as well as a new 75-home residential development in Greendykes. Housing and Economy Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, Cllr Gavin Barrie added: “These new developments at Craigmillar town centre will provide much needed new housing in the east of Edinburgh, with homes for social and mid-market rent. The developments in Greendykes and Craigmillar are a brilliant example of how the Council and our housing association partners are delivering on the joint commitment to build 20,000 new affordable homes in Edinburgh over the next 10 years. The Council’s commitment alongside Dunedin Canmore won’t just deliver new homes - we expect our investment to deliver community benefits, provide opportunities for local businesses as well as allowing apprentices to continue their training.” Source: www.c-c-g.co.uk



Glasgow-based construction firm CCG (Scotland) Ltd is continuing to deliver affordable housing for the city of Edinburgh with a sustained focus in the east of the city where the company is currently building 111 new affordable homes as part of the first phase of the Craigmillar Town Centre Masterplan on behalf of Dunedin Canmore – part of Wheatley Group. Scheduled for completion in summer 2018, sites 19 and 20 will consist of 54 new homes for social rent and a further 57 for mid-market rent.

CCG Director, Calum Murray said: “These 111 new homes will provide high quality, affordable housing for the community of Craigmillar as well as contributing toward the city’s affordable housing supply. These are not the only benefits as through this development CCG is also creating valued work placements and apprenticeships with four trade apprentices currently based on site, as well as donating money and resources to local initiatives such as the Craigmillar Literacy Trust, Grass Roots Clothing and the Castlebrae School Memorial Garden.”





MODERNISATION OR TRANSFORMATION TIME TO BE BOLD One year on from the publication of Modernise or Die, Mark Farmer explains how his findings of systemic failure are perhaps less disputed than the suggested path he proposes the industry should take to future-proof itself – fundamentally transforming our physical site-based production process and increasing the level of premanufacturing. that it first appears on – it is the subtlety in my thinking that perhaps some people are misinterpreting. I am 100% sure that the digitalisation of our industry will drive modernisation and transformational change. The fact that I don’t see ‘BIM’ as is currently practiced as the solution is down to how it is not making sufficient impact on our wider industry.

1 While the media, academia, industry protagonists and stakeholders all debate that point, my personal priority in the period ahead is to use my privileged position not only in my own business at Cast, but as a wider influencer, to turn my words into action. My recent decision to accept a co-chairmanship position at Constructing Excellence is linked to this aim and my desire to enable and operationalise a different way of thinking, amongst progressive people and organisations spread across the industry with no vested interests to protect. My decision to nail my colours to the premanufacturing mast was not accidental or taken lightly. I have seen enough though to know that pure promotion of collaborative working and behavioural improvement espoused by the likes of Latham and Egan is unlikely in itself, to


change anything. The last 20 years of stagnation, if not now outright deterioration in industry processes, productivity and client outcomes is testament enough to that. Collaboration and integration is at the heart of what will modernise and improve our industry but it has to be hardwired to a new way of doing things. Too many people – rightly passionate about engendering positive change – have wasted time in this area applying new contracts or promoting new practices in an industry fundamentally fragmented and misaligned. You need to change the game not modify the rules. A specific area that I have drawn some criticism for is that I have not apparently wholeheartedly put my weight behind the BIM lobby. Bizarrely, some people have even gone to the extent of counting the references to BIM in my review or the page numbers

A recent study by Designing Building Wiki on the use and sharing of knowledge in our industry confirmed what I have been thinking for some time now. BIM evangelists are huddled together at the fringe of our industry, effectively talking to themselves. A cohort of very bright technologists and digital converted industry practitioners are speaking a different language to the bulk of clients, advisors and supply chain stakeholders which is continuing to marginalise them from the mainstream. McKinsey have recently reported that construction is one of the least digitalised industrial sectors in the world and this is reflected in on-going inability to improve productivity relative to other industries. No surprise then that out of the 50 smartest companies in 2017, ranked by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), not one of them is a construction company. The UK’s prognosis for a shrinking traditionally skilled construction workforce means that the


OPINION MARK FARMER ‘push’ drivers for change from within industry are now growing. The parallel ‘pull’ of technology has never been greater but has still been resisted. The game changer I believe is artificial intelligence (AI). Research undertaken by Accenture, shows that artificial intelligence can drive up productivity levels in all industries by 30% by 2035. Fundamentally, AI is a technology that outsources thinking, allowing us to do much more as humans, more efficiently. While this image may seem some way off from your typical mainstream construction project, I would suggest that some technology has short to medium term mass roll out potential at every level of our industry, from the design office to manufacturing to the construction workface. As stated above, the pursuit of higher levels of BIM adoption in conjunction with traditional fragmented procurement and analogue onsite construction process has been problematic. Why are we surprised when the basic workflow, common data protocols and behavioural alignment is not conducive to unleashing the real power of digitilisation? At the risk of further upsetting the BIM lobby – to quote Bill Allen of EvolveLAB – “The Future of BIM is not BIM”. I would urge you all to watch his Autodesk University video explaining why he says this. http://au.autodesk.com/au-online/ classes-on-demand/class-catalog/ classes/year-2016/revit/it22329/ jcr:content#chapter=0 The use of generative design and solution optimisation will fundamentally alter how we work as an industry. It will alter the role of planners, designers, surveyors, suppliers, manufacturers and constructors. The use of smart embedded technology in components will also revolutionise asset performance management. When combined with digital enabled premanufacturing, fabrication and on-site assembly, in a way that bypasses all of the traditional workflow barriers currently being experienced in piecemeal digitalisation of our industry. It will join the dots to enable not mundane mass standardisation but mass customisation, and it engages everyone, including SME’s in the process through simple and accessible digital tools and worker augmentation.

My thought process therefore is that something different at the heart of our delivery model needs to be changed to release the full power of both digital working and integrated processes in a way that can impact throughout our industry not incrementally but more fundamentally. This now leads me onto my prognosis for the offsite sector.

There is now a real challenge being laid down to the UK offsite market. To date, it has suffered from a high level of fragmentation – a ‘cottage industry’ feel to quote many commentators – relatively low levels of capitalisation and a constant battle to identify consistent pipeline. It is also fundamentally characterised by an IP protective and bespoke system approach to product design and building solutions that now acts as a major barrier to expansion in terms of client and funder perceptions. Having spent the last year since my report’s publication, socialising the message that our industry faces unprecedented future challenges, and pushing people towards the premanufacturing sector as a potential key solution, it is now time for the offsite sector to recognise how it has to also change to seize the opportunity. That change relates to fuller digital enablement and a move towards more joined up and interoperable technologies, promoted by better design and product codification. The only way the sector will thrive in my opinion, is to change from using product uniqueness as the point of difference and start pursuing efficiency, assurance and quality as the route to market. I recognise however that this has to be done in a way that does not constrain or dumb down innovation. The potential is to grow the size of the cake, whilst accepting the slicing of the cake may increase. The net benefit is greater market share of total construction.

The important initiator of this change is how construction is commissioned. Some disruptors are fully vertically integrated and will be masters of their own destiny. Other clients will need assistance through better codification of how specific assets can be designed and constructed from an interoperable ‘kit of parts’ that is also supply chain aligned. This still allows for architectural individuality and appropriate differentiation to produce high quality, contextual buildings but they can all have a common backbone. AI can and should play a key part in this process and may involve ‘open sourcing’ the asset specific AI technology that releases the genie from the bottle when it comes to digital design configuration and linked procurement systems. This is way beyond the current fixation with BIM object libraries and language protocols. Putting this in context, the recent London Assembly report, Designed, sealed, delivered has been very positively received by the London Mayor and now creates a unique opportunity to drive a different way of thinking in the housing sector. Its specific recommendation relating to a London Manufactured Housing Design Code is key. I am pleased to say I helped influence the inclusion of this but ultimately credit to Nicky Gavron who realised the potential benefits. This can be something that the offsite world either responds positively to or sees as a threat. In my mind it is a no brainer but the offsite sector has to come to the party. I hope it decides better collaboration, shared product research and development and a more aggregated response to a more aggregated demand is the way forward. Watch this space for future developments! For more information visit: www.constructingexcellence.org.uk www.cast-consultancy.com Image: 01. Mark Farmer speaking at Explore Offsite Housing.




MAKING THE MARKET SHIFT A recent Roundtable Event hosted by SIG Offsite, brought together a select group of industry experts to discuss how to expand the use of offsite manufacture across the housing market and wider construction sector. Gary Ramsay reports on the key points.

1 In recent years ‘housing’ and ‘crisis’ are two words that have become inextricably linked. The root causes rest in the decades-long decrease of housebuilding, a growing population, the vagaries of inflated house prices and recent economic gloom. These have all combined to push the notion of home ownership spiralling out of the reach of many. The financial pressures of rent and mortgages are vast for many parts of society and what constitutes ‘affordable housing’ is a lottery, depending on which part of the UK you want to live and work. The Housing White Paper published in February – Fixing our Broken Housing Market – recognised that change is a necessity and promised a broad range of ‘radical, lasting reform’ on the ways homes are delivered. These reforms included the greater use of offsite manufacturing and more reliable and


faster building methods to change the housing market and boost the supply of new homes. The Housing White Paper was coloured by Mark Farmer’s landmark report Modernise of Die. There are many challenges ahead for the construction industry and ambitious plans in the pipeline for the housing sector but how can this growth in offsite activity be accelerated? “You have to go back to the Housing White Paper to try and understand the direction of travel,” says CEO of Cast Consultancy, Mark Farmer. “It hopefully recognised some of the issues in my report and that the housing crisis isn’t just about land banking and fitness of the planning system. It was about recognising we have a construction capacity challenge. I think that was formalised in the White Paper.”

ATTENDEES Stephen Wightman – Managing Director, SIG Offsite Mark Farmer – CEO, Cast Consultancy Anthony Thistleton – Director, Waugh Thistleton Oliver Novakovic – Technical & Innovation Director, Barratt Developments James Pickard – Director, Cartwright Pickard Darren Richards – Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Rory Bergin – Partner: Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP Jeff Maxted – Director of Technical Consultancy, BLP Insurance Gary Ramsay – Editor, Offsite Magazine


SIG OFFSITE ROUNDTABLE Since the publication of the White Paper, the government’s commitments have not progressed as quickly as anticipated – a General Election, Brexit uncertainty, the restructuring of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and post-Grenfell introspection, has meant that across the UK the momentum has slowed just at the point when it shouldn’t. But it may be in London – with its enormous housing density and demand – that change is progressing quicker with the London Assembly publishing its own exploration of offsite manufacture – Designed, Sealed Delivered – and Mayor Sadiq Khan pledging investment in at least 1,059 new homes by March 2021, with a third expected to be built offsite. “There are suggestions the pace of policy change in London could be quicker than at national level, adds Mark. “The political urgency seems to be bigger than at national level. The work done by Nicky Gavron at the London Assembly in parallel with the Mayor starting to recognise the role the Assembly can play in creating demand for a different type of construction is really important.”

“Can offsite solve the housing crisis? In conjunction with the growth of the private rented sector (PRS) and institutional investors creating a stable demand – absolutely it can. A component-led design for manufacture approach with less points of difference will bring more opportunities.” Anthony Thistleton, Waugh Thistleton

Educating What Offsite Can Do For a wider uptake and interest at all levels, there needs to be a roll-out of high value demonstration/pilot schemes to engage people better and also provide the opportunity to benchmark and measure offsite’s benefits effectively. “There needs to be a big education drive around the role of pre-manufacturing – whatever it looks like,” adds Mark. “So we can get the potential solutions showcased – it’s not so much the general public we need to educate but the funding

LESSONS & OUTCOMES Creating More Demand – an industry challenge that needs to addressed by a range of factors including increased government-led policy Confidence Boost – there is a lack of confidence in the financial standing of many manufacturers from blue-chip clients and specifiers that needs to be overcome Cottage Industry – the offsite sector is still perceived as small and fragmented for those looking to commit to long-term relationships with manufacturers and suppliers New Technology and Better Skills – using AR/VR/AI on day-to-day projects will make the construction industry more attractive to younger generation Centres of Manufacturing Excellence – understanding the wider role of technology and learning from the manufacturing strategies behind the automotive and aerospace sectors London Living – the housing density debate in London is different to other parts of the UK and this is where offsite may be scalable and more successful Expansion of Custom-build – this brings a different kind of choice and technology to the construction market and helps raise the quality bar More Evidence-based Data – for the offsite sector to prove its whole-life costs and long term value more independent proof is required. If performance is not being measured how can the sector know how well it is performing?

markets, politicians and those that are in the position of specifying within the supply chain. The Tier 1 main contractors are still a bit sceptical. We need to get to a mass-customisation market where you can’t really tell how buildings are constructed.” Much is made of behavioural change and influencing the way the construction market and delivery of housing operates without being tied to a specific technology. The ‘quality threshold’ is getting harder to achieve using traditional methods. Across Europe rates of offsite construction are significantly higher than in the UK – in many cases fuelled by a more sophisticated and culturally embedded approach to self-build based on standardised components. The selfbuild market in Austria, Germany and Sweden is above 65%. The UK hovers around 8-12%. “Developers and clients who commission projects must start to think differently,” says James Pickard Director of Cartwright Pickard. “Across Europe they have been doing some of these things better than us for decades. One of the reasons that offsite is used more successful and is better integrated is that the self-build market demands quality. This has pushed the construction industry to raise the bar. They have fabulous products and build them to significantly lower costs.”

While the UK market will not reflect anything like the European market on the self-build front, the point is that the impetus is there to build better, more efficiently and at a quicker pace. One of the central issues of the housing crisis is the rapid rate at which new homes need to be delivered. Here offsite – and in particular modular homes – can play a fundamental role. “The capacity growth is not going to come from the volume housebuilders,” says SIG Offsite Managing Director, Stephen Wightman. “The growth is from the smaller builders and developers – the non-PLC market – that is the area that needs to double in size.”

“There is a gap in data to prove the benefits of offsite. As an organisation we collect data and gauge what offsite can do. The offsite industry needs to a lot more of that measuring and monitoring – providing statistical evidence is a sensible approach to reducing risk.” Oliver Novakovic, Technical & Innovation Director, Barratt Developments



SIG OFFSITE ROUNDTABLE Quality Flag Better standardisation of components and systems – and the interoperability between them – will also help create a greater demand. Whilst no organisation wants to lose its competitive edge or share its IP, it is clear to many that components and systems are to a certain extent largely identical. There is no need for so many variations of what are very similar themes. “Ideally, manufacturers should work with industry inside a better business model,” say Rory Bergin, Partner at HTA Design. “Manufacturers need to develop a symbiotic relationship with a developer, contractor and investor and understand how to supply each other’s building requirements. This will avoid some of the problems of lack of confidence on interoperability, delivery and issues surrounding IP.” The road to ‘defect-free’ construction may be a difficult one but much can be learned from the automotive and aerospace industries. Centres of excellence such as the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) are working hard to link skills and strategic R&D to future-proof job roles that can travel between differing manufacturing sectors and collectively improve UK industry for generations to come. “Traditionally the offsite sector has not been great at collaborative R&D,” says Cogent Consulting’s Managing Director, Darren Richards. “Places such as the AMRC and the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, are doing amazing things and are inspired by the aerospace and automotive industries. They are now looking hard at construction. We need to embrace these facilities – a lot of the offsite supply chain don’t even know these places exist.” Industry stalwarts such as Laing O’Rourke and Skanska have long sponsored links with academia and have acted as bridges between industry and Tier 1 contractors, but manufacturers should be doing more of the innovation rather than ‘obsessing over small incremental tweaks’ to a system that is pretty much the same as all the others in the same market. More needs to be done to encourage and develop a ‘next generation’ mindset.


2 “Offsite construction will help ease the housing problems in the UK but we need new players to fill the capacity gap and we need new organisations building to scale. It’ll change but it’s going to take a while.” Jeff Maxted Director of Technical Consultancy BLP Insurance

People Matter Professional associations and trade bodies play an important role in the construction industry and the feeling is that they could do more to push offsite manufacture. Albeit running on limited resources the education and advice element they can provide to clients is indispensable – for example the Structural Timber Association (STA) has created an Estimating Guide for Timber Frame that will be of huge value to those choosing this approach. Certainly there hasn’t been enough progress made on apprenticeships, NVQs, higher education and accreditation of degrees slanted towards offsite manufacture. “What is required is an element of independence,” says Mark Farmer. “So informed judgements can be made and not skewed and create a false perception issue. Advice has to be agnostic to materials and include case studies, evidence points, holistic benefits and predictability benefits. For me it is linked to skills. It’s about the human element. It’s about people.” Realistically, offsite manufacture is only part of a wider construction answer to the myriad housing problems the

UK faces for the foreseeable future. The future success of offsite rests on a series of key themes; demand creation, capacity building and quality attainment. “It is certainly a contributory factor to solving some of the issues surrounding housing,” says Stephen Wightman. “The scale of the problem is huge though, so it is not the total answer but it could certainly deliver 20-25% of what is required.” Essentially, the structure of the housing market needs to change and while the custom and self-build sectors may not grow substantially enough to matter as a long term solution, the pressures of poor housing supply and quality in the urban centres of the UK aided by the growing Build to Rent/PRS market, will hopefully change the ‘narrative’ of the housing industry. Overall, while government has a part to play to remove potential barriers, influence local authorities and possibly introduce incentives to offsite, for the offsite industry to move forward effectively, it needs to prove what it can do – and do better – than traditional methods, as it is perfectly placed to provide many answers to the housing capacity problems across the UK. Many thanks to SIG Offsite for hosting the Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the discussion. For more information on SIG Offsite visit: www.sigoffsite.co.uk For more information on offsite related activity visit: www.offsitehub.co.uk Images: 01-02. Participants at the SIG Offsite hosted Roundtable event.



DESIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED The London Assembly Planning Committee recently published its milestone report into the contribution of offsite manufactured homes as a part of the solution to London’s housing problems. Nicky Gavron AM provides an overview on the report’s findings and recommendations.

1 Housing is London’s top priority – and we have a Mayor who is determined to do something about it. London needs at least 50,000 new homes per year to meet its growing needs. Despite recent improvements in housing output, traditional housebuilders and developers are delivering half that. This underperformance is likely to get worse given the skills challenge; we have an ageing construction workforce and the threat of a hard Brexit would harm London as 27% of the construction workforce comes from the EU. We clearly need some innovative solutions and I set out to explore how far offsite manufactured homes (OSM) could contribute towards closing the gap between supply and need. The last time we came anywhere near to reaching high housing targets was in the late sixties and seventies, when prefabricated housing contributed significantly to supply. Over 425,000 homes were built in 1968 alone, and much of this was substantially


manufactured offsite. The new model of factory manufactured homes is light years away from this era. They are now ‘precision-manufactured’ homes that can offer an increased level of consistency and quality control and additional benefits in terms of speed of delivery, cost, eco-efficiencies and safety on site. There are many reasons why OSM has failed to take off in England: • • •

To date there has not been the volume of demand and continuity of supply to justify the up-front capital investment needed to build the plant to manufacture the product Traditional funding and financing models are not geared to the requirements of OSM where there is a need for greater ‘upfront’ finance and where smaller manufacturers can access credit at the risk levels involved There is very little guidance anywhere that applies specifically

• •

to OSM housing, and this may be reinforcing the slow pace of adoption by local authority elected members and technical officers Innovation is a feature of OSM and this has led to a plethora of designs and systems bringing with them issues of intellectual property rights that often challenge the conditions required by manufacturing in volume and is a deterrent to contractors and lenders. Furthermore, the absence of OSM specific design codes and standardisation is holding back the development of the sector London lags behind the rest of the country, lacking collaborative partnerships that can deliver at the scale required. Existing housing partnerships, or indeed organisations such as the G15, that might offer the basis of collaborative partnerships have yet to demonstrate a successful approach in London.


LONDON ASSEMBLY NICKY GAVRON The Mayor is best placed to break through the barriers preventing a wider adoption of this approach to housebuilding. He can do this through his role in providing pan-London leadership: supporting the OSM sector through strategic policy direction and potentially, providing land and backed by his significant funding resources. Few other leaders have this scope of power and responsibility. The report’s recommendations to the Mayor include: • • • •

Provide clear and strong leadership in raising the awareness of OSM’s potential Work towards defining and adopting a Manufactured Housing Design Code Look at the potential of using Transport for London (TfL)-owned land and other public land to stimulate the OSM sector Set up a dedicated OSM-specific procurement framework for London and an Independent Advisory Group

Meeting the Challenges During the review, numerous experts have stressed how OSM can deliver for London – and this has been confirmed by site visits to a number of developments. OSM homes are now a viable alternative for any potential development site, at a range of densities that can adapt to a range of local priorities. It is vital that we ‘sweat’ all available land assets, irrespective of the difficulties presented, to meet London’s housing need. OSM homes with their shallow foundations, lightweight construction and superior acoustic performance lend themselves to constrained sites, such as those with tunnels below or next to railway lines, as well as decking over other sites.

London has many stalled developments sites where OSM can provide temporary uses as well as buildings that can be relocated. OSM enables these sites to be used almost immediately – and can be relocated to other sites when required.

The business model, requiring a quick return on investment, is particularly suited to one of London’s greatest needs – the need for affordable rented

2 homes. Moreover, it is particularly aligned to both the government and the Mayor’s promotion of the build to rent market. It works for all types of housing, too, from family housing, student accommodation and older people. Fresh Thinking for Successful Delivery The industry has told us that they are poised to provide a step-change in delivery and the Mayor can catalyse that change. He is best-placed to overcome the barriers by providing strategic leadership and creating more effective partnerships. The full advantages of OSM depend on scale and continuity of demand. Given that few institutions are large enough to achieve this critical mass, a grouping of smaller suppliers might achieve this. London lacks collaborative partnerships within and between local authorities, registered social landlords and private sector. Collaboration is key. Other parts of the country are ahead of the capital: a consortium of North-West housing associations (Modular Allianz) led by Manchester City Council is hoping to drive higher uptake of offsite manufacturing by pooling demand to create a potential 500-home programme. Add to this The Central Housing Investment Consortium – a group of 85 Midlands based affordable housing providers that work together with the aim of securing efficiencies and savings through procurement of contracts, labour and services. It is actively seeking offsite manufacturers to join the consortium. Painful lessons have been learned from adapting designs to OSM part way through a development. Given that OSM needs to be ‘designed in from the start of the process’, Building Information Management (BIM) software can be an enabling tool, assisting with collaboration, advanced

3 planning at the design stage and building maintenance down the line. If we want volume and scale the industry will need to move to more interoperability and commonality of product. Repeatedly we were told by Local Authorities and investors that some form of replicability is required, otherwise the sector will remain a cottage industry. The Mayor already has an existing traditional Housing Design Guide, the report recommends that he develops a Manufactured Housing Design Code – a ‘kit of parts’ if you like – which builds on emerging government construction strategy thinking and incorporating national and London space standards. This should in no way stultify design style and diversity. Job Creation and Environmental Performance We want to encourage the traditional sector to continue to supply new homes. The report’s aspiration is to provide as much additional supply as possible. Given London’s demand, London could work collaboratively to stimulate new factories, jobs and skills right across the country; effectively creating a new industrial sector and making a great contribution to the UK industrial strategy. If this ambition were realised, we would match the performance achieved by the best European examples. Meanwhile, the industry needs to do research to estimate a realistic figure which we can all work towards. OSM offers a route to delivering homes that can be built to higher sustainability standards, with potential advantages in terms of build quality, speed of delivery, construction health and safety, energy-in-use, wholelife carbon footprint and tackle fuel poverty. OSM homes outperform energy use of traditional homes, reducing utility bills by 25% and




4 more, 80% on gas bills and 30% on water. Add to that reduced transport pollution where fewer vehicle movements to transport materials to site also reduces noise and disruption, in turn improving local air quality and the reduction of carbon. These are longstanding strategic priorities for London that OSM could help tackle. This new way of building offsite could make a career in the construction sector more attractive. Moving production from the construction site inside to a factory environment will create new jobs and skills and attract new recruits into the industry, particularly among young people and women, diversifying the workforce. Furthermore, manufacturing homes for London could assist a national economic strategy. Although London will continue to be a real engine room for the national economy, there is a strong case for a more balanced economy where the regions support London’s growth ambitions – by making homes for London – and that in turn supports the regional economies. As Mark Farmer, author of the Farmer Review on the construction industry, Modernise or Die has said: “Future skills in construction may look very different to what we currently see on a building site, and we should be planning ahead for this in London right now.” Funding for Manufacture To fund OSM for manufacture requires a new funding model. Even for a small production run, start-up costs can reach more than £500,000. Many small manufacturers do not have access to this level of debt funding. Another aim of the report is to give confidence to clients and lenders, many of which are unaccustomed


to the front-loaded nature of the finance needed for OSM so may be unwilling to lend the whole amount, or attach a higher level of risk and interest to the sum, making it more expensive. Generally this means there is a smaller pool of lenders willing to finance OSM developments than enjoyed by traditional builders. This is especially a challenge for offsite manufacturers, most of which are SMEs. Around 80% of these companies find it very difficult to directly secure funding from high street banks due to a lack of confidence or a track record of successful borrowing. The situation is compounded by the absence of organisations prepared to undertake ‘financial due diligence’ for manufacturers seeking to borrow. Members of the Build Offsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) reported that accessing finances through Tier 1 constructors is therefore necessary, and this adds to their costs. In London, the Mayor is signalling his support for the OSM sector through his Innovation Fund and his Revolving Loan Fund. He is also bidding for a share of London’s Accelerated Construction Fund. The report recommends that in order to give confidence to lenders and other stakeholders the Mayor should set up a dedicated OSM Framework Panel made up of developers and contractors who can work with manufacturers, and an Independent Advisory Group which covers the whole development cycle process including financial due diligence. Call to Action Since publication the report is being widely debated and has been well received across the industry. The report has been sent to the Mayor for his formal comments, which we should receive by the end of the year. We are encouraged by the inclusion of offsite

housing in the Mayor’s draft housing strategy and look forward to the sector benefitting from a renewed interest with funding and strategic direction from City Hall. However, I am hugely encouraged by the Mayor’s response to my question at the Mayor’s Question Time 14 September 2017 where it was described as “a timely and important report”. The Mayor went on to say: “We have to find ways to support the sector… one of the things that really attracted me to it when I was reading about the sector after reading your report was how we can use the sector to help other parts of the country… Precision manufacturing will not just help London but will help the rest of the South-East and the UK as well. Not only are we going to use the various Strategies we have, we are going to use the bully pulpit of City Hall to persuade others to use this as well… It is a good example of an interventionist industrial strategy… I am happy to talk with the sector through my Deputy Mayors, if not through me, about how we can give them the reassurance they need. We want this sector to thrive and flourish. We want this to be a centre of excellence going forward.” Designed, sealed, delivered: the contribution of offsite manufactured homes to solving London’s housing crisis, is available at: http://bit.ly/2iNl4g1

Images: 01. PLACE/Ladywell, Lewisham. Courtesy RSH+P 02. Bacton Low Rise, Camden. Courtesy Camden Council 03. The internal layout of OSM homes are high quality. Courtesy Urban Splash 04. Offsite construction is not as disruptive as traditional methods and is suited to constrained sites. Courtesy Levitt Bernstein

SEND IN YOUR COMMENTS The Mayor’s review of the London Plan and his strategies and consultations (closing dates): HOUSING - This consultation closes on 07 December 2017. The Housing Strategy will be published in 2018, following consideration of the responses received to this consultation. Give your views here: http://bit.ly/2wFe9KI ENVIRONMENT - The public consultation on these plans is now open until 17 November – take part and give your views here: http://bit.ly/2gYoc4o The London Plan opens its consultation in December.


OFFSITE EXPERTS and competitive advantage Delivering efficiency

O F Fmanufacturing S I T E E X P E R businesses T S for offsite

We develop and improve: • Business strategies • Product & service portfolios • Manufacturing operations • Supply-chain integration • Business processes • Management systems • Marketing strategies • Sales routes to market

Do you want to be more efficient, more competitive and more profitable?

Call us on 01743 290001, email us at info@cogent-consulting.co.uk or visit our website at www.cogent-consulting.co.uk


AUGMENTED FUTURE FOR OFFSITE MANUFACTURE One of the leading facilities in the UK helping manufacturers to become more competitive and attuned to advanced technologies and processes is the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). What can the construction industry learn from this cutting edge institution in adopting innovative and exciting new ways of thinking?

1 When Rolls-Royce was considering building a £100 million manufacturing plant in the North East to make high performance jet engine discs, it turned to its partners in the AMRC to help in de-risking the venture. What engineers at the Sheffield-based centre did for the world-leading jet engine manufacturer may be cloaked in commercial secrecy, but the outcome was very clear: existing operating times were halved, productivity doubled and quality increased by 15%. It is productivity gains of this magnitude that have reinforced the AMRC’s reputation as the go-to place for aerospace manufacturers and their supply chain. Indeed, the membership board in its Factory of the Future reads like a Who’s Who of the global aviation industry: Boeing, who jointly founded the AMRC in 2001, is there but so too is Airbus. And now, high end motor manufacturers like McLaren and Bentley are keen to access the materials’ magic of the AMRC’s composite team.


More surprising, perhaps, the construction industry is also beating a path to its door.

“They realise that the future has to be in smarter, offsite manufacturing where they can exploit digital technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, along with robotics and automation driven by edge analytics and big data,’’ says Allan Griffin Head of Construction and Infrastructure Strategy at the AMRC. Laing O’Rourke’s David Brass agrees: “The construction industry can learn so much from the way the aerospace and automotive industries have embraced digital technologies.” Before taking on his new role as General Manager of Advanced Manufacturing, he was responsible for manufacturing capability acquisition processes globally across the Rolls-Royce manufacturing supply chain.

Working alongside a new breed of young engineers at the AMRC, David Brass and his colleagues are exploring how robotics and automation can make Laing O’Rourke’s proposed advanced offsite production facility as efficient and productive as possible. “We have been investing heavily in combining engineering excellence with digital platforms and offsite manufacturing,” says Brass, whose new factory will be able to supply at full capacity up to 10,000 high quality homes a year. “This will enable us to directly deliver smarter and more efficient products that generate economic, social and environmental benefits.” Mark Farmer – author of Modernise of Die – the blistering critique of the industry’s business model, produced for the Construction Leadership Council at the request of the UK Government, what Brass and the AMRC are doing is set to be a benchmark for the future of construction. “I am convinced that the AMRC is playing a significant role



2 in helping support the construction sector make the change to the smarter, offsite production methods outlined in my report. What really impresses me about their approach to developing technology is how they are making it is easy for the industry to adopt.”

The key decision for construction firms moving to offsite manufacture is which of the many digital technologies to choose from. “Laing O’Rourke are trailblazers when it comes to offsite production,” says Chris Freeman, who leads the Digital Manufacturing work-stream at the AMRC’s highly digitalised Factory 2050. “But they are keen to raise their game. Our role is to help identify and develop a range of technologies and processes to help make their new factory truly advanced. We are looking at everything from relatively simple quick fixes to the de-risking key of investments in digital technologies such as augmented reality, visualisation robotics and big data – that will drive productivity, performance and quality.” One such quick win was identified on the semi-automated production line of the company’s Smartwall. This pre-fabricated element includes fire protection, sound proofing and insulation, along with mechanical and electrical services. “It was clear there was a bottle neck on the line where the process involved the manual mark-up of switch box locations from the drawing of the wall,” says, AMRC Project Engineer, Arthur Kershaw, part of the AMRC team who used the

factory’s existing CAD data to develop a quick solution. “After translating the data, we took two laser line projectors, paired with a barcode scanner, which we linked up to the factory server to accurately project the required positions at the touch of a button,” said Kershaw’s colleague, Diego Aranda, the team’s systems and controls engineer at Factory 2050. Using this approach, the AMRC reduced the time it took to perform these tasks by 60%. Laing O’Rourke is now part of a steering group – comprising AECOM, Doosan Babcock, Autodesk and Microsoft – overseeing a collaborative £1 million Innovate UK venture between the AMRC and private sector partners to pioneer the use of virtual and augmented reality for the construction industry. The ultimate goal is to help the construction industry realise significant value from Building Information Modelling (BIM) and will target a 25% reduction in cost, 25% reduction in waste, and increased productivity of 30% for projects. Griffin is convinced that many of these savings will come from the construction industry’s adoption of advanced digital manufacturing technologies in smart offsite factory settings. “The AMRC’s role is to help them develop a roadmap to adoption. For many it will seems a daunting task. But as Mark Farmer said in his report, unless the industry embraces change the future is truly bleak. Industry digitalisation and robotics are a key part of the solution, not only for improving productivity but also in meeting the legacy challenges the industry faces.

3 “As the Farmer report noted, the construction industry could lose a quarter of its skilled workforce within the next decade. Digitalisation offers a solution to this challenge. The use of smart software and robotics, for instance, can capture the skills of an ageing workforce before they are lost. Augmented and Virtual Reality are also powerful tools that could be used to in training the offsite manufacturing workforce of the future and for upskilling the existing workforce to operate more efficiently in an advanced manufacturing setting. “Our challenge at the AMRC is to help the construction industry get the maximum value out of industrial digitalisation and advanced manufacturing, driving improvements in productivity and quality along with improved health, safety and wellbeing, as we are doing with our aerospace and automotive partners. We may be part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult but high value does not mean high cost. Our solutions work as well for small offsite modular manufacturers as they do for the bigger players and need not cost the earth.” For more information contact: Chris Freeman email: c.freeman@amrc.co.uk or Allan Griffin a.griffin@amrc.co.uk or visit: www.amrc.co.uk Images: 01-03. The ways that digital technology including AR/VR can improve quality and streamline production is truly revolutionary




OFFSITE AWARDS TAKING CENTRE STAGE AT ECOBUILD 2018 The Offsite Construction Awards will be back in 2018 and are forecast to be the most prominent in the event’s history. The Awards will be taking centre stage at one of the UK’s foremost construction events - ecobuild taking place on 06 March 2018. Attracting nearly 30,000 construction professionals across the three days of the ecobuild event and with a dedicated Offsite district which generates 5,000 visitors with a specific interest in offsite technologies – this year’s Offsite Awards will provide the optimum opportunity to profile your outstanding projects, dynamic people and innovative products.

But it is not only the venue that is changing - with over 20 categories – the Offsite Awards are bigger than ever before. To accommodate the increasing demand, and to reflect the wider adoption of offsite technology - seven new categories have been introduced for 2018 which focus on the people at the heart of these cutting-edge projects, including

Architect of the Year, Contractor of the Year, Installer of the Year, Engineer of the Year and Client of the Year. Finalists will be displayed in an Offsite Construction Awards Gallery and will also participate in the Explore Offsite Materclass programme. The Awards are FREE to enter online.


ExCeL - London The 2018 Offsite Construction Awards will take place on the evening of 06 March as a part of ecobuild in the main arena at ExCeL in London and are set to attract over 350 national business leaders and high-profile decision makers from the across the mainstream construction and offsite manufacturing industry. EDUCATION HEALTHCARE The Awards are open toPROJECT public and private organisations PROJECT OF THE YEAR OF THE YEAR with projects located in the UK – with the business or project having a strong offsite construction theme.






















06 March 2018

ExCeL - London

06.03.18 ExCeL - London


ExCeL - London


Celebrate the best in precision building design and delivery at the Offsite Construction Awards. The Awards will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment.





All 22 categories are free to enter, and the submission deadline is 03.01.2018 – simply visit www.offsiteawards.co.uk to start your submission today.










Infrastructure delivery is at the heart of making the UK more competitive and prosperous but as a new report from Arcadis outlines – UK infrastructure construction needs enormous amounts of investment for the next decade to get anywhere near delivering the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline (NICP) ambitions. The latest rankings from the World Economic Forum place the UK in 24th position globally for the quality of its infrastructure. This puts it mid-table among the industrialised nations, but the good news is that we are wellpositioned to improve on this. The latest iteration of the NICP includes over 500 infrastructure projects across six main sectors, with a value of almost £500bn over the next 10 years.

The report ‘Opportunity Knocks: Delivering the UK’s Infrastructure Pipeline’ says the current plan understates the scale of infrastructure projects and that the UK must ‘embrace change’ to meet targets. The report identifies: “bureaucracy, planning constraints, investment and funding challenges, and a shortage of capacity” as factors that keep UK output down and adds that “doubling output to £95k a minute will need proactive and positive action.” Arcadis Head of UK Business Advisory Greg Bradley said: “With some of the most complex and technically challenging projects now underway, the industry is under more pressure and facing more competition to deliver than ever before. We have a massive opportunity here to upgrade our much needed infrastructure networks, and to do things differently. The Arcadis Deliverability Blueprint identifies six critical factors that play a key role in positioning a project for success. One of them point to embracing technical innovation with a key element of this using offsite manufacturing and offshore design at scale to increase


capacity and productivity and incorporating digital solutions at all stages of the programme – from design to operation. The need to ease the pressures surrounding the UK’s roads, railways in particular are huge and with the economic uncertainty of Brexit overshadowing everything, it is going to be a tough challenge to tackle what Lord Adonis, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission recently called the ‘three Cs’ – Congestion, Capacity and Carbon. Adonis said: “We have a proud history in this country of delivering world-class infrastructure – but for years funding has been squeezed, policy decisions have been erratic and the network is showing signs of age and strain. We cannot afford to sit on our hands – Ministers must act now to tackle the Three Cs of congestion, capacity and carbon, if we are to have infrastructure fit for the future, supporting economic growth across the country. But this doesn’t just rest with Whitehall and Westminster, and I’m pleased that the country’s Mayors are also stepping up to plan to meet the infrastructure needs of their communities.”

The Northern Powerhouse region, including the cities of Manchester and Leeds, has more than £13bn of combined infrastructure opportunity to 2021, with schemes such as the Manchester Airport Transformation Programme and Network Rail’s Transpennine Route Upgrade between the two cities now coming to the fore.

EO INFRASTRUCTURE: HEATHROW AIRPORT Expanding Heathrow will be Europe’s largest privately-funded infrastructure project – and is excluded from the NCIP. You will be able to hear more about the proposed uptake of offsite manufacturing across the project from Heathrow Construction Director Phil Wilbraham at Explore Offsite Infrastructure, 5 December at the Birmingham NEC.

The Arcadis report outlines that if infrastructure is to give a genuine lift to the UK’s long-term economic success, the industry needs to undergo a significant shift in its ways of working to achieve the level of output required. This calls for a new level of collaboration with public stakeholders, planning authorities and the supply chain all working towards one goal. “This is about programme delivery on an extraordinary scale, says Greg Bradley. “If we get it right, there is the chance to generate a major increase in the UK’s global competitiveness. However, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity can only be realised if the industry embraces the right tools and approaches to deliver major programmes in line with national needs.” For more information and to download a copy of Opportunity Knocks: delivering the UK’s infrastructure pipeline visit: www.arcadis.com/en/global/





CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION SPEAKERS INCLUDE: Phil Wilbraham - Heathrow Airport John Spittle - Wiehag Joshua Southern - KPMG David Bray - Highways England Mark Berg - Highways England Steve Kaye - Anglian Water Paul Newby - SES Engineering Services Gordon Cullen - SES Engineering Services John Roberts - Laing O’Rourke

This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest offsite construction solutions that will help to deliver the requirements of the infrastructure sector.

Dr Chris Goodier - The Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE) Stephen Wells - Mace Group Ed Newman-Sanders - Atkins Cameron Corsby - Laing O’Rourke Jaimie Johnston - Bryden Wood Maggie Brown - EDF Energy Hinkley Point

TICKETS - £125 + VAT Ticket price includes parking, entry into the conference and exhibition, lunch and refreshments.

To book visit www.exploreoffsite.co.uk/book


CUSTOM HOUSE THE NEW ERA London’s new Elizabeth Line will feature a number of striking buildings. One will be the new station at Custom House where a joint team from Crossrail, Atkins, Arup, Allies & Morrison and Laing O’Rourke collaborated to create a beacon for both the Elizabeth Line and the community.

1 As one of two new ‘above ground’ stations in the central section of the Elizabeth Line it will be an important transport interchange with the adjacent Docklands Light Railway (DLR), local bus services and the ExCeL Centre, in addition to providing the focus for regeneration in the London Borough of Newham. Serving as inspiration for the local community, the new station required iconic architecture to create a unique character. The station development is made up of two parts: a new 24-hour public route from Custom House to ExCel and the Royal Docks and the Crossrail station itself, consisting of an elevated concourse and ticket hall above the island platform.


The strategy for Custom House’s construction included prefabricated and standardised structural components, with a ‘kit of parts’ forming the platform, columns, concourse slab and roof. This ‘kit of parts’ approach had a number of advantages: minimising work on site, driving down programme time and preliminary costs and reducing the impact on the local community. Offsite manufacture reduced programme pressures, required fewer deliveries and vehicle movements around the site, lessening the traffic, noise and air quality impacts on the local community.

2 All the Custom House project milestones were delivered on target, enabling Crossrail to maintain their critical path of track slab availability and the system-wide plant room access. Continuous and dedicated stakeholder engagement was a critical ingredient of this success, with ten 52hour DLR rail possessions successfully carried out throughout the three years onsite. Using offsite construction significantly reduced the amount of waste onsite. The station has a longer design life (120 years) than typical buildings and therefore the whole lifecycle cost is reduced with minimum maintenance.


INFRASTRUCTURE Based on their experiences at Custom House Station, Crossrail’s Julian Robinson, Head of Architecture, said: “We would certainly choose offsite technology again in combination with BIM design tools to also drive home design coordination and integration of building systems.”

3 Custom House will raise the design quality of the area significantly (already receiving positive reactions from the local community) and lead to accelerated regeneration of the local boroughs. The station will provide important connections for commuters. The DLR currently has limited capacity and connections and the Elizabeth Line will fundamentally improve not only the capacity but also journey times into central London. This will enable economic benefits to flow to the local community along with supporting the reputation and success of the ExCeL Centre.

The main site is bounded by the Victoria Dock tunnel portal to the west and the Connaught portal to the east. A line of high voltage cables also overhang the DLR to the south of the site, stretching from pylons to the east and west of the station. A precast concrete solution allowed swift installation by crane of repetitious units, overcoming these access restrictions and risk of the live DLR power cables in close proximity. The existing DLR running along the southern boundary remained fully operational throughout construction, as well as a busy footpath and congested Victoria Dock road. Design quality and efficiency. As one of two above ground stations on the Elizabeth Line, Custom House has been designed to reflect and fit into the urban setting of Newham, whilst also reflecting its role as an icon for the capital’s newest railway line. The

station will enhance the design quality of the area significantly and lead to accelerated regeneration of the local boroughs. Enhancements have also been made to the surrounding public area with a new landscaped area featuring plants, cycle parking and improved lighting. An offsite strategy at Custom House has allowed for the high quality enhancement of local design and transport services, whilst delivered with minimum disruption to the local community set to benefit from the station once in operation. As the project’s main contractor, Laing O’Rourke fabricated the major components, delivering them to the site for positioning and commissioning on a ‘just in time’ basis. The shape of each of the structural columns is a parallelogram rather than orthogonal, with a rotation of 18ᵒ. This is derived from the relationship between the adjacent Freemasons Road and the urban grain of the neighbourhood, with the Victoria Dock Road that runs parallel to the railway lines. This rotation is also carried through the floor finishes and steel superstructure supporting the roof. Use of offsite technology significantly increased the quality of the concrete components and facilitated a straightforward installation despite this complex geometry. Custom House was a fantastic opportunity for the Crossrail Design Team to utilise offsite technology. A significant element of the initial brief was for as much as possible to arrive pre-finished off the back of a lorry and be bolted into place. Custom House was viewed as a ‘giant jigsaw’. The site was tightly constrained, making it spatially challenging from a construction point of view.

Shifting construction activity from site to factory minimised work onsite that, in turn, drove down programme time, preliminary costs and the impact on the local community. The seamless integration of the ‘virtual’ design model (Rhinoceros) with the project programme (Synchro) and the offsite manufacturing plant allowed the team to create highly precise major structural elements, delivered exactly when we needed them. To keep on schedule new technologies were used including software programmes to model the station in 3D and QR codes to track, plan and record the status of each of the 880 precast components from their design through to casting, delivery and installation on site. This provided an efficient way to carry out all quality and health and safety checks, maximising traceability and simplifying the handover process. This innovative strategy has great potential for the many railway infrastructure projects in the years ahead. The more controlled conditions of the factory used in the offsite construction process ensured more consistent and higher-quality production and reduced the need for applied finishes, decreasing programme time, simplifying procurement and lowering costs. Custom House is due to open in December 2018. For more information visit: www.atkinsglobal.com/en-gb Images: 01-02. The Custom House station will help revitalise the area for the local community and improve transport links. Courtesy Atkins 03. 880 precast components were used and tracked via QR codes. Courtesy Atkins






1 Wiehag’s design, supply and installation of the ‘free-form’ roof structure over the new Crossrail Railway station at Abbey Woods in London is an eye-catching and structural triumph, comprising single and double curved glulam, cross laminated timber (CLT) and steel to form the distinctive manta ray shaped roof. Along with Crossrail Place at Canary Wharf – for which Wiehag also designed, manufactured and installed the stunning glulam grid shell roof – this station has become one of the ‘pin ups’ for the whole Crossrail project and is an ultra-complex design pushing the boundaries of what’s possible using timber with glulam members curving in two directions. This project is also acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of the whole Abbey Woods area. This ‘free-form’ roof with double curves that form the shape of a manta ray is one of the most complex Wiehag has designed to date and stretched the in-house design team and had to meet the clients challenging brief for performance, quality, price, design life and fitting around the site’s tight logistics. The normal saying in construction is that ‘curves cost money’ but by using


solid timber products like glulam Wiehag were able to offer the structure at less cost than the equivalent steel frame, with the added bonus of beautiful aesthetics that natural wood brings for free. The new station’s roof is one of the most complicated Wiehag have ever been involved in in their long history, and only by using advanced design software and CNC machines in Wiehag’s high-tech factory were they able to engineer and manufacture the components to the quality, tolerances and design required. Maximum work had to be carried out offsite because of the limitations onsite – both the tight urban nature of the site and the constraints of installing a new roof over a live railway. As well as reducing the quantity of lorry journeys, Wiehag’s offsite package was also quiet to install and didn’t produce large quantities of dust or waste, so disruption to local residents was kept to a minimum. Also, by carrying out the majority of operations offsite Wiehag were able to offer a RIDDOR-free installation. Building new large railway station roofs from timber is very uncommon in the UK. Wiehag hope that this project will demonstrate how engineered timber can offer a genuine alternative to

the normal steel structures, and that glulam be used successfully in other sectors. The project is a stunning example of free-form architecture and shows how far timber engineering has come. Wiehag have taken Architects Fereday + Pollard vision and engineered an exceptional structure that is already gaining recognition as an important iconic building both home and abroad. For the project, 190m3 of glulam and CLT – all PEFC-certified – resulted in about 190 tonnes of CO2 being captured which helps make the building carbon neutral for a number of years. Despite being one of the most complicated projects Wiehag has ever worked on, both in terms of design and logistics, Wiehag’s package was delivered on time, on budget and to a quality that delighted the client. Abbey Wood Station will be finished end of 2017 with the Crossrail (Elizabeth) line starting running December 2018. For more information visit: http://en.wiehag.com Image: 01. The free-form ‘manta ray’ roof shows just how amazing looking and structurally flexible glulam and CLT can be. Courtesy Wiehag/ Chris Mansfield



PIPING FOR HINCKLEY MODULAR BLOCKS Hinckley Point nuclear power station is one of the largest and most important construction projects currently active in Europe. Neil Budd, Head of Product and Technical at Emmeti UK explains how the use of the GERPEX system has brought significant time and cost savings and increased confidence in durability to the project. on installation time. GERPEX MLCP can also be used in a wide range of applications including sanitary systems and heating (radiator and underfloor heating). The pipe is fully Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS)approved and available in a range of sizes from 16-75mm making it ideal for both domestic and commercial applications.

1 Given the scale and duration of the project, Caledonian Modular were appointed to deliver long-term accommodation, built to permanent standards and used temporarily to house the project’s workers, with 44 apartment buildings commissioned across two sites (Hinckley Point C and Bridgwater A campus). Each consists of 34-bedroom blocks to provide 1,496 ensuite rooms in total, making it the largest European hotel standard project in 25 years. Accommodation is delivered directly from Caledonian’s Newark factory to site 96% complete with all of the ensuite rooms fully fitted out, enabling each of the accommodation blocks to be completed within six weeks once delivered to site. The modules include completed MEP services bar final connections to main distribution


networks thus vastly reducing time and simplifying the program onsite. Given these requirements Emmeti’s GERPEX system was the optimum choice for the piping systems, offering advantages of both plastic and metal pipes combined with excellent value and peace of mind with an approximate 40% reduction in joints. Multi-Layer Composite Pipe (MLCP) consists of a plastic pipe (PE-Xb) with an internal aluminium layer that provides rigidity, form retention and a solid oxygen barrier to prevent internal corrosion of heating system components. Compared to ordinary plastic pipes, MLCP has low expansion characteristics so can be included in building designs in the same manner as copper. The flexibility of the pipe together with the use of Press Fittings can offer significant savings

Press Fittings have been developed to be used with MLCP as a clean, simple and more efficient alternative to traditional jointing methods such as soldered copper and threaded steel fittings. The use of a pressing tool to ensure a clean, secure joint means that the system can be installed with no hot works on site, surety in every fitting being secure with the aid of a sight window and pronounced depression of the sleeve when pressed meaning offsite assembly, transportation to site and construction could be undertaken with confidence. Each 34 bedroom block relies on GERPEX-MLCP distribution up to 63mm which is routed through the corridors on each floor to supply all LTHW, DHW and MCW systems. A range of pipe sizes have been used from 16mm to 63mm along with Press Fittings to suit with Acumen Technical Ltd undertaking the installation and commissioning. Construction of the power station itself is expected to take 10 years and when complete will provide 7% of the UK’s electricity with an operational life of 60 years. For more information visit: www.emmeti.co.uk Image: 01. The Gerpex MLCP pipe and fittings in use.



MAXIMISING BENEFITS & KEEPING SCHEDULES ON-TRACK When it comes to the design, manufacture, and construction of new structures, tall buildings are some of the most complex. The difficulties of designing and installing a suitable drainage solution within a tall building means that significant expertise is required, to guarantee long-term system integrity and prevent any future complications. Polypipe Terrain has long been associated with innovative engineered commercial drainage solutions. Drawing on our 50 years of experience, we can offer architects and specifiers peace of mind, by ensuring that the drainage solution for their tall building is not simply a ‘one size fits all’ system, but a tailored, individually designed solution that meets the specific demands of their project. To further assist in the delivery of complex tall building projects, we offer our clients a comprehensive project management service via our dedicated Fabrication Team. Delivering a complete end-to-end service, our team ensures alignment with the project’s supply schedule, while working hard to maximise the reductions to labour costs and waste anticipated through large scale offsite construction. Our project management service begins with an initial estimation, followed by the provision of a full, tailored design. Once the client is completely satisfied with the design, our Fabrication Team creates a bespoke ‘Manufacture Sheet’ specific to the particular job. This offers the customer complete transparency, outlining the parts that have been ordered, their price, the current processing stage of the product, and their delivery date. At any point in the process, the client can access this spreadsheet and make use of the guidance and expertise of their dedicated project manager. Our comprehensive project management service ensures full traceability, transparency, and outstanding communication, from the first design, right through to the final installation.


1 The advantages offered by our project management service are reflected in the strong positive feedback we have received from clients. Duncan Benedetti, Managing Director at Briggs & Forrester (MEP) Ltd, says: “Project management is a service offered in house by Polypipe Terrain, taking clients from fabrication drawing right through to delivery to site. The latest developments of BIM and 3D-modelling mean that Polypipe Terrain can work directly with our in-house design team, going to fabrication from our combined model. The quality of the delivered product is very high, as is the service provided and attention paid to the relationship on both sides, any issues are dealt with proactively by both parties. The benefits of offsite fabrication are well documented, and are realised working in conjunction with Polypipe Terrain.”

2 Adam Cafer, Fabrication Project Manager at Polypipe Terrain, adds: “Our fabricated products are manufactured in a controlled factory environment and tested in compliance with the British Standard 12056-2, delivering quality assured products that arrive onsite, ready to install. Through our project management service, we strive to offer an outstanding personalised service that keeps tall building projects on track.” For more information visit: www.polypipe.com/commercialproperty-public-buildings Images: 01-02. Polypipe Terrain assist in the delivery of complex tall building projects via a comprehensive project management service and its dedicated Fabrication Team



LEAN FACTORY THINKING ARE WE OFFSITE READY? Richard Lyle, Director, Turner & Townsend Suiko considers the growing opportunity for end-to-end Lean Factory Thinking in the offsite manufacturing supply chain.

1 The main principles of Lean Factory Thinking are commonplace in most manufacturing industries worldwide. Clearly, organisations within the traditional manufacturing sectors that have effectively embraced Lean have developed a healthy competitive advantage, whilst significantly reducing cost and increasing profit.

in its infancy. Whilst the sector does not lack innovation, there is a general reluctance to fully embrace change. As a result the uptake and adoption of Lean is slow and remains difficult to instil across the supply chain.

Similarly, in other leading sectors where the business benefits of adopting a Lean Factory Thinking mindset have been commandeered into the organisational and operational DNA, the associated rewards are undeniable. The results are evident in the step-change in productivity, product quality and value, not to mention the array of behavioural and cultural improvements.

Offsite Growth Opportunity The offsite market is set for dramatic growth with a predicted outlook of £9bn per annum by 2018. It is clearly visible how the uplift in preassembly and prefabrication could revolutionise the industry and provide a solution to the housing shortage. Equally, significant benefits could be greatly realised in the commercial sector with large-scale infrastructure projects such as HS2 and Hinckley Point currently successfully championing offsite methods.

The benefit of applying Lean Factory Thinking in construction is diverse and far-reaching. However, when it comes to the industry as a whole and the opportunity, Lean is comparatively still

The potential for implementing Lean strategy in construction is vast with offsite being one of the enablers, but it is not without its complexities which may account for the industry dragging


its heels. Adopting Lean practice will clearly have follow on effects up and down the supply chain, influencing procurement behaviour, tendering and pricing, not to mention the environmental impact from overseas manufacture. The urgency to reenergise and innovate within the industry has never been greater, however as with all emerging markets, offsite sector growth is intrinsically aligned to having the right operational and behavioural industry drivers in place to make it happen. It is not a case of business as usual. Simply moving the myriad of traditional construction problems and issues along the current supply chain is not a viable or sustainable solution. Industry-wide connectivity is vital in order to rethink current practice. Fundamental change is required to effectively support and sustain the forecasted growth and critically to prevent large-scale efforts from being derailed. Factory Thinking vs. Traditional Construction At entry level, we see the main issues concerned with the basic processes and practices of ‘manufacture’ versus ‘construction’. The entire ethos of factory assembled manufacture is a far cry from traditional design and build techniques; not to mention the different skill sets and associated behavioural cultures involved. In simple terms, preassembly happens in a factory and not on a building site, thus it requires alternative rules of engagement, and in our view a completely different approach. As a factory-based process, we see many best practice synergies directly attributed to the manufacturing sector. From automation, synchronisation, repeatability and greater predictability through to mass customisation and standardisation, key operational principles that govern and safeguard our manufacturing industries are now equally relevant to offsite. As a result, we believe much can be learned from direct sector knowledge transfer.


SIDEY KitFixÂŽ System Unique Innovative Solution for offsite Installed Fenestration

For over 85 years it has been an ethos of Sidey to provide customers with the highest quality products along with the highest safety standards within our industry. Sidey’s comprehensive list of accreditations assures customers that Sidey work to and maintains the highest standards in order to provide the best possible quality product, service and safety standards.

There is capacity in the offsite market to fill the growing demand in a controlled and health and safety conscious way, and at the same time offer the best products on the market to give a long term return on investment.

Email: kitfix@sidey.co.uk

01738 572 152


Scan for KitFix Video

One of the great benefits to companies is the opportunity for Sidey to get involved at the design team stage. Working collaboratively with architects, constructors, and clients themselves to understand exactly what they want and offer quality bespoke solutions ensuring our element of the build - enhanced specification windows and doors, air-tightness and offsite installation solutions compliments the whole of the rest of the construction.

LEAN MANUFACTURE Logistics A significant shift in culture is required before volume, large-scale offsite projects can be entirely and effectively delivered via an assembly process. Despite the fact that construction operations and supply chains have inherent differences to those deployed within manufacturing, the principles of Lean can equally be applied. The new rules of offsite assembly are all encompassing and in our view are non-negotiable. The risk associated with getting offsite wrong is significantly higher compared to traditional construction techniques. Assembling and transporting largescale modular pre-engineered systems requires a whole new level of sophistication. Holistic planning, sequencing, control and logistics all have their critical parts to play to ensure every fine detail of the project is factored in from initial concept through to the delivery to the client. Working to exacting standards and tolerances, factories and building sites will need to be fully fluent in each other’s operative language, integrating and working to the pull of the customer and single piece flow. In our experience, offsite projects and developments operating without the ‘right first time’ Lean seal of approval are in danger of reaping potentially catastrophic results. For example as tenders frequently do not take account of shorter delivery and erections times, a modular housing system arriving to site prior to adequate groundwork preparation could derail the entire project before it has even started. Equally, back to the drawing board mistakes are costly. A prefabricated bathroom pod designed to the wrong specification cannot simply be remodelled or re-engineered onsite. There is also the added implication of transport which is fit-for-purpose. Modular buildings are often governed by the sizes that can be lifted and transported safely to site and equally governed by feasible transport routes, roads and site access. A project that is running to schedule and assembled on time could dramatically fall at the final hurdle if transport from the factory to site is not planned in with the same level of logistical consistency and environmental assessment.


2 We are supportive of the recent Get It Right Initiative, supported by ICE, which is gaining momentum in the industry with the move towards tackling the waste and avoidable error which costs the UK economy billions each year. Future Proof Strategies Some of the criticisms and barriers to why offsite has not been adopted more widely in the sector stem from the concern that all building sites and developments are different and the complexities are too great to factor in. Contractors are frequently not involved early enough to influence the design process, but equally the adversarial culture which often exists within contractual and commercial behaviours in many cases prevents early engagement and collaboration. We have seen first-hand the robust benefit to the contractor through the adoption of Lean Factory Thinking, which has culminated in the significant improvements to the bottom line whilst gaining an enviable competitive advantage. The contractor is an important conduit for collaboration within the supply chain working intuitively with all counterparts. However, for this to happen, the end-to-end supply chain must be fully engaged and on board. We strongly advocate that instead of focusing on the crippling differences, a cohesive strategy should be employed to unite the supply chain, allowing greater transparency to exploit the similarities and synergies.

Driven by Lean principles, through improved process and the reduction of cost and waste, we suggest the offsite industry proposition now needs to step up a gear with an uncompromising focus on designing and building client centric ‘right first time’ solutions. Industry collaboration is a critical success factor. The offsite market is dominated by a small group of key players with a mature supply chain – we encourage the move towards best practice through wider partnering, the cross fertilisation of ideas and collaboration across the sector to eliminate the current fragmented approach. The offsite market needs to focus on delivering value as opposed to being price-led. We advocate a switch in focus to comprehensively eliminate all elements within the supply-chain that do not add value. Tuning in the right skills, design capabilities, technological expertise and applications within the process is equally paramount. To future proof the supply chain, and ensure we are all ‘offsite ready’, it is essential that clear end-to-end Lean strategies and policies are now defined, understood and effectively embedded. For more information visit: www. suiko.co.uk Images: 01. A Lean strategy should be at the centre of the offsite mindset. Courtesy Portakabin 02. Factory-controlled manufacture creates huge market possibilities. Courtesy EGGER


Follow us @lhcprocurement


DIGITISING CONSTRUCTION David Clark, Innovation Manager of the McAvoy Group, assesses the latest techniques for digitising construction and how developments in cutting-edge new technology is taking offsite construction to another level of precision.

1 Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been the subject of much debate in recent years but the aim of driving greater collaboration across the disciplines of architecture, engineering, manufacturing and construction has to be the right approach. Digital transformation is happening all around us and the developing technologies, such as global connectivity and new advances such as drones, satellite images, robotics and electric cars are set to accelerate and will continue to change the way we live. The construction industry, however, has been much slower to adopt and benefit from the digital transformation. McAvoy’s view is that there is tremendous synergy between offsite construction and the latest digital techniques, which give us the opportunity to radically improve the way we design and produce buildings for our clients.


Our experience of BIM is much more than the creation of 3D models of buildings. It is about the process of how we deliver projects to our clients in the most efficient way possible. Harnessing the latest technology has allowed us to streamline processes at the earliest stages of a project, to deliver shorter design periods and buildings that exceed our clients’ expectations. It allows us to collaborate more effectively internally, with our supply chain and with the client. Shorter design periods are critical for offsite construction. We need to start manufacturing buildings as soon as the ground is broken onsite. To achieve that, detailed design information has to be released to our manufacturing teams at a much earlier stage than with site-based construction – and that necessitates earlier decision making on the part of the client. BIM allows a building design to be co-ordinated in a more efficient way and facilitates better

quality decisions earlier in a project. There is better client engagement with the use of 3D models – teachers or healthcare professionals for example, are not trained to read 2D construction drawings. If we use data rich, fully detailed 3D BIM models and walkthroughs, we can communicate a building design much more effectively, and present design options for discussion in a far better way. Virtual Reality in Construction Advances in virtual reality (VR) have allowed us to actually put our clients and end users into their virtual building as part of the design process. They can feel and experience their working environments and are now able to validate instantly whether the layouts work for them. VR takes client engagement to another level and works alongside BIM. It is another way to communicate with clients and stakeholders, allowing them to engage and review the design as it develops. It removes the potential for misinterpretation of drawings and data loss. Using a headset, you can be in the space in a building. Our customers simply love this. We used it for a recent project at Dublin Airport where the client wanted to assess ceiling heights. It provides instant and more informed decision making. Mobile VR can now easily be set up and remote multi-user sessions can be created. Permanent VR can be installed on site for our major projects, hosted at our head office. Our CAD designer can then be linked to the client who can tour the building in a collaborative but remote design workshop. This really enhances the way our clients and users visualise a building. Its design and functionality can be assessed with a view to producing better building designs, more quickly. We are now looking at building a VR experience for training our manufacturing teams in the most efficient and safest processes. With offsite construction, there are many repeatable operations to produce bespoke buildings in our factories. We can now take the highest risk activity such as moving large modules – and build a VR programme around that process to help us continually improve health and safety.


OFFSITE OUTLOOKS Augmented Reality – The Next Development Augmented reality (AR) allows us to project CAD data onto the world around us. For example, we could take AR onto a site and superimpose the building. This would be an excellent planning tool and offer a new level of client engagement. It could also allow us to deliver 3D data to manufacturing, potentially cutting out 2D drawings, which we are exploring and believe has huge potential for offsite manufacture. As part of our commitment to digitising construction, McAvoy is now working with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) on an advanced visualisation project to use AR in construction. This is a 12-month programme to develop constructionrelated engineering skills to address the needs of digital construction. Our aim is to cut out the resourceintensive processes of 2D information. By removing the reliance on manual processes, there is less data loss and more informed decision making – all driven by BIM.

2 As a business, McAvoy sees tremendous opportunities for digitising offsite construction, particularly to help us address the industry challenges of meeting the ambitious targets set out in the Government’s Construction 2025 Strategy. We were the first, and we believe only offsite specialist to achieve BIM Level 2 accreditation and it is transforming the way we work with our clients. As advances in digital technology continue to improve, we

can only see even greater benefits to our customers, users and stakeholders in the facilities we design and construct offsite. For more information visit: www.mcavoygroup.com Images: 01-02. BIM and AR/VR technology is providing a massive boost to the building user experience




INTERNET OF PINGS Smart technology is changing the face of construction with a range of devices making complicated tasks easier from robotics to smart helmets and digital software efficiencies. Steve Mansour, Chief Executive Officer of construction insurance specialists CRL, gives a different perspective on a changing building landscape. construction workers to share and view various building elements, data and plans. Not to mention the SmartReality app from JBKnowledge3, which allows users to hold a smartphone or tablet over designs or plan files and see 2D drawings projected as 3D models.

The use of VR technologies has increased dramatically across the construction industry in recent years and HP’s latest device the Z VR Backpack, which made its UK debut at the Digital Construction Week, further emphasises this point. The backpack, similarly to the Daqri, will offer great flexibility and open up a world of opportunities for developers looking to explore large areas.

1 Whilst the construction industry isn’t necessarily known for its connection to technology, there are a surprising number of tools that have arisen to help those within the sector. From 3D walk-throughs to sell a property, to 3D virtual reality (VR) modelling used to pitch architectural projects, there are numerous benefits to adopting this technology. In addition to the increased efficiencies and reduced costs, it can allow construction firms and builders to stand out from the crowd when marketing their property to consumers and gain an edge on their competitors.


For builders and owners, VR experience provides a more realistic vision than a traditional blueprint or drawing will. For many clients, it is difficult to visualise three dimensions, and in any industry written or verbal communications can leave much room for interpretation. VR brings the specific vision to life and provides room for sharing and making alterations during the crucial preplanning stages. By utilising wearable presentation gadgets such as the smart helmet designed specifically for industrial settings from Daqri2, allows

This advanced technology also benefits homebuyers. VR devices such as the Oculus Rift, are also growing in popularity as a way of marketing property, and for off-plan developments, where buyers are trying to envisage their future homes, the experience can prove invaluable. It is therefore entirely possible that in the future, these tools will be widely used to show prospective buyers their future home, before it is built but the industry is some way from this yet. This is exactly why continued investment in the construction industry is imperative to ensure it has the capabilities to respond and react to developments and changes. Through programmes like the government’s Digital Built Britain (DBB) and through the development of innovative new


OFFSITE OUTLOOKS technology, planners and architects are given more opportunity to collaborate with contractors, whilst reassuring clients and addressing any concerns they may have.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) such as Semi-Automated Mason, is a good example of what the future holds for the industry. The robot which can lay approximately 3,000 bricks a day, has been developed to help play a key role in tackling labour shortages in construction, and whilst much of the current focus around AI has been on how the ‘rise of robots’ will spell the end for many roles, the implementation of AI doesn’t necessarily mean job losses. Redeploying employees can prove to be invaluable in helping to attract, engage and retain talent as well as potentially help gain an advantage

within the sector, as workers are given a chance to move laterally within organisations and further develop their own skillsets. One element that could push VR to the forefront of construction is the number of young workers within the industry. Developers need to be forward thinking to attract such talent with new skills needed to embrace this technology. With the influx of VR software, its acceptance will only continue to grow, and eventually influence the industry in a more impactful way. Embracing the ‘internet of pings’ will allow builders and developers to push boundaries and drive the expectation and quality of newbuilds forward. Whilst these tools are surely being used in large scale commercial builds, it appears that small and medium-sized builders are still struggling to adopt such technologies. It is imperative this changes, as they are the backbone of the UK’s construction industry. For more information visit: www.c-r-l.com


DIGITAL BUILT BRITAIN The BIM Level 3 programme has been branded Digital Built Britain. Level 3 will enable the interconnected digital design of different elements in a built environment and will extend BIM into the operation of assets over their lifetimes. It will support the accelerated delivery of smart cities, services and grids. Owners and operators will be able to better manage assets and services as they track their real-time efficiency, maximising utilisation and minimising energy use. For more information visit: www.digital-built-britain.com

Image: 01. The use of advanced digital technology offers a new world of building development.

28 FEBRUARY 2018 BRE, WATFORD Explore the potential of digital construction and understand how best to implement it into your offsite construction strategy. This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers and offsite technology suppliers to network with industry experts to discuss the latest developments in digital construction for the offsite sector.

Tickets - £125 + VAT Ticket price includes entry into the conference and exhibition, lunch and refreshments. There will also be an option of a guided tour of the BRE Innovation Park.

For more information, or to book tickets, visit: www.exploreoffsite.co.uk




THINKING CLOUD AND CLEAR Why should structural engineers move to the Cloud? Sam Carigliano, Chief Executive Officer of structural engineering software specialist SkyCiv, offers some tips on how to approach more efficient working.

1 When the first laptops were created in the 1980s as a portable alternative to home computers, original models such as the Osborne 1 were bulky, heavy and largely impractical — a far cry from the convenient models of today. Similarly, Cloud computing has developed significantly in the past decade to allow structural engineers to work on projects with complete flexibility. Cloud computing allows users to customise applications and access remotely stored data and services from any device with an internet connection. Those working in a dataintensive, project based industry can benefit from using shared computing processing resources like the Cloud to shape and bring their ideas to life. This is particularly true for structural engineering, which has until recently experienced disparities between modern ways of working and more traditional approaches to software. As concepts such as remote working and collaborative projects become increasingly common in the industry,


the limitations of traditional structural engineering software present challenges to engineers. The core challenge for engineers is that projects carried out within this sector involve collaboration between various people, often spread out across various locations, using a variety of different systems. With project times varying from a few months to several years, not all companies or freelance engineers have the upfront capital expenditure to pay for software ahead of a project. The costs for licensing software can be price out many small businesses and freelancers. This is mostly because, when an updated version of the software is released, engineers are required to purchase the software again with each new update. Not purchasing new versions of software as a way of saving costs leaves your system vulnerable to cyber-attacks as seen with the WannaCry ransomware attack in May this year.

With the Cloud, software updates are automated so that you are using the latest version as soon as it is fully functional and rolled out by the software provider. Requiring no installation or plug-ins that often slow systems down, updates to the Cloud are completed without interruption or downtime. Cloud software is a monthly subscription service that can be tailored to include the applications needed for your business, which is a model not conventionally used in structural engineering. Fortunately, structural engineering software providers are adopting this model to improve the effectiveness of software without pricing out growing businesses and project freelancers. SkyCiv offers tools like the beam, truss, frame and shaft calculators, as well as design check software which can be included in any subscription. This is with the added value of not having to commit vast sums of money to obtain the software or pay installation and ongoing maintenance costs. In addition to having the choice of a monthly plan for a fraction of the price of software licensing, companies can scale up and down their system depending on its computing needs. This eliminates the need for large investments in infrastructure that may only be needed on a temporary basis. While structural engineering relies on knowledge of applied mechanics, materials science and applied mathematics, SkyCiv’s structural engineering software offers businesses convenience and a platform to integrate its networks. Although the Osborne 1 was the first portable device that could bundle several software applications together, the weight of the device made it impractical. Just as technological developments have allowed laptops to now become a valuable ally to many workers, the development of Cloudbased software can help structural engineers bring greater ease and flexibility to their design concepts. For more information visit: www.skyciv.com Image: 01. Cloud computing allows users to customise applications and access remotely stored data and services from any device with an internet connection.



IMPROVED WORKING KNOWLEDGE – IMPROVES WORKING PERFORMANCE It was standing room only at the inaugural Masterclasses at ecobuild in March this year and so the Explore Offsite Masterclasses will be back by popular demand, as a key component of ecobuild 2018. professionals with the knowledge to successfully apply these techniques. The Explore Offsite Masterclasses are free to attend and will host 40 speakers over 18 hours of presentations across 12 sessions and will cover Housing, Education, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Volumetric Modular, Structural Timber, Light Gauge Steel, Hybrid, Concrete and Digital Construction. For more information visit: www.ecobuild.co.uk/exploreoffsite Taking place alongside the ecobuild exhibition from 06 – 08 March 2018 at ExCel, London – delivered in association with the Offsite Academy – the Explore Offsite Masterclass programme will provide a free CPDaccredited interactive platform to learn direct from the experts who are shaping the future of the construction industry and pioneering many new processes and techniques Aimed at delivering fast, qualitative improvements in working knowledge, the series of masterclasses feature carefully chosen guest speakers, and each masterclass will examine in depth a specific sector, technology or related topic, with real-life case studies bringing the subject to life, plus the benefit and reassurance of CPD accreditation. An open forum will offer the opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into others’ experiences and solutions. Offsite construction techniques are now recognised as some of the most important solutions to many of the problems facing the construction industry today. However, the challenge of such a rapidly-growing sector, with 54

its seemingly limitless stream of new processes, systems and products – means it can be challenging for construction professionals to know where to start or how to keep up-to-date. The organisers of ecobuild recognise a need for objective knowledge and training combined with the opportunity to gain hard evidence that offsite construction is working not only in theory but in practise. The Explore Offsite Masterclass programme will bring together a range of supply-chain specialists and industry leaders to provide expert information and seminars on solving the housing shortage, using offsite technology to construct a more sustainable environment, and how the industry is responding to unprecedented demand through greater investment in lean manufacturing systems. Running daily throughout the ecobuild event and offering an independent perspective of the offsite construction sector, the intensive Masterclass sessions will address the drivers and benefits of using offsite construction technology, and provide construction

TO DATE CONFIRMED SEMINAR CONTRIBUTORS, INCLUDE: Darren Richards Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Andy von Bradsky Design & Delivery Advisor, DCLG Bjorn Conway CEO, ilke Homes Emily King Education Specialist, Portakabin Andrew Carpenter CEO, Structural Timber Association Gavin White Director, Ramboll Nic Clark Managing Director, KLH UK Peter Blunt Managing Director, Innovare Systems Cliff Jones Head of Construction, Department of Health/Procure22 energy use.



THE EASY AND EFFICIENT WAY TO DO BUSINESS The Offsite Buyers Forum offers a structured, highly-effective way for buyers and specifiers to meet with new and existing offsite industry suppliers exhibiting within the offsite, timber and concrete districts at ecobuild 2018. All of the Forum activities and meetings are matched to your needs, organised on your behalf and completely free of charge – all we ask for is that you give us a little of your time in return. These meetings will be scheduled and booked in advance and will be operated around a strict timetable. Sufficient time will be built in throughout the day for participants to visit the main exhibition and attend seminars. In the event that a Forum participant cannot attend for the full day, or can only attend for part of the day, a reserve person meeting the qualifying criteria, will be required to attend in their place. We know that your time is at a premium – too much work, a busy schedule and not enough time to meet new suppliers. As a result, you may miss out on making contact with significant key people that could have a huge impact on the future success of your business. The Offsite Buyers Forum provides a solution. By facilitating ‘one-to-one’ business meetings with the companies you want to meet – you’re in control – the Forum enables you to have private meetings without leaving the comfort of the Forum lounge. The Forum team will organise a bespoke programme of handpicked supplier meetings, together with relevant seminars and networking events to help fulfil immediate to longer term project needs. The Offsite Buyers Forum will be located within the Offsite district and is designed to be one of the truly exclusive parts of the show. This is all tailored to you – enabling you to exploit the best of business opportunities from ecobuild. 56

This focused approach has proved to be highly successful in creating new business relationships and facilitating meetings that allow you to get the most out of your time at the show. All participants in the Forum have a strong desire to engage at the highest level possible with decision makers and individuals with direct influence over procurement decisions.

The primary aim of the Forum is to match supplier’s wants with the buyer’s and specifier’s preferences. Each appointment will be scheduled to last 30 minutes and appointments will appear in the individual online diary of both the buyer/specifier and the exhibitor.

QUALIFYING CRITERIA To ensure that they are genuinely interested in taking part, and looking to satisfy a real business need, participants in the Offsite Buyers Forum must meet a set of strict qualification criteria. Participants are expected to provide the following attributes: • Potential for future relationships with exhibitors • Live projects or a significant project pipeline • Genuine interest to learn about new offsite products and technologies • Decision making authority or influence. To register as a Buyer visit: www.offsitebuyersforum.co.uk


Part of:


Engage at the highest level with leading offsite technology suppliers within the offsite, timber and concrete districts, and learn about the latest product innovations via the Offsite Masterclass programme and the Ask the Expert sessions. The forum is the most time efficient and targeted platforms for architects, engineers, specifiers and procurement managers - to participate contact the Forum Manager: Rebekah.williams@radar-communications.co.uk



OFFSITE EXPERTISE ON TAP Explore Offsite at ecobuild 2017 clearly demonstrated the insatiable appetite to acquire offsite knowledge. In response to the outstanding feedback, a dedicated Ask the Expert free consultancy service will be an additional new feature of the 2018 event. constraints through innovations in advanced and offsite manufacture to drive increased productivity and efficiency in delivery of the built environment in the UK, and so Ask the Expert is the perfect mechanism for visitors to ecobuild to access the accumulated knowledge of these leading experts and short-circuit their learning curve.

Taking place at ecobuild from 06 – 08 March 2018 at Excel, London – the Ask the Expert facility, located in the heart of the Offsite district, will permit visitors to ‘drop in’ with scheme concept details and drawings – without the need to pre-book meetings and without any consultation fee. Visitors will be able to meet one-to-one with leading industry experts to discuss live projects and explore design efficiencies, engineering challenges and supply-chain development. Leading offsite industry experts will be on hand to discuss project objectives and to make recommendations on design efficiencies, value engineering, comparable case studies and supply-chain opportunities, or just provide endorsement of current strategies. Three of the UK’s principal experts who are shaping the future of the offsite construction industry will be taking part. Darren Richards, an offsite manufacturing expert with 25


years’ experience developing offsite businesses and Managing Director of Cogent Consulting – the UK’s leading offsite construction consultancy, Mark Farmer, the author of the landmark Modernise or Die report and CEO of Cast Consultancy, which is helping transform the construction industry and Rory Bergin, who leads a specialist team at HTA Design, composed of architects and engineers who carry out building performance analysis. These leaders will be supported by team members from their various businesses with specialist skills in process and product engineering, strategies for the application of offsite technology on projects and system selection, plus new techniques on project management and construction integration.

There is no need to pre-book appointments for Ask the Expert – just bring along your project details and pull up a chair! The service will be available free of charge to all visitors throughout the three days of ecobuild and it will complement the comprehensive Explore Offsite Masterclass programme where other industry experts will be presenting on the latest offsite projects and technology developments. What is already lined up for Explore Offsite at ecobuild in 2018 is exciting, but the show organisers want to challenge the offsite sector to move the technology even more to the forefront of construction thinking by getting more diverse and cuttingedge technologies on display or discussed. Ecobuild want the offsite sector to help shape the event and ensure that Explore Offsite at ecobuild is showcasing the very latest thinking and innovations in the sector. For more information on Explore Offsite at ecobuild go to: www.ecobuild.co.uk/offsite-district

Cogent, Cast and HTA Design are all committed to playing a part in demonstrating how the construction industry can overcome its capacity





Fusion’s build programme for Neville’s Cross is estimated at 26 weeks and after just six weeks, one accommodation block has already been erected.

1 Fusion Building Systems has been contracted by Keepmoat Regeneration, part of the ENGIE group, to supply offsitemanufactured light gauge steel panelised superstructures, for the Neville’s Cross student campus at Durham University. Starting work onsite earlier this summer with the erection of 274 high quality ensuite studio bedrooms which will make up the new campus. Located across six blocks of three, four and five storey-buildings, they have been designed by GWP Architecture for Eco-Res Limited to achieve the BREEAM Outstanding rating for sustainability. Fusion’s contribution as an offsite manufacturer is significant. It’s low to zero-waste manufacturing process, five-times fewer journeys to site than traditional building methods, and low levels of embodied CO2 in the superstructure of the buildings, are hoped will contribute to securing the highly-acclaimed BREEAM ranking. Stewart Hackney, Fusion Building Systems’ Business Development Manager, said: “We’ve built more than 6,500 student beds over the past 15 years, making us one of the most experienced operators in the industry. Our offsite solutions are often specified for student accommodation or city centre schemes because of our fast, predictable build times and our ability


to operate on sites with restricted access – what’s often overlooked however, are our outstanding environmental credentials. “We’ve worked with Keepmoat Regeneration and Eco-Res Limited on a number of projects over the past few years. Both know our offsite solution has significant sustainability benefits over traditional building methods and can therefore help to earn additional BREEAM credits. In fact, it’s projects like this that are helping others in the industry top see the benefits of offsite methods of building and appreciate why they should be given increasing priority in the future of UK construction.” Fusion is using its tested panelised steel for Neville’s Cross which sees individual, floor and wall panels transported to and erected onsite. Compared to other offsite solutions, this panelised systems allows for bespoke architectural designs, flexibility with the building on site and total cost control for the developer. Stewart adds: “The designs for Neville’s Cross were developed through the collaboration of all three companies. They’ll see the new campus made up of differing building types to enhance the streetscape of the route into the city centre, brilliantly illustrating how light gauge steel superstructures can be incorporated into any design or external finish.”

Following on from a successful completion of an offsite trial project with Barratt Developments last year, Fusion Building Systems is also now working on its first live site with the residential housebuilder. Work started onsite for Fusion at Barratt’s Cane Hill Park development in Coulsdon, Surrey in June. Robert Clark, Head of Business Development at Fusion, said: “Both companies went on a journey which lasted around 18 months, as we examined in detail how we might be able to work together to make offsite construction a viable option for volume housebuilding. That journey concluded with the successful build of nine properties using our light gauge steel system at one of Barratt’s developments in West Sussex. Now, I’m pleased to say, we’re continuing our supply-chain partnership and have been contracted to deliver projects worth in excess of £3 million.” Oliver Novakovic, Technical and Innovation Director, Barratt Developments, added: “Barratt has spent 18 months assessing a number of offsite systems to support our traditional methods of delivery. We decided to trial with Fusion and are pleased to see this trial progress to a full site test at Cane Hill Park. Cane Hill is one of London’s biggest projects to transform disused public land, and it recently won the Graham Pye award for best family scheme at the Housing Design Awards, so it’s a key development for us.” The brick-clad apartment buildings contain a mix of one and two-bedroom properties, and while three of blocks will be reserved for affordable housing, the remaining two will be available for private purchase. For more information visit: www.fusionbuild.com Images: 01. Neville’s Cross will benefit from six blocks of new student accommodation using light gauge steel superstructures




Offsite construction comes in many forms, but the industry needs passionate people, as well as innovative products to make a difference. One of those individuals is John-Paul Fraser, Managing Director of ORCA LGS.


1 The main ORCA mantra – technology and training to deliver the affordable new homes needed to meet demand – sounds like housing’s Holy Grail, which makes North Shields near Newcastle an unlikely Camelot. But that is the mission of John-Paul Fraser, Managing Director of ORCA LGS and the passion in his voice suggests this son of Northumberland is going to leave no stone uncovered, or steel uncoiled, in his quest to revolutionise production and delivery, but crucially creating jobs – training local youngsters – in the process. While what ORCA LGS is doing is far from mainstream, don’t call it modular either. Fraser could be labelled a zealot through the sheer force of his belief in making a difference, but he sits somewhere in the middle of the argument, using modern methods of construction, between traditional and modular.


“There is room for everybody, my system allows for flexibility, scalability, less risk and low capital expenditure, using local people” says Fraser. So what is the ORCA system? It is a story that starts in the Middle East where Fraser’s father Paul Fraser, a joiner by trade, built lightweight galvanised steel-framed buildings on construction sites for the residential, oil and gas industries across the Gulf States. “My dad, ORCA’s chairman, said come out here, there is a technology that is going to take off. 2000 apartments went up in 18 months, but I realised the technology could do more and be applied in the UK to tackle the affordable housing shortage.” By more, he meant the front-end – BIMcompliant, design-led technology, with cutting-edge Revit software producing collaborative solutions for architects, contractors, designers and engineers.

3 This is digital manufacturing run through a printer, producing crucially lightweight components, quickly assembled on a small factory footprint, taking the machines to where new homes are needed and creating local jobs. “Modular has its merits obviously, but ORCA’s technology is scalable using a lot less capital. It is a huge risk building a big, expensive, capital-intensive modern factory that lacks flexibility and cannot handle the peaks and troughs relative to supply and demand. ORCA’s mobile cells can be switched on and off and moved to any location to match the housing demands when needed.” Fraser says 200m² of space, one printer and eight workers can produce 100m² of components, enough for one two-storey house per day. A local ‘flying’ factory set up within a day can do the same.



4 “Construction technology is exciting. This is a career pathway taking in engineering, design, assembly and maintenence. These are the next generation of gamers – Minecraft made real”

“ORCA’s collaborative 3D software, a plug-in system doing the thinking for you, making allowances for mechanical and electrical routes, clears the bottleneck before sending to print. This design-led, local manufacture is the future of construction.” Small compact coils containing 1,000 linear metres of steel can deliver all components for construction, be it for a roof, a floor or a wall. “It is like a giant Meccano set.” Fraser is also taking unskilled labour, tapping into the NEETs (Not in Education, Employment or Training) and teaching youngsters in six weeks to become accredited Light Gauge Steel (LGS) workers – in effect, digital joiners. “Construction technology is exciting. This is a career pathway taking in engineering, design, assembly and maintenance. These are the next generation of gamers – Minecraft made real. After six weeks in training they install buildings onsite. ORCA is a training and construction platform who have partnered with Northumberland College to select students for a training programme towards LGS accreditation and certification,” says Fraser.

Northumberland College has recently invested over £10m on its facilities, including a dedicated Construction Academy and a £2.5m centre for science, engineering and digital technologies. “This partnership creates local jobs while increasing housing supply. Northumberland will become ORCA’s centre of excellence for training, delivering 10,000 housing units per year nationally, creating over 1,500 jobs,” says Fraser. There will always be a mainstream market, building houses the timehonoured way. Housebuilders’ models are different, as are their commercial drivers and a lot of them are far more aware of offsite construction and how to integrate them into their businesses than they are given credit for by their detractors. Many are certainly not asleep at the wheel, as a construction revolution, at least in promotional terms, gathers pace. An accelerated building is an insulated, weather-tight ORCA structure in three days, wrapped and ready for the follow-on trades to work as if in a factory environment. While the manufacturing might be formulaic and predictable, the steel panels still allow for aesthetic touches – be it adding brickwork or contemporary cladding materials for visual appeal and product differentiation. Fraser wants to take the housebuilding industry with him, not replace it; a ‘lightweight enabler’ using his technology to form joint ventures with contractors, housing associations and local authorities to deliver the affordable homes desperately needed – and desperately needed now.

5 ORCA, which stands for Order, Respect, Care and Attention, is also working with funders, warranty providers and mortgage companies to make sure every box is ticked as an LGS, scalable and sustainable housing solution.

“Government is ready to invest and support industry to deliver more housing and we are talking to the Homes & Communities Agency.”

ORCA claims its solution reduces construction costs by more than 10% compared to traditional homes, with a 50% reduction in build time and better quality housing. North Shields is a town on the mouth of the River Tyne and Shields is a derivation of a Middle English word referring to temporary sheds for fishermen. It seems a more permanent form of accommodation is now being trawled in the north-east via the Middle East to provide a national solution to the UK housing crisis. For more information visit: www.orca-lgs.com

Images: 01-05. Modular housing created in a factory controlled environment is a key part of solving the UK housing crisis An original version of this article first appeared in Show House magazine - the leading trade title for UK housebuilders (www.showhouse.co.uk).





NORTH WEST CAMBRIDGE GETS FACELIFT To form the external envelope for the decorative facades finishes, fully engineered SFS infill walling solutions have been specifically designed by EOS for the re-enforced concrete frame of the North West Cambridge Development. To design and develop the SFS facade solutions for each of the individual buildings, EOS formed a strategic alliance with two of the architectural firms working on the project – Mecanoo Architects from Netherlands who partnered with BAM and Stanton Williams who partnered with Wates.

1 The North West Cambridge Development is the largest single capital project that the University of Cambridge has undertaken in its 800year history. EOS Facades were appointed to provide the SFS Facade System which was installed by SCL for phases one, two and three of this prestigious development. To address the predicted growth of around 5,000 students and 3,000 staff over the next 25 years and provide affordable accommodation – the masterplan includes 3,000 homes, 2,000 post-graduate student spaces, 100,000 m2 of research space, a local centre and community facilities. The University of Cambridge awarded its largest value construction package for the first phase of the development to BAM Construction. Worth approximately £80 million, the BAM contract includes build of significant areas of the new local centre and includes 352 homes for University and College key workers, as well as a supermarket and retail units, a doctor’s surgery and the shell of the energy centre to be built to BREEAM Excellent standard. The University of Cambridge has given the final £75 million contract for the first phase to Wates Construction. The contract includes the construction of 264 apartments for University key workers, and local shop units that have been designed by RIBA Stirling Prize winners, Stanton Williams Architects. EOS Facades were appointed to provide the company’s specialist offsite manufactured SFS Facade System 64

which was installed by SCL for phases one, two and three of this prestigious development – a contract value of over £500,000, encompassing residential and commercial buildings. “We have worked with EOS on a number of projects,” said Neil Scott of SCL. “They consistently deliver a high level of service and their attention to detail, made them the obvious choice for a development as high profile as North West Cambridge.” EOS specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of bespoke Steel Framing Systems (SFS). As experts in offsite value-engineering, EOS have been actively involved in a range of privately and publicly funded research and technical development projects to bring new systems to market. The company’s extensive product range includes innovative facade panel systems which are fully engineered and assembled offsite in their stateof-the-art manufacturing facility. The versatile facade panel systems are then applied to the primary structural frame and can be integrated as either as an infill walling solution or as a continuous walling system, where light steel frames are fixed onto the outside face of the main structural frame.

The vision for the North West Cambridge Development was to create a new district within the City, which encapsulates an eclectic mix of both commercial, academic facilities and urban residences – enhancing educational provision and quality of life for the University and ultimately, the City. Eddington, a residential area – is in the form of apartment blocks, three to five storeys high, in density more like an inner suburb of a large Victorian city, maximising the use of space. Designed for the wellbeing of residents – the welcoming, bright and airy apartment’s best features include unusually high ceilings in the ground-floor flats and the proportions of windows, together with the use of galleries with expansive views to provide access to the upper-level flats. In a statement the Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope said: “At North West Cambridge we are determined to create a successful, sustainable, mixed-use community as an extension of the City, with buildings and public space of high quality design. We appreciate the many contributions that have been made to help us achieve this and we look forward to continuing to work with everyone to deliver our vision.” For more information visit: www.eos-facades.co.uk Images: 01. To form the external envelope for the decorative facades finishes, fully engineered SFS infill walling solutions have been specifically designed by EOS Facades



HERE WE GO AGAIN? A NEW BEGINNING OR THE SAME OLD STORY FOR OFFSITE? The offsite industry is undergoing a massive state of change and development with interest levels higher than ever before. Research being undertaken via Leicester’s De Montfort University by Professor Mark Lemon and Yann Bomken of Poplar Consulting, is trying to pin down how permanent and lasting this interest may be. • The embracing of innovation and more complete formats, such as full volumetric, has been seen primarily within the repeatable module market and to a lesser extent within public sector residential development • The private sector is focused on delivering a return on investment for their shareholders – not on addressing the acute shortage of housing in the UK market. This is often seen as the job of government and is expected to be delivered through Registered Providers and Local Authorities

1 The early 2000’s saw a growth in the number of large automated factories that were built to deliver into the construction market. These included companies such as Advanced Housing Limited (AHL), Corus Living Solutions (CLS), Unite Modular and Space 4 – the first three no longer exist and the fourth has a radically different product. In their place we now have new startups in Legal &General, Barcelona Housing Company and the recent announcement of Keepmoat working with Elliott Group via Ilke Homes. The research authors interviewed a number of individuals who had played varying roles within the offsite sector over many years. The intention was three fold – to elicit why the sector had not taken off in the manner anticipated, to establish the challenges facing


the sector today and to explore what changes might facilitate sustainable growth into the future. Here is an overview of responses and are subject to the authors’ interpretation. Market Change Offsite product has been directed primarily at the repeatable module market and has latterly moved towards addressing the need for supply within the private and public residential housing sector. A number of considerations were raised with regard to this change: • The private housing market has tended to be served by lower end technology products i.e. timber frame, with the motivation for switching to new materials or formats being driven in response to specific problems

• The rise of the private rented sector (PRS), as opposed to open market sale, is refocusing development away from initial capital cost. Speed of build is seen as crucial as this leads to quicker revenue generation. Last Time Around There was some consensus among the respondents that the key to offsite success is the surety of an order book. One of the reasons the larger organisations survived for so long previously was due to the level of internal market demand. AHL supplied Barratt Divisions, Unite Modular to their parent company with student accommodation and CLS had the security of 8,000 modules for the MoD’s Project Allenby Connaught. Space 4 continues to supply their parent company Persimmon Homes. While there were a number of reasons for the demise of these and other companies, their inability to command a sustainable external order book was an important factor.


OFFSITE RESEARCH occur, then the industry may have to play catch up to competition from outside the UK with the corresponding loss of potential jobs throughout the offsite supply chain. It was also felt by some respondents that underpinning this process of education and cultural change should be the primary function of industry bodies such as BuildOffsite which should be less inward looking and more of an advocate for the sector. Such an advocacy, alongside educational change, could support the introduction of new blood into the industry – particularly in the area of process engineering which will be required to meet quality, cost and delivery goals.

2 In 2007 – prior to the economic downturn – the housebuilding industry produced 180,000 units. These were delivered predominately by traditional methods rather than offsite. However, during the recession it has been estimated that 400,000 skilled people left the industry and have not returned. This skills shortage will be amplified over the next few years by an ageing workforce with a similar number expected to retire. This questions the ability of traditional construction to meet housing targets and will reinforce the need for the new skills to deliver offsite technology solutions.

One lever for supporting the growth was considered to be the availability of land. Traditionally we have seen public sector land sold off to the highest bidder, and in many cases disappear into the traditional housebuilder’s strategic land bank. To achieve ‘additionality’ an increasing amount of this land needs to remain within public ownership. The introduction of the Accelerated Construction Programme is a move towards this, and although the scheme is aimed at boosting the initial number of starts, this will need to be maintained in subsequent years to support the required order books.

What is needed this time around? A number of potential themes emerged from the analysis of previous failings and were identified as important to the future take up of offsite approaches. The need for longer-term support is paramount. One interviewee suggested that a five-year government commitment in orders would lead to new, and existing entities within the sector investing in factories and expanding capacity. When assessing market requirements, this would not appear to be a major stumbling block. Completions in residential housing in 2016 were just over 140,000 units, of which the private sector delivered just short of 115,000 while current annual estimates of requirements range from 220,000 to 300,000 per annum.

Knowledge and Knowledge Transfer Key to unlocking the potential of offsite is better education about the sector. The vast majority of Further and Higher education courses in construction and construction-related subjects pay little attention to this approach. Consequently, offsite is seen as a novel, rather than mainstream, building method. A formal qualification framework is required to underpin these skills and a significant first step in achieving this would be to adopt the proposed framework contained in the recent CITB report, ‘Faster, Smarter, More Efficient: Building Skills for Offsite Construction’. One concern shared by a number of interviewees, was that if the cultural change that accompanies, and drives the demand for these skills does not

Finally, in terms of quality, the house purchaser of today is seen as more ‘savvy’ and the need for a better produced product is paramount if customer care costs are to be controlled. To achieve these improved levels of quality there needs to be a greater understanding of basic manufacturing systems and techniques alongside the introduction and use of alternative processes and materials. Summary While current housing demand means that there has never been a greater need for the offsite construction sector to be successful, the failings of the past need to be addressed and repetition avoided. The need for policy backing to ensure land availability and order book surety are critical. This needs to be supported by a comprehensive education and training programme about what offsite is and what skills are necessary to underpin it. In turn this will require the assimilation of new blood into all levels of the construction sector and most importantly will underpin a cultural shift that aligns manufacturing and traditional construction expertise in such a way that developments are delivered in the most appropriate and efficient manner. For more information and details on the research project contact: Professor Mark Lemon: mlemon@dmu.ac.uk or Yann Bomken: yann.bomken@poplar.uk.com Image: 01. Corus Living Solutions used to be a major player in the sector 02. A cultural shift in construction thinking is required to gain the best from offsite manufacture. Courtesy CITB




MARKET CAPACITY AND DEMAND The Structural Timber Association’s (STA) Annual Survey of UK Structural Timber Markets has forecast continued growth within the sector as companies take advantage of market opportunities and advances in offsite construction. STA Chief Executive, Andrew Carpenter discusses the findings and implications of the report. timber and this looks likely to increase further. Scottish Government is working with SFHA, Homes for Scotland, Sottish Innovation Centre and the STA in an effort to build 50,000 affordable homes in the lifetime of the current Parliament. In addition, STA has been working with the UK Governments All Part Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Wood and the Welsh Government in promoting the benefits of timber frame for house building and the sectors ability to deliver any additional volumes required.

1 Our latest Annual Survey focuses on an analysis of timber trends across 2016, with particular emphasis on the quality, value and growth in market share – together with demonstrating the capability and available capacity within the timber frame sector. The sector has made good progress again during 2016 with housing volumes holding up and I am delighted to report that the market share for timber frame has increased to 28.4% - with housing starts up to 52,705 and forecast to continue on this upward trajectory. Confidence remains high for those companies reporting, with volumes expected to grow to 88,000 by 2021. This represents an ambitious year-on-year growth forecast of circa 10% for timber frame.


This is impressive enough but if we add to this the other construction sectors that are currently using timber systems such as structural insulated panel systems (SIPS), cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam, it is obvious the whole sector is ‘on a roll’. We are currently compiling a report across these structural timber sectors which will be published at the end of the year and will provide robust detail to substantiate anecdotal evidence. The call for quick and sustainable solutions, particularly in respect of the current shortfall in housing stock has also resulted in offsite timber construction being hailed as the key building method to meet the demand for quality homes. Both the NHBC and LABC are reporting unprecedented levels of housing starts in structural

This significant report has been developed to illustrate to Government and the wider construction industry that our sector delivers quality structural systems and has the ability and willingness to upscale to meet market demand. This powerful message demonstrates that the timber industry has proven capacity and ability to deliver solutions to help alleviate the housing crisis - now and in the future. This year we have had more member companies than ever contributing to the production of this report – I would personally like to thank them for taking the time to respond and provide such valuable information. Following a highly successful launch at Timber Expo during UK Construction Week, our Annual Survey of UK Structural Timber Markets Report for 2016 is now available to download at: http://bit.ly/2gxv3FD Image: 01. Market capacity and demand is set to grow in 2018 and beyond





1 Delivered by Perfect Circle – a consortium comprising Pick Everard, Gleeds and AECOM and energy efficiency experts Net Zero Building – the Little Explorers Pre-School, at Compass Primary Academy, will provide a negative carbon emission rating, making it Northamptonshire’s most energy efficient school building. The building is the first purpose-built pre-school accommodation for the Brooke Weston Trust and will offer an additional 60 places for local children. It was commissioned by Brooke Weston Trust, which manages the school, and funded by the trust and Department for Education. The specialist Schoolhaus building, designed, manufactured and installed by Net Zero Buildings, has an EPC rating of A+ (-70) and consumes less energy than it generates. Measuring 209 square metres, the state-of-theart nursery, which is the fifth most energy efficient school building in the UK, consists of a reception area, two classrooms, office/meeting room, small kitchen and changing area. Adrian Ceney, National Director of Project Management at Pick Everard said: “We managed project delivery from start to finish, which included developing the brief and carrying out a feasibility study to ensure that the project was cost-efficient and could be delivered to deadline. We were also responsible for preparing the planning application to go before

Northamptonshire County Council’s planning department and worked closely with Net Zero Buildings to produce concept drawings for the application as well as an overall budget and programme of work. “One challenge we had to overcome was to ensure the project could be delivered on time in order to secure funding from the Education Funding Agency. We worked hard to turn the project around quickly and efficiently, delivering it in just two months to make sure it was ready to open ahead of the start of term in September.” Schoolhaus avoids a lifetime of CO2 emissions and eliminates unnecessary energy expenditure and run at a fraction of the cost of alternative methods. The unique combination of complete 3D volumetric elements and 2D large panel formats are used to create the building in a factory environment. Both the 2D and 3D elements are ‘pre-finished’ in the factory including external cladding, internally plastered walls, fully-fitted windows and significant installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing services. This approach along with the use of structurally insulated panels (SIPS), enable NZB to complete around 80% of the superstructure offsite. This contributes to a lower environmental impact, improved processes, lowers costs and reduced disruption to student learning as well as surrounding residents and businesses.

2 Robert Little, Business Development Director at Net Zero Buildings, adds: “Net Zero Buildings are delighted to have provided the building on behalf of The Brooke Weston Trust, Compass Primary Academy and Pick Everard. It was a pleasure to work with clients who are as passionate as us about lifecycle costs and carbon reduction. The programme for the design and build of the nursery was extremely tight, but we were able to deliver the Schoolhaus® on budget and in time for the start of term. Our Schoolhaus® buildings not only deliver an excellent teaching space, they’re attractive and have an intelligent design that generates clean renewable energy.” Principal of Compass Primary Academy Jo Fallowell said: “This is an amazing building that expands the places we can offer, and also extends our provision so we can provide full time places to meet the needs of local working parents. Little Explorers’ will be fully integrated into our academy community and our long term aim is to use the accommodation to also offer extended provision for the rest of the school.” For more information visit: www.netzerobuildings.co.uk/Schoolhaus www.pickeverard.co.uk Images: 01-02. Schoolhaus buildings use an energy efficient SIPS system for its offsite approach.





MUSIC AND TIMBER THERAPY Various timbers have been incorporated, from the refined exacting finish of the oak boarding rhythmically banded contrasted against the rough less regular cedar boarding lining the therapy pods. In the latter material the flexibility of the lapping and size of shingle allowed for large volumes to be uniformly covered with a warmth and consistency that with oak boarding used elsewhere would not have been possible.

1 Completion of the £2 million Sunbeams Music Centre marks a significant milestone for the Sunbeams Music Trust. Timber was the primary material specified in various forms from structure, cladding and furniture – all utilised within the contextual environment of the healing power of music. Founded by Annie Mawson in 1992, Sunbeams Music Trust is one of the leading Arts in Health organisations in the UK and recognised as one of the most innovative, high-achieving ‘handson’ charities in the country. Sunbeams tackles the serious challenges raised by social exclusion, deprivation, disability, ill-health and inequality through the transformative power of music. Based around Steiner Principles to give the optimum conditions for therapy the building is imagined as a piece of ‘architectural music’ in the landscape of the Lake District. The architecture is intended to reflect synthesis between the natural context, a contemporary vernacular and musical union. The design team’s resultant building is designed to embody musical qualities of rhythm, timbre and melody within the landscape shaped along the curved natural contours it grows with a crescendo at the canopy to the eastern main entrance.


The structural geometry has a main curved aspect which is formed in twin glulam sections sat onto a vertical beam within an oak clad elevation to the south. The projecting eaves have a larch lining which continues internally to draw the eye connecting inside and out. This projection culminates in the canopy with a lattice of beams devised between architect and engineers as the focal gathering point prior to entry. Timber has many therapeutic qualities which resonated well with the core drivers of the project. Ultimately timber has a natural warmth and vibrancy that was ideal for the intended use within the context of Steiner principles. Structurally the frame is visible and celebrated throughout. Like a musical instrument, it was important that the structure had a truth to materials and was finished to a high standard. The lozenge shaped therapy spaces have large Metsa Wood panels forming the acoustic lining, again the qualities of timber being ideal for the task in the acoustic separation. Throughout the centre the use of timber has been balanced against other earth materials such as stone and glass along with the surrounding natural patina of the landscape but essentially timber is the core ingredient in the composition.

Everyone from client and contractor to various members of the design team have gained many lessons – architecturally MawsonKerr have expanded knowledge on architectural design, detailing and structural knowledge but also with the many product suppliers and pushing their materials to the limit or to do something they hadn’t anticipated their product could do. Examples of this include Metsa Wood whose panels where not only some of the largest used on the large pods but also utilised on the oversized doors due to the stability of the core materials. The external cladding materials were developed to become internal materials using specialist non-toxic sealants will hopefully also have additional use. The architects have already been contacted by the Lake District Special Planning Board to give guided tours due to them appreciating a new aesthetic for architectural design in response to a sensitive context. The centre itself is a unique blend of music therapy, sustainability and architecture and ultimately designed specifically for this site context. For more information visit: www.mawsonkerr.co.uk www.sunbeamsmusic.org

Images: 01. The use of timber on the Sunbeams Music Centre is critical to the buildings look, feel and effect on its users. Courtesy MawsonKerr Architects.


PRODUCT DESIGN FOR OFFSITE BUILDINGS Modularize provide 2D and 3D Design services for the Offsite Construction sector. Our expertise span across all types of offsite methods: Panelised, Volumetric, Modular and Component Systems, so you can depend upon us to provide you with the perfect product at the best price.

 DfMA at the core of all design and development  All products designed using BIM  Utilising Panelised, Volumetric, Modular and Component Systems  Experience in Timber, Steel, SIP, Concrete, FRP  Unrivalled Design Automation Skills will reduce design lead-time and overheads  Final Product Designs provided in preferred format (Revit, Inventor)

Our highly skilled team of Engineers, Architects and Technologists, specialise in the practice of Modularizing and making user-friendly, stunning buildings that can be built with the most suitable offsite technologies.

www.modularize.co.uk 0330 113 1975






1 Project Capella is an £80 million biomedical research laboratory for the University of Cambridge (UoC). As a research facility, the building must meet strict environmental and vibration criteria and used a prefabricated hybrid of precast and insitu concrete for the superstructure. Project Capella was transformed from blank piece of paper to an enclosed building in 24 months. Arranged over six storeys above a basement, the superstructure is principally configured from precast concrete elements, 80% of the frame and façade was built offsite as high quality precast modules. Six upper floors comprise precast columns, edge beams and precast floor slabs with an insitu structural topping. Stability cores comprise volumetric precast sections with precast stairs installed on site. Edge beams are precast concrete to simplify interfaces with the façade whilst efficiently controlling deflection limits, spine beams are a shallow composite steel/concrete beam to keep beams supports to the same depth of the floor slab. The strategic decision to utilise prefabrication throughout Project Capella was made early in the design process. Kier’s appointment during RIBA Stage 1 meant they were able to lead and influence design decisions early, resulting in a shift from traditional construction methods towards maximised prefabrication. A precast solution for the frame was not an obvious choice for a bio-safe laboratory where vibration control is a primary driver.


2 The use of prefabricated concrete elements enabled the project to consistently achieve the enhanced levels of finish required for the exposed concrete. It enabled decision making to be brought forward in the programme. This was key to the project’s success where there are a large number of end users and engaged stakeholders linked to the project. Pre-glazed precast façade panels lead to the building being watertight significantly earlier which is key in a laboratory building, enabling early MEP installation when compared with traditional construction methods. Steel Deltabeams and precast planks formed the superstructure of precast columns which were made offsite. This floor construction is the first of its kind to be implemented within a biomedical environment where vibration control is key. By using precast concrete as the primary material, waste was significantly reduced through the factory controlled process. Prefabrication provided budget certainty, offering greater construction predictability: every component is scheduled, resulting in a construction phase that’s measurable by the hour, allowing risks to programme to be easily identified and mitigated. Site testing has confirmed the precast frame achieves the required vibration control, an essential quality/ performance requirement.

Maximising offsite works has provided significant site management and environmental improvements by reducing deliveries and waste. The floor solution saved on average 213kg/m2 of material which over the 15000m2 of suspended slab saved 3195t or 1305m3 of concrete which equates to 204 lorry movements. This reduced the number of deliveries to site for the slab construction by 163. The panelised precast facade allowed the pre-installation of glazing which significantly reduced site deliveries. Tight controls on material usage were enforced such as reinforcement and concrete and formwork was reused along with the use of harvested rainwater. The use of precast concrete has seen significant programme and resource reductions onsite. The superstructure and cladding have been delivered 20 weeks quicker than traditional methods, using a third of the resource on site. This has resulted in a reduction of approximately 2500 site/man weeks. As the largest concrete/steel hybrid project in the UK, Project Capella has pushed the boundaries and ensured the option of offsite prefabrication is at the forefront of all strategic design and procurement decisions. For more information visit: www.kier.co.uk Images: 01. Project Capella was transformed from blank piece of paper to an enclosed building in 24 months. Courtesy Kier/PCE Ltd 02. Final precast columns installed. Courtesy Kier/PCE Ltd



SOLID STRUCTURAL SOLUTIONS Simon Harold, Business Development Director, for PCE Ltd outlines some offsite hybrid concrete frame solutions when applied to smaller buildings. PCE Ltd is rapidly becoming well known for the design and build of offsite hybrid structural frame solutions for large award-winning projects such as the Capella Laboratory project at Cambridge, Volkswagen Showroom at Brentford and the Broadmoor Hospital Redevelopment near Bracknell. The company is also successfully delivering its offsite structural frame solutions for a wide range of smaller projects that previously may only have been considered utilising traditional onsite construction methods and thus missing out on offsite benefits. Three examples of such projects where PCE have used their offsite construction expertise in 2017 are the CEF Headquarters at Durham, North Wales Police Eastern Command Centre at Wrexham and the new Electronic Engineering Building at Royal Holloway University, Egham. In each instance, the PCE contract values for these projects was below £2.5million. Development of PCE’s approach to delivering flexible layout but efficient structural solutions on a design and build basis has occurred over a number of years by combining the benefits of different structural materials and systems, principally precast concrete, structural steelwork, and insitu concrete. This hybrid approach fully supported by the latest BIM technology enables internal space requirements to be optimised and ensures overall structural efficiency including minimising structural weight as well as allowing ease of integration of services and components such as M&E, windows and achieving final architectural finish requirements in the factory environment.


The PCE design process is based around a set of relatively simple components and structural principles which can be ‘bespoked’ to cater for specific project parameters and needs without compromising the principles of how the components are designed, detailed and manufactured offsite to guarantee fast, efficient and most importantly safe on site construction. This structural approach which allows clear floor spans up to 20m, achieves stability through the use of precast concrete shear walls and precast stair and lift and service cores manufactured offsite as volumetric components and marketed by PCE as their in house developed PreFastCore system. This delivers rapid erection whilst removing many of the health and safety and quality risks associated with traditional onsite construction methods. New Headquarters Building for City Electrical Factors (CEF) Durham Sir Robert McAlpine appointed PCE Ltd to design and build the new 3,000m2 structural concrete frame for the new CEF HQ development designed by Architect Faulkner Brown. To fulfil the Architect’s aspiration for large, open column free spaces and to satisfy the requirement of high quality exposed concrete surfaces, PCE utilised their prestressed concrete GT long span flooring system which offers optimal efficiency in terms of span to depth ratio with the 15m clear span requirements being achieved with 400mm deep flooring units which do not require any secondary screeds or reinforced structural concrete topping. The factory produced wet cast units provide a highquality soffit along with engineered accuracy whilst reducing the overall dead weight compared to alternative long span structural solutions.

For this project the soffits of the GT units included cast in pipework to carry water to aid the cooling and heating of the building by using the concrete’s mass to store and exchange thermal energy as part of the overall HVAC strategy. Precast concrete columns and composite structural steel Deltabeams were used to support the GT units and over 400 offsite manufactured structural elements, including PreFastCore modules, were assembled on site in just 11 weeks. New North Wales Police Eastern Command Centre, Wrexham With an established track record of delivering secure custody suites, Galliford Try partnered with PCE to develop an offsite hybrid design and build solution for new police HQ’s structural frame. The scheme designed by Buttress Architects and White Young Green comprises a three-storey office building, a two-storey training and support building and a single storey custody suite to contain holding cells, interview rooms and charge facilities.






Over 1,400 offsite manufactured structural components were erected on site in only 12 weeks using two crawler cranes, creating a finished structure with over 5,000m2 of suspended floor area. Key features of the scheme included a three-storey atrium with cantilevered walkways, column free office spaces with 12.5m clear spans, and an integrated design approach that encompassed services distribution and cladding interfaces.

The building is situated in the heart of the Royal Holloway University campus, sandwiched between an existing teaching facility and student residences. Maximising offsite construction techniques was the obvious choice to minimise disruption to the operation of the University campus by reducing vehicle deliveries and number of personnel employed on the site. Carbon footprint saving during construction is another obvious benefit to this approach.

Department of Electronic Engineering, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham PCE worked with the client’s design team, architect Stride Treglown and consulting engineer Arup, to develop an efficient and sustainable design for the new Electronic Engineering Building and were appointed by main contractor Osborne to deliver this logistically complex scheme.

Osborne’s preference not to use a tower crane meant that the 1,220 factoryproduced structural components had to be constructed from within the building footprint using a 160t Crawler Crane. Long span prestressed hollowcore flooring units, provided over 5,000m2 of suspended floor area and were again supported on composite Deltabeams and precast concrete columns. Precast concrete beams and concrete perimeter panels were used to form the buildings sub structure, and a full height steel frame auditorium was constructed at one

end of the building. The scheme features exposed concrete soffits throughout along with a large three-storey feature atrium and column free teaching spaces with 15m clear spans. Nickie Brown, PCE Managing Director says: “For all three projects, traditional forms of construction were abandoned at Stage 3 design in favour of pursuing PCE’s offsite hybrid frame solutions enabling high quality exposed concrete finishes coupled with the column free spaces that the clients required. The clients and main contractors also benefitted from speed, efficiency of delivery and certainty of programme that our offsite engineered approach provides.” For more information visit: www.pceltd.co.uk Images: 01. CEF – central atrium view 02. New North Wales Police Eastern Command Centre – elevation towards offices 03. Royal Holloway University – core modules




OFFSITE ON DISPLAY AT PEACOCK RISE Peacock Rise consists of 15 eco-friendly houses and apartments in Chatham, Kent that used structural steel framed volumetric modules to provide a contemporary quick, safe and energy efficient building solution. The flexibility, adaptability and de-mountable systems means that the houses are future-proof. The BOPAS-approved system can be stacked and the system does not rely on load-bearing walls therefore offers flexibility, adaptability and contributes hugely towards the ethos of Lifetime Homes.

1 The first phase of the project was completed in the factory in 45 days and then took a further 14 days to complete onsite. The primary benefits of this project have been quality, cost, programme certainty and improved health and safety – all of which have been secured within a highly controlled factory environment. Use of volumetric construction has enabled fixed costs to be applied to the project through the use of collaborative procurement routes with all costs being ‘known’ and driven through the use of building information modelling (BIM). The project would have taken a further four months onsite to complete following a ‘traditional’ route. The ability to pre-manufacture up to 90% of the building offsite means stringent quality control measures can be adopted in the factory – this removes many issues associated with site-based accidents. The volumetric system is far safer than traditional construction as there is less reliance on working at height, use of power tools, less materials on site and less manpower required.


The use of offsite construction massively reduced the foundation requirements by 40%. The site has a chalk sub-strata and there would have been a large cost associated with removing it from foundations. A traditional build would have required trench footing throughout. Less time on site means less impact on the environment with less noise, dust and light pollution as well as less CO2 emissions. The structural steel chassis are built from Grade S355 hot or cold-rolled steel using 60% recycled material. The embodied energy is less of new steel. Structural steel has 200-year life span and does not shrink or expand and the steel chassis will support any secondary building material without compromising the structure. The maximum allowable manufacturing and construction tolerances are only 2mm which sets it aside from all other type of non-containerised construction. The large spans can be accommodated ensuring a singular unit can be up to 15m long, 4.2m wide that allows the placement of 63sq m of buildings in only 30 minutes.

Lean manufacture principles are adopted to reduce and remove waste, improve productivity and reduce time and costs. Offsite manufacture has fixed parameters with fixed dimensions therefore it is easy to calculate exactly what material is required, how long it takes to carry out a task and how many ‘person hours’ it takes to produce a part or whole of a building, alongside what specialist fixings are required. BIM has contributed hugely and the project adopted a design for manufacture (DfMA) ethos. The design process has been geared towards the specifics of the offsite manufacturing process with the designers well versed in all of the procedures required for maximum efficiency. This process has ultimately improved quality, airtightness, accuracy of site assembly, control of materials and mass reduction of waste – off-cuts from plasterboard, flooring, tubing, insulation were all reused in alternate locations. Cllr Diane Chambers, Chair of Medway Council’s Planning Committee said: “Planning Committee was very impressed by the application from EneGroup. These are the first homes of this kind to arrive in Medway and it marks a new, more efficient era for housebuilding.” For more information visit: www.enevate.co.uk Image: 01. Volumetric modular units with brickslip facades look no different to traditional build but have improved quality, airtightness, control of materials and reduction of waste.





1 The Knaphill Library Redevelopment Project created nine new apartments, amenity space and a memorial garden using a steel based modular system where a restrictive development footprint called for flexible and creative thinking. The project was commissioned by Woking Borough Council’s Housing Management provider New Vision Homes, and increases the stock of much needed social housing in the area. Constructed on the site of a former library, the proposed site for the new homes was bounded by a number of commercial properties with residential accommodation above, resulting in issues with site boundaries and party walls as well as logistical constraints. Although initial plans featured only traditional building methods, it soon became clear that these challenges would requires a more flexible design approach, and the decision was made to bring in an offsite construction company and deliver a part modular/ part traditional build solution. Cloud Offsite Construction was brought into the project by main contractor Mears New Homes. The modules were delivered to site pre-finished externally, and connections and final fix internals were then completed on site.


2 Combining building techniques meant that the building programme was reduced by four months, enabling the client to get residents into the new properties sooner. The Knaphill Library Redevelopment Project was originally designed as a traditional build, so Cloud Offsite Construction had to convert it to a modular system. The project presented many constraints in terms of planning and structural requirements due to storey heights and structural flows between walls, which had to be kept to a minimum. The requirement for a vaulted ceiling on the second floor apartments also presented challenges. Steel was considered to be the best material for the project because of its strength, flexibility and light weight. It is also a cost-effective option. In the case of Knaphill, its use helped to deliver a high quality project within budget and in only 26 weeks, compared to the 40 week programme required by a traditional build. All steel structural elements were precisely fabricated to tight tolerances before delivery to site, facilitating rapid and waste-free assembly. Steel components can be pre-assembled or fabricated into modules either offsite or at low level, reducing the need for working at height and can be delivered to site as when is required, reducing the need for potentially hazardous onsite storage.

Fabrication in controlled factory conditions results in high quality, defect free components that produce very little waste during the construction process. Furthermore, steel structures are durable and require little maintenance, extracting maximum value from the resources invested in the structure and minimising its whole-life costs. Also, shorter construction periods lead to cost savings in site preliminaries, earlier return on investment and reduced interest charges. As the steel frames were delivered to site in one trip ready to be integrated into the build, there were also fewer vehicles visiting the build. Installation costs were reduced as fewer workers were required onsite. The Knaphill Project is highly unusual in that it incorporates three different roof designs into one project, something made possible by the use of steel. The project incorporates roof pitch within the modules – a complex design requirement and an external brick slip onto the units was applied offsite in the factory environment to reduce the onsite programme and increase quality. Ben Pemberton, Director, Cloud Offsite Construction, said: “The Knaphill Project is a great example of how modular construction has evolved beyond offering the inflexible foursided box that people used to expect. It shows how offsite construction can complement traditional building techniques, combining the best of both worlds for the most successful outcome. Working with a company like Mears New Homes, which was open to looking at new answers to complex challenges, made sure the client and future tenants got the successful redevelopment project they needed.” For more information visit: www.cloudoffsiteconstruction.com

Images: 01-02. The steel framed modules were hugely effective on a tight constrained site.


Professional steel framing services (sfs) to the construction Industry • Profiles ranging from 70mm to 250mm • Stud and track Infill • Floor and Roof Lattices and C section Joists • Pre assembled panels • Multi storey self supporting schemes • Single storey buildings and extra floors • Bespoke residential


TOP OF THE CLASS With primary, secondary and further educational institutions in all parts of the UK finding themselves facing multiple challenges from the very first day of term, Matt Goff, UK Operations Director at Actavo | Building Solutions, discusses how modular manufacturers can help ease the strain.

1 The modular construction industry isn’t a panacea for our education system’s infrastructural deficiencies but in terms of faster, cheaper, greener, safer, more efficient, more flexible and ultimately less disruptive building solutions, modular holds untold efficiencies. I have repeatedly said to the boards of management, teachers and parents’ associations with whom I’ve engaged over the years that it is a privilege for us in the modular industry to be helping to safeguard the education and futures of the current and subsequent generations. With privilege comes responsibility, and we have a responsibility to present a compelling case to decision-makers and also students, that modular construction provides nimble, durable and sustainable educational solutions and ultimately an innovative and rewarding career option for a broad range of skillsets. Educational modular solutions are specifically designed with both the teacher and student in mind. Our coordinated 3D visualisation and spatial layout of the exact buildings required help in the planning and execution phases. The adaptable and relocatable nature of the finished product provide school authorities with a suite of options that traditionally weren’t available.


No hazardous materials are sent to our educational sites, as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) is controlled and managed offsite in a factory environment. Furthermore, the impact on a school’s environment (noise, package, emissions, number of vehicle movements, time onsite) is reduced with modular construction. Pre-fitting our school modules with electrics, plumbing, heating and the initial internal finishes from the factory before being delivered onsite, means a relatively straightforward craning and fixing into position onto prepared foundations. While many schools request a radical refresh of their facilities, others can be understandably concerned about how the addition of modular accommodation to existing educational facilities might impact the ‘personality’ of the buildings. We pay particular attention to ensuring that the architectural heritage, interior, exterior and overall unique character of each educational facility, whatever its shape or size, are preserved, as per the customers’ wishes. The spike in demand for bespoke modular accommodation bodes well for the sector. But, perhaps more particularly, the increased demand highlights a widespread recognition across the educational community of the need for modernisation and/or expansion of existing facilities. But a spike in demand must be met with a commensurate increase in supply. With our construction industry facing a number of threats – not least an ageing sectoral workforce that isn’t being replaced in sufficient numbers, competition from other sectors and Brexit’s implications for foreign workers in the UK – how is the modular

construction sector, specifically, staving off these threats and pitching itself to current and future graduates? It is my firm belief that the modular construction sector can be better marketed as the intersection of engineering, architecture, technology and other creative disciplines, marrying a range of professions in a dynamic and flourishing ecosystem. The adoption of BIM brings an additional technology element into the industry, making it engaging and enticing to younger people. In addition, the transformative impact of wearable technologies is being increasingly adopted in modular construction, from both safety and productivity perspectives. These include safety vests with GPS, hard hats with virtual display visors and augmented reality devices to experience design elements, and which are being used for clash detection through BIM, among other functions. With major advances in modular construction in recent years, we should be confidently moving towards a stage where future generations of engineers, architects, quantity surveyors and creatives – the pillars of educational architecture – will be actively seeking to work in shaping smart spaces for educational and other purposes. If, as an industry, we do our homework, we’ll achieve the results. For more information visit: www. actavo.com/modular-buildings/ Image: 01. A 1280sq m sustainable, two-storey, standalone modular classroom complex at Granard Primary School, Wandsworth, London





Smart-Space, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and installers of temporary, semi-permanent and permanent buildings, has completed the construction of a fully-insulated, permanent workshop for Bolt Building Supplies in Halstead, Essex.

“We’re delighted with the time frame and the quality of the facility. The Smart-Space team was excellent and carried out the job without any adverse impact on the day-to-day activity of our very busy site.”

The Kingspan TEK Building System of structural insulated panels (SIPs) has been erected in just three weeks to form the structure of a new office building at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) flagship gardens in Wisley. Kingspan TEK Building System panels feature an OSB/3 facing bonded to a highly insulated core. The panels were factory cut to the office building’s design, including space for the specified windows and doors. This ensured a straightforward erection programme once onsite and allowed Ashley Group to erect and weathertight the building shell in a matter of weeks. Kingspan TEK Building System panels also feature a unique jointing system which, in combination with their OSB/3 facing, can help to create highly airtight buildings. The manufacturing facility where the panels are produced carries both FSC® (FSC®-C109304) and PEFC Chain of Custody certification. As standard, the OSB/3 facing of all Kingspan TEK panels is PEFC certified.

EGGER’s flagship flooring product, EGGER Protect, is helping UK housebuilders tackle onsite issues that can cause serious delays. It is the only structural flooring product on the market that can be exposed to the elements for up to 60 days. This takes the pressure off builders dealing with poor weather, material shortages and a lack of skilled tradespeople. EGGER Protect not only provides protection during the build process but also throughout the life of the property. The permanent surface layers can prevent water damage caused by leaking washing machines and burst pipes which are all too common and can mean costly repairs. EGGER Protect, EGGER P5 and EGGER Peel Clean Xtra, are all part of a portfolio of structural P5 grade flooring boards with enhanced moisture resistant properties. The company’s industry leading Advanced Structural Flooring System is specifically designed to save time, money and manpower.

For enquiries please call 0808 278 1499 or visit https://smart-space.co.uk

For further information, please call: 01544 387 384 or visit www.kingspantek.co.uk

The 34.5-metre by 18.5-metre steel-fabricated structure with composite walls and 100mm roof cladding with skylights will be used for the production of I-beams. “The full design and build project took around 14 weeks from start to finish,” says Bolt’s managing director, Simon Burgess.

To find out more about EGGER Protect call: 0845 602 4444, email building.uk@egger.com or visit www.egger.com/building

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY If you are interested in learning more about offsite construction and the associated manufacturing processes then choose from some of the following offsite events: DATE 05 December




Explore Offsite Infrastructure



Explore Offsite will see approximately 250 delegates and an exhibition of up to 30 companies, all from a range sectors that incorporate offsite construction in their infrastructure construction practice, covering rail, roads, airports and utilities. Full speaker programme available online. Limited places remaining 28 February

Explore Offsite Outlooks

BRE, Watford


Explore the potential of digital construction and understand how best to implement it into your offsite construction strategy. This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers and offsite technology suppliers to network with industry experts to discuss the latest developments in digital construction for the offsite sector. 06 March

Offsite Awards

ExCeL, London


Celebrate the best in precision building design and delivery at the Offsite Construction Awards. The Awards will reward outstanding examples of prefabrication and factory-based methods, products, systems and disciplines that increasingly strive to develop a sustainable, streamlined and cost-effective way to deliver a better built environment. Entries open 01 October 2017 and can be submitted online upto 03 January 2018. 06-08 March

ecobuild 06-08 March 2018 / ExCeL, London



ExCeL, London


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



06-08 March 2018 / ExCeL, London

The future of the built environment is here



Offsite Presenting Offsite, Timber & Concrete, part of the futurebuild districts. The Offsite district, brought to you by Explore Offsite will include a groundbreaking exhibition of offsite construction solutions, with


everything from product launches to full scale builds and a chance for you to be matched with highly relevant buyers. Alongside the Offsite district at ecobuild 2018


will be two brand new futurebuild districts dedicated to Timber and Concrete, opening the discussion on the use and beneďŹ ts of the materials in offsite construction.


Get in touch today Contact Trevor Crawford on +44 (0)20 3011 2546 trevor.crawford@ecobuild.co.uk

www.ecobuild.co.uk #ecobuild







Profile for Radar Communications

Offsite Magazine - Issue 8 (November/December)  

Offsite Magazine contains the latest news, exemplar case studies, comment, interviews and feature articles from leading lights in the indust...

Offsite Magazine - Issue 8 (November/December)  

Offsite Magazine contains the latest news, exemplar case studies, comment, interviews and feature articles from leading lights in the indust...