Offsite Magazine - Issue 9 (January/February)

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BEN DERBYSHIRE We hear from the RIBA President on a better built environment and delivering effective architecture


OFFSITE DISTRICT Everything you need to know about offsite technology and manufacture at ecobuild 2018


VISUAL CONCRETE Bracknell’s Avenue Car Park and stunning examples of architectural precast


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Welcome to the first issue of Offsite Magazine for 2018. As you will see we have given over a large portion to ecobuild 2018 – where the Offsite District is set to offer a range of ways to soak up offsite expertise.


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

Now under completely new ownership and with a renewed vigour for innovative thinking and sustainable construction, ecobuild 2018 will include a range of distinct districts focusing on strategic areas of building expertise. Pivotal to the Offsite District will be the Explore Offsite Masterclasses – a free CPD-accredited interactive platform to gain the latest insights and best practice direct from the experts. The Offsite District will also be home to a dedicated Ask the Expert consultancy service where visitors can ‘drop in’ to speak in person to three of the UK’s principal expert teams shaping the future of the offsite construction industry – Cogent Consulting, Cast Consultancy and HTA Design – all with lifetimes of specialist skills in the application of offsite technology. And remember the 2018 Offsite Awards will also be taking place – don’t miss out on this unique event. President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Ben Derbyshire, took some time out to speak to me about the profession’s approach to offsite manufacture and his overarching theme for the Presidency – resting on

quality and performance in the built environment. This approach can be seen in excellent examples of offsite design in the concrete sector, Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect at MPA The Concrete Centre illustrates why architectural precast concrete has a unique and characteristic visual appeal all of its own. A number of case studies reflect recent projects and developments across the offsite material mix. Special mention goes to OSCO Homes work at Butree Close in the former coal-mining town of South Kirkby, working with HM Hindley Prison to recruit prisoners who were trained to build the external walls, floor and ceiling cassettes of the steel frame panelised units. We also carry another heavyweight roundtable event: hosted by the NHBC to discuss future housing challenges and the role of offsite manufacture. The necessity to raise the number of homes being built across the UK is well understood but just as critical is the need to raise the quality standard of the nation’s housing stock. As one of the panel commented: “As an industry the brand challenge that we have is to convince people that a factory is good place to make things.” Quite right. As always special thanks to all our contributors, advertisers and supporters.

Gary Ramsay

Consultant Editor Email:

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46 | A Stepping Stone for UK Timber





An unprecedented collaboration between SIG Roofspace and H+H has resulted in the use of a hybrid build system that combines the quality, speed and safety of timber and offsite construction with all of the performance attributes of aircrete.

President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) since September 2017, Ben Derbyshire spoke to Gary Ramsay about delivering effective design and the profession’s approach to offsite manufacture.

P30 | ECOBUILD 2018



In partnership with Explore Offsite, the Offsite District will include a wide range of offsite-related exhibitors but will also be a hive of activity including: the Offsite Buyers and Specifiers Forum, Ask the Expert surgery and the definitive Offsite Masterclass seminar sessions.

70 The new major town centre redevelopment at Bracknell, Berkshire was under discussion and planning for nearly 20 years before finally opening in September 2017. A significant part of the development was the creation of a new multi-storey car park that showed the best of precast and offsite design.

50 | A Cut Above the Rest


08 | Industry News News and developments from across the UK offsite industry and wider construction arena including: the launch of Homes England, the start of work at the Manchester hub for the Henry Royce National Institute and Swansea Council explore options with Live Verde.

24 | Quest for Quality The necessity to raise the number of homes being built across the UK is well understood but just as critical is the need to raise the quality standard of the nation’s housing stock. The NHBC recently hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss future housing challenges and the role of offsite manufacture.


ExCeL - London

Scottish construction firm CCG (Scotland) Ltd is shortly due to complete Yoker Riverside, Scotland’s tallest timber building using cross laminated timber (CLT) for the superstructure and one of the most high-profile buildings using offsite manufacture and delivery in the UK.

54 | Travelling an Upward Trend Fixing the dysfunctional UK housing market was a key focus of the autumn 2017 budget and the Chancellor Philip Hammond, reiterated once more the government’s commitment to raising housing supply. A new LHC survey confirms growing recognition of offsite construction as the means to meet UK housebuilding targets. 62 | Going for Globe A light gauge steel superstructure was selected for Birmingham’s latest student accommodation project at the former Globe Works site in the city’s historic Gun Quarter, proving that offsite delivery is ideal for this critical education sector. 66 | Architectural Precast

Brush away any pre-conceived ideas of concrete being an expanse of grey, unadorned industrial looking structures. Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect at MPA The Concrete Centre explains why concrete has a unique and lasting visual appeal.

76 | A Code for Confidence


Opening up a whole new dimension for the UK timber Industry, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) recently scored a first by producing the first cross laminated timber (CLT) panels on a commercial scale relying on vacuum technology.

Has the time arrived for a standard Code for volumetric modular buildings? Darren Richards, Managing Director of the UK’s leading offsite construction consultants, Cogent Consulting, addresses the need for greater interoperability and standardisation.

78 | Exceeding Expectations Wernick Buildings recently completed a new classroom block for Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in Aylesbury. Assistant Head Ian Bryant spoke to them about the project and took part in a Q&A on the hugely successful delivery process.


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 across the mainstream construction and offsite manufacturing industry. Tickets are £75 +VAT and the event presents a fantastic opportunity for you to network with the leaders of the Offsite construction industry - simply go to and book online.





all of the benefits of speed and quality, but based on a masonry material. The I-House System from SIG Roofspace, incorporating Celcon Elements from H+H is being hailed as a breakthrough in house construction, set to win over an industry that is wary of moving away from the permanence and reliability of masonry based builds.

An unprecedented collaboration between SIG Roofspace and H+H has resulted in the use of a hybrid build system that combines the quality, speed and safety of timber and offsite construction with all of the performance attributes of aircrete.

1 The watertight shell working to a standard house design can be completed onsite in just one week, with all key structural elements craned into position. This approach has been used at a Barratt Homes site in Bottesford, Nottinghamshire, with an initial 11 units being built nearly six weeks ahead of schedule, enabling a second phase of work to complete a further 30 units to begin. With this second phase underway, the developer then asked for the system to be used on another site of 16 units of social housing.


Housebuilders and developers are under pressure to develop new ways to build high quality homes at an accelerated rate, without compromising on expected levels of house build quality. Barratt Homes is one of the major developers actively looking at innovative ways of building new housing estates, and worked with SIG Roofspace and H+H to incorporate a new methodology at its development in Bottesford. SIG Roofspace and H+H has provided for the first time, an offsite solution with

The I-House System allows for rapid site construction with minimal site labour and meets the current demand for increasing the volume of housebuilding at a time when skilled workers are in short supply. In addition, the factory-controlled quality and precise joints provide for an extremely accurate build with excellent airtightness. Furthermore, maximum efficiency is created at the build stage as a single crane is used for each stage of the process. Manual handling is reduced, meaning sites are cleaner, tidy and safe as all structural elements are craned into position. The need to build more housing is not in debate: it has been recognised for years that the current rate of housebuilding is nowhere near sufficient to meet demand, with the disparity of supply and demand driving prices ever higher and exacerbating an increasingly acute housing crisis. There are several barriers that mitigate against the Government target of 250,000 new homes per year, and one million new homes by 2020, but as the housing shortage becomes an increasingly acute political issue the spotlight is turning on the ability of the industry to deliver the numbers. The I-House System is created through a newly developed process that allows a watertight building shell in the shape of specified house design to be constructed offsite and installed onsite within a week. This new method brings brickwork construction off the critical path of housebuilding, as prefabricated aircrete elements are used in place of brickwork, greatly improving the delivery time of a single house unit. The I-House System also has the potential to make housebuilders and developers rethink their procurement procedures and budgeting models, providing greater transparency and accuracy of cost forecasting, resource


COVER STORY SIG ROOFSPACE planning and greater flexibility to adapt to site requirements at every step of the build process. The main benefit of the I-House System is increased construction speed. Following the acquisition of all relevant approvals, an initial objective was set, to reduce the building programme by six weeks. This was achieved easily at Bottesford for a number of reasons.

With SIG Roofspace and H+H bringing extensive manufacturing expertise to the project, there was confidence that the I-House System would prove successful at the first trial site. The system was used initially in a test phase involving 11 units – a mix of house types and tenure including bungalows and two-storey dwellings, some semi-detached and some terraced properties. Following the successful completion of the first phase, a further 30 units were given the go-ahead. Firstly, H+H is the leading supplier of aircrete blocks, traditionally used for the inner leaf of cavity wall construction. The use of these storey high blocks removes blockwork from the critical path, allowing for the Celcon Elements to be lifted into position onto SIG supplied flooring cassettes. The build is then completed with the installation of a roof using standard truss construction or a further offsite solution such as SIG Roofspace I-Roof. Secondly, there is maximum efficiency at the build stage, as a single crane can be used for each stage of the process as all structural elements are craned into position. This also has the added benefit of reducing manual handling, meaning cleaner and safer work sites. SIG Roofspace and H+H has been working with housebuilding customers to re-think their procurement procedures to improve the accuracy and transparency of cost comparisons. The traditional procurement model is based on evaluating the cost of materials and anticipated build time, but with the I-House System, SIG and H+H provides the customer with a more detailed scope of works including every element of the build process.

2 Once the physical cost of materials and labour is itemised, we can go further and accurately include the cost of time, allowing the housebuilder to better manage their project budget and build plan. It is unusual for housebuilders to factor out the costs in this way, but only by doing so can the costs of the I-House System be compared against a traditional cost structure. At Bottesford, the complexity of the project for the housebuilder was also reduced as a single contractor was responsible for the all elements of the fabric build. This allowed for much greater co-ordination of materials and labour resources. One of the main benefits of the I-House System is that there is an extremely short supply chain, with manufacturing and contracting rolled into a single supplier we have a vertically integrated supply chain with a single point of contact for the housebuilder. The system is a series of components that require designing into a single entity and are co-ordinated in such a way that the client receives a single package for the construction of the shell of the house. Using the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) as a template, the individual component suppliers set up a process and tracking system for each project. Lines of communication have been established to enable an agreed lean process to be achieved. This links the individual component manufacturers, internal design and external design consultants, layout draughtsmen and final site drawings into one continuous

3 system. Bespoke product tracking software has been developed for each individual project. SIG Roofspace and H+H firmly believe that as soon as volume housebuilders have seen the system in practice that the demand will be unstoppable. The project at Bottesford demonstrated a speed of installation, providing the site with the watertight shell of a house within one week, reducing the usual housebuild time by six weeks. The system also offers project cost savings, as while the use of cranes on site to install wall units alone may not be justifiable, the use of the same cranes to install entire pre-assembled units including walls, floors and roofs, provides a greatly simplified build programme, reduced site traffic and faster construction times. One of the key benefits of this system is that it can use a traditional supply and install housebuilding contract. There it one contract covering the entire fabric build, greatly simplifying the procurement process, also ensuring that the responsibility for delivering the entire build to the correct quality standards and within an agreed timeframe rests with a single supplier. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. The I-House hybrid system combines a range of offsite benefits to create a quick and reliable shell of a house within one week



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Homes England Live at Last

Offsite Company Inspires Europe Offsite Solutions, the UK’s leading bathroom pod manufacturer, has been recognised as one of the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1000 Companies to Inspire Europe. The report is a celebration of the most dynamic, high-growth businesses across Europe. To be included in this prestigious listing, companies need to show consistently strong revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their UK peers.

A new national housing agency – Homes England – was launched by Housing Secretary Sajid Javid on the 11 January as one of the key steps towards delivering the homes the country needs. As the successor to the Homes and Communities Agency, Homes England will drive forward change, as set out in the government’s housing white paper. By bringing together their existing planning expertise and new land buying powers, the new agency will play a major role in securing land in areas where people want to live, support smaller and more innovative house builders into the market and resource brownfield sites from across the country to deliver homes for families. Homes England will play a major role in fixing the housing market by helping to deliver an average of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s. Housing Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This government is determined to build the homes our country needs and help more people get on the housing ladder. Homes England will be at the heart of leading this effort. The new agency will be key in replicating this approach right across the country and will help us build a Britain fit for the future.” Nick Walkley, Chief Executive of Homes England, said: “As Homes England, we will use our land, finance and expertise to expand the delivery of affordable new homes and connect ambitious partners to remove barriers to house building.” Sir Ed Lister (pictured), Chairman of Homes England, added: “We will take the lead in delivering better quality homes and great places that set the bar high for others. We will also stimulate demand for Modern Methods of Construction and ultimately disrupt the housing market.” Around 310 local authorities have now published a brownfield register, revealing over 26,000 hectares of developable land on over 16,000 sites. More registers expected to be published over the next few weeks. By prioritising both the areas where people want to live and developers can build, Homes England will use the registers to progress brownfield development across the country.

Commenting at the launch of the report at the European Parliament in Brussels, Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President for the Euro and Social Dialogue at the London Stock Exchange Group said: “Europe needs more fast-growing and innovative companies as they are the backbone of our future economic development and job creation.” Richard Tonkinson, Executive Director of Offsite Solutions added: “We are delighted to be recognised by such a respected institution as the London Stock Exchange Group. This is the second year that Offsite Solutions has been identified as an ‘inspirational business’ and we are one of only 26 UK manufacturers to be listed. Our inclusion in the European report is further evidence of our marketleading position and the tremendous commitment and hard work of all our staff.” Offsite Solutions is the UK’s longest established and leading manufacturer of bathroom pods for a diverse range of building sectors including residential apartments for rent and market sale, healthcare, student accommodation, social housing, care homes and hotels. The company announced a record order intake in the history of the business in 2017. This unprecedented performance was a 50% increase on the same period in the previous year and has secured projects for the business from 2017 through to 2019.

Homes England will develop a new commercial approach to acquiring, preparing, managing and developing land in areas of high demand and strategic importance. By focusing on using both the land and money to support builders of all sizes to increase supply will continue to support accelerated construction on a selection of sites. Meeting housing demand is also about supporting the SME sector and over £750 million of the £1 billion short term fund has been committed to SMEs, custom builders and developers using modern methods of construction which will result in over 25,500 homes being built. Homes England will support this initiative and SME builders to grow their businesses and build more homes.

Offsite Solutions’ approach is to combine innovative design with precision engineering, offsite manufacture and unrivalled customer service. This results in bathroom solutions of exceptional quality, radically reduced time onsite for contractors and developers, less reliance on sub-contracted labour to help address skills shortages and greater certainty of delivery on time and on budget.





UK INDUSTRY NEWS Hertfordshire Explores Offsite Future

Construction Begins at Henry Royce Institute

Hertfordshire’s first Buildings Solution Conference in Watford recently took on the challenge of determining the role offsite fabrication could play in tackling a looming housing issue. Recent higher population forecasts suggests an 80% annual countywide increase in housebuilding rates in the years to 2031 just to meet the county’s growth requirements – potentially higher if pressures from London and Cambridge are factored in. The question put to the 100 delegates who assembled at the BRE-sponsored event at by joint organisers Hertfordshire LEP and HIPP (the pan Hertfordshire infrastructure partnership) was this – is the traditional housing market capable of delivering these numbers, or should we expect offsite fabrication to play a pivotal role? There was no shortage of speakers lining up to cast doubts over the traditional sector’s fitness for purpose. Mark Farmer, CEO of CAST spoke of the design, procurement and construction processes all misfiring, while Darren Richards of Cogent Consulting highlighted cost overruns and delays and said that last year only 69% of projects were completed on budget, and only 40% on time. In contrast Rory Bergin of designers HTA gave a very positive message on the success of recent schemes, with significant time savings, cost certainties and early rental returns for those who need them. The conference agreed to a range of actions, with Hertfordshire’s Housing Associations looking to create a delivery consortium with an initial aim of constructing an exemplar scheme to demonstrate the potential for the county. Herts LEP will explore the potential creation of an offsite manufacturing hub in the county, with a favoured location potentially being the West Herts Enterprise Zone on the edge of Hemel Hempstead. Adam Wood, Infrastructure Delivery Managing at Herts LEP, was very pleased with the conference outcome, saying: “We asked a very searching question and we got some very forthright answers. It’s very clear that the Hertfordshire Housing Associations are in the perfect position to lead on promoting prefabrication. We also think that the process will be assisted hugely if we can establish a modular housing hub within the county, as there is clearly a critical relationship between take-up and the proximity of a manufacturing base, so these are two things we are very keen to do something about.” Source:


Construction work has begun on the Manchester hub for the Henry Royce National Institute, the national body promoting research and applications in advanced materials. The University of Manchester has now entered into contract on the creation of the 46 metre high building which will be a prominent new landmark on the Manchester skyline. Based at the heart of The University of Manchester’s campus, the Henry Royce Institute will bring together world-leading academics from across the UK to work closely with industry to ensure commercialisation of fundamental research. The development will house world-leading materials scientists, state-of-the-art equipment and provide collaborative and exemplary space for industrial engagement. It is a key part of the University’s ten year Campus Masterplan to create world-class facilities in Manchester. Liam Cummins, Laing O’Rourke’s Head of UK Building said: “The Henry Royce building is an exciting and challenging research and education project in a tight and constrained inner city site and will be delivered using modern and innovative methods of engineering and construction with an emphasis on offsite manufacturing and world-class logistical solutions. I am delighted that the contract for the project has now been signed, allowing our team to begin construction. With our colleagues currently making good progress at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre; The Henry Royce building becomes the second project that Laing O’Rourke is delivering as part of the University of Manchester Framework.”

The University of Manchester Regius Professor Phil Withers, Chief Scientist for the Henry Royce Institute added: “This new flagship building will be a national beacon of research excellence in advanced materials – not only providing a centre for scientists and engineers to lead on cutting edge research but will also help businesses to apply this new knowledge into technologies for commercial use.” The 10 metre high, ground floor entrance is open to the wider university campus and overlooked by a café at mezzanine level. Terraced floors provide visitors with glimpses into workspaces as they climb the staircase through a stepped, three-storey atrium. These atria house local collaboration hubs with lounge seating and views out across the campus and city beyond. Beyond these is an efficient plan of offices which transition via an adaptable ‘flex zone’ into more private and technical and specialist laboratory spaces. The University of Manchester appointed Arcadis as project manager, cost manager and full design team (PMFD) to lead the delivery of the £105 million building. NBBJ, an international architectural practice, has worked with civil and structural engineers Ramboll and building services engineers Arup to create a world-class building design. This building will be delivered by Laing O’Rourke, the appointed main contractor. The institute is expected to be fully operational by early 2020. Source: |


UK INDUSTRY NEWS HTA Raise the Bar Twice HTA has gained unanimous planning permission for two of the tallest modular towers in the world. Both will be constructed by Tide & Vision Modular. The towers set for 101 George Street, Croydon, will be the world’s tallest structures to have been built offsite using modular construction, a method providing a much faster alternative to traditional construction without compromising on the quality of the building or the versatility of the design. The 38-storey and 44-storey towers, scaling 135 metres and providing 546 new homes have been designed specifically for rent and will be professionally managed onsite offering residents a 24/7 service. Residents and the local community will benefit from a range of amenities including winter gardens, an art gallery, an incubator hub for local businesses and an on-site café. Each tower will contain gyms, club rooms and garden terraces. Tide Construction and their associate company Vision Modular Systems, held the record for Europe’s tallest modular tower with their student accommodation scheme in Wembley at Apex House. With a height

of 90 metres and built using 679 modules, the 29-storey project was completed in 12 months. 101 George Street will exceed Apex House by 15 storeys. The scheme will be delivered in 24 months, from construction starting, to residents moving in to their new homes. As well as reducing disruption for locals, modular construction creates huge value for investors as it means apartments can be rented out much earlier than if they were built using conventional methods. The modules that make up the towers are constructed offsite in a controlled factory environment to ensure a

higher quality finish, with 80% less waste, fewer onsite workers and greater certainty on costs and time. The scheme will be made from nearly 1500 modules that are manufactured and installed by Vision Modular Systems from their purpose-built manufacturing facility in Bedford, where the majority of the fit out is installed including electrics and plumbing before the module is transported to the site. This approach saves vital time during the construction process, dramatically reduces onsite waste and lessens the demand for labour onsite. Source:

Construction work on building sites involves a huge amount of product and materials checking to make sure everything meets the exacting requirements of building regulations. This can be stressful at the best of times and a helping hand is always welcome. That’s why more and more people are coming to the BBA for off-site certification of their products. • Assessment of new systems including insulated concrete formwork, SIPs and framed systems. • Assuring compliance with Building Regulations in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. • Ensuring systems are waterproof, warm, structurally sound and durable. • Factory visits to check system documentation and control. • Site visits to see units being offloaded and installed. • Huge benefit to architects, decision makers and manufacturers.

A site for sore eyes The advantages of BBA Certification

Our assessors have decades of experience evaluating Off-site Construction, and BBA Agrément Certificates are regarded as the best assurances you can get for your off-site products. With BBA’s 50 years of unrivalled expertise in building and construction certification, it’s easy to see why. 01923 665300



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Fusion Start on Nottingham Care Facility

Saint-Gobain Acquires Scotframe to Accelerate Offsite Growth

Saint-Gobain UK & Ireland recently completed the acquisition of Scotframe Limited accelerating its involvement in the offsite manufacturing and timber closed panel construction market. Scotframe manufactures and supplies full timber frame housing kits for small/medium builders, developers and self-builders in the UK. Operating from two manufacturing sites and four sales and showroom locations in Scotland, Scotframe is also a market leader in closed panel systems used extensively for newbuild homes in Scotland and England.

Work started onsite in December 2017 for the installation of Fusion Building Systems’ offsite light gauge steel superstructure at the new Winwood Heights development in Sherwood, Nottingham. Contracted by Willmott Dixon for Nottingham City Homes and Nottingham City Council’s new retirement village in the north of the city, Fusion’s patented panelised system will be used to erect a four-storey, 44-home development over 16 weeks. Working as an established supply chain partner for Willmott Dixon, Fusion’s light gauge steel system was chosen for the project due to its rapid speed of erection compared to traditional building methods, its practicalities for working within a confined, city centre site and the flexibility of the system to enable intricate structures and architectural features to be engineered within its design. Mike Fairey, Fusion Building Systems Director said: “We have a long-standing relationship with Willmott Dixon and were delighted to be awarded this project. We’ve worked on a number of extra care facilities for other contractors so our experience has helped steer our approach – but the uniquely-shaped floorplan, construction over a transfer platform and the structural integrity of the main entrance, are all aspects which our design and engineering teams have been able to work closely with Willmott Dixon to achieve. “We’re working to a 16 week build time onsite and there’s no reason why that should slip. The predictability of offsite methods of construction is why so many developers and contractors are choosing to work with it, despite working in the freezing temperatures


which we’re currently experiencing. We look forward to completing on site in the spring and I’m sure the finished accommodation will be a welcome addition to the local community.” Fusion Building Systems also recently become the first company in the UK to use exclusive, interactive site management software developed by Danish company, Dalux. Fusion is currently using Dalux Field software for the historic renovation of Horsforth Mill in Leeds, for the sustainable Neville’s Cross student campus build at Durham University and for new apartment buildings at Alcester Road in Birmingham. The Company is also working with Dalux to develop a cloud-based document management system. The purpose of this is to provide version-controlled drawings, associated with specific 3D BIM models, to give site managers confidence they have access to the latest, approved information. By simply marking their position on a plan, site managers can click into a 3D BIM view of a project to provide accurate information there and then about any issues they’ve found. By working in this way, a full auditable history can be developed of communication, issue rectification and close out – and everyone on the team has an immediate visual understanding of what’s happening onsite, build delays are reduced and lines of communication are kept crystal clear. Source:

Mike Newnham, Chief Executive of Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland said: “Scotframe is a great fit for Saint-Gobain and we’re delighted the team at Scotframe are joining our Group. Scotframe has more than 160 dedicated and knowledgeable employees who have considerable technical knowledge in manufacturing high-quality timber housing kits and wall, floor and roof panels for the UK market. “Scotframe is a business strongly aligned to SaintGobain’s strategy to create great living places and improve daily life, and enables Saint-Gobain to further accelerate its growth and expertise in offsite manufacturing for construction markets. Just as importantly for me, Scotframe and Saint-Gobain share the same core focus on safety, understanding and supporting customers throughout the housebuilding and designing process. Both companies also champion the role building performance has in creating comfortable and healthy living environments.” Bob Edwards who will continue as Managing Director of Scotframe following the acquisition, said: “Today is an exciting day for Scotframe and for all our dedicated colleagues. Having established the business 28 years ago, the sale of Scotframe is a tremendous milestone in our evolution and I’m delighted that we will be beginning this new chapter as part of the Saint-Gobain group – a tremendous company with a fantastic reputation and great strength. I will continue to run Scotframe and for our customers nothing will change – we continue to operate business as usual. For our colleagues who make our business such a success this is a terrific opportunity to be part of a global group with 18,000 colleagues in the UK alone and a culture of valuing personal development and growth – so many new opportunities for our business.” Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS New Platform for Visualising Construction

Hinkley Campus First Arrivals

The first offsite accommodation units for Hinkley Point C Workers Campus have been delivered to the Somerset site. The delivery marks the successful start of this phase of the £50 million contract awarded to the Nottinghamshire-based Caledonian Modular by main contractor Laing O’Rourke. Each 34 bedroom block will be completed onsite within just eight weeks from delivery. 15 blocks will be delivered to Hinkley and 29 to the offsite campus at Bridgwater. The benefits of modular manufacture at Caledonian’s 40-acre site near Nottingham include up to a 50% reduction in the schedule compared to traditional builds, assured levels of quality, and minimal environmental impact both onsite and within the wider Bridgwater area. Offsite specialists Bryden Wood and BIM technology innovator, 3D Repo, have launched a new platform for visualising how construction projects change over time. Using Virtual Reality (VR) technology and 3D Repo’s database driven Digital Construction Platform, the new 4D sequence visualisation tool gives users a new perspective on design and construction projects. Accessed using market leading VR headsets, such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the outputs will improve collaboration between project stakeholders, facilitate decision making and allow for better communication at all stages of a project. This functionality, together with enhanced online collaboration and visualisation features, is released as a Bryden Wood digital portal powered by 3D Repo.

Wood understands the different stages of design and construction projects and how they develop over time, while we are experienced in developing the latest innovations, such as VR, to improve data sharing and analysis.”

4D modelling is a term used in the construction sector and refers to the fourth dimension of time, so a 4D schedule is a 3D model that includes the construction sequencing. This enables teams to analyse events on a time-line and visualise the steps required to complete tasks within the construction process.

The use of sequencing within original authoring tools allows a timeline of models to be created, which can then be played back in VR. Multiple sequences can be applied to each model, allowing different scenarios and outcomes to be visualised. 3D Repo is also working on a number of improvements to the new 4D sequence visualisation solution, including direct web access and integration with other planning/4D software.

“Once a design or construction project is underway, the sequence of construction steps required to assemble it is one of the most important factors to be considered,” commented Phil Langley, Director of Digital Delivery at Bryden Wood. “As the saying goes, ‘time is money’ and, by providing an accessible, easy to use 4D VR solution, we can help save valuable time when it comes to sharing information for decision making.” Jozef Dobos, CEO of 3D Repo said, “By partnering with Bryden Wood to develop the 4D VR experience, we have played to the strengths of both parties. Bryden


The 3D Repo-Bryden Wood digital solution builds on 3D Repo’s cloud based BIM platform that allows users to access, via the web, the latest 3D models and make real time changes and informed decisions. Often described as an online knowledge base, the 3D Repo platform is different from other collaboration tools as it uses a component-based database – meaning that information is live, useful and accessible throughout the entire project lifecycle.


Attend EXPLORE OFFSITE OUTLOOKS on 28 February 2018 to learn more:

Caledonian competed with an international supply chain to win the contract with Laing O’Rourke and has doubled its workforce and re-launched its apprenticeship scheme to complete the project to house HPC workers. HPC guarantees the company 15 months’ work to design and construct the accommodation for 1,500 workers building the UK’s first new nuclear power station in 20 years. Nigel Cann, HPC Programme and Construction Delivery Director said: “I am pleased to see the first accommodation units arrive for HPC on schedule, showing the progress we are making on the site. We have worked hard to make sure that the impact on the community is a positive one but are mindful that the accommodation units needed to arrive on time so that we did not affect local B&B accommodation for visitors to the area.” Paul Lang, Chief Executive Officer at Caledonian Modular added: “The investment we have made in our production facility and dedication of all our staff means that we are on schedule at Hinkley Point C. We are delighted to have delivered the first accommodation suites to site, with the others now following in quick succession.” Hinkley Point C will require about 5,600 workers during peak construction. Around two thirds of workers will rent privately in the local area or be home-based. For the remaining, accommodation facilities are planned in Bridgwater, Somerset along with a 500 bed campus planned for the south of the construction site. Source:


UK INDUSTRY NEWS Swansea Council Hooks up with Live Verde Formal talks will soon be taking place that could lead to hundreds of new homes being manufactured offsite in Swansea every year. Swansea Council has now signed an agreement with Live Verde to further explore options that would help tackle the city’s need for more housing in future. Live Verde is the WElink Group’s offsite housing manufacturing solution in the UK, which was launched in late 2016 as a result of a new partnership between the Dublin headquartered WElink Group and the China National Building Materials company. Swansea Council’s agreement with Live Verde could soon see the council working alongside the company to identify sites in the city for the development of these types of homes for sale or rent. It could also lead to hundreds of local jobs and a manufacturing facility in the Swansea area. All market research, planning and construction costs would be met by Live Verde, if a joint venture is signed in future, with an element of affordable housing to be included within individual schemes. Cllr Andrea Lewis, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Energy and Building Services said: “This agreement gives the potential for highly energy efficient, affordable modular homes and buildings

that can be manufactured and quickly assembled in Swansea, so these will not be low grade properties. As with the new council home development on Colliers Way, we’re keen for any housing construction schemes in Swansea over coming years to be as energy efficient as possible.” Live Verde is looking to construct 25,000 homes a year by 2022, which would make it the UK’s leading modular housing developer. Stephen Haigh, Chief Executive of Live Verde, said: “I’m pleased to have been able to secure this announcement with Swansea that could see significant investment in low carbon offsite manufactured homes in the region. Our housing solution offers a revolution in the delivery of homes in the UK with rapid construction and deployment, high levels of energy efficiency and the latest technology in energy management. “The homes will be constructed using British produced light gauge steel frames that are manufactured to a high level of precision in a factory, with key components then transported to site and assembled. In addition, with the installation of solar panels and energy storage, it means that our homes are low carbon in both their construction and in their application. I look forward to progressing our agreement onto the next stage and see it reach its full potential.” The Department for International Trade’s Capital Investment team was instrumental in brokering the first

Live Verde joint venture in late 2016. The team, which focuses on bringing overseas investment into large scale regeneration, infrastructure and energy projects across the UK, worked closely with all parties to bring this substantial investment to Swansea. The agreement was signed at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Swansea. Pictured signing the agreement are: Ajmal Rahman, Chair of WElink; Chairman Peng, CNBM; Cllr Rob Stewart, Leader of the City of Swansea Council



UK INDUSTRY NEWS McAvoy Wins Place on Modular Buildings Framework

ARV Solutions Scoop 2017 IIP Award

Jim Roach, Managing Director at ARV Solutions, was delighted to win Manager of the Year at the Investors in People (IIP) Awards in October 2017. Jim has been a leader in the recruitment industry for over 30 years. He established Bristol-based ARV Solutions in 2003 in order to focus on recruitment for the construction industry, in particular the growing sector of offsite construction. With stiff competition in the Manager of the Year category from large organisations, it was a real honour to win the award. Finalists at the IIP awards this year included heavy weights such as Great Western Railway and Glaxosmithkline.

The McAvoy Group has been appointed to the LHC Modular Buildings Framework, which has a combined value of more than £1 billion. McAvoy has secured the opportunity to provide permanent and bespoke modular buildings and interim facilities for education, healthcare and emergency services schemes across England, Wales and Scotland for the next four years. McAvoy was successful in 15 lots and achieved the highest scores for education buildings, factory processes, and for BIM, out of all companies bidding for places on the framework. McAvoy also finished top in the workstream WS1 for permanent or interim education and healthcare buildings, which means public sector clients can award contracts directly to the company. The Group has already secured its first scheme following its success on the framework – an interim classroom project for Cardiff Council. The building will accommodate 60 children at Court Special School for three years, to help meet the rising demand for school places. Commenting on this major framework appointment, Eugene Lynch, Managing Director of The McAvoy Group said: “Our success in so many lots of this prestigious framework highlights the scope and quality of the offsite solutions that McAvoy can offer to public sector clients across the UK. “An important factor in our appointment was our ability to develop virtual models of our clients’ buildings to facilitate more informed decision making, and enhance stakeholder engagement. This innovative use


of advanced technology helps clients to reduce risk, save time and really optimise the speed and efficiency benefits of offsite construction.” The Group’s appointment follows a rigorous selection process, which included a visit to McAvoy’s factory, a demonstration of its market-leading virtual reality technology and a thorough assessment of the quality and technical performance of its offsite building systems for both permanent and interim use. The LHC frameworks give public sector building clients the benefit of faster and more efficient procurement, best value pricing, instant access to project data, the reassurance of higher quality, guaranteed service levels and faster project commencement. The Modular Buildings Framework can be accessed in Scotland via the Scottish Procurement Alliance and in Wales using the Welsh Procurement Alliance.

Jim commented: “I am very proud of the supportive and nurturing environment we have at ARV Solutions, and I know that it is something that the whole team values. The IIP recognises the importance for companies to train and develop their employees, so winning this award means a great deal to me and reconfirms that we are doing the right thing. The future of recruitment is in collaboration not competition, and I believe we are leading the way in our industry with this ethos.” Despite the current economic climate ARV Solutions has flourished in the last three years, with plans to grow significantly over the next year and hire additional staff. Jim’s attitude to business is slightly unusual for a recruiter, placing an emphasis on team work, collaboration, long-term results and professional development. The company gained the Investors in People Standard Gold Accreditation in 2016, which is only granted to the top two percentile of organisations assessed.

McAvoy also recently completed work on the £20m Lynch Hill Enterprise Academy in Slough 17 weeks ahead of schedule in only 53 weeks. The three-storey, 94,000 sq ft building has a design inspired by Harvard Business School and is one of the UK’s largest ever modular schools. About 65% of the construction work was completed offsite at McAvoy’s production centre in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. The 146 steel-framed modules installed with doors, windows, ironmongery, internal walls, plumbing, electrics and joinery already in place.

The annual Investors in People Awards cover the whole of the UK, recognising the people and teams that make the difference every day and highlighting excellence for a wide range of leaders in all sectors, from local councils and housing to finance and legal. Paul Devoy, Head of Investors in People, said: “Once again we have been overwhelmed by the number and calibre of entries received for the Investors in People Awards. It’s fantastic to see so many organisations nominated for outperforming in their sector, demonstrating great people management practice and a commitment to staff development, all winners should feel extremely proud.”




UK INDUSTRY NEWS SES Engineering Services Consolidates Scotland Expansion SES Engineering Services (SES), has opened its second Scotland office, in Edinburgh, representing a major milestone for the business, which continues to deliver critical projects across the country. The business, which recently completed its multimillion pound Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) project on the iconic Queensferry Crossing, has established itself as one of Scotland’s leading providers of on-site innovation, offsite manufacturing and digital engineering. The award-winning business, established in 1961 has a track record of delivering critical and innovative M&E projects right across the UK. SES first established a Scottish base of operations in Glasgow seven years ago recognising the scale, importance and complexity of projects across the border. SES continues to expand its portfolio of stand-out projects, and recently provided full M&E services on the University of Edinburgh’s £25m project to establish a world-leading Data Technology Institute as well as on the multi-million pound Edinburgh Gateway railway station and interchange. Last month, SES and its specialist prefabrication and offsite manufacturing facility, Prism was shortlisted in the prestigious Construction News Specialist Awards Project of the Year category, in recognition of its innovative work on the standout £1.35bn Queensferry Crossing. The replacement road bridge over the Firth of Forth is Scotland’s largest infrastructure investment in a generation. The shortlisting is testament to the company’s reputation for delivering innovative, cost and time saving offsite manufacturing and Building Information Modelling (BIM) solutions to UK critical projects. Colin Walker, Business Director Scotland, commented: “The opening of our Edinburgh office is built on the strong foundation of the work we have completed and have secured with our partners across the whole of Scotland. This new office brings even more opportunities for our people, and the communities in which we work. “Supplementing our Glasgow team base with our new Edinburgh office, represents our ongoing commitment to Scotland, our success here has been made possible by the ever-increasing number of exciting projects bringing critical investment into the country. We continue to provide time and cost-saving innovative solutions on and off site, across Scotland’s most outstanding infrastructure, education and science & research projects. In line with SES’ national growth strategy, we’re looking ahead to another outstanding seven years.” Source:



UK INDUSTRY NEWS Constructing Excellence Embrace Offsite

OSS Join Housing Minister to Promote Offsite

A group of senior construction industry specialists met with Scotland’s Housing Minister Kevin Stewart MSP to discuss how they can work with the Scottish Government to grow the unique offsite manufacturing design and skill base in Scotland.

At its Annual Conference in December 2017, Constructing Excellence revealed a new strategy that aims to accelerate the digital and offsite revolution – including AI, factory production, BIM and open data – in the construction sector. Constructing Excellence co-chair Mark Farmer has long campaigned for a drastic sector shift to adopt more modern methods of construction to alleviate skills shortages, improve productivity and delivery, and greatly enhance the performance and quality of new homes and buildings. Major industries, such as automotive, food processing and agriculture have all evolved over time and embraced new ways of working including supply chains, lean, and digital, however, construction is still adapting to these new ways of working. To drive the industry forward, Constructing Excellence is looking to work with leading edge organisations to address the sector’s urgent need to modernise. The key objective for 2018, is the enabling of new delivery models to be adopted across the sector: Increased standardisation and pre-manufactured content, digitally enabled integrated teams working collaboratively with long-term relationships and aligned commercial arrangements and a client-led transformation by procuring for outcomes and l ong-term performance of assets. “We see 2018 as the year when Constructing Excellence shifts gear and turns words into action,” said Mark Farmer. “Our goal is to positively disrupt industry delivery processes to transform performance throughout the sector. The agenda for change is clear, the necessity and drivers are well understood and now it is time for practical change in boardrooms and


on projects, which is crucial if we’re to bring industry practices into the digital age and create a brighter future for the sector.” Whilst the construction industry is not as far evolved as other key sectors in terms of modernisation, there is change happening at base level. A recent report by Bim+ predicted that the use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) among Computer Aided Design (CAD) users will increase 140% over the next five years. Some businesses are also exploring ways in which to use robotics in day to day construction. Already spray concrete robots are in use on Crossrail, and Skanska are implementing robotic construction units to carry out tasks onsite, whilst factory-built homes are becoming more prominent, especially in the affordable housing sector. Drones are also being used by Building Control, monitoring through aerial inspections, providing time and cost saving benefits, whilst and the recent completion of the first 3D printed concrete house shows that 3D technology in the construction market is a reality. Don Ward, Constructing Excellence CEO, said: “We are all well-versed in the demand for new homes and it is clear that traditional brick and block methods simply cannot achieve the output required. Therefore, we want to identify and put into practice the modern methods of construction and standardisation that will significantly cut construction times, improve safety, quality, productivity and sustainability, are cost- effective and can match the volume required. We need to learn from other sectors and develop new delivery models and new skills that will see the next generation work from a platform that can take our industry even further forward.” Source:

Offsite Solutions Scotland (OSS) is a coalition of ten forward thinking construction manufactures with an ambition to grow scale through collaboration. OSS Chairman and Director of Glasgow-based construction firm CCG (Scotland), Calum Murray, said: “We were delighted that the Minister was able to join us and give us his support as we work together to position Scotland as the centre of excellence for offsite manufacturing. The Scottish Government has an incredibly ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 and it is predicted that 295,000 houses per year until 2037 require to be built in the UK. To achieve that, it is necessary to significantly increase the average annual output of affordable homes and the only way that is going to be achieved is by embracing and making full use of offsite manufacturing techniques. “Offsite manufacturing offers so many advantages – most notably the fact that homes can be built faster and to higher sustainability standard when compared with traditional construction methods, making them more cost effective to build and construct, as well as live in. The Fabric First approach of OSS responds to this with higher levels of insulation reducing energy use through conservation and factory precision reducing waste materials by up to 40%. Building offsite saves time and money, and it also ensures a high quality finished product and Scotland is very well placed to take advantage of this market.” OSS has a combined manufacturing output of £170 million employing more than 1,000 people. Partners used the meeting to highlight their focus on the pre-manufacture of the components required to build sustainable housing solutions from a truly renewable carbon capturing resource. OSS is a unique partnership formed to enable the industry to collaborate on technical projects, skills development and innovation around offsite manufacturing. Source:


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SAFEGUARDING QUALITY & PERFORMANCE President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) since September 2017, Ben Derbyshire spoke to Gary Ramsay about delivering effective design and the profession’s approach to offsite manufacture.

1 One thing for certain amongst the offsite cognoscenti is that the sector has long since laid to rest its shabby prefab past and doubts over quality and durability. The headlines surrounding offsite manufacture are hugely positive and the sector is being called upon to provide a central solution to the housing crisis in particular. But one criticism that that has been hard to shake off – is the notion of the volumetric ‘cookie-cutter’ offsite box with little discerning aesthetic or contextual appeal. How is the architectural profession taking criticisms of low aesthetics and lack of striking designs? “The technologies available mean that the spectre of ‘cookie cutter’ buildings that some people associate with the idea of offsite manufactured buildings is not the right way to think about it at all,” says Ben. “My view is that


2 the current pursuit of design quality that we happily see being discussed in policy terms both nationally and with local plans – not least in London – we see an important emphasis on distinctive quality and contextual harmony for buildings and therefore any offsite system has to cope with the contemporary demands of high standards.” While an architect’s creative flair is never in dispute, some architectural practices are still being challenged by a lack of clear understanding of what offsite can deliver from a cold hard technical perspective. As often pointed out, the aerospace and automotive sectors that use sophisticated manufacturing processes deliver on the promise of ‘mass customisation’ in a way the construction industry has long been incapable of understanding fully. Can the offsite architect integrate

the technical know-how and both contextualise and shape offsite buildings in an attractive manner, by better understanding the technologies and processes that deliver a factory-led approach to building? “Quality and innovation will come from a role for architects that I describe as being a ‘designer in industry’, says Ben. “Understanding the materials and processes of industry, within which they are delivering products is key. It’s about talented designers that use technology in an innovative way that make the breakthroughs.” Public sector commitment to the wider use of offsite manufacture has been an encouraging development over the last 18 months – all fuelled by the Mark Farmer Review ‘Modernise or Die’ and the Government White Paper: ‘Fixing Our Broken Housing Market’, that each



3 in their own way created a groundswell of awareness in offsite. How is RIBA promoting this gigantic opportunity to design and deliver in a pioneering and attractive way?

“I’m encouraging the RIBA membership to be positive. I am trying to convey to the profession my view that this is a great opportunity for us. Engaging with a full understanding of what the technologies are able to do and investing at practice level in the information technology that will permit architects to design through this means of production.” Certainly from a design perspective, the proliferation of ‘tall timber’ buildings and the continuing heights offered by volumetric systems are giving clients and developers plenty to think about, never mind the design community. “These developments demonstrate that height is no obstacle or impediment to the use of volumetric systems,” adds Ben. “Offsite technology in my view is capable of delivering quality and speed beyond any other construction method and it is also capable of delivering variety and interest through ‘mass customisation’ in a way many people don’t yet understand, hence our enthusiasm and support for custom-build. The advanced custom-build schemes are full of interest and variety. The technologies have proved themselves in a variety of different dimensions.” The boom in digital design, BIM and the growth of AR/VR as a way of

seeing and experiencing a building before it has been built, is moving the construction world into creator and user experiences never appreciated before. Far-reaching and extensive developments in centres of excellence such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield and the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry are provoking new ways of working and thinking in all building designers – add to this the seam bursting amounts of ‘big data’ accumulated on a daily basis on building performance. The secret is how to interpret the data correctly into something that is easily understood, valued and can be exploited in a clear meaningful way. “Information technology has a capacity to illustrate and entertain and provide a powerful means of communication,” says Ben. “I think we will be using them increasingly. Either in-house or in collaboration with others, practitioners need to obtain the expertise to use the data especially early on in the design process. We also need to continue to make the point that better labelled and better described buildings are essential.” “One thing we are doing at RIBA is working to introduce a universally applicable, post-occupancy evaluation tool as an overlay on the Plan of Work. This will enable the consultant teams and clients to decide amongst themselves what parameters they are particularly keen to establish as measures of project success at the outset. Then do everything they need to do, stage by stage, right up to the very end where they will then test on

4 completion, two and five years, to determine what the actual outcome is in relation to the intended one.” Only a short few months into his two year tenure as President of RIBA, Ben Derbyshire is excited about the period ahead and what ultimately is an exciting time for architects working in all styles and typologies to understand what offsite technology offers in an increasingly demanding global economic climate. “My overarching theme for the Presidency is quality and performance in the built environment,” finishes Ben. “One of the reasons for my enthusiasm for offsite manufacture and the information technologies that designers use to engage with it, is that it delivers on the promise of architects as designers in control of quality and performance. We have an audience within the political establishment that is extremely keen to listen to what we have to say about innovative technologies. This window of opportunity generated by renewed political interest in housing quality in particular means we can help provide a better environment and wellbeing for the urban population.” For more information visit: Images: 01. Ben Derbyshire 02-04. Offsite manufacture is making architects and building designers think in a different way. Courtesy Vision Modular/Stora Enso Laing O’Rourke




QUEST FOR QUALITY NHBC has a long history of working with the housebuilding industry to raise the standards of new homes and to provide protection for homebuyers through its warranty and insurance schemes. It recently hosted a Roundtable Event to discuss future housing challenges and the role of offsite manufacture. Gary Ramsay reports on the key points.

A minor revolution is happening. One year on from the Housing White Paper published in February 2017– Fixing our Broken Housing Market – that recognised that change is a necessity and promised a broad range of ‘radical, lasting reform’ on the ways homes are delivered. It would seem that the climate is right to encourage a wider range of clients, developers and supply chain participants into the housing market. “We can overestimate the government’s ability to exert change,” says Adam Challis, Head of Residential Research at JLL. “But as an industry we now have a real opportunity to pick up the mantle laid down by the White Paper in recognising and demonstrating that offsite solutions can align with policy priorities on quality and quantity.”

“As an industry the brand challenge that we have is to convince people that a factory is good place to make things. We know how many minutes it takes to make a house in a factory. Ask a traditional builder how long it takes to do it on a building site and they’ll struggle to answer.” Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director, Stewart Milne Timber Systems

The necessity to raise the number of homes being built across the UK is well understood. But just as critical is the need to raise the quality standard of the nation’s housing stock. It is here that offsite manufacture is progressively being seen as an opportunity to change the processes behind building and delivering new homes. Certainly with the endorsement of central Government and the London Assembly in particular over 2017, scalable offsite methods of manufacture are being taken far more seriously and potentially the ideal solution for social housing and the Private Rented Sector (PRS) boom.


For NHBC, these new and emerging offsite systems, components and building technologies are increasingly of interest but need to be understood better to be given the final stamp of approval and guarantee of quality. Although offsite is standard practice for some, many are travelling a steep learning curve with a vast knowledge gap between wanting to adopt offsite and actually using it correctly. Barriers do remain – whether resting in perception issues of the ‘prefab’ past or the vagaries of land availability and planning consent to the more esoteric appreciation of visual appeal and sense of place.

Most agree that that the White Paper is ostensibly a worthwhile document and a genuine attempt to tackle a possibly unsolvable problem in upping housing numbers. However, Government upheaval, the snap spring 2017 General Election and the paralysing Brexit negotiations have meant that enthusiasm has stalled. The lack of progress from the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA) and the Accelerated Construction Fund is frustrating and the hope is that the new Minister for Housing and Planning will provide some fresh impetus. “The White Paper was good news,” says Peter Andrew, Deputy Chairman, Home Builders Federation (HBF).



“But offsite is just a part of a suite of answers. For the major housebuilders it is an incremental move forward. All the major players are aware of offsite and are starting to create some volume but it is through a careful, strategised approach. The important point is that everyone needs to make sure that there is no legacy issues surrounding quality.” Keep the Customer Satisfied There is now a consistent assortment of project examples showcasing the quality of offsite manufacture. The hoUSe concept by Urban Splash has caught imaginations and is changing perceptions – critically at the wider consumer level. The negative ‘brand association’ of prefabrication is being quickly erased. “It’s not an issue within our space,” adds Adam Challis. “The industry is further forward now. But the fact that hoUSe has been built in a factory is irrelevant to the vast majority of the occupiers – it’s all about the engagement with the design, layout and flexibility of the home.” Indeed, for many people this choice and

involvement in the building process is as close to building their own home as many will get. So not enough is perhaps made of what the consumer actually wants – the customer experience. Albeit they may not be overly bothered about what is behind the walls, but nobody can argue with affordability, value for money and the chance to have a hand in developing your own home. “We are in the age of the connected customer,” says Brendan Geraghty, Director at Geraghty Taylor. “We need to develop and maintain a relationship with the customer. We need to ask the market what it wants as the choices and ways to personalise are massive and will increase.” To maintain a happy customer the service delivery also needs to be better. Increased demand and innovation in offsite homes is going to come through customer satisfaction more than policy developments or even huge technical advances. Some simple answers rest in a clear, predictable offsite supply chain.

“People are excited by technology and its potential. The more sophisticated the offsite industry gets the more attractive it gets for younger people. Digital developments appeal to those that are interested in construction but might not want to get their hands dirty on a building site.” Jennifer Beningfield, Principal, Open Studio Architects Capacity & Design If the UK is to solve its housing crisis – which could take decades – planning rules and the way consent is granted will have to change and relax. Local authorities have a major role to play here to enact reform and encourage more building – of all typologies – to occur. Local authorities can effectively become the ‘commissioners of housing’. Something that they used to do very well but is a function that has virtually ceased to exist. Local authorities and housing associations can play a huge role to act as a



NHBC ROUNDTABLE reliably meet performance and assurance standards over many decades, satisfying the needs of home and asset owners, investors and mortgage lenders.

“The role of a manufacturer working with a main contractor with an enlightened client is what we are trying to unlock. Why would you unlock capacity unless you have surety of demand?” John Gray – Partner, Head of Production Information, HTA

‘disrupter to traditional building’ and deliver better homes for their tenants. “There is an important public sector role in planning thinking,” says Will Cousins, Chairman, David Lock Associates. “The Village and Garden Town plans are interesting. The Government has a role to play in placemaking and ensuring public land gets to market and allows development to happen. The policy conditions are there and are pro-offsite.”

“Offsite is clearly something that can’t be ignored.” Stephanie Pollitt, Assistant Director (Real Estate), British Property Federation (BPF) More housing developments means more manufacturing – can the offsite industry keep up and cope with clients with big ambitions? What is required is firm commitment from clients, developers and housebuilders to an offsite pipeline. This commitment creates the confidence and ultimately drives capacity increase. “I have the capacity but I also need the demand, says Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director for Stewart Milne Timber Systems. “We are probably operating at about 60% capacity and have a great deal of flexibility. The problem isn’t to produce more items or to procure more raw material or even employ more people – it’s


the demand side. Logistics and pipelines have to be committed so we manufacturers can invest in confidence.” A common talking point is where the role of the architect and building designer sits within offsite design and the where the creative edge rests. Thinking ‘beyond the box’. The retirement living sector has huge potential for offsite thinking and creative flair with customisable lifetime homes with flexible internal layouts set to play a major role in future-proofing housing. Being more visual and making developments contextual that feel integral to where they are built and blend in is important. The problem is whether there is enough knowledge in the design market to understand what offsite actually can offer and deliver on this front. Endless issues arise from buildings being designed as ‘traditional’ then often retrospectively applying an offsite solution thereby losing the many potential gains of factory controlled manufacture and the original design ethos. Performance & Accreditation NHBC have been witnessing an upsurge of interest in offsite construction with increasing numbers of systems and components being put forward for assessment against the NHBC Standards. The future for offsite success rests in the ability for homes and their constituent parts and components to be designed, manufactured and constructed to

NHBC Standards are there to help ‘normalise’ by setting out clear, detailed technical guidance and benchmarks – this helps designers, constructors and its own building inspectors, who may not previously have encountered a particular method of construction. “We have to engender confidence with lenders and investors that homes built using offsite methods are going to stand the test of time compared with traditional build,” says Graham Sibley, Market Development Manager, NHBC. “It’s all about the finished quality. The challenge is how we marry the standard we can expect to see in a finished home to deliver an NHBC warranty.”

“Some architects are wary of standardisation and that it can stifle creativity but it is up to clients and architects to challenge the brief and design for offsite from inception.” David Lomax, Senior Associate, Waugh Thistleton Competing standards and accreditation are not providing the certainty that many would like to see and there is a case for crossindustry collaboration between NHBC and BRE, BSI, BOPAS to establish a standardisation or ‘kitemark’ for offsite. But that approach must be rigorous. Across the board there is a need for consistency which can be difficult. Factory accreditations and control measures that pertain just to the factory and finished components are one aspect. The pressure points are when these are transferred to site and used at site level. Site conditions are different across the country and this all


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

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

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has to be taken into account. “Lenders want assurance,” says Steve Lees, New Build Risk Manager at Countrywide Surveying Services, “There are a lot of accreditation and exterior bodies out there. Somebody needs to take ownership from a standards point of view as there is confusion.”

“Local supply chains can change local authority mindsets about the value of offsite, this can then feedback to improve confidence and quicker approval of projects.” Philip Breese, Project Architect, Weston Williamson + Partners Will offsite solve the housing crisis? The general consensus is that: “it won’t solve a crisis but it will prevent a catastrophe.” By itself it won’t solve all the problems, indeed it would be misleading to think it can. “It poses a challenge to people who are procuring and developing buildings, says David Lomax, Senior Associate at Waugh Thistleton. “There needs to be an incentive for improvement and disrupting the construction sector with good architecture. We have world leading offsite technology and we need to force the construction industry to change for the better.” Many thanks to NHBC for hosting the Roundtable Event and thanks to all participants for their time and contributions to the discussion. For more information on NHBC visit: For more information on offsite related activity visit: 28

LESSONS & OUTCOMES OFFSITE TERMINOLOGY – collective thinking is required on what ‘offsite’ means and decide on a standard definition to clear confusion FLEXIBLE DESIGN – there is an assumption of inflexibility with offsite design and delivery – offsite is a process not a product COMMUNICATING THE CONCEPT – understanding how best to blend standardisation and customisation into factory thinking and explaining to clients what this entails LOCAL AUTHORITIES – better engagement is needed at all levels to reap the rewards of offsite manufacture through a strategy of quicker and more intelligent planning consents CUSTOMER IS KING – communicating with the public and consumer sector better about what a factory-produced home means and the ability to configure their own homes ATTRACTIVE INDUSTRY – using digital/AR/VR and connected world to bring a younger generation and different thinking into the industry with lifetime transferable skills that extend careers beyond the building site WARRANTY & ACCREDITATION – creating a universal ‘kitemark’ for offsite components and getting to grips with how properties are assessed at key stages – factory, transport, onsite finishing MONEY MATTERS – creating confidence and expanding offsite knowledge around the surveying, finance, lending and insurance sectors PMV & WHOLE LIFE COSTS – the values of offsite manufacture – some of which are difficult to quantify – PMV should be a ‘proxy for cost, time and quality predictability, plus greater efficiency and speed’ REWARDING OFFSITE INVESTMENT – the offsite sector invests heavily in processes, accreditation and factory design, workforce training with output data measurably showing better performance. There should be a positive price point differential in premiums for the use of offsite

Attendees Darren Richards - Managing Director, Cogent Consulting (Facilitator) Graham Sibley - Market Development Manager, NHBC Adam Challis - Head of Residential Research, JLL Will Cousins - Chairman, David Lock Associates Stephen Wightman - Managing Director, SIG Offsite Philip Breese - Project Architect, Weston Williamson + Partners John Gray - Partner, Head of Production Information, HTA Jennifer Beningfield - Principal, Open Studio Architects Alex Goodfellow - Group Managing Director, Stewart Milne Timber Systems Brendan Geraghty - Director, Geraghty Taylor David Lomax - Senior Associate, Waugh Thistleton Peter Andrew - Deputy Chairman, HBF Stephanie Pollitt - Assistant Director (Real Estate), British Property Federation (BPF) Steve Lees - New Build Risk Manager, Countrywide Surveying Services Gary Ramsay - Editor, Offsite Magazine


06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON

ecobuild 2018: the event shaped by the industry ecobuild is returning to the ExCeL London in March 2018 and under the new ownership of Futurebuild Events Ltd, things are set to be very different. The event is being designed and built around the industry, bringing to life the latest offsite technology, freshest thinking and most innovative materials.

The event is not only being shaped through comprehensive industry feedback, but also with direct input from leading industry influencers. These include Darren Richards, Lynne Sullivan, Nathan Baker, Jon Bootland and Bill Dunster OBE, who are all members of the ecobuild Steering Group which is helping to set the agenda for the event. Martin Hurn, Managing Director of Futurebuild Events, explains: “New, independent ownership offers a unique opportunity to completely overhaul the event. We believe that to be as relevant and valuable as possible, we need to understand and act on what built environment professionals want to see at ecobuild. We see our role as to facilitate the agenda, rather than dictate it, and we also believe that it is more important to bring future trends to life, rather than just thinking and talking about them.”

Offsite at ecobuild 2018 One of the futurebuild districts, which surround the event’s sustainability showcases and main conference arena, is the Offsite District in partnership with Explore Offsite. The exhibition will include offsite construction solutions including framing systems in concrete, timber and steel, modular and volumetric systems, bathroom and kitchen pods, offsite roofing technology, pre-engineered building services as well as other complementary offsite technologies and a range of prefabricated building components.



06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON A series of full-scale builds will be on show in the Offsite District, which brings together the most innovative, exciting and inspiring brands in this rapidly developing sector. They include a complete three-storey home constructed by property development company, Brooke Homes. It will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the full benefits of this revolutionary approach to housebuilding. The three-storey home can be completely constructed in just five weeks. Modular structural insulated panels (SIPS) for the home are pre-assembled in a factory in Kent, complete with windows, doors, finishing joinery and an undercoat of paint. They can then be transported to site and lifted into position by a crane. This method is not only time and cost efficient, it also has significant environmental benefits. These homes have increased energy efficiency and greater sound insulation, which means homeowners benefit from lower bills and greater peace and quiet in their properties.

Martin Hurn, continues: “Offsite construction is rapidly expanding and the opportunities in the sector are immense, so it’s a given that it will be a big focus for ecobuild 2018. We are really excited to showcase so many projects that have excelled in their use of offsite technology and through them, illustrate the benefits of this innovation to the built environment.”

Confirmed exhibitors in the Offsite District include:

The Offsite District is one of a series which explore different aspects of the built environment and will bring together the top people, brands and companies.

• A Proctor Group • APPI • Brooke Homes • DatumPhaseChange • Elite Systems • Eurocell • Hadley Group • Hoppings • Kerkstoel • Mabudo • Marley • Portakabin • Premier Guarantee • Premier Modular • Wernick

Other districts include: • Timber • Concrete • District Energy • Building Performance • Infrastructure • Green and Blue Infrastructure • Energy & HVAC

2337.17 ELITE SYSTEMS ADVERT_QA_EDUCATION 2018_March_April_half.qxp_Layout 1 24/01/2018 15:32 Page 1

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06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON

Building an ‘Appi’ life

In an ever-changing world, the key to success is adapting to change and embracing the future. Sean Eley, Managing Director, AppiUK believes construction is no different. With environmental concerns always present and a population that is rapidly growing, we need more homes quickly, but with a lower financial and environmental impact. At Appi we recognise the needs of the future and have developed a totally new concept in housing, driven by demand.



But what makes it different? The answer is modular offsite construction – the construction of complete buildings, using individual modules put together in an offsite factory under strict and controlled conditions. This innovative way of building drastically reduces the onsite workload as well as significantly decreasing the total build time and related costs. Appi has designed an exciting range of apartments and houses, with the primary focus on speed of construction, both in the factory and onsite. Each home boasts superb quality combined with impressive longevity as standard. Plus, being precision-built and boasting high insulation values, low operating costs are assured. We will be launching our designs at this year’s ecobuild at London’s ExCel. Visitors will get the chance to view and explore one of our complete two-storey, two-bedroom houses, constructed using a light steel frame combined with various new and existing composite materials.

The company’s overall offer will include innovative ideas on customisation and all homes will be covered by type approval. The target market for these modern, environmentally-sustainable properties includes local authorities, private developers and Private Rented Sector (PRS) operators.

See something different and cutting-edge, come to our house on the Appi stand at E25 in the Offsite District. For more information visit: or contact us at:

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Meet our experts – Portakabin offers expertise at ecobuild 2018 At ecobuild 2018 Portakabin is offering attendees the opportunity to meet the company’s offsite and modular experts including Sustainability Lead Dr Penny Carey and Education Specialist Emily King.

As Sustainability Lead, Penny has over 15 years’ experience in environmental consultancy and almost 30 years in building energy. This wealth of experience has allowed her to develop a robust understanding of sustainable building design, environmental legislation, building regulations compliance, thermodynamic energy modelling and environmental assessment methods. She is an accredited Non Domestic Energy Assessor and qualified BREEAM Assessor. Emily is a construction and education professional. She joined Portakabin as the company’s Education Specialist and has worked extensively with the ESFA and on the Priority School Building Programme. A graduate in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Emily has previously held roles for leading construction consultants, including Arup and Mott MacDonald. Earlier in her career she taught physics and was Head of Science and Technology at a secondary school, giving her exceptional practical insight into teaching and learning. Portakabin will be showcasing some of its most impressive projects including North Middlesex University Hospital’s Women and Children’s Centre and Global Academy, the UK’s first University Technical College to be built offsite which combines modular and traditional construction enabling the structure to grow at twice the speed of a fully traditional project.

As part of an Explore Offsite Masterclass Session on Wednesday 7 March, Emily will also offer insight into how Portakabin is meeting school building requirements through offsite and modular technology. The forum style session will include other panellists Rosemary Jerrit and Richard Crosby from the Education Skills Funding Agency. Portakabin experts will offer a range of topics including sustainable design features, sector-specific construction requirements, modular and offsite capabilities, site accommodation solutions and emergency planning. During the booking process attendees can suggest key questions and topics for discussion to enhance their session and get tailored advice and insight. After their appointments, attendees will be offered the chance to arrange a visit to the Portakabin manufacturing site in York to see the company’s unique process of modular construction in action.

Attendees can pre-arrange appointments to learn from industry experts and discover how their expertise can help create a modular project. Over the three-day event attendees will be able to book time slots with their chosen expert via the Portakabin website or at stand E50 during the event. For more details and to book an appointment visit

DR PENNY CAREY Education: BSc Hons in Energy and Waste Management, PHD in Building Physics, Fellow of the Institute of Physics Role at Portakabin: Sustainability Lead Area of expertise: Penny is responsible for sustainable building design and building physics including thermodynamic simulation, modelling, climate-based daylight analysis, renewable energy assessments, BREEAM assessments and Energy Performance Certification

EMILY KING Education: Masters in Civil and Environmental Engineering, PGCE in Secondary Science Role at Portakabin: Education Specialist Area of expertise: Emily has worked extensively with the ESFA and the Priority School Building Programme. She has particular expertise in detailed engineering design, design team management, pre-construction management and project management.



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The Future of UK Housing efficient. SIPS deliver huge benefits to homeowners. The volumetric modules include the complete requirements of a finished fitted-out house, including wall finish, M&E and bathroom and kitchen fit-out, with the desired goal being a fully turnkey delivered product solution. Modular homes offer more internal floor space, habitable roof space and excellent thermal performance. The insulation used also brings down heating costs and thermal bridging is eliminated.

With a passion for driving housing delivery in the UK through the optimisation of offsite construction methods and structural timber technology, Brooke Homes will be bringing a full-scale build to the show. Stephanie Cockram, Marketing and Events Executive at Brooke Homes, explains more. The crisis in the housing industry has been at the forefront of the news agenda for some time. The message from Government is clear – there’s an urgent need for affordable, quality homes and more needs to be done to deliver those properties. We believe offsite timber construction is the future of the housing industry and Brooke Homes is at the forefront of this technology – pioneering innovative and cost-efficient methods of volumetric modular timber construction using sustainable timber sources with full Chain of Custody. Our company is focused on taking modular build developments to the next level. We use a new and innovative construction method, which



is both cost and time-effective. At the moment our offsite facility can manufacture 15 x 3 storey homes (45 volumetric units) at any one time – this means we’re able to complete three homes (nine volumetric units) a week on our current project in Chatham, Kent. With a target of building 82 houses and 28 apartments on the site, the benefits of this method are clear. Our strong supply relationship with Adston UK, has enabled Brooke Homes to achieve BOPAS accreditation for our volumetric modular solution which is based on structurally insulated panel (SIP) technology, LVL beams and engineered timber joists to form a monocoque structure that is both structurally and thermally

From our point of view, this is only the beginning. We have a clear goal to replicate the production of homes on a larger scale. Soon we will introduce purpose built pop-up factories that aim to speed up construction by 7080% and solve many of the challenges facing the industry – primarily the lack of traditional site-based skills and the delays caused by the weather. These pop-up factories allow us to control our costs in a more effective manner and assist in reducing waste. They also provide an attractive workspace and opportunity to develop talents and skills, mitigating the traditional skills shortage. Our biggest goal for the future is to achieve carbon neutral homes at an affordable price. We are already making significant advancements in energy efficiency by improving airtightness and energy waste management to successfully achieve lower running costs. We’re excited to display one of our homes at ecobuild. The event’s aim to offer real solutions to issues in the current housing environment rather than just debating the problems aligns perfectly with our objectives and future goals.

Come and see our three story home on stand G40 or visit: for more information.

With a passion for driving construction through the optimisation of offsite construction and structural timber technology - developing environmentally friendly, affordable, medium-rise sustainable homes, fit for the 21st century is our core objective.

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06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON

Explore Offsite Masterclasses The Offsite District will also be home to the Explore Offsite Masterclasses, a free CPD-accredited interactive platform to gain the latest insights and best practice direct from the experts. This will be delivered in association with Offsite Magazine and the Offsite Hub. The Explore Offsite Masterclasses are free to attend and will host 40 speakers, over 18 hours of presentations, across 12 sessions. They will cover Housing, Education, Healthcare, Digital Infrastructure, Volumetric Modular, Structural Timber, Steel, Hybrid, Concrete and Digital Construction.

The masterclasses will 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. 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 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 CPD-accredited masterclasses are part of ecobuild recognising a need for objective knowledge and training combined with 36


the opportunity to gain hard evidence that offsite construction is working not only in theory but in practice. 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, plus how the industry is responding to unprecedented demand through greater investment in lean manufacturing systems. Running daily throughout ecobuild 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 professionals with the knowledge to successfully apply these techniques.

Confirmed speakers include: Darren Richards, Managing Director at Cogent Consulting; Andy von Bradsky, Design & Delivery Advisor at DCLG; Bjorn Conway, CEO of ilke Homes; Emily King, Education Specialist at Portakabin; Andrew Carpenter, CEO of the Structural Timber Association; Gavin White, Director of Ramboll; Nic Clark, Managing Director at KLH UK; Peter Blunt, Managing Director at Innovare Systems and Cliff Jones, Head of Construction for Department of Health/Procure22 and many more.

Darren Richards, Managing Director of the leading Offsite consultancy said: “Increasingly, the construction industry is turning its attention to the substantial benefits offsite technology can offer. In order to make the most of what is possible, clients, contractors and industry at large must have up-to-date knowledge of what offsite technology suppliers can offer – this is exactly what the masterclasses have been designed to do.”

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Explore Offsite Masterclasses Masterclass Programme - speakers include: 06 March 2018 10.30-11.45 Session 1: Housing The nation’s media has been reporting on the UK housing crisis for some time, but is there now a genuine climate for change in the industry? Experts have hailed offsite construction as a key way to respond to the demand for new housing. For those in the construction sector with fresh ideas and innovative technologies, this generational crisis has the potential to change the norm which governs the ways new homes are built. This Housing keynote session brings together technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction. Darren Richards - Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Stephen Kinsella – Director, Accelerated Construction, Homes and Communities Agency Michelle Hannah - Associate Director, Cast Consulting Graham Sibley - Market Development Manager, NHBC

12.00-13.15 Session 2: Volumetric Modular Volumetric modular units are large building elements that can be linked together to form complete buildings without the need for additional superstructure. The internal fit-out, finishes and building services are pre-installed and commissioned in the modules prior to leaving the factory, ensuring that defects are minimised and quality control is very high. This session will look at what volumetric modular techniques offer the offsite construction industry and will consider lessons learned from some of the UK’s most ground-breaking volumetric modular projects.

Michelle Hannah - Associate Director, Cast Consulting Sarah Davies - Head of Core Projects, Pocket Living Kieran White - Managing Director, Vision Modular Simon Underwood - Managing Director, Elements Europe

13.30-14.45 Session 3: Volumetric Modular Andy von Bradsky - Design & Delivery Advisor, DCLG Rory Bergin – Partner, Sustainable Futures, HTA Design LLP Bjorn Conway – CEO, ilke Homes James English - Managing Director, Brooke Homes Developments/ AMK

15.00-16.00 Session 4: Digital Construction The pace of technological change in all walks of life is immense. While other industries may have made the digital leap earlier, the construction sector is now embracing change and the ‘revolution’ is now well underway, with the combination of offsite manufacturing and digital construction technology presenting a powerful proposition. The digital masterclasses examine the road ahead as roles and disciplines blur and new roles are created for a new generation of digital specialists, to whom BIM will just be business as usual and who will understand the real meaning of augmented and virtual reality, integration, interoperability and design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA). Darren Richards - Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Dominic Thasarathar - Primary Thought-Leader, AutoDesk Frank McLeod – Director: Head of Design Processes, WSP Rob Charlton - Managing Director, Space Group/BIM Technologies

07 March 2018 10.30-11.45 Session 5: Education In February 2017, the National Audit Office – the body that scrutinises public spending for Parliament – found that a large number of school buildings in England required substantial repairs. It is estimated that it will cost £6.7bn to return all school buildings across the country to a ‘satisfactory or better’ condition, and a further £7.1bn to bring parts of school buildings up to a ‘good’ condition. This Programme is set to run until 2021 with the aim of rebuilding or refurbishing a total of 537 primary, secondary and special education needs schools across England. The Education keynote session creates a platform for construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors to come together and discuss the latest offsite solutions across the education sector. Darren Richards - Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Rosemary Jerrit - Deputy Director Free Schools Capital Central Operations, Education and Skills Funding Agency Richard Crosby - Head of Modular & Offsite Construction, Education and Skills Funding Agency Emily King - Education Specialist, Portakabin

12.00-13.15 Session 6: Hybrid Through careful design detailing and value engineering, hybrid structural techniques can offer the best possible construction solution by optimising the performance of a range of offsite technologies, including: glulam, cross laminated timber (CLT), timber cassettes, precast



06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON

Explore Offsite Masterclasses concrete and hot and cold-rolled steel frame. Careful integration of different offsite technologies is essential but by employing advanced design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) techniques it is possible to deliver structural frames and building envelopes to tight tolerances using the best of several materials or systems. Tim Snelson - Associate Director, Arup Nic Clark - Managing Director, KLH UK Peter Blunt - Managing Director, Innovare Systems Wayne Yeomans - Head of Sales and Marketing, B&K Structures

13.30-14.45 Session 7: Steel Light gauge steel frame (LGSF) is one of the fastest growing offsite construction methods, witnessing unprecedented capital investment in recent times. Structural panels assembled from cold-formed galvanised steel sections or SFS solutions can be used in a wide range of building types and in hybrid situations with other materials, as well as being assembled to form volumetric building units such as modules and pods. Mark Lawson – Consultant, SCI David Ellison - Head of Business Development, Sigmat Dr Mike Castellucci - Group Technical & Development Director, Hadley Group

15.00-16.15 Session 8: Structural Timber Timber is a fundamentally important to offsite construction and is one of the leading mainstream, renewable, low-carbon building materials. Structural timber has developed hugely in recent years to become a popular way to construct all types of buildings. Throughout this session, you will hear our industry experts present on several engineered solid wood systems including: cross laminated timber (CLT) and glulam, plus structural Insulated 38


panels (SIPS) and associated open and closed timber frame panel systems.

Nathalie Meunier - Healthcare Specialist, The McAvoy Group

Andrew Carpenter – CEO, Structural Timber Association Andrew Waugh – Partner, Waugh Thistleton Jonathan Fovargue – Director, Eurban Gavin White – Director, Ramboll Matt Linegar - Head of Building Systems, Stora Enso

Andy King - Managing Director, Wernick

16.30-17.45 Session 9: Digital Construction Darren Richards – Managing Director, Cogent Consulting Daniel Leech - Managing Director, CADCOE David Clark - Head of Manufacturing and Innovation, McAvoy Group Oliver Lowrie - Director, Ackroyd Lowrie

08 March 2018 10.30-11.45 Session 10: Healthcare The pressure on the healthcare sector is huge. This keynote session will present case studies of projects that have used offsite technology to create a new facility, upgrade or extension in a seamless way, on-time and onbudget working in a sensitive, inclusive and collaborative fashion. Patient, staff and visitor experience is at the heart of successful healthcare projects, and the speakers will discuss how they have met the healthcare provider and/or the NHS Trust’s expectations in providing a sustainable, energy efficient and costeffective contemporary building. The aim is to showcase the very best of what is being delivered under the Procure 21+ and Procure 22 frameworks (alongside projects outside of the framework) and to demonstrate how exemplar schemes are being delivered. Cliff Jones - Head of Construction, Department of Health/Procure22

12.00-13.15 Session 11: Concrete Concrete is a fundamentally important material to offsite construction. Precast and prestressed units provide elements such as the structural frame, supporting columns, panels, beams, flat slabs and volumetric solutions. Elaine Toogood - Senior Architect, Concrete Centre John Handscomb - Procurement Lead, Kier Simon Harold - Business Development Director, PCE Philip Robinson - Civil Engineering Leader, Engineering Excellence Group, Laing O’Rourke Neil Magner - Regional Sales Manager, FP McCann

13.30-15.45 Session 12: Infrastructure With only 63% of site-based developments completed on time and an even smaller 49% delivered on budget, it is clear that traditional build fails to meet the major challenges facing infrastructure construction today. This presents the opportunity for offsite construction to play a major role in the coming years in the critical infrastructure arena of rail, roads, airports and utilities with facilities and systems serving the entire UK. The Infrastructure keynote session provides an opportunity to hear from those that are working on some of the largest projects and using some of the latest offsite construction techniques. Dale Sinclair - Innovation Director, Aecom Phil Wilbraham - Expansion Programme Director, Heathrow Airport John Spittle - UK Representative, Wiehag GmbH

06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON

The Easy and Efficient Way to Do Business 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. 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.

ecobuild’s Offsite District will also host the exclusive Offsite Buyers & Specifiers Forum, offering a structured and effective way for buyers and specifiers to meet with new and existing offsite industry suppliers exhibiting within the Offsite, Timber and Concrete districts. The forum will facilitate tailored and private one-to-one meetings in the Forum Lounge. The Forum team will organise a bespoke programme of handpicked supplier meetings to help facilitate attendees’ immediate and longer-term project needs. 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 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 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.

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. 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.

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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: Some of the buyers who have already confirmed their attendance are the Chief Buyer for Persimmon Homes, Head of Construction for Department of Health, Project Co-ordinator at Barratt PLC and Strategic Procurement Manager at Sir Robert McAlpine.



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: WWW.ECOBUILD.CO.UK


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Offsite Construction Awards 2018 On its opening day, ecobuild will host the Offsite Construction Awards. The awards programme is designed to recognise and celebrate 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.

There will be drinks in the Offsite Masterclass theatre ahead of the ceremony in the main conference arena. Offsite Construction Awards finalists will be profiled at ecobuild through gallery displays and masterclass presentations. At the Offsite Construction Awards you will be able to network with industry pioneers and offsite advocates to potentially gain new clients. Attendees will have the opportunity to liaise with fellow peers and together celebrate the successes in this dynamic area of the construction sector. In 2017, tickets to the awards sold out very quickly so we would suggest you book sooner rather than later to avoid any disappointment.

Date: 6th March 2018 Time: 5.00pm - 8.00pm Drink Reception Location: Offsite Seminar Theatre, ecobuild, ExCeL London Ceremony Location: The Arena, ecobuild, ExCeL London Tickets: ÂŁ75 plus VAT (includes drinks, nibbles and access to the award ceremony).

Details of how to attend the awards can be found at: Thanks to our sponsors:


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06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON

Ask The Expert in partnership with Cogent, Cast and HTA Design Explore Offsite at ecobuild 2017 demonstrated an 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. knowledge of these leading experts and short-circuit their learning curve. Cogent, Cast and HTA Design are all committed to playing a part in demonstrating how the construction industry can overcome its capacity constraints through innovations in advanced and offsite manufacture to drive increased productivity and efficiency in delivery of the built environment in the UK.

The Ask the Expert facility, located in the heart of the Offsite District, will allow 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 supplychain 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. They are Darren Richards, Managing Director of Cogent Consulting – the UK’s leading offsite



construction consultancy which has 25 years’ experience developing offsite businesses; 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. Futurebuild Events believe the Ask the Expert areas will be the perfect way for visitors to access the accumulated

Darren Richards said: “The fact the ecobuild are prepared to invest in providing the Ask the Expert facility is enlightening in its own right and the organisers must be applauded for showing initiative. When you factor this facility in alongside the Masterclass programme and the Offsite Buyers Forum, the ecobuild platform will be a truly comprehensive experience for specifiers. We are delighted to be providing consultants throughout the three days of the show and are looking forward to the challenges that delegates will surely bring.”

To pre-book an appointment with the leading offsite consultants email:

06-08 MARCH 2018 | EXCEL, LONDON

The CPD Accredited ecobuild Conference Programme The Offsite District and the Offsite Construction Awards are not the only reasons that ecobuild is the ‘must go’ event for forward thinking companies, professionals and influencers in the offsite industry. This year’s conference takes its lead from global environmental targets of the utmost importance, with sessions formulating practical recommendations for action. Day One begins with some of the most pressing global issues, delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the New Urban Agenda. The keynote speaker is Paula Caballero, Global Director of the Climate Programme at the World Resources Institute. Paula is one of the driving forces behind the development of the SDGs. The conference also tackles the big UK challenges, including a session on housebuilding which will examine the need for not only large number of new homes, but for quality properties. This will be chaired by Independent Adviser, Paul Toyne. Speakers include James Lidgate from Legal and General Homes and Saffron Woodcraft, the Head of the London Prosperity Board. Victoria Kate Burrows from the World Green Building Council will chair a session which asks the question – can all buildings be net zero carbon by 2050 and all new builds by 2030? Speakers include Dr Mike Murray, a consultant for Fulcro Engineering Services and Farhana Yamin, co-author of “Who’s getting ready for zero?” Sue James, Content Producer for ecobuild, commented: “We plan to develop three key recommendations from each conference session, with audience support in shaping the outputs. This will ensure that each topic covered in the ecobuild conference programme concludes with actions that can be understood and implemented by the wider built environment.”

Sustainability Showcases The ecobuild sustainability showcases will surround the main conference area and are home to the some of the most innovative solutions to the issues facing the built environment. The showcases will truly put sustainability at the heart of the event. The Sustainability Showcases are:

Zero Bills Home Lite ZEDfactory returns to ecobuild with a full-scale build designed to tackle the housing crisis. The zero-net carbon home is designed to minimise fossil fuels and annual energy bills, while also reducing build times to four weeks.

Passive Pod Exhibition House Building Research in Architecture (BRIA) will showcase a full-scale demountable Passive Pod House erected on a foundation of recycled concrete railway sleepers on a gravel bed.

The Hive Returning to ecobuild for the second year, the Edible Bus Stop Studio will be showcasing The Hive – an engaging pocket park focused on biodiversity, biophilia and health and wellbeing.

WasteZone Curated by architect, academic and environmental activist Duncan Baker-Brown, the WasteZone will discuss the issues and huge potentials of seeing waste as a valuable resource, not a problem.

Buildings as Material Banks 16 partners from eight European countries share their mission to move the building industry towards a circular economy, by combining materials passports with reversible building design.

Sustainable Product Showcase A collaboration between sustainable built environment champions, the Passivhaus Trust and the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products, to showcase the most sustainable and innovative products and materials in two pavilions.

Natural Building Products Café In this café, industry experts will provide demonstrations and information about natural building materials and techniques, including advice on how attendees can incorporate them into their projects.

BREEAM Awards Gallery Attendees can find out more about BREEAM’s leading-edge thinking and learn about the performance of past winners’ buildings and projects. BRE experts will also be providing 1:1 support with any technical questions.

Get your free ticket to ecobuild today and benefit from the three day Offsite District programme.




A STEPPING STONE FOR UK TIMBER Opening up a whole new dimension for the UK timber Industry, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) recently scored a first by producing the first cross laminated timber (CLT) panels on a commercial scale relying on vacuum technology.


2 CSIC is one of eight industry-led and demand-driven Innovation Centres in Scotland, supported by Scottish Funding Council, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and 13 Scottish university partners. The 35,000sq ft prototyping space houses £1.5 million of advanced manufacturing equipment and is home to a team of professionals supporting industry and academia to develop and validate new products, processes, systems and business models.


Although CLT panels have been produced in the UK as part of feasibility studies and for pilot projects, the panels produced at CSIC are the first with the potential to be produced in such volumes to compete on a commercial scale. “We are excited and proud to have the UK’s first large bed vacuum press for the production of cross laminated timber and glued laminated elements included in the roster of advanced manufacturing equipment within our Innovation Factory”, says Mark Milne, Technical Manager at CSIC. The vacuum press offers tremendous scope and potential for Scottish SME’s, enabling them to lead the way in the research and development of CLT, utilising homegrown resource and mixed timber species.” With producers such as Merk or Schilliger, vacuum has been used as a technology for CLT production from its infancy, going back about 15 years.

The most important advantage of vacuum probably is the low investment – five to ten times below comparable methods like hydraulic presses. This enables a gradual approach to CLT production, with relatively low automation in the beginning that is increased as demand rises on the market. It also enables smaller companies and family businesses to establish niche markets for themselves (for example using local wood) or launch new and innovative products like sandwich panels, SIPS or box beams, while minimising related risks. Technically, the most important advantage is that vacuum production is completely flexible regarding size. The stretchable membrane adapts to any kind of surface and panels of different size, with cut-outs for windows or even 3D bent forms. In contrast to hydraulic presses a need for wider panels doesn‘t increase prices exponentially.



3 Panels with widths of over three metres, which are very hard to get on the market, can be glued in vacuum without much additional cost. “There are more plants going into operation with vacuum than with any other technology,” adds Thomas Fankhauser, CEO of leading manufacturer woodtec Fankhauser GmbH. The company has installed more than 10 presses in the last year alone. Although many big players like Binderholz produce CLT on an industrial level and in huge quantities by relying on vacuum technology, we see a clear trend on the Continent that many small and medium-sized companies now want to invest in their own CLT production to be independent from big providers.


“Indeed, big manufacturers see their whole production being taken up by big construction sites, which leaves them less time and energy to deal with special demands from small players and increases lead times considerably. Dedicated production allows them to keep profits in house and produce custom-size panels just-in-time.”

There is no question that CLT is a booming market that will grow substantially over the next few years. Another promising alternative are so called Box Beams, which rely on wood only where it is statically of advantage. It is usually composed of a heart of glulam beams with a three-ply panel on one or both sides. Although box beams can be produced in a vacuum press, thanks to the adaptable membrane, CSIC has decided to provide its clients with another solution from woodtec.


5 “Our vacuum press is complimented by woodtec Fankhauser’s hugely versatile construction table for the production of timber frame panels, floor and roof cassettes and subassemblies”, added Milne. “Using a pneumatic pressing system this construction table can also be used to produce box beams at lower prices and requiring less know-how than the vacuum press. A considerable advantage for smaller construction companies. Both have generated a great deal of interest and we’re looking forward to working on a number of ground-breaking projects.”

Images: 01. Glue application with individual nozzles of 100mm width. The system is conceived to minimise maintenance 02. Lateral compression of lamellas with hydraulic cylinders 03. Perfect joints for visible surface quality 04. Additional pneumatic pressing system for producing Box Beams on the construction table rather than the Vacuum Press. 05. CSIC has the UK’s first large bed vacuum press for the production of CLT and glued laminated elements. All images courtesy CSIC/ woodtec Fankhauser


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The SIG360 Technical Centre is a service offering from SIG, that focuses on helping customers deliver timber frame homes, specifically relating to Approved Documents Part L and Part E. At the heart of the service is the unbiased access to thousands of product solutions to help you make the right combination of choices available to buy locally. By providing supporting calculations such as Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP), U value and condensation risk, thermal modelling and many more you can be sure of the right product for the right application.


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A CUT ABOVE THE REST Scottish construction firm CCG (Scotland) Ltd is shortly due to complete Yoker Riverside, Scotland’s tallest timber building using cross laminated timber (CLT) for the superstructure and one of the most high-profile buildings using offsite manufacture and delivery in the UK. The principal design of the building has been carefully considered in order to maximise the efficiency and use of CLT, with the resulting layout based around one central stairway with three ‘flatted’ sections set out in a ‘T’ shaped format. The full superstructure is built from CLT including the common areas and lift shaft. Approval for this has set a precedent in Scotland and is the result of evidence supplied to Building Standards Scotland, Building Control and Scottish Fire and Rescue Services by CCG and timber engineer, Smith and Wallwork.

1 Built on the banks of Glasgow’s River Clyde for Sanctuary Housing Association, Yoker is spearheading CCG’s drive to increase the use of CLT in Scotland and has advanced regulatory understanding of the material with Scotland’s Building Control and fire and gas industries. CCG Group is one of the largest construction and manufacturing companies in Scotland with an annual turnover of £120 million and around 660 direct employees across eight divisions. CLT is a continuation of the Company’s innovative approach to construction that will align directly with their Off-Site Manufacturing (OSM) Division which manufactures closed panel timber frame elements at its 130,000sq ft state-of-the-art production facility in Cambuslang, Glasgow. 50

The new seven storey building, which is designed by MAST Architects with CLT installation by solid timber specialist EURBAN, comprises 42 one, two and three-bedroom flats including three adaptable units for wheelchair users. The apartments, which enjoy views over the River Clyde, are designed around a standard template used by CCG across all residential developments and are for the rental market. CLT for the project was manufactured by Stora Enso, one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of CLT with a current production capacity of 140,000 m3 of CLT at its two sawmills in Austria. A third mill in development is due to come on line in 2019 which will bring the company’s total capacity to 240,000m3.

The Yoker building is the culmination for CCG of an extensive R&D process looking at CLT for the Scottish market. David Crawford, Business and Operations Manager at CCG OSM (Off-Site Manufacturing Division), has been involved in Scotland’s development of the CLT market for several years; initially as part of his Master’s degree at Edinburgh Napier University looking at the feasibility of manufacturing CLT using Scottish timber and eventually joining CCG in 2014.

“Having spent significant time and resource researching CLT on a technical and commercial level, the obvious next step was to get live CLT projects on the ground,” says David. “Initially we prototyped the product in isolated situations on a small-scale and in February 2015 we took the decision to look at a large scale project.


HOUSING “Yoker at seven storeys using CLT is two storeys above what we’ve done previously with our closed panel timber frame. We explored options as part of the initial massing and design development for building to nine stories but, due to the Scottish Building Regulations for fire constraints in high rise buildings, and the specified application of CLT we decided stay under the eighteen metre threshold.” Engineers Smith and Wallwork were responsible for the design of the CLT superstructure at Yoker working collaboratively with Eurban at detail design stage to ensure a smooth offsite manufacture and onsite assembly process. “This is the first major domestic CLT building in Scotland and Scottish Building Regulations are vigorous, requiring a supervising engineer to sign off all calculations prior to construction,” comments Simon Smith.

“One of the key issues when building with CLT is efficiency, in terms of material use and standardisation. At Yoker we have managed to deliver a standard CLT platform construction using standard connection details and no platform reinforcement. CLT in use density is 0.29m3/m2 which is low considering the tall and exposed nature of the site. The lightweight nature of the CLT structure reduces foundation loads but does mean the exposed River Clyde site causes some challenges due to wind loadings and ultimately with holding down the building – in several instances we have tied the CLT down to the concrete foundations which act as ballast. “We also had some interesting discussions with the gas industry and their representatives about disproportionate collapse. In Scotland gas is often delivered to the door of individual dwellings which is therefore considered as a higher risk on an apartment by apartment basis. We were able to present robust evidence to the Institution of Gas Engineers & Managers (IGEM) that CLT structures can provide an enhanced resistance to disproportionate collapse and that Yoker in particular has some enhanced disproportionate collapse design features in terms of notional removal.”

2 Matthew Linegar, Head of Building Systems at Stora Enso and a structural engineer who has spent twelve years specialising internationally in CLT construction expands on this. “The way in which CLT elements are connected together with many small ductile fixings and the lighter weight nature of the material allows panels to effectively re-distribute tensile forces which may occur during a collapse” It is anticipated that an expert panel will be convened by the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) to start a review process for Part A3 - Building Regulation Disproportionate Collapse as it is recognised that there are a number of forms of construction that would benefit from a review. “Until there is codified guidance for disproportionate collapse, it is important when using CLT for multistorey residential buildings, to engage with authorities and stakeholders early in the design stage to allow designers to respond and to accommodate the requirements effectively in the creation of safe and cost competitive buildings,” advises Matthew Linegar. Yoker is the subject of a major research programme being undertaken by the Universities of Strathclyde, Glasgow and Edinburgh Napier for which the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) is providing £60,000 in funding for academic support. “The Yoker project is unique in a Scottish context and in scale, providing CCG with a physical showcase to demonstrate to the wider Scottish construction sector the benefits of building with CLT and their delivery capability,” says Stephen Good, CEO of CSIC. “We have worked closely with CCG to identify the challenges

3 and capitalise on the expertise that exists with the best and most relevant university partners.” The overall programme includes research into airtightness, acoustics, thermal performance, construction, productivity and LCA/whole-life costing. In addition to the CSICfunded programme, research is being carried out by the Department of Architecture at the University of Cambridge, working with the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh. Researchers are investigating the building’s interaction with wind, taking measurements of the movement of the structure under wind load using accelerometers placed at the top storey. This data is used to inform future work on the dynamic performance of timber structures, alongside proposed post occupancy research. For more information visit: Images: 01-03. Yoker Riverside is using CLT to deliver Scotland’s tallest timber building




THE RENEWED FOCUS TO DELIVER MORE HOMES The nation’s media has been reporting on the UK’s housing crisis for many months and there is now a real impetus and climate for change in the housebuilding industry – driven by the efficiencies and benefits of offsite manufacture. Moving the construction of houses into factories enables the build to take place both efficiently and economically, making the national shortage of labour less of a concern. Sajid Javid has expressed his support for innovative offsite solutions to help resolve the shortfall in housing stock, saying: “This government is determined to build the homes our country needs and help more people get on the housing ladder. We’re providing hundreds of millions of pounds of finance for small and innovative builders to accelerate construction speeds. We’re creating more opportunities for offsite, modular construction, so that growing British companies can become world leaders in this exciting and effective area.”

A few weeks on from the cabinet reshuffle and the announcement that Sajid Javid’s department is to be renamed the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government plus the launch of a new national housing agency, Homes England – the government has committed to a ‘renewed focus to deliver more homes.’ For those in the construction sector with fresh ideas and innovative technologies, the nationwide housing crisis has the potential to change the norm which governs the ways new homes are built. Explore Offsite Housing, taking place at the NEC, Birmingham – brings together technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction. 52

The official figures released at the end of 2017 show that the number of new homes in England increased by more than 217,000 in 2016. This represents the highest level of net additions since the recession and it is the first time in almost a decade that the 200,000 milestone has been reached. So, without doubt, some progress is being made and it now appears there is a climate for change – both within the government and the industry. Experts have hailed offsite construction as the only way to respond to the demand for new housing. The alignment of market need and political will is clear and compelling – signaling a real opportunity for a step change in the adoption of offsite construction methods.

Many outside the industry, have questioned why the construction sector does not reflect the manufacturing methods of the aerospace and automotive industries – where cars and planes are assembled in huge factories. With the resurgence of the offsite construction, the industry is moving towards factory-based manufacturing methods and the continuous innovations within this sector – demonstrates a revolution in the way houses are being delivered.

Explore Offsite Housing brings together industry leaders and pioneers to discuss the latest innovations in offsite technologies and the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents.


EXPLORE OFFSITE HOUSING Speakers include: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Sir Edward Lister, Chair – Homes England Stephen Haigh, Chief Executive – Live Verde Peter Andrew, Deputy Chairman – Home Builders Federation Brian Ham, Executive Director of Development – Home Group Jenny Coombs, Project Director – Local Partnerships James Walsh, Lead Designer – Anyo Architects Paul Williamson, Managing Director – Modular Construction Swan Housing/NU Homes Matt McColl, Associate – Pollard Thomas Edwards David Jones, Modular Integration Director – Legal & General Capital John Synnuck, Chief Executive – Swan Housing Association Muhammad A Bhatti, Managing Director - Apex Airspace Bjorn Conway, Chief Executive Officer – ilke Homes

Tickets cost just £225+VAT for a two-day ticket and £125+VAT for a one-day ticket, which includes entry into the conference and exhibition, free parking, lunch and refreshments. To book your place at the event and claim a 10% discount – go to and use the code EARLYBIRD before 19 March 2018.

To enquire about exhibitor opportunities, visit the Explore Offsite website: or contact the team on 01743 290001 or email:

HOUSING CONFERENCE & EXHIBITION NEC, Birmingham 10 & 11 April 2018 This two-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for housing clients and their professional advisers, contractors and project managers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest offsite construction solutions.

To book your place go to

SPEAKERS INCLUDE Stephen Haigh Chief Executive, Live Verde Peter Andrew Deputy Chairman, Home Builders Federation Sir Edward Lister Chair, Homes England Bjorn Conway Chief Executive Officer, ilke Homes David Jones Modular Integration Director, Legal & General Capital

…& many more!




TRAVELLING AN UPWARD TREND A new LHC survey confirms growing recognition of offsite construction as the means to meet UK housebuilding targets. methods. 58% of respondents said they were planning to increase offsite construction in order to speed up housing delivery.

Fixing the dysfunctional UK housing market was a key focus of the autumn 2017 budget and the Chancellor Philip Hammond, reiterated once more the government’s commitment to raising housing supply. The government’s 300,000 figure is being relied upon by a big chunk of the UK populace who need new houses to be built for house prices to come down. But the lesser publicised issue surrounding this target is the challenge of finding the labour and skills required to build all those homes in the hoped for timescales. A new survey conducted by LHC, the procurement specialist for the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of social housing and public buildings, reveals offsite construction is considered a key solution to the skills shortage. Very simply, because more of the build happens in a factory than on the building site. It is also seen as the way to produce housing faster than traditional build and an essential part of modern day construction. LHC surveyed representatives from local authorities, social landlords and other public sector bodies who are involved in the construction of public buildings and homes. 78% of respondents stated offsite techniques will be important for delivering the number of homes the UK needs. 38% of respondents confirmed between 1% and 30% of homes already in their pipeline would be built using offsite 54

While a significant proportion of respondents (42%) indicated their organisation has no firm plans in place to utilise offsite construction methods in the next 12 months, 59% confirmed their organisation is intending to increase the number of homes it builds using offsite construction within the next three years. “We’re finally seeing a break with the past and the negative association people had with prefab homes,” says John Skivington, Director of LHC. “Today’s offsite construction methods put housebuilding into a closely monitored manufacturing environment. An environment that delivers consistent high quality and has the capacity to speed up house building in line with people’s expectations.

This is a sensible approach as organisations build their knowledge of the new design approach and logistics involved in offsite construction, until they eventually put levels of offsite construction on a par with traditional. “On almost all criteria, our respondents indicated they believe offsite construction compares favourably with traditional build. Most significantly on speed of construction but also cost, quality and sustainability. But to gain all of the benefits organisations do need to ready themselves properly for offsite.” 48% of survey respondents, however, said a lack of information and understanding about offsite was a barrier to taking up offsite methods of construction. “That’s something LHC is helping to address with the Offsite Innovation Centre at the BRE Innovation Park in Watford. Our Offsite Construction Framework is also a secure means for local authorities, social landlords and other public sector bodies to create a strong relationship with a manufacturer, get the process of offsite construction right, and meet the quality, cost and sustainability objectives they have for housebuilding.” For more information visit:

“Organisations do need to understand the new ways of working involved in offsite construction however. You can’t simply switch to offsite on a whim. Your organisation needs to make a commitment to offsite and start to invest more in the design phase, working with a trusted manufacturer to assess land with offsite in mind and plan homes effectively before manufacture begins.” Among the organisations who have embraced offsite construction already, 34% are utilising panellised technology, 10% volumetric and 15% hybrid. “It is clear organisations are taking gradual steps towards volumetric offsite construction,” adds John. “Cutting their teeth on panellised technology first and blending some volumetric technology with panellised.


CONSIDERING OFFSITE? LHC highlights the big changes in processes and behaviours involved: •

Commissioning organisations need to make a thorough commitment to offsite construction and prepare for new ways of working involving close collaboration with manufacturers

Manufacturers should become the owners of design to ensure accurate,fast and cost-effective manufacturing of components

The design stage must grow in emphasis with increased planning and collaboration required before manufacturing begins

All land needs to be reassessed to determine its feasibility for offsite construction, taking into account the options for either panelised or volumetric technology

Scheduling of build needs to be reinvented to ensure all ground preparation is completed ready for panels or whole rooms to be craned into position.

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OFFSITE SYSTEM PERFORMANCE: AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING APPROACH There is a widely publicised requirement for increasing the UK’s housing stock. The general response to the targets set by the Government is that the numbers required in the timescales specified are not achievable by traditional housebuilding methods alone and that the construction industry will need to move more towards offsite and modular construction.

1 Historically, offsite construction technologies have been seen as a way to build faster, reduce costs or to overcome the lack of skilled workers in construction. More recently, environmental performance, improved durability, design flexibility and lower maintenance costs are being included in the ‘advantages mix’ with the ultimate goal of providing assurance to funders, lenders, valuers or future homeowners on building durability and quality, to enable easier access to financing methods. Offsite manufacturers have been quick to anticipate the increased demand and many new and innovative systems are at the research or development stage. However, this development stage can be hindered by the traditional slow routes to take new systems to market. New systems often fall outside of recognised test standards or regulations, and there are currently no British or European standards available, even for the more traditional constructions like structural insulated panels (SIPs). There is a 56

2 European Technical Assessment (ETA) for SIPs but this has not been taken up by industry and contains a costly and not entirely relevant test program. It is unlikely that any standardisation will take place in the future as each system has non-standard detailing and hence requires a customised test program. The performance gap is a recognised problem: the mere act of assessing the operations often leads to improvements and efficiencies, and the finished system would benefit from measurements and monitoring to increase the confidence of both the scheme provider and the end user. When it comes to building performance, assessments need to combine the physical and the behavioural, for example wind serviceability and occupant satisfaction. The combination is especially vital in offsite developments in which for example, assembly onsite, is key to reducing the performance gap.

3 Lucideon seeks to go beyond the impact of individual factors and examines the total delivered value of the offsite system. It is time for a new approach where an understanding of the whole offsite construction process is measured not only by the performance evaluation of individual components but with an all-encompassing approach, from the factory to the construction site, taking into account the implications on quality, durability, the environment, transportation and assembly. For more information visit: or contact Joanne Booth, Product Manager for Construction at Lucideon: +44(0)1782 764410.

Images: 01-03. Offsite delivery creates huge improvements and project efficiencies for housing delivery







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






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THE PERFECT FINISH Excel Laminating is celebrating 20 years of supplying the offsite industry with raw, laminated and bonded sheet materials with a record year of major contracts and ambitious plans in the pipeline for the year to come.

2 1 In the past year, Excel has undertaken two of the largest contracts in the history of the company – supplying MegaExcel, the market-leading, pre-decorated plasterboard, to line both the £50 million hotel-style, workers’ accommodation and the 410,000sq ft office space at Hinkley Point C for Caledonian and Premier Modular, respectively. Throughout the production phase of the large-scale infrastructure development, Excel has partnered closely with Caledonian Modular and Premier Modular to supply over 3000 metric tonnes of MegaExcel to a meticulously-timed schedule. Commenting on Caledonian’s first experience working with Excel, Dennis Hollingworth, Marketing Manager at Caledonian, said: “Given the high profile and large-scale nature of the Hinkley Point C project, it has been vital for Caledonian to stick to a strict schedule of construction and delivery. The pre-decorated MegaExcel boards have proven to deliver significant time and labour savings and have enabled units to be 96% complete when 58

delivered to site. We have developed a fantastic working relationship with Excel; they have kept us informed, and their products, service and delivery have been second to none. We look forward to working with them more in the future.” Excel has also worked closely with Walker Modular to support their phenomenal sales growth in bathroom pods. Excel supply high performance plasterboard through their ExcelKit service. All panels are cut to size, labelled and packed on pallets in the correct construction sequence and delivered just in time to reduce stockholding, reduce labour costs, eliminate waste and speed up production in Walker Modular’s factories. As the appetite for offsite construction continues to grow in both public and private sectors, Excel has continued to innovate and develop products that enable modular construction companies to be as efficient and successful as possible.

Over the past 12 months Excel has seen a significant uptake in the use of CladEx by their customers. CladEx is the external cladding, designed and produced exclusively by Excel, to improve the thermal efficiency and overall aesthetic of modular buildings. The panels can be used for modular newbuilds or as an over-cladding system for refurbishment projects. The interlocking joint detail and range of contemporary finishes result in a high-quality exterior for modular buildings whilst maintaining an economical price range. MTX Contracts recently used CladEx on an 800m2 single-storey project to provide a modular Outpatient Ward facility for Derriford Hospital in Plymouth. MTX opted for a combination of Goosewing Grey, Merlin Grey and Albatross CladEx panels to create a seamless, contemporary finish for the new build, 23-bay project. When asked for his feedback on CladEx, Steven Hartley, Construction Director at MTX, said: “We found this product to be extremely good for this particular project offering a high-quality finish. We achieved our desired effect with no problems at all and to the satisfaction of our client. We wouldn’t hesitate to use CladEx again and would recommend it to members of our supply chain.”


SHEET MATERIALS Leading modular companies are also utilising CladEx on refurbishment projects. Extraspace Solutions opted for CladEx in October 2017, to clad a two-storey 1200m2 refurbished modular building, as part of Scottish Enterprise’s ongoing £200 million BioQuarter development in Edinburgh. Regarding the company’s experience using CladEx, Paul Tierney, Managing Director at Extraspace Solutions, commented: “CladEx appealed to us for the Edinburgh BioQuarter project as the panels had the versatility to be laid horizontally and the hidden-fix joints created a polished, modern finish that hadn’t previously been economically viable. Our team found the fixing process quick and straightforward and we will definitely look at using CladEx again on future projects.” Over the last 20 years Excel has grown to become the UK’s leading supplier of raw plasterboard, decorated linings and composite internal and external panel systems for the offsite industry. Excel supply construction companies, merchant distributors and specialist contractors with the products best

suited to their needs. The products are used in a variety of sectors including Education, Healthcare, Construction, Commercial and Retail. To accommodate the continued growth of the company, Excel recently moved premises to an 80,000ft2 manufacturing facility in Hull, East Yorkshire. The new facility enables Excel to carry over a quarter of a million m2 of panel products at any one time. Celebrating 20 years in the industry, with a record turnover for 2017 and projected increased revenues for the year to come, there is further expansion and investment underway and planned for the company at their East Yorkshire factory. Excel’s strong presence in the supply market for the offsite industry is the result of a variety of factors as Managing Director, Jeff Thomas, explains: “Excel has come a long way in the last 20 years, we have done this through sticking to our high values for quality and integrity; we look after our customers, our staff and our suppliers, the results then take care of themselves. We have already

3 embarked on major investment at our new factory to ensure that we remain innovative, competitive and the first supply choice for anyone in offsite construction who is looking for a quality supplier.” For more information visit: Images: 01. There is further expansion and investment underway for the company at their East Yorkshire factory 02. MTX Contracts Ltd recently used CladEx on an 800m2 single-storey project at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth 03. MegaExcel in use at Hinkley Point C for Caledonian Modular

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STEEL – THE CLEAR WINNER Designer, manufacturer and installer of light gauge steel building solutions, Icarus LSF, is nearing completion of its largest low-rise housing development to date with 155 new homes being delivered at Barnes Village in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, using its advanced offsite manufacturing system.

1 Barnes Village is being created from a Grade II listed historic site, with the new two- to four-bedroom homes being constructed in and around the original Barnes Hospital building. Using advanced 3D modelling techniques, Icarus LSF developed an LSF solution that would enable rapid manufacture and a significant reduction in site activities. The system used state-of-the-art manufacturing technology to form and assemble a panelised superstructure for each home in a factory controlled environment, before transportation to site where rapid final assembly takes place. Meaning not only that the houses could be assembled rapidly, but that each unit could quickly be made watertight for the progression of follow-on trades.


The approach uses cold-formed light-gauge steel as its primary material, and has enabled the developer of the scheme to benefit from offsite construction without the cost and constraints of delivering volumetric modular solutions. The Icarus LSF panelised light steel framing system enables a significant amount of the build to be taken offsite and off the critical path, whilst avoiding many of the design, co-ordination and logistics challenges that volumetric approaches must allow for.

2 The speed of light steel frame installation and ability to deliver to a fast build tightly programmed site schedule was key to the decision to use offsite technology. Added to this, the use of round-the-clock manufacturing provided a level of programme certainty not previously experienced by our client on similar developments. Beyond the use of offsite manufacturing to deliver time savings and programme certainty, the fact that the steel frames could be installed in wet and inclement weather conditions enabled further programme acceleration and certainty. Finally, because the steel solution was designed such that a rapid dry envelope could be provided onsite, follow on trades could quickly commence and progress their works in parallel to the erection of the building.




3 The ability to manage on-time, on-budget delivery as opposed to the uncertainties involved with traditional build, the steel solution also provided a myriad of cost savings. Preliminary costs were reduced due to the reduction in programme and transfer of activities to an offsite environment; foundation costs and piling requirements were reduced due to the light weight nature of the solution and waste management costs were reduced due to the use of a pre-engineered no-waste design. In addition, any costs associated with moisture, shrinkage or settlement were removed due the use of steel to provide a dry, stable method of construction.

offsite construction, not only during the construction lifecycle but also the whole lifecycle of the building.

The use of industry leading 3D modelling software and BIM, married with the use of a bespoke CAD/ CAM interface to Icarus LSF’s roll forming machines, meant that the fully pre-engineered solution could be assembled onsite with the confidence that all of the benefits of light gauge steel could be realised. The accuracy of the offsite manufactured panels when assembled on site ensure that there is an increased value of airtightness, this along with the reduced energy consumption of production, transport and build substantially improve overall energy efficiency by adopting

Outside of the prime cost of the project, the client was also able to benefit from a swifter return on investment and reduced borrowing costs and an increase in floorspace due to reduced wall thickness that the LSF solution afforded. By employing the use of cold-rolled light steel framing, Icarus LSF was able to deliver a solution that used 100% recyclable materials. Icarus LSF was able to deliver a solution that used 100% recyclable materials with 98% of all factory waste recycled and zero site wastage generated. The light weight nature of the Icarus LSF solution meant


6 that building weight was significantly reduced. The reduced weight of the structure also meant that on site logistics and lifting requirements could be minimised – reducing the environmental and noise impact of heavy duty construction equipment. For more information visit: Images: 01-06. Barnes Village will use light gauge steel frame to transform a Grade II listed historic site, with new two- to four bedroom homes being constructed in and around the original Barnes Hospital building.







1 A light gauge steel superstructure was selected for Birmingham’s latest student accommodation project at the former Globe Works site in the city’s historic Gun Quarter, proving that offsite delivery is ideal for this critical education sector. The work was awarded to Fusion by Leicestershire contractor D W Hicks as part of a £45 million regeneration project. The development is being funded by PGIM (Pramerica) and Hyde Park Finance, and is being developed and managed by London & UK Property. Awarding this contract to Fusion and opting to build with offsite systems, not only follows a growing shift towards using offsite construction for new student accommodation, but also demonstrates the value to be gained from having collaboration and integration within a supply chain. “Offsite is fast being viewed as the only method of construction to consider for student builds,” says Robert Clark, Fusion Head of Business Development. “The timetables are usually tight, as are the sites and with sustainability high on the agenda too, traditional building


methods simply can’t compete. Our contract for Globe Works is significant for another reason however – demonstrating how collaborative working and supply chain integration is so crucially important in offsite construction. To explain, the process which takes place at our manufacturing facility can combine many elements, not just the construction of steel frames: insulation, acoustic performance, M&E positioning and the placement of doors and windows for example can all be incorporated, but this can only deliver cost and time-saving benefits if the entire offsite process is fully integrated into the overall supply chain.” Fusion will design and manufacture the wall and floor panels (or cassettes) for the 10-storey development located on Cliveden Street, at its offsite facility in Northampton. The panels will arrive onsite pre-insulated and ready to be erected by a team of just eight experienced personnel. Martyn Hicks of contractor, D W Hicks, added: “Globe Works will be the second student accommodation contract we’ve awarded to Fusion, really because their system is so well-suited to the scheme and we know how they work. Student accommodation projects typically run to tight timescales but, the collaborative working partnerships we’re establishing with Fusion and other partners on this project will hopefully enable us to roll out more projects in the future, using offsite methods of construction.” The Cliveden Street development will provide 520 student bedrooms split across five and 10-storey blocks in shared flats and studios. It will also

house a lounge, gym, study centre, reception, offices and cycle storage for 60 bikes, as well as a convenience store and coffee shop. Mike Stares of developer London & UK Property, added: “Birmingham’s Gun Quarter is experiencing some healthy regeneration at the moment and Globe Works is one of a number of student accommodation projects which have been granted approval for development over the past few years, helping to house the city’s growing student population. We have a build programme for Cliveden Street of around 24 months and it’s crucial we stay on track. The predictable timescales along with the many other benefits offsite construction can deliver, far outstrip those of traditional building methods for projects such as this and based on the experience we’ve had so far of Fusion’s light gauge steel system, we’re looking forward to working with them again.” Work is due to start on site towards the end of November, with a planned completion date of June 2019. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Globe Works new student accommodation in Birmingham will be built using an offsite manufactured light gauge steel superstructure. 02. Fusion’s light gauge steel frame has been used on many education schemes including the Neville’s Cross student campus at Durham University


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

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


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

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

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

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



ALL TOGETHER NOW WITH OSCO HOMES to meet growing housing needs. This development was our first modular panelised home build. We are already onsite with another development of modular panelised built homes. Partnership is a key way forward for Together Housing Group and we’re looking at future developments to help increase the supply of much needed affordable homes right across the North of England.” OSCO Homes partnered with HM Hindley Prison to recruit eight prisoners who were trained to build the external walls, floor and ceiling cassettes of the panelised units. The training provided in construction trades provides the skills required to work in the industry upon release – research suggests that gaining employment is key in reducing reoffending.

1 Together Housing Group and OSCO Homes have celebrated completion of their first modular light-gauge steel panelised housing development in Wakefield. The site is located in the former coal-mining town of South Kirkby, approximately 12 miles south east of Wakefield City Centre. Buttree Court (also known as the Lockies) is a development of eight bungalows built offsite using light-gauge steel panels. The project carried out by OSCO Homes – a wholly owned subsidiary of Procure Plus Holdings Limited – involved trained prisoners at HMP Hindley building the panels, before ex-offenders employed by OSCO assembled them onsite. The offsite solution used has been specifically developed by OSCO Homes for the social housing sector to provide homes in a faster and fairer way with the greatest possible benefit to the community and local area. Together Housing Group is one of the UK’s largest social landlords with over 37,000 homes primarily focused in Yorkshire and Lancashire and one of the first providers to engage this manufacturing method, which delivered the new homes using precision manufactured panels. 64

2 The walls, floors and ceilings of the eight new bungalows have been manufactured in a factory. This enabled delivery time to be more predictable as the majority of construction could take place inside without the need to rely on prolonged periods of dry weather. This approach means builds are faster to complete and costs can be kept down. Homes built using this approach provides a tangible benefit to the wider community and economy as the modular method of building enables the building of more genuinely affordable houses to meet the growing demand. Kevin Ruth, Deputy Chief Executive of Together Housing Group, said: “As one of the largest social landlords in the North of England, we’re acutely aware that the need for new, affordable homes is not being met. Traditional building methods alone are simply not going to get houses built quickly or cost effectively enough

Gwen Beeken, Managing Director of OSCO Homes, said their approach added value and social purpose: “Re-offending rates in the UK can be between 40% and 60%, however by training prisoners and employing them afterwards, we’ve seen reoffending reduced to below 15%. The construction industry is in need of a skilled workforce, ex-offenders are in need of employment and skills and the housing market is in need of homes that are cheap to build and quick to assemble. OSCO Homes address all of these issues.” The scheme which received planning had originally been designed for traditional build. Therefore a number of technical amends needed to be addressed such as site levels, elevational finishes (brick slips to satisfy planning drawings) and metal tile roof finishes. As the Lockies, like many affordable housing developments, is an addition to an existing residential area, the unique approach presented fewer disturbances, debris and noise for existing residents than a traditional build. For more information visit: Images: 01. Finished Bungalow at Buttree Court 02. Modular panel constructed in HMP Hindley, being lowered into place during construction


YOUR FRAMEWORK FOR OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION As pioneers of light gauge steel construction, EOS Facades specialise in the design, manufacture and supply of a wide range of steel sections for panelised or volumetric offsite solutions. Through careful design detailing and value engineering, EOS Facades is able to offer the highest quality award winning light gauge steel solutions - delivering environmentally sustainable projects on time and to budget. As an advanced high performance offsite solution, steel is a robust, rigid and dimensionally stable material that does not suffer from movement created by moisture related issues. Light gauge steel is perfectly positioned to meet construction industry demands – it is future proof and future ready. If you have a project in mind then why not challenge EOS Facades to help value engineer the most efďŹ cient solution for you?

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ARCHITECTURAL PRECAST Brush away any pre-conceived ideas of concrete being an expanse of grey, unadorned industrial looking structures. Elaine Toogood, Senior Architect at MPA The Concrete Centre explains why concrete has a unique and lasting visual appeal.

1 Contemporary, exposed architectural precast concrete is just as likely to resemble Portland stone, black polished marble or have a patterned relief in terracotta, demonstrating craftmanship and intricate detail. It may not even be perceived as concrete at all, hidden behind an embedded layer of brick or stone. Such is the breadth of aesthetic expression available for designers to choose from when using exposed precast concrete. Architectural precast manufacturers in the UK are able to provide unique, bespoke designs that offer great scope for architects’ creativity and expression. Although repetition of elements is key to maximise the cost and speed benefits of any offsite solution, there are many examples where the repeated elements have been used imaginatively by designers to create high quality and beautiful 66

buildings. To optimise design, it is important for architects to understand the possibilities offered by the manufacturing processes and finishing techniques. Choosing to expose concrete that is prefabricated, or manufactured offsite has significant benefits in the consistency of finish that can be achieved, as the standard of surface quality can be assessed against an agreed benchmark before delivery. Early discussion with manufacturers is advised to establish the standard of surface achievable for particular systems. Although most structural concrete still tends to be hidden and the finish therefore less important, architectural precast concrete, is by its very nature intended to be exposed and as a result the options for high quality, colour, texture, pattern and form are extensive.

‘Reconstituted stone’ often shortened to ‘recon’ is the term commonly given to precast concrete that resembles the colour and texture of stone and its appearance is much more akin to peoples’ perception of stone than their perception of concrete. Manufacturers will each have a range of established mixes, most commonly using natural sands and aggregates, but also using organic pigments for particular colours. White cement provides a neutral base, receptive to both coloured sands and pigments and offers a high degree of control and replication. Bespoke mixes are also possible, as developed by Techcrete for example for use at Victoria Gate, Leeds. The surface colour and light reflectance of concrete is not just a function of the content of the mix, but also the type of facing material it is poured against and the finishing


Eliminating risks of offsite construction

Overcoming Risks

Overcoming Risks Adopting offsite exposes designers and clients to risk. Overcoming Risksthese Precast concrete overcomes concerns. Adopting offsite exposes designers and clients to risk. Adopting offsite exposes designers clients to risk. Precast concrete overcomes theseand concerns. Precast concrete overcomes these concerns.

reduces the risk to exchange rate fluctuation, Precast concrete is a local product with strong transport problems, communication problems and sustainability and performance credentials backed up by many years of experience. Typical difficulties in inspecting products prior to leaving factory.the risk to exchange rate fluctuation, Precastconstruction concrete is a local product with strong thereduces risks of offsite are addressed. sustainability and performance credentials

transport problems, communication problems and

Responsible Supply Chain Product Standards difficulties in inspecting products prior to leaving backed up by many years of experience. Typical A the factory.

risks of offsite construction addressed. Precast concrete has long establishedare standards for With the BRE BES 6001 scheme, the British Precast products through BSIStandards and many of these are Charters for Sustainability andChain Health and Safety, A Responsible Supply Product harmonised across Europe through CEN. Therefore clients can fully address risk by choosing from the Precast concrete has long established standards for With the BRE BES 6001 scheme, the British Precast many precast products areBSICEand marked asthese normal British Precast supply chain,and with members products through many of are Charters for Sustainability Health and Safety, practice. harmonised This enablesacross designers project responsibly sourced Europeand through CEN.teams Therefore providing clients can fully address risk by products. choosing from the to specifymany their precast offsite products productsare with greateras normal CE marked British Precast supply chain, with members Durability/Robustness During Construction practice. This enables designers and project teams confidence. providing responsibly sourced products.

Fire Resistance During Occupation Government statistics state timber frame solutions have a higher risk of more extensive fires. NonFire Resistance During Occupation combustible solutions reduce these risks.

Government statistics state timber frame solutions have Overheating a higher risk of more extensive fires. NonResilience combustible solutions reduce these risks.

Responsible developers and informed building Overheating owners such Resilience as Housing Associations are increasingly aware and of the major building risk of future Responsible developers informed overheating. With the right design owners such as Housing Associations are the inherent thermal aware mass of the precast is ideally suited to increasingly majorconcrete risk of future overheating. With the right design the inherent absorb heat to reduce peak temperatures. to specify their offsite products with greater Concrete does not require the sameConstruction protection fromthermal mass of precast concrete is ideally suited to Designconfidence. Codes Durability/Robustness During heat to reduceLong peak temperatures. weather and impacts as lightweight solutions do. It absorb Addressing Lead-in Periods The Eurocode suiteCodes of design codes by CEN with UK not require the same protection from Design is a Concrete durable does and robust solution. weather and impacts as lightweight solutions do. It National Annexes by BSI, have now replaced the Addressing Longhave Lead-in Periods Offsite solutions the disadvantage of requiring The Eurocode suite of design codes by CEN with UK is a durable and robust solution. British codes. Designers usehave these Eurocodes Longevity During Operation National Annexescan by BSI, now replaced the a longer lead in period. During lead in period, Offsite solutions have the disadvantagethis of requiring with offsite precast products. British codes. Designers can use these Eurocodes Longevity During Operation onsitelead insitu concrete works carried out; for in period. During thiscan leadbe in period, The precast concrete properties of durability and a longer with offsite precast products. example, foundations and the ground floor. onsite insitu concrete works can be carried out; for Insitu A Robust Supply Chain robustness also deliverproperties a low maintenance The precast concrete of durability long and example, foundations and the ground can Insitu concrete and precast concrete designed and A Robust Supply Chain robustness also deliver a low maintenance long lasting offsite solution reducing risks during The membership of British Precast is extensive with concrete and precast concrete can be designed and constructed together seamlessly: same design lasting offsite solution reducing risks during The membership of a British many members producing widePrecast rangeisofextensive with operation. constructed together seamlessly: same design codes, same material properties and same jointing operation. many members producing a wide range of codes, same material properties and same jointing products. This is beneficial at tender stage and Fire Resistance During Construction principles. products. This is beneficial at tender stage and Fire Resistance During Construction principles. reassuringreassuring so that the project is not reliant on any so that the project is not reliant on any TheThe HSEHSE view is isclear framesolutions solutions pose one possible view clear- -timber timber frame pose one supplier. possible supplier. Non-Repetitive Elements higher risks and thatthere thereis isa duty a duty Non-Repetitive Elements higher risks andthe theHSE HSEadvises advises that Local Supply Local Supply of care to to reduce design.This Thiscan can most With of care reducerisk riskthrough through design. most With precast concrete solutions, the one-offs precast concrete offsiteoffsite solutions, the one-offs bebedone concreteand and effectively doneby bychoosing choosing concrete The of majority of precast UK is made The majority precast used inused the in UKthe is made in in effectively cancan be cost effectively created with onsite be cost effectively created withinsitu onsite insitu avoiding unnecessaryfire fire load. load. the materials UK from materials theThis UK. This avoiding unnecessary concrete as it as is wholly compatible. the UK from sourcedsourced in the in UK. concrete it is wholly compatible.

CONCRETE is visible is brick. The architectural precast concrete cladding here is brick-faced with a layer of half bricks embedded into the concrete. Brick-faced concrete cladding panels combine the aesthetic of brick with the benefits of concrete and offsite manufacture, offering complex and intricate brick detailing that is otherwise challenging to achieve in mainstream contemporary construction. It may even be a means of affording a higher quality brick through resource-efficient use of both sides of the half bricks. Similar benefits are offered by casting natural stone into the face of concrete.

But perhaps the most unique aesthetic benefit that concrete can offer is its ability to be cast into almost any shape, curve or surface relief. Once the effort has been made to create a bespoke shape and form it is possible to repeat it again and again. The pre-casting process of concrete thereby facilitating the repetition of even the most elaborate decorative features. And with contemporary processes of digital scanning and routing, the creation of bespoke moulds and textured linings is even more cost-effective.

2 techniques applied to the surface. Interesting effects and patterns can be cost-effectively created on a single cladding panel simply by using different surface treatments. Techniques include acid-etching and abrasive blasting that lightly remove the smooth outer surface of the concrete to reveal the fine grain and colour of the aggregate in the mix. Heavier and deeper applications create a different tone, with more defined texture as more aggregate emerges. By contrast the concrete can also be smooth and reflective. Large horizontal surfaces are safely and cost effectively polished in the factory. The more concrete that is removed through grinding and polishing, the wider the cross-section of aggregate that is visible.


Another common technique to create texture is the use of surface retardants. Applied to either the face of the formwork or to freshly struck concrete, the retardant prevents the surface laitance from hardening, so it can simply be washed or brushed away to reveal the sand and stone aggregate within. Precise, repeatable patterns, even photographs can be permanently created in the face of the concrete using patented techniques that print the retardant on to a form-liner in the required pattern, creating contrast between exposed aggregates and adjacent smooth surfaces. A recent project, Cartwright Gardens, London provides an example of effective and attractive precast concrete, although the material that

Aesthetics are sometimes seem as limited with a catalogue approach to offsite construction. Choosing architectural precast concrete provides an offsite solution for structural precast and architectural cladding that can be bespoke and beautiful. As well as providing the inherent performance benefits associated with concrete solutions. For more information visit:

Image: 01. Brick faced concrete cladding panels at Cartwright Gardens by Maccreanor Lavington. Precast supplier Thorp Precast. Courtesy Thorp Precast 02. Bespoke architectural precast cladding combining polished and acid etched surfaces. Victoria Gate, Leeds by ACME. Precast supplier Techrete. Courtesy Techrete




1 The new major town centre redevelopment at Bracknell, Berkshire was under discussion and planning for nearly 20 years before finally opening in September 2017. A significant part of the development was the creation of a new multi-storey car park that showed the best of precast and offsite design. Called the Avenue Car Park, it remains open 24-hours a day and provides 1306 car parking spaces including specific spaces for disabled and electric-car charging. With an anticipated average parking time of two hours it was essential that a large volume of cars could easily gain access and egress, with the various levels easily accessible, and to give drivers a good parking experience with their safety and security paramount. PCE worked in co-operation with Mace, developing a hybrid designand-build solution, principally using offsite engineered precast concrete components, to provide a solution for the five suspended levels car park structure that would also incorporate an area of multi-level retail space at its front.


Minimising the height of the structure was a necessary planning requirement and the development’s central location meant that maximising the amount of offsite construction would reduce the total number of vehicle deliveries required to enter the centre of Bracknell, as well as a reduction in the number of onsite operatives and management needed to construct the structural frame. Mace was awarded the project in February 2015, which resulted in structural design work starting in earnest, with the commencement of offsite production of the precast concrete units in July 2015, thus enabling the erection of the structure to proceed in late November of that year.

The use of three-dimensional BIM techniques was critical during the tender period and following the contract award, enabling PCE to develop the car park element of the structure as an efficient precast hybrid concrete solution using its in-house designed-and-developed long-span GT flooring units. The pre-stressed concrete GT units are designed to meet the required car park structural loading criteria without the need for the casting of any additional onsite reinforced structural concrete over their top surface, which gives a significant reduction in onsite activities and associated disruption, enabling following trades to progress more rapidly.




2 Due to the car park deck being non-rectangular in plan and the development’s principal anchor stores, adjacent to either side of the car park, having differing floor levels, all of the decks were required to fall in two directions. In certain areas, this required design development of the GT flooring units to enable them to be splayed, cast with a 25mm fall across their top surfaces and the use of solid GT units to support reinforced concrete ‘cheese wedge’-shaped units. The longest unit was 17.8m by 1.5m wide which included a splayed end, while the solid slabs weighed 22 tonnes. In certain areas, having a 25mm fall across the width of the GT unit was insufficient to provide the transitions required, which resulted in the bearing corbels of the supporting beams and walls also having to be stepped. Prior to production commencing, two full-scale mock-ups were prepared to prove the structural geometry and adequacy of the non-standard GT units and supporting beams. Compared to other offsite solutions of similar span, the GT floor units provide a reduced overall floor depth and structural dead load, which leads to a reduction in height and weight of the supporting precast concrete bearer beams, as well as a more efficient design of other structural frame components. For the Avenue Car Park, a consistent high-quality anti-slip brush finish was required for the surface of the car park floors. This was easily achieved with the GT units due to the highquality control capabilities of factoryengineered concrete.

For the adjoining retail section of shorter and varying spans a hybrid structural solution of precast columns, Delta beams, hollowcore units and in-situ concrete was chosen. Lift cores and the central stair core were formed using flat-pack walls due to the requirement of corbels to pick up the bearing of the adjacent floor units. The two side stair cores were framed with precast columns and beams. A further interesting challenge for the PCE team was the design and delivery of the two curved and handed ramps on the external face of the car park adjacent to Bracknell’s Millennium Way which form the up and down access between the floors. This ramp structure used precast reinforced concrete ‘goalposts’ to enable the structural bearing of the precast floor slabs to avoid using separate column and beams. Perimeter beams were a combination of straight and curved in plan which spanned between the goalposts to support the pre-stressed concrete plate flooring for the straight sections. Normally reinforced concrete curved and sloping plates at the ends of the ramps were cast from moulds integral with those for the curved beams, ensuring accuracy of fit onsite. A reinforced structural topping across the plate flooring was also used. Accurate electronic detailing of the different components and close control of the casting accuracy of all the precast concrete units ensured that the ramps’ complex geometry was easily achieved.

4 In total, over 3500 precast units were erected during the 40-week on-site programme. During the project, PCE further developed its electronic QA and paperless control systems to ensure that components were manufactured and delivered on a just-in-time basis and easily erected to the quality expected and with a high regard to all aspects of health and safety. Nickie Brown, PCE Managing Director, says: “The Avenue multi-storey car park at Bracknell is an excellent example of a design-and-build offsite engineered hybrid concrete structure. We were able to use the latest electronic technology and intelligence, including BIM, to design and detail, share data between all the parties involved and provide control systems. All this has enabled the use of structural concrete to be the most viable and efficient construction material choice for this building.” For more information visit: Images: 01. Complex ramp geometry showing the one-piece portal beam–column arrangement used 02. Millennium Way elevation, including the dominant ramp structures which assist the architectural aspirations with timber cladding and a living green wall 03. Frame erection in progress using PCE ‘Slingsafe’ safety method for safe unloading 04. Beams had protection fixed to them prior to being erected and with the tidy deck areas maintained during construction giving enhanced health and safety for offsite construction





The last of the 2017 series of Explore Offsite conference and exhibitions took place at the NEC Birmingham on the 05 December. Explore Offsite Infrastructure focused on the future of offsite construction and its role in improving UK infrastructure and delivering the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline (NICP). Goodier also used the Gartner Hype Cycle to explain that offsite construction may be entering the fabled ‘slope of enlightenment’.

1 Infrastructure delivery is at the heart of making the UK more competitive and prosperous but enormous amounts of investment are required for the next decade to get anywhere near delivering the NICP ambitions. Rankings from the World Economic Forum place the UK in 24th position globally for the quality of its infrastructure. This puts it midtable among the industrialised nations. Joshua Southern, Associate Director at KPMG started the day by delivering a presentation covering KPMG’s views on smart construction and improving productivity and predictability, impressing that closing the performance gap is critical. The myriad challenges ahead in adopting smarter and digital construction methods rest in getting to grips with a single definition of what it is. He also had some salutary statistics showing that UK construction productivity has taken eight years to recover to pre-recession levels. Dr Chris Goodier, Deputy Director for the Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE) described the routes to adopting an offsite approach, explaining that a clear need for improvement to deliver infrastructure needs a mind-set move from ‘project specific to sector specific’.


Davis Bray and Willie McCormick of Highways England, conducted a joint presentation entitled ‘Highway England’s Development of an Offsite Manufacturing Capability.’ Operational imperatives of cost and efficiency are central to delivering value for the public purse and the A14 project case study was an example that saw offsite methods deliver costs savings of £1.1 million, 30,000 fewer man hours and programme time savings of two months compared to a traditional methods. Ed Newman-Sanders, Technical Director, Atkins and Cameron Corsby, Project Engineer, Laing O’Rourke provided an overview on the Crossrail Custom House Station. Custom House was a fantastic opportunity for the Crossrail design team to utilise precast concrete and offsite manufacture, with a significant element of the initial brief being 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’. Paul Newby, Engineering Services Director and Gordon Cullen, Contracts Manager of SES Engineering Services spoke at length about the iconic Queensferry Crossing that used an effective offsite delivery and BIM strategy. Stephen Wells, Programme Director, Mace Group and Jaimie Johnston, Director of Innovation at Bryden Wood spoke on the Prison Estates Transformation Programme (PETP) and the Ministry of Justice approach to create a new type of prison facility

to replace the present old and ineffective establishments. Two sites are in development that are aiming for BREEAM Excellent/Outstanding with 1600 occupants per site. The crux of the approach is not just about creating a ‘single design’ but creating a new mode of prison delivery with a ‘kit of parts’ providing both spatial and functional benefits. Of great interest was Phil Wilbraham, Expansion Programme Director at Heathrow Airport, who brought the audience the latest information on its £16 billion expansion plan. He impressed the importance of the need for ‘Infrastructure UK’ to think differently about asset delivery and outlined what the planned new logistics hubs hope to achieve in creating local supply chains across the UK. A decision will be made towards the end of 2018 where these will be situated and by mid-2021 teams will be in place at the hubs with the ultimate aim to have ‘no hot or wet trades onsite’. Using lessons learned from the Terminal 5 development – the ‘value will be added in the factory by a flexible workforce’.

OUTLOOKS The next Explore Offsite event will be Offsite Outlooks held on 28 February 2018 at BRE, Watford – tickets to Explore Offsite Outlooks cost just £125. For more information visit:

Images: 01. Stephen Wells, Programme Director for Mace Group speaking at the event



THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION EXPLORE THE POTENTIAL OF SMART TECHNOLOGY Taking place on 28 February 2018 in partnership with BRE, Explore Offsite Outlooks will get to grips with 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. The event will present innovative thinking by assembling some of the industry’s ‘thought and technical leaders’ to present their views and explore the applications and potential for digital technologies. Digital transformation is happening all around us and whilst other industries have been quick to make the digital leap, the construction industry has been a little slower out of the starting blocks but now the revolution is well underway. Smart technology is changing the face of construction with a range of devices making complicated tasks much easier – from virtual reality to smart helmets and digital software efficiencies. The rate of technological advancements is accelerating at such a relentless pace, it cannot be ignored. The combination of offsite manufacturing and digital construction technology presents a compelling proposition. Building Information Modelling (BIM) has been the subject of much debate but the software offers so much more than the creation of 3D models. Virtual Reality – an artificial, computer-generated simulation of an environment – has transformed the way that architects present their vision. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality first hand – allowing clients to play an integral part of the


design process and ‘virtually’ enter the building and validate the layout. Augmented Reality on the other hand, provides more freedom for the user because it does not need to be a head-mounted display. Augmented Reality takes the real world and adds something to it – for example a new extension could be digitally superimposed onto an existing building. Explore Offsite Outlooks will look at the road ahead as roles and disciplines blur to the role of a new generation of digital natives to whom this will just be business as usual and will understand the real meaning of integration, interoperability and design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA). SPEAKERS INCLUDE:

John Eynon, Engagement Lead at BIM Alliance: ‘Digital procurement, standardisation and transformation’. John will discuss the drivers for change and the work of the UK BIM Alliance in leading the implantation of BIM Level 2 across the industry. Geoff Fawkes, Business Development Director at McAvoy Group: ‘Digitising offsite construction’. Geoff will present on the latest advances in digital technology and how they were applied to West Hill School, adding value to a challenging construction scheme. Allan Griffin: Head of Construction and Infrastructure Strategy, AMRC and Sean Wilson - Augmented Reality Technical Lead, University of Sheffield: The AMRC - where construction meets manufacturing. The AMRC is uniquely placed at the forefront of aerospace and automotive manufacturing

technology development and will demonstrate how this technology is starting to be transferred into the construction sector. Jonathan Lock, Director Design4Structures: Taking Steps to Modernise Construction through Collaboration, Innovation and Education. Learn how three companies; TDS, Design4Structures and the Construction and Design Centre of Excellence (Cadcoe), are making positive headway to modernise the construction industry, to drive change and increase efficiencies through collaborative working using the latest in digital technology. Jaimie Johnston, Head of Global Systems & Elite Sher, Head of VR/ AR & Interactive Environments at Bryden Wood: ‘Delivery platforms for government assets’. Jaimie and Elite will be demonstrating how a highly productive, manufacturingled approach to industrialised construction is being adopted by major government and private sector clients. Alan Clucas, Director of Explore Manufacturing at Laing O’Rourke: ‘Offsite manufacture as a key enabler to smarter construction’. Alan will give a detailed overview of how Laing O’Rourke’s Design for Manufacture & Assembly (DfMA) strategy is enabling smarter project delivery on site both in the building and infrastructure environment.


OFFSITE OUTLOOKS ADDITIONAL CONFERENCE SPEAKERS INCLUDE: • Darren Richards, Managing Director, Cogent Consulting • Simon Cross, Director of Building Futures Group, BRE. • Andrew Orriss, Sales Director at SIG360 • Ben Lever, Future Skills and Innovation Lead, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) • Phil Henry, Market Development Director Specification, Polypipe • Kadine James, 3D Tech Lead, Hobs Studio • Peter Blunt, Managing Director, Innovaré Systems • Ian Buckingham, Competency Framework Designer, Manufacturing Technology Centre • Frank McLeod, UK Head of Project Technology, WSP • Oliver Lowrie, Director, Ackroyd Lowrie • Dominic Thasarathar, Primary Thought-Leader, AutoDesk


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 CLAIM YOUR 10% DISCOUNT USING THE CODE OSMAG10 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.

In partnership with:

For more information, or to book tickets, visit:





A fundamental part of the success and appeal of volumetric module manufacture rests in the repeatability of units and design. But issues surrounding interoperabity of systems and detailing still persist, affecting quality and client confidence. Has the time arrived for a standard Code for volumetric modular buildings? Darren Richards, Managing Director of the UK’s leading offsite construction consultants, Cogent Consulting, addresses the need. and reliability – with what is often perceived as an endless capacity to innovate and be dynamic. The general malaise of the UK construction industry was encapsulated in Mark Farmer’s review Modernise or Die – defining declining productivity, an ageing workforce, low investment in skills and training and a general reticence to innovate and change from the accepted norms – all leading to a construction industry with poor perceptions and poor results.

1 Volumetric modular construction has long ceased to be an emerging construction technology. It is increasingly being viewed as a reliable way to deliver the raft of new homes the UK needs, with copious highprofile innovations over the past 18 months. By assembling volumetric modules in a precision-controlled factory environment, the production line techniques that drive module assembly bring speed of delivery, quality of end product and a dramatic improvement in productivity. Factory fit-out means that modules can leave a facility virtually complete with windows, doors and interiors finished ready for cranage and site installation. In recent months there has been much industry talk about the creation of 76

some overarching guideline or Code for the world of volumetric modular delivery. Last year’s London Assembly Planning Committee report into offsite manufacture (OSM) Designed, Sealed, Delivered, stated clearly: “The absence of OSM specific design codes and standardisation is holding back the development of the sector.” It also recommended working towards defining and adopting a ‘manufactured housing design code’ to drive a more standardised and aggregated demand profile which can be delivered by a range of technologies. What would a Code do – how would it help? The automotive and aerospace industries have long been seen as shining examples of scale, efficiency

Things can and should only get better. The issue amongst many volumetric module manufacturers are the small incremental differences between systems and interfaces. Points of difference that give an individual company its individuality or competitive edge but ultimately offers little different to the vast majority of competitors. This excess of designs and systems all bring with them separate issues of intellectual property rights that often challenge the very conditions required by manufacturing to scale. Manufacturing is driven by standardisation and interchangeable components that reduce costs and provide certainty in the event of needing to change suppliers and manufacturers if companies fail. When this occurs intellectual property is often lost and is difficult to substitute with other products. So a more joined-up, collaborative approach across the whole sector is required. Creating and establishing a recognised Code will stimulate interoperability and ensure quality throughout the offsite sector – while remaining system agnostic.


MODULAR MATTERS The entire volumetric modular sector would benefit from closer collaboration among manufacturers and building designers to drive innovation with a Code establishing the limits and common parameters for all factory-built modular homes. What a Code would ultimately achieve is to define a set of common principles on volumetric modular delivery. As has been noted elsewhere – this may even include spatial planning plus a component ‘catalogue’ approach. The Code should be developed in conjunction with designers, manufacturers and housing providers and specify the key rules of engagement under a design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) approach. The Code can address areas of design for performance, as well as regulatory guidance and it can critically be a series of signposts for architects and engineers about structural tolerances, module interfaces, materials, health and safety, durability, logistics and onsite finishes. Not only would a Code ensure the quality of homes built using volumetric modular construction, but it would also

help improve the levels of confidence in the sector from a risk averse level of client, developer and lender. Certainly one common aspiration is to have a Code branded as a ‘kite mark’, supported by suitable warranty providers. This could potentially drive a more standardised demand profile which can be delivered by a range of suppliers and systems and which is fully recognised by the funding and valuation sectors. Developing the Code presents a number of technological and design challenges, but the overarching challenge will be creating the culture and mindset to enable a genuinely collaborative and common interest approach. The industry must adopt a mature stance and recognise that the right approach will provide benefit to all. For more information visit:

Image: 01. A Code for volumetric delivery could provide overall industry confidence. Courtesy Portakabin

DATE FOR THE DIARY: a new event focusing on volumetric modular construction. Modular Matters – will be held in Birmingham on 30 October 2018 hosted by the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) in collaboration with Explore Offsite. For more information visit: If you would like to express your interest in presenting at the event please email: amy.pryce

The MPBA are the representative body of the volumetric and portable building industry The voice of the modular industry

INCLUDED IN MEMBERSHIP High quality learning and training Industry wide marketing promotion

FREE Guidance and support on all health and safety issues Technical Advice Employment law services Regular industry and legislative updates JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018 | WWW.OFFSITEMAGAZINE.CO.UK






2 Wernick Buildings recently completed a new classroom block for Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School in Aylesbury. Assistant Head Ian Bryant spoke to them about the project and took part in a Q&A on the hugely successful delivery process. Q: Why was a new building required? Ian Bryant (IB): Part of the school’s strategic plan was to grow student numbers across all year groups. This had both financial and space implications – we could not achieve our objectives without gaining funding and using this to provided additional facilities for teaching and learning. Q: Why did you choose a modular building? (IB): We aim to deliver the best value for the funds provided to us, and modular buildings deliver this compared to a traditional build. The cost per square metre is well below the Department for Education guidelines and this enabled us to have the space we wanted within the funding made available. We had previous experience of modular building having erected both a building with classrooms and a more specialist facility for teaching dance. Both these delivered as required, and as a result our confidence in this type of building was high. Apart from the value for money that modular buildings provide, the build timetable is also much shorter than for a traditional building. Therefore the impact on the school operation is minimised and that is to be welcomed.


Q: Why choose Wernick Buildings? (IB): We held a full, independently reviewed tender process, and Wernick Buildings met the criteria required at the lowest cost. As a school, we were happy with this result as having worked with company previously we knew we would get what we wanted within the agreed budget. We have a new building exactly as we wanted. It was delivered on budget, on time and to the standard we wanted – so we are pleased with the result. Q: Has the building met your expectations? (IB): The new building meets our expectations. It houses nine standard classrooms (some of which can have a central partition removed to create larger spaces), an IT suite, a large sixth-form study area incorporating an IT area and a catering facility, a kitchen, offices, toilet areas, and space for lockers. All areas have sufficient light and incorporate ceiling mounted heat/ cool units (and so remove the need for radiators). All movement areas have non-slip flooring that continues up the walls to minimise the impact of scuffs from pupils bags (a continual problem that all schools will be familiar with).

Q: What are the first impressions by pupils and staff? (IB): Pupils and staff have been delighted by the new building, though not surprised as they have had positive experience with previous Wernick buildings. Of course we have incorporated certain design improvements in the five years since the last building was erected by Wernick – some from them and some from our own operational experience. Q: Were you happy with the service provided by the Wernick Buildings team? (IB): Wernick Buildings were professional and responsive throughout the initial discussions, the tender process, the contract finalisation and the build timetable. This has continued since we took possession of the new building when any minor queries or questions have been quickly resolved. Should we have future building requirements we would have no hesitation in working with the company again. When we in the very initial stages of the project prior to obtaining funding (about two years prior to building commencing), Wernick were able to provide us information that assisted us to assess the projects viability. This was offered without any commitments on our part or any financial gain on the part of Wernick. Once the tender process was completed and Wernick were appointed, named individuals for key areas – site management, project management etc – were available when required. This ensured that any queries were resolved without delay and therefore without costs being incurred. The onsite management was responsive throughout the building project, working with us to ensure the impact on the operation of the school was minimised. Q: Would you recommend a modular build for another school? (IB): Absolutely, and without reservation. We now have three modular buildings onsite, each delivers what we want at a cost to build far below traditional builds. They incorporate the latest materials, provide flexibility in design, offer high levels of energy conservation, are quick to erect, are cost effective and provide long-term solutions. For more information visit: Images: 01-02. Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School


Need more teaching space...

...without the drama? Wernick modular versus traditional build is 50% faster. Reduced time on-site means buildings can be installed and completed outside term time, keeping disruption to a minimum.

An education in modular buildings To find out more and view education case studies go to:

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TIME IS THE KEY With speed of housing delivery of paramount importance across the construction industry, can modular construction provide a timely solution to the residential conundrum?

1 Time – or the lack of it – has always been one of the biggest issues for the construction industry. This may be the commercial client investing in a new facility, seeking a return on investment as soon as possible, or the Government’s housing agenda to address the UK housing shortage by targeting the construction of 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s. Time, it is the one constraint that is at the core of every discussion, but is offsite construction the solution? Offsite construction with modern technological advancements is now producing bespoke buildings of exceptional design and quality. So how can these techniques be the solution for diverse requirements such as those in the residential and commercial markets? To achieve the Government’s housing targets, one of the major challenges is how to physically build the volume of housing required within the target time-frame. The quantity of 300,000 homes a year is nearly 1,200 houses for every working day. In the traditional world of project management, the aspects of time, quality and cost were inextricably linked. Quality would decrease if all other factors stayed constant, or costs would rise as more 80

resource was required to maintain balance. But what if the parameters were changed by working smarter and re-thinking the construction process environment? This is exactly the challenge that Extraspace Solutions is taking up, working with our clients to reap the rewards of offsite construction to deliver projects faster whilst not only matching the quality of traditional projects but exceeding them. Nowhere has this pioneering approach been more evident than our project with Ealing Council. With the everincreasing demand for housing, the Council was looking for innovative solutions. The Extraspace Solutions team delivered the design and build pilot scheme project for two, two-bedroom homes using offsite, modular construction techniques. This scheme demonstrated the efficiency in time, cost and quality of the process, whereby 85% of the build was conducted offsite. The Mansell Road project took less than seven weeks from breaking ground to handover. Ultimately, regardless of a project being traditional or offsite the scheme needs to meet the same regulations. However, the speed and control

2 measures of factory construction are something that the traditional build process cannot compete with. The controlled environment eliminates weather dependencies and tolerances are designed, measured and validated to ensure the reality of each build is exactly as the design. The success of this project has now lead to additional residential projects in Wolverhampton, Kensington and Dublin with a pipeline including a number of rooftop apartment developments throughout London. So, is offsite construction the solution? It certainly can contribute to deliver the volume of builds required, in a quality consistent, timely and affordable manner – clients can make better use of available land through bespoke solutions, designed to match the environment where these houses are needed most. For more information visit:

Image: 01-02. Homes delivered via modular solutions can boost volume and improve timescales


Residential Education Healthcare Commercial

We provide a full turnkey solution for our clients, ensuring that every project is managed smoothly and comprehensively from concept to completion.

0044 207 228 5282

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 in 2018: DATE 28 February


06 March




Explore Offsite Outlooks

BRE, Watford

Explore the potential of digital construction and understand how best to implement it into your offsite strategy. This event creates a platform for clients, contractors, project managers and suppliers to network with industry experts to discuss the latest developments in digital construction. Offsite Construction Awards

ExCeL, London

The Offsite Awards 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. Book your tickets now. 06-08 March

Offsite Buyers Forum

ExCeL, London

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. Register as a Buyer/Specifier now. 06-08 March

Explore Offsite Masterclasses

ExCeL, London

Running daily throughout ecobuild and offering an independent perspective of the offsite construction sector, these intensive Masterclasses sessions will address the drivers and benefits of using offsite technology. These CPD accredited Masterclasses are free to attend - see page 36 for full details. 06-08 March


ExCeL, London

The number one event for forward thinkers in the built environment, comprising the ecobuild conference and futurebuild districts. It is the future of design, construction and the built environment - the latest developments, new product launches and the people who matter. 10 & 11 April


08 May

Explore Offsite Housing

NEC, Birmingham

Explore Offsite Housing is a two-day conference and exhibition which brings together offsite technology leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction solutions. For further information, go to page 52. Solid Wood Solutions

Inmarsat, London

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

12 June

NEC, Birmingham

Showcasing the very best of what is being delivered under the Healthcare and Education frameworks, this event demonstrates exemplar schemes with good supply-chain integration, design for manufacture and assembly, digital integration and offsite construction strategies. 26 & 27June

Offsite Construction Summit


Case study focused, the presentations at the Offsite Summit will bring to life some of the most inspirational and ground-breaking offsite projects from around the world, and profile some of the largest offsite manufacturing facility investments.

11 July

Explore Offsite South West

NEC, Birmingham


The conference and exhibition will bring together a range of offsite technology supply chain specialists and industry leaders to discuss the uptake of offsite construction in the South West region and will focus on the key themes such as regional offsite supply chain resources and opportunities. 10 October

Structural Timber Awards

NCC, Birmingham

The Structural Timber Awards are back for 2018, celebrating it’s fourth year rewarding the very best in structural timber construction. Over 500 construction professionals will gather at the prestigious ceremony to celebrate the great, the good and the simply outstanding. Entry deadline: 31.05.18. 30 October

Modular Matters

NEC, Birmingham

New for 2018, Modular Matters will be showcasing exemplar projects across commercial offices, public buildings, hotels, airports, sport stadiums, hospitals, universities and schools and debating how far this innovative technology can push the boundaries of design and manufacture. 04 December

Explore Offsite Futures

NEC, Birmingham

This one-day conference and exhibition will create a platform for construction clients and their professional advisers to network with industry experts and discuss the latest offsite construction solutions. The event format provides a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all visitors!









PRE-PANELISED OFFSITE BUILDING SOLUTIONS Fast • Efficient • Compliant • Sustainable Our Metframe solution is used to provide the load bearing superstructure for low to medium rise buildings. A major benefit of the system is its speed of build with Metframe structures typically taking under two weeks per floor to construct. *Speed of erection shown is based on an average 700-1000m2 floor area per level.

voestalpine Metsec plc 0121 601 6000


06-08 March 2018 / ExCeL, London

The future of the built environment is here

Offsite Presenting Offsite, part of the futurebuild districts... See the offsite technologies bringing opportunities and innovation to the UK construction industry. Framing systems, modular and volumetric, pods, offsite roofing, pre-


engineered building services and other prefabricated components feature in this district, curated by Explore Offsite. In the exhibition, you can see Brooke Homes’ full-scale modular threestorey home and AppiUK’s


two-storey build. An Offsite Buyers Forum provides a network for business dialogue, while learning opportunities alongside the seminar programme include CPD accredited masterclasses and Ask the Expert drop-in sessions.




Get your FREE ticket #ecobuild