2020: The year of offsite construction?

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Offsite construction is not new but the need to deliver tighter build programme, higher levels of cost control and increased quality, while at the same time the industry faces a skills shortage, means its profile in the UK has arguably never been higher

Indeed, offsite manufacturing is at the heart of the government’s Construction 2025 industrial strategy and the Construction Sector Deal, alongside the adoption of digital technologies and a greater focus on the whole-life performance of built assets.

This ebook looks at the state of play for offsite construction and where it might be heading in 2020 and beyond.

Richard Hyams of architect astudio says this is the year that the housing and construction industry must change if we are to make real progress in tackling the housing crisis – and this could lead to modular construction finally going mainstream.

Advances in offsite manufacturing techniques, alongside the emergence of AI and virtual reality modelling, mean modular construction now offers developers and residents a level of speed and quality of construction not previously available, Richard says.

Yet there are still a number of barriers that modular housing needs to overcome before it becomes widely implemented, not least some outdated policies and regulations that have hindered the industry’s growth.

Richard explores some of the opportunities and challenges facing modular, and argues that in order to address the housing crisis, there needs to be a change in perspective about what it can bring to the table.

The rising profile of offsite construction was illustrated in November, when Homes England announced £30m to boost production at ilke Homes’ offsite factory, marking the first time a government body has directly invested in modular housing production.

Executive chairman Dave Sheridan discusses the deal in the wider context of government commitment to Modern Methods of Construction, the need to boost housing delivery and improve affordability.

Finally, Stewart Dalgarno of Stewart Milne Timber Systems discusses Advanced Industrialised Methods for the Construction of Homes (AIMCH), a three-year innovation project that hopes to tackle the housing crisis through greater collaboration, offsite construction, digital working and lean site assembly.

AIMCH aims to foster a mindset where advances in manufacturing and offsite systems are shared, creating a collective knowledge-based underpinned by the latest digital tools.

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