Offsite Construction


Can offsite construction help to mitigate the housing supply shortage? This supplement hopes to provide some of the answers.

It is a well-documented fact that the UK is facing a chronic housing supply shortage, and we need to build more new homes to address the backlog of under supply. The future household formation growth and estimates vary between 200,000 – 300,000 homes per year.

It is a fact that our industry has not delivered more than 200,000 homes in a year in England since 1988, with the last peak in 2007 totalling 178,000 homes.

We must deliver this increase in output at a time when the average age of the construction workforce is increasing – a potential time bomb that will play out over the next ten years with a net loss of 25% of the workforce.

But the industry needs to look beyond traditional forms of construction. The requirement to fill the supply and demand gap has to be met with housing that is both sustainable and of the highest quality.

Offsite construction

We can help to mitigate the problem if the industry embraces off-site or non-traditional forms of construction and brings new players into the housing market.

In this supplement, we address how offsite construction or ‘smart construction’ can help to deliver the homes required beginning with a feature from Jeff Maxted, Director of Technical Consultancy at BLP Insurance who discusses how we must modernise our industry.

Buildoffsite also writes here and explain why building offsite in factories is an attractive method that provides many benefits and opportunities for the construction industry, and we also hear from The Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA). They discuss the popularity of modular buildings across many sectors, but also detail how they will be addressing the skills shortage with its launch of the Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Innovative and Modern Methods of Construction for Modular and Portable Buildings (QUB806).

It will be through the use of offsite construction methods that the construction industry will finally transform itself into an industry that year on year can improve productivity and client value as a refreshing change to the flat-lining that has applied for decades.



  1. Off Site construction is the ONLY way this country is going to build the numbers of homes that are needed to meet demand. There is a perfect storm around home building; a lack of land, a serious lack of skilled labour, which will only get worse over the coming years with an ageing workforce and a lack of materials to supply the demand even if the skilled labour was there.
    The definition of stupidity is continuing to do the same thing but to expect a different result. We as a country are in that situation, we have to do something different to dramatically increase the number of homes being built.
    How can we address the skilled labour and materials shortages? Adopt the car industry model – employ unskilled people and train them to do a limited well defined task on a production line which produces complete homes using non traditional materials, then take them to site and assemble them.
    The answer is there and has been for many years all it needs is the confidence to apply it.


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