New consortium to boost offsite construction for primary schools

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offsite construction, primary schools,

A new consortium has been launched to pioneer greater use of offsite construction for primary schools, to transform the way they are designed and built

The new consortium is managed by construction consultants Blacc and is funded by Innovate UK.

Other partners in the Seismic consortium include; design practice Bryden Wood, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), and offsite specialists, Elliott and The McAvoy Group.

Around 100 new and replacement primary schools are needed every year in the UK at a cost of £5bn. This level of demand far exceeds the capacity currently available in the construction industry.

The new consortium has been established to carry out extensive research and development to engineer a range of standardised offsite construction solutions which will radically increase productivity and efficiency, drive down costs and reduce lead times in the delivery of exemplary primary schools.

Richard Crosby, director of Blacc said: “By applying greater use of standardisation, our aim is to develop a series of components to enable multiple offsite specialists to achieve unprecedented economies of scale and efficiency in manufacturing.

“This will bring a higher degree of stability, predictability and transparency to the procurement process – to the benefit of both the client and the supply chain. It represents a window into a brave new world for UK construction.”

One of the solutions currently in development is the creation of a pioneering digital tool to accelerate the initial design phase for new primary schools. This user-friendly web-based app, which can be used by teaching professionals, will configure a primary school building on a specific site in line with DfE requirements, and using a standardised offsite construction solution to optimise efficiency.

Jami Cresser-Brown, director of Bryden Wood commented: “By digitising the process of designing a primary school, we believe we can deliver significant reductions in lead times and build costs whilst accommodating individual design requirements.

“With the use of a digital tool, more time can actually be spent on the bespoke elements of the design of each school.”

The Seismic project will also look at how standardised module sizes and steel-framed offsite construction solutions can be developed, costed and manufactured to achieve greater economies of scale and cost efficiencies for the construction of new primary schools.

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