Offsite construction is key to delivering housing, says report

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© Alpegor

A new report from the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) recommends greater use of offsite construction to help reduce the cost of delivering homes, improve quality and environmental impact and reduce health and safety risks

Commissioned by the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and CSIC, the report considered changes to the way homes are developed and constructed.

Report findings

New homes can be built more efficiently if all of those involved – councils and housing associations, designers, planners, regulators and builders sit down together at the beginning of every project.

However, the report says that these benefits will only be fully realised if the way that homes are developed and built moves to a ‘design for manufacture’ approach.

The report also recommends wide adoption of ‘whole life costs’ as a way of evaluating projects. Instead of evaluation based on the lowest capital cost, this would allow the value of the home over its lifetime to be assessed, including future maintenance and energy costs.

Offsite housing manufacturing sector in Scotland

Housing minister, Kevin Stewart said: “Most new homes in Scotland are already built using offsite housing timber frame systems but we are exploring whether we can improve the system by changing the way we and our partners do things.

“We will consider the report’s findings and listen to our stakeholders to help us move to a more efficient, productive system which will also contribute to our ambitious sustainability goals.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Enterprise, said: “The construction industry is reported to be one of the least productive sectors in the UK economy and this report sheds light on how this can be tackled.

“This most recent piece of work suggests that Scottish manufacturers want to become more efficient and that they will invest in more productive systems provided that there is a pipeline of future demand. We look forward to working with partners to explore this further.”

Andrew Nurse from Construction Scotland Innovation Centre, said: “This report is rich in expert advice and will give the Scottish Government and its partners the evidence upon which to help shape future policy.

“We enjoy a strong offsite housing manufacturing sector in Scotland and this report points to significant opportunities to build on that success. This is a major focus of our work at the Innovation Centre.”

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