Accord, a West Midlands housing association, which has been producing timber-framed factory-built homes through its LoCaL Homes arm since 2011 is now looking for partners to roll out the concept. The Dutch approach to volume custom-build is coming to the UK. Allowing plot owners to choose from a pool of six architect-led ‘home manufacturer’ teams, that will customise and then build their fully-finished home. And six months ago, Manchester-based procurement consortium Procure Plus launched Osco Homes, a wholly owned subsidiary aiming to deliver affordable houses constructed offsite at a factory based in HM Prison Hindley, Greater Manchester.
These are just some of the recent industry articles referencing offsite construction. The recent Farmer Review “challenges us to do things differently – to reduce the reliance on building in the same way that we have for decades if not centuries, with its heavy demand for on-site labour.” And the government whitepaper, Fixing our broken housing market references modern methods of construction as the way to boost productivity and build homes faster. Offsite pre-manufactured solutions could be the answer to the skills shortage, providing innovative construction techniques, speeding construction, whilst maintaining or improving standards.
Recently Kim Vernau, Chief Executive Officer of BLP Insurance responded to the government whitepaper, Fixing our broken housing market, saying quality is being ignored at our peril. Offsite manufacture is one way to ensure standards are consistent. Perhaps also some lessons could be transferred from the build for social sector? Andy von Bradsky, design and delivery adviser at DCLG and chairman of The Housing Forum, provides an outline of the government’s strategy for estate redevelopment.
Yet a new survey shows that half of the UK’s housing specialists say local planning issues are stalling delivery of new homes. The UK Green Building Council has issued a report Building Places that Work for Everyone. The report offers industry insights into key Government priorities including building more homes more quickly; improving public health; bringing down household bills; stimulating economic productivity; providing skilled jobs; and achieving the UK’s legally binding carbon reduction targets.
Both the current Government (225,000 affordable homes by 2020) and the Mayor of London (17,000 more affordable homes pa) have set themselves ambitious housing targets and are in a mood to encourage greater use of offsite to achieve these aims. Other pressure groups, such as Shelter, are also adding their voices. There are a number of challenges in the construction sector, which offsite could help to combat. Will 2017 be the year that offsite house construction goes mainstream?
Competitive Advantage Consultancy are conducting research into the offsite market sector. The purpose of the report is to provide manufacturers and other suppliers with an understanding of the Offsite Manufacture construction market and the background information in a marketing plan format.
Qualitative and quantitative data provides a comprehensive review of Offsite Manufacture, identifying market influences, market size, sector trends and lists the key members of the decision making unit. The report aims to help inform business strategy for construction manufacturers seeking to establish or grow their business in this sector.
This research is due for release on 14th March 2017 at a cost of £500 + VAT.