May 19, 2015

Six ways offsite construction could save cost

By Alex Goodfellow, Group Managing Director, Stewart Milne Timber Systems.

With recent reports indicating continuing growth in construction output, the industry will need to keep the momentum going to help meet high demand for new build homes.

And there’s no doubt about it – the task ahead will not be easy. UK Government targets to build more than 200,000 homes a year are a long way from being met.

Perhaps this is why more and more house builders and contractors are looking to offsite construction to speed up delivery and achieve high performance standards while remaining cost effective. But for those new to the sector –what exactly are the benefits?

Flexible capacity - Offsite construction using timber systems offers flexible available capacity with no constraints, meaning your project is manufactured and delivered to suit your timescales with no delays.   Raw materials are readily available with robust supply chains and direct sourcing from sustainable forests.  Another advantage of offsite construction with timber systems is the shorter call off times that can be offered, giving clients impressive flexibility in adjusting project and delivery schedules. We’ve invested heavily in our factories and we can flex production as required to meet client needs.

Value engineering – we work with clients from the very early stages of a project to engineer waste and cost out from design and prepare each project for manufacture and construction in the most cost effective manner.

Cost savings - offsite construction can help save costs in a variety of ways. These include reduced site prelim costs of up to 30%; reduced carpentry costs, as windows and door frames can be factory fitted; reduced materials costs for insulation and dry lining and, most importantly, reduced labour costs with less requirement for onsite labour.

Quality guaranteed - our factory controlled environments and quality management systems mean that each timber build system offers the highest quality standards. Each system is quality checked prior to loading, ensuring we are meeting client requirements and our own high standards. Guaranteed performance is also a key element of offsite manufacture with independently accredited products manufactured to meet a variety of performance standards.

Speed of build – with timber build systems completed in factory conditions, components can be constructed on site with our experienced erect teams more quickly than brick and block. This faster build of the main super structure reduces the site management required to supervise and co-ordinate on site trades and reduces health and safety risk.  In turn, the accelerated build time provides a quicker return on capital outlay.

Waste management – with build systems delivered just in time for construction, waste is significantly reduced in site. We also recycle 100% of our waste

At a time of massive demand for new build homes, developers are increasingly seeing the benefits of using offsite construction. With ambitious housing targets ahead, decision makers will be considering the above outlined areas of value engineering, speed of build, and reduced waste management – all of which will all play an important role in determining the future shape of the UK’s housing landscape.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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