Sep 05, 2016
How offsite construction can ensure successful regeneration
Offsite construction is in vogue, particularly in parts of the country that are going through radical regeneration. A recent survey by NHBC - the UK’s leading standard-setting body for new homes - showed that 95% of the housing industry believed offsite construction has a key role to play in increasing the rate of housebuilding to reach demand. But why is offsite construction so desirable?
The benefits of offsite construction can be seen in projects up and down the country, most importantly in how it can contribute to regenerating an area quickly, cost-effectively and sustainably.
In response to the housing shortage, the Government earlier this year announced plans for around 100 social housing areas to be developed. This was with the overall aim of seeing radical transformations in the places that need it the most.
An example of such transformation includes the efforts of Swan, an Essex housing association, which spent £2 million constructing a factory to supply the local market with 100 new homes per year. Swan has predicted a 10% saving due to carrying out construction offsite, combined with 40-50% of on-site time being saved.
Such savings and benefits are just the tip of the iceberg.
Offsite construction and timber systems offer part of the solution to the housing shortage conundrum. The UK isn’t exactly known for its glorious weather, and offsite construction yields huge benefits in that project work can continue during the more turbulent winter months.
Many building units can be constructed at the same time using offsite construction, therefore saving time. Combing our factory setting, in both Aberdeen and Witney, with the use of the latest innovative technology, enable us to produce up to 10,000 units per year.
Not only high volumes can be produced cost effectively but quality control measures mean precision-engineering to exacting standards comes as standard.
Once manufactured offsite and transported to the site, a typical four bedroom detached home can be erected, windproof and watertight in as little as five days. This has huge benefits to both time and cost savings. Just think, if this process became more widespread, government ambitions for regeneration could turn into reality – and fast.
Offsite construction significantly reduces labour requirements which can lower costs and health and safety risks. There is less waste produced on site and any leftover material in our factories is 100% recycled.
The need for homes to be sustainable has never been more paramount, with government plans underway to build 400,000 energy efficient homes. To avoid creating excessive carbon emissions, it is best to build using the ready-made carbon stores that are wood hence the appeal of timber systems. Timber as a building material stores carbon rather than emitting it, helping to reduce overall emissions from the built environment – something we need to decrease by 80% in time for 2050.
The benefits of offsite construction can be seen in the speed, efficiency and cost saving of projects. It’s clear there is a buoyant market for offsite construction in 2016, and this is only set to continue given the current demands on our industry.