Offsite Manufacture for Construction: Building for Change

This month has seen Parliament release its second report on the UK construction sector, Offsite Manufacture for Construction: Building for change.

The Government’s enquiry into the UK construction sector was prompted in 2016 by the Farmer Review, Modernise or Die, a powerful paper which has been quoted continuously since its publication.

Initial findings in response to The Farmer Review was the identification of a range of issues in the construction sector, including; low productivity, low predictability, structural fragmentation, leadership fragmentation, low margins, dysfunctional funding for training, an ageing workforce, lack of collaboration and improved culture, and lack of r&d and investment in innovation. It also stated it had a poor image as an industry.

This new second report has focused on The Farmer Reviews recommendation, that is, off-site manufacturing and the case and validity for offsite construction in the UK construction sector.

The report outlines a number of conclusions and recommendations that will facilitate the offsite industry to be a stronger player in the construction sector.

• Skills – New qualifications, inclusion of digital skills into the school curriculum, creation of new apprenticeship standards, and securing the funding for apprenticeships to benefit the long-term viability of the sector.

• Collaboration – The necessity for early involvement in a project from designers, contractors and suppliers.

• Finance – Establish if there is a funding gap and if there is, the financial services sector must develop sources of funding.

• Critical Path – A detailed implementation plan has been requested containing a timetable, objectives and metrics, as well as to hold those responsible for delivering the Sector Deal to account.

• Bidder List- Construction Leadership Council (CLC) to draw up a list of companies who want to bid for Government contracts with information they need to comply with the BIM mandate and develop and publish Key Performance Indicators.

• Project Pipeline – Provide a steady pipeline of projects for the construction sector so that companies can plan and make the capital investments necessary for off-site manufacturing.

• Share Knowledge – To create sustainability of the cause it is important that knowledge is shared, ensuring learnings from projects is transferable.

“As a major player in the UK’s offsite construction sector we are delighted that the Government is obviously taking the subjects raised in The Farmer Review very seriously and can see as we have done for many years, that offsite construction is the future.” Commented Simon Underwood, Managing Director at Elements Europe.

“We really look forward to seeing the recommendations rolled out to allow for a stronger construction sector for the UK which will inevitably sustain the industry for generations to come”. Simon added.

You can view the whole report here