How offsite construction solutions will revolutionise UK house building

  • 11 Apr 2017

howardchapmanHoward Chapman, Buildingtalk Editor, reports from Explore Offsite Housing a major two day event in London last week that discussed opportunities to impact housing building in the UK.

Explore Offsite Housing

Explore Offsite Housing was a major event that brought together industry leaders to discuss the growing opportunities that the housing shortage presents for offsite construction solutions.

Fullscreen capture 11042017 085526With local and national government now very focused on the UK housing crisis, there is a climate for change in the house building industry.

In a keynote speech at the event, Mark Farmer, CEO at Cast, talked about the impact of the Farmer Review on the offsite sector and how Government housing policy is being influenced.

Other presentations looked at how the industry can bring prefabrication into the mainstream of housing delivery both in the public and private sector. Many believe offsite construction has the most potential to meet the demand for new housing.

All areas of offsite build were covered including volumetric modular steel solutions and panelised and volumetric CLT solutions.

On the financing front, there was an enlightening talk by Dick Jenkins – Chairman, BSA, about the building society perspective on lending for offsite housing.

Offsite Housing Case Studies

There were a number of great case studies that exemplified the range of housing projects already completed including Apex House which is the tallest volumetric building in Europe and the Greenford project that is 2,000 dwellings.

Philip Breese, Project Architect at Weston Williamson+Partners talking about ‘12 storeys in 12 weeks’, a remarkable case study of Chapter Lewisham student housing.

Explore offsite bigger image

Images © Nick Guttridge

The building provides premium student accommodation in Lewisham, London, was built incorporating 636 modules of market leading pre-fabricated units. Philip believes this method of construction has got to be the way forward for solving a significant part of the current housing shortage.

The modular construction was used for each of the residential areas above the ground floor accounting for approximately 90% of the building’s overall floor area drawing huge benefits in reducing on-site waste, associated traffic noise and dust pollution and transport-related CO2 emissions.

The modular construction units not only provide domestic jobs but also allow for significant programme savings on site. Each of the modules were delivered to site and erected in just 12 weeks, with full construction of the scheme achieved in approximately 10 months.

The project has already won a prize in the  International Property Awards under the “Best Multiple Residence for London” category.

Custom build sector

There were also some exciting proposals for stimulating the custom build sector to enable home owners to work with the architects to choose the design and layout of their home within a development. This takes advantage of using BIM both to offer customer choice but also translating that into the manufacturing process. Engaging with customers in this way could revolutionise the way houses are built and even financed.

This has been pioneered on a big scale in Holland with potential homeowners choosing the design and details from a menu of options in an integrated terrace of houses.

More Explore Offset events

Explore Offsite Education  London, 18th May 2017

Explore Offsite Healthcare  Birmingham, 20th September 2017

Explore Offsite Infrastructure  Birmingham, 5th December 2017

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