The Times reports 12th April re Off-Site Manufacture (OSM) in the UK. The most concerning detail is 700,000 construction workers (of 2 million in total) are over 50 years old and we are heavily reliant on Eastern Euro bricklayers:- no surprise is that factories the size of 200 football pitches are needed in the UK to achieve the annual government target of 300,000.
The article queries why UK property developers are dragging their feet with OSM claiming by JLL's report it’s 12% more expensive? which is news to me tendering for £3 billion worldwide. OSM is up to 50% quicker so the IRR is far more attractive to investors suitable for 'Build to Rent' (BTR) including student accommodation, co-living and hotels. What surprises and truly irritates OSM disciples is a constant re-hash of stale & repeated news in the press (both construction & national) written by novices it appears including the promotion of 2 UK factories one of which is so over budget it's ridiculous and a launch severely delayed (was supposed to launch July 2016) claiming it will launch 3,500 homes a year with no experience what so ever of such a roll out, merely a prototype produced, the other whom are tiny in production levels which seem to be exaggerated by the week and restricted by HA's. We have more than enough embarrassment with Brexit currently let's not increase our red faces any further making wild statements and false promises.
We are decades behind yet still fed mass bravado in the press building a mere 15,000 homes in OSM a year. To put things in to proportion one of our OSM overseas partners builds 3,500 homes per year out of the 35 we know. High prices of land stopping people getting on the housing ladder, some lack of knowledge of OSM and access to production slots more importantly, slow moving LA’s & lenders seem to be the real problems and none of us need a House of Lords report (or any other) to tell us that surely? Most contractors deem the risk far too much to manage using OSM but the good news is for us is that 3 UK factories have connected with us in a week to ask to collaborate to help fulfil their legal obligations utilising our overseas supply chain due. With their 'local' knowledge and our production overseas firepower & investment contacts we have a winning formula to deliver highest quality affordable living for our great nation, working collaboratively. Local Authorities need to face the fact the UK factories are a long way off from solving the housing crisis so need to re-evaluate the way they work.