With far more ‘genuine’ welcomed interest in Off-Site Manufacturing the past 6 months, our personal experience is:-
1. A leaning towards perhaps even a 'sellers market' where collaborative working & mutual respect is now key - little options for supply chain (inc facade firms booked for a long time ahead) in particular for the construction of towers
There is more than one vote taking place, right now a radical much favoured sway in the UK towards Off-Site Manufacturing (OSM). Considering up to an estimated 340,000 new homes are needed to be built per year homes built by Local Authorities have fallen since the 1970's when we are at our most needy time to house our population despite Housing Associations building more.
Mounting pressure by the government to deliver 3.1m affordable social homes.... whilst currently around 60% of new homes are built by just 10 companies. The Independent Newspaper reported 8th January government are providing a £9Billion affordable homes programme that will deliver 250,000 homes by 2022, including homes for social rent. A further £2billion of long term funding has already been committed beyond that as part of a ten year home building programme through to 2028. Also giving councils extra freedom to build the social homes their communities need and expect.
Collaborative working is certainly the key to success when it comes to OSM, the Baltic's alone have been at it for decades, working within specific clusters...to get the job done. We have seen it with our own eyes, possibly one could debate the only positive thing from ex-Soviet era bringing together neighbouring countries 'united' providing highest quality housing, across the world. They even have forums where the common language is English despite the majority of attendees from that one specific country which proves their open-mindedness with regards to export.
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.
Completing 4 months intensive (travelling) research in Modular Construction the past year throughout the Baltic Region has been an eye opener, to say the least. These humongous factories are truly mind blowing with up to 6 lines of production facility 24/7 operation, acres of factory space and the fire power to expand in a very quick period of time catering for the UK Housing Crisis.
We must forget post-war pre-fabrication built to last for just 10 years instigated Sir Winston Churchill, some of which still standing, albeit crumbling 70 years later. Of course nowadays we all know there are up to 60 year guarantees given with Off-Site Manufactured products built of course to the highest standards requiring low maintenance and using pretty much the same materials as traditional build:-so it's no cheaper. The key benefits as we all know with OSM are obviously speed, quality, less impact to the environment & indeed safer. Options available inc; 3D Volumetric (basically up to 96% completed rooms built in the factory) to Elements/Panels (pre-built panels made of either light weight steel or concrete or wood) and....Bathroom pods (built to any standard from 2000 euros upwards). Each method has its' own merits depending on a variety of factors inc; the site locality, timings, remediation or not, height & width restrictions, road access, lenders/investors specific requirements etc.
Never assume, judge or lie, 3 idealistic principles we all try hard to adopt I hope. My favourite blog last year focused on assumptions made by the human race The Earth Is Round, Pig's Don't Smell.....And Why The Word Prefab Is Still A Barrier To Offsite Construction
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