Are you thinking about offsite early enough? There’s no such thing as too early when it comes to looking at the potential for using offsite methods of construction. The concept stage is the ideal time to ensure that offsite opportunities are hard-baked into the project and into the thinking of the client and design team for maximum benefit. If you try to retrofit these in later on in the project, the results will always be less satisfactory.
It’s all about the quality. First and foremost, offsite solutions deliver higher quality due to greater control during manufacture, with the added advantages of programme certainty and speed of construction plus important health and safety benefits by eliminating much of the traditional site work. If it sounds like a no-brainer, it is. But while we find that clients are increasingly interested in exploring offsite, they often don’t fully appreciate the different options and how these can work. Instead, it’s often wrongly perceived to be less flexible and more costly than traditional construction methods.
“Offsite requires a new mindset. Do you have it?”
For some time now we have been using our expertise to advise clients on the most appropriate construction approach by carrying out an Offsite Readiness Assessment at the concept stage. This considers all factors including site and transport constraints to determine what degree and type of offsite manufacture is possible.
We investigate all options. Offsite isn’t only about a fully volumetric solution of fitted-out boxes that can simply be craned into place. We also consider smaller-scale volumetric construction such as bathroom pods as well as panelised systems and offsite manufactured components such as pre-cast concrete walls and columns.
We don’t start off favouring one solution or construction type over another but consider them all, whether Cross-laminated Timber, precast concrete, light gauge steel or other hybrid solutions. And crucially, we look at supply chain availability to ensure that the chosen offsite approach can be delivered.
It’s vital that the client is properly informed at this crucial early stage. That way, they can make an informed decision weighing up the benefits, cost and design implications of both offsite and traditional methods of construction.
Momentum is building. Not only are clients increasingly willing to consider and commit to offsite, but there’s an expansion of the supply chain and improvement in the quality of products coming to market. Advanced manufacturing techniques will be a game changer. Currently we’re working with clients who are using technology taken from the likes of the automotive industry to produce volumetric housing solutions on fully robotic production lines.
For optimum success, we need to change how we think and work to consider how we can harness the benefits of offsite manufacture from day one of the project.
Offsite requires a new mindset. Do you have it?