As we continue to face a nationwide housing shortage, one of the most prevalent issues in the UK today, it’s fantastic to see that those with the power for change are beginning to recognise the potential of offsite construction methods to tackle the housing crisis, as observed in the recently announced Autumn Budget.
August 2017 saw the London Assembly publish the paper,’Design, Sealed, Delivered: The contribution of offsite manufactured homes to solving London’s housing crisis‘, largely addressed to the Mayor of London with recommendations as to how he could galvanise the offsite construction sector. The paper comes after previous publications warned of the consequences to the construction industry if offsite and modern methods of construction weren’t embraced.
In light of the published papers and recommendations, the government has now stated that they will adopt a presumption in favour of offsite construction by 2019 across suitable capital programmes, where it represents best value for money. Following the announcement, it has been reported that the government are in the final stages of launching a £30bn construction framework which will allow a number of public bodies to appoint contractors for construction projects. The framework has been developed alongside the construction strategy, released later this year and expected to reflect the emphasis on supporting offsite construction.
What are the benefits of offsite construction?
The ever increasing interest in offsite manufacturing is a result of its advantages, including the improved speed, sustainability and cost effectiveness, when compared with more traditional onsite construction methods. With fabrication taking place in a controlled factory environment, it’s possible to manufacture with ultimate precision, achieving a higher and consistent quality of finish. Furthermore, manufacturing in a factory environment leads to a reduced number of construction workers onsite, leading to improved health and safety and minimal impact on the surrounding area
Using offsite manufacturing processes allows the build work to start at the same time as site preparation, resulting in total project completion times being reduced by circa 50%.
ISO Spaces have been paving the way in offsite construction, pioneering the first ever emergency housing development in the UK manufactured using a kit of moveable and reusable parts, based around repurposed shipping containers. The 34-unit Marston Court container housing development manufactured for Ealing Council demonstrates the innovation of offsite construction, offering a sustainable, robust and cost effective interim solution to the housing crisis.
Manufactured in under 14 weeks in our factory in Cornwall, the container development sits on a previously disused brownfield site in Ealing, London. The development brings otherwise vacant land back into productivity through interim use whilst it awaits permanent regeneration and can be easily dismantled and redeployed to another site at the end of its tenure – an innovative, viable solution to the national housing struggle.