According to the report of the Committee of Science and Technology of the House of Lords “Off-site manufacturing for construction: Building for change” states that the construction sector, as it currently works, can not meet the housing needs of the building, given that the United Kingdom is already falling behind other countries in the construction sector and faces a labor shortage, both the government and the construction sector must urgently find a solution.
The report published by the Committee indicates that off-site manufacturing can help increase productivity in the construction sector, while at the same time reducing the demand for skilled labor, improving the quality and efficiency of buildings and reducing environmental impacts.
However, the adoption of off-site manufacturing is varied and somewhat limited throughout the sector because it collaborates with obsolete and unsustainable commercial models that are not conducive to their development in construction. Off-site manufacturing requires collaboration among customers, designers, and entrepreneurs at an early stage, but most of the elements that the Committee has received paint an image of a fragmented and unreliable construction sector. These obstacles must be overcome by the same sector and a strong leadership of the Construction Management Council is needed.
In the words of President Lord Patel, Chairman of the Committee, he said:
The construction off-site for construction has clear and tangible benefits that justify its widespread use: we have heard evidence that off-site manufacturing could increase the industry’s productivity by up to 70%.
Economic models in the construction sector are no longer adequate and do not meet the urgent needs of the United Kingdom for the construction of housing and infrastructure. and the Construction Management Board should provide the necessary leadership.
The role of the government and the public sector as a whole is essential for a greater use of off-site manufacturing. “The report establishes the measures that the Committee considers the government should take, including the implementation of the” presumption “in favor of the off-site construction and a greater advance towards the purchase for the value of all life, instead of the lowest cost.
Main conclusions of the report
While off-site manufacturing could reduce the shortage of labor, the different skills required for manufacturing currently do not exist in the UK labor market and must be developed. This type of manufacturing methodology will require a combination of skills that involve on-site, digital and acquisition implementation. Therefore, the government must ensure that young people who arrive at the workplace are trained and have the necessary digital skills for modern construction methods, including off-site construction.
The sectoral agreement of the government construction sector and its so-called “favorable presumption” for off-site manufacturing have demonstrated a strong commitment to investing in this area and the Committee welcomes many initiatives. The Committee recommends that the government develop and publish a series of key performance indicators to evaluate the success of the “favorable presumption”. When the favorable presumption is discarded and a project is being carried out that does not use off-site fabrication, the government must issue a statement explaining why it was not used and justifying that decision.
In many cases, off-site manufacturing is suitable for the construction of important social infrastructures, such as hospitals and houses. The Committee heard testimonies in which it was commented that if the government achieves its goal of building 300,000 homes per year by 2020, off-site manufacturing would be the only way to achieve this goal since traditional construction methods would not be able to achieve it. , because they do not have the capacity to build enough houses.
The English government needs to define the terms and conditions that will be attached to the additional housing support to promote the adoption of off-site manufacturing and other innovative technologies.