Report backs further moves towards offsite construction
A report published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee has backed greater use of offsite construction (OSM), declaring that the UK construction sector’s business models are “no longer appropriate”.
The Building for Change report challenges the Government to set out what conditions it will attach to the extra financial support for housing to drive the uptake of offsite manufacture and other innovative technologies.
It also recommends that a series of Key Performance Indicators be introduced against which to measure the success of the Government’s Construction Sector Deal “presumption in favour” of OSM.
The report suggests that the Government should have to justify instances where offsite construction has been deemed appropriate and yet not been used, saying “where the presumption in favour is set aside and a project goes ahead that does not use offsite manufacture, the Government should publish a statement explaining why it has not been used and justifying that decision,” the report says.
The report also notes that the UK already lags behind other countries in construction productivity and is facing a labour shortage, so the Government and the construction sector must urgently find solutions.
Noting that OSM has the potential to increase productivity in the construction sector while reducing labour demands, improving the quality and efficiency of buildings, and reducing the environmental impacts associated with traditional construction, the report suggests that take up of OSM is patchy due to out-dated and unsustainable business models.
The chairman of the Committee, Lord Patel, said: “There are clear and tangible benefits from offsite manufacture for construction which make a compelling case for its widespread use.”