Explore Offsite Futures was hailed as a great success by the 250 construction clients, architects, engineers and contractors, who attended the conference. The professionals gathered to share their views on how offsite construction technology could play a vital role in the future of the construction industry. Held at the NEC, Birmingham, this was the second and final 2016 installment in the series - with the previous event focusing on the housing sector.
One of the many highlights of the day was keynote speaker Tom Bloxham MBE, Chairman of Urban Splash, who expressed great support for offsite manufacture and construction. Declaring it as the future of the construction industry, Tom Bloxham, speaking on behalf of Urban Splash, believes that modular construction can improve the quality of housing and bring down the build cost in the long term.
Tom stated: "Offsite construction is the future and it will change the way we build our homes going forward. Urban Splash wants to work with partners to produce modular homes and, ultimately, we want offsite manufacture to dominate the way we build our homes and apartments and, in turn, generate 70 – 80% of our business turnover going forward."
The afternoon of the seminar, featured second keynote speaker of the day, Mark Farmer, CEO of Cast Consultancy who spoke about his recent government commissioned report titled ‘The review of the UK construction labour model - Modernise or Die'. Discussing the report, Mark outlined that in order for the offsite sector to become a mature market, that is producing in excess of 50 000 residential units per year, it needs be characterised by a diverse supply market, have major private investment, in order to capitalise, and support research and development. All whilst it is supported by government policy and intervention. However, Mark stated that the industry needs an evidence backed benefits case for clients to choose which is underpinned by cost, time and quality to lead to maturity.
Mark explained his review: "The traditional industry has fallen over, it has become completely dysfunctional and the issues within the industry are seriously impacting every part of the supply chain. The advent of the pre-manufacturing, including offsite, sector is shooting at an open goal but the industry does need to work around the issues on a benefits case in order for it to mature."
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