Less than 12 months ago, CIRIA, Laing O’Rourke Centre for Construction Engineering & Technology and the University of Cambridge collaborated on an industry report entitled ‘Methodology for quantifying the benefits of offsite construction’. You can access this report and read more about it here: https://horizonoffsite.ie/obenefits-of-offsite-construction-march-2020/ 

At Horizon Offsite, our team has been shouting about the inherent benefits of offsite construction – and particularly volumetric or panelised construction – for many years now.  We specialise in structural light gauge steel building systems for commercial, education residential and industrial developments. The light gauge steel products and systems are used as part of the structural elements in the construction of walls, floors, ceilings and roofs, creating a fully accredited structural system. In terms of innovation, light gauge steel products and systems are at the cutting edge of modern methods of manufacturing and construction. Also, the versatility of light gauge steel gives architects and structural engineers the opportunity to create their most creative and enterprising designs. You can read more about the Structural Benefits of Light Gauge Steel (LGS) here: https://horizonoffsite.ie/offsite-construction-structural-benefits-of-light-gauge-steel-lgs/ 

Amid the chaos and uncertainty caused by the ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, the core benefits of offsite construction have really been highlighted and are now being relied upon by the traditional industry to deliver many of the essential projects that continue, despite the shutdown of most construction sites around the country. These core benefits include, but are not limited to: superior build quality, consistent quality, rapid delivery with reduced labour, certainty of programme, greater predictability of budget and dramatically improved health and safety record. In the past, conversations around the benefits of offsite construction and other modern methods of construction tended to come back to cost. As is well-documented through this website, offsite construction delivers a premium industry offering so it is not necessarily the cheapest option. At a practical level, the real cost savings are achieved through all of the other benefits i.e. reduced time and labour, and great programme predictability. At Horizon Offsite, we know from experience that these programme benefits are enhanced by specialist delivery from start to finish, which means architects designing for offsite from the initial concept stage. It also means working with an expert manufacturing team and having those experts coordinate component delivery and installation on-site. 

Since the spread of Covid-19, the priorities of project owners in both the public sector and in private organisations have shifted. For non-essential construction projects, there needs to be a sizable programme adjustment to deliver projects even close to the initially proposed timeline. Traditional construction practices are simply not good enough to regain the level of momentum that will inevitably be required. 

For essential construction projects that are continuing during this latest period of lockdown, speed and safety are the biggest priorities right now. Moving the building process away from the physical site and into a controlled factory environment allows for rapid completion of hospital extensions and other health care facilities, education buildings and social housing, all of which are critically needed in 2021. Less time spent on construction sites also reduces the logistical issues caused by the need for ongoing social distancing. 

Interestingly, many of the barriers to adoption that existed previously, have been overcome by sheer necessity during the pandemic. In the past, any fabricated construction was perceived as a high-quantity but perhaps lower-quality mode of construction. While we knew that the opposite was true, the traditional industry, including insurers and funders, needed to be convinced. This is happening now and it is a transformative shift for offsite construction and indeed for all other modern methods of construction, or MMC. 

Since March 2020, we have seen the market for offsite construction expand rapidly in both Ireland and the UK and this is likely to continue. While speed and safety may have been the primary driving forces of this expansion over the past year, offsite construction is ahead of the game when it comes to sustainability and this will likely influence funding decisions in a post-Covid industry. 

About Horizon Offsite

Horizon Offsite Ltd is one of Europe’s leading players in Offsite Construction and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), providing a fully accredited structural light gauge steel system to the residential, industrial, commercial, healthcare and educational sectors. Contact the Horizon Offsite team at https://horizonoffsite.ie