Offsite Construction in the UK - A Review

(Kamar, K. A. M (2010), The Critical Success Factors for the Implementation of IBS: A Case Study of Malaysia, Internal Evaluation Exam, University of Salford, Unpublished Report)

1. Serious attempts at a manufacturing approach and offsite particularly in housing industry in the United Kingdom (UK) can be traced back a long way.

2. The brick system has been a highly successful standardised component started in the 18th century’s Georgian architecture (Housing Forum, 2002).

3. Approximate a century later, over 160, 000 prefabricated housing units using large panel system were built after the war period between the years 1940 to 1945 (ibid).

4. In the 1950s and 1960s, the government’s slum clearance programme reignited a requirement to build houses quickly, and pre-cast concrete systems frame and large panelised system found favor for medium and high-rise applications (ibid).

5. In the 1990s, notable UK government sponsored reports have been explicit in asserting a need for significant change within the UK construction industry. Latham and Egan reports emphasized on the advantages of standardisation and preassembly and stressed the importance of modular and industrialised systems to improve construction performance.

6. Barker Report which has been published in 2004 indicated the concern that the current housebuilders with traditional build method would be unable to cope with future housing demand (Baker, 2004). The Modern Method of Construction (MMC) to be used to address the under supply, skills shortage and poor build quality of housing.

7. In the impetus driven by Egan, Latham and Barker Report, Constructing Excellence and Housing Forum were established under the Office of Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) to promote Modern Method of Construction (MMC) for housebuilding industry.

8. MMC is a term adopted by the ODPM, defined as the use of technologies which provide an efficient process to provide more products for better quality in less time. This includes extensive use of offsite construction, prefabrication and preassembly technologies (BURA, 2005).

9. A part from that, strong demands for offsite came from various market sectors including hospital, military accommodation, prison, hostel, and infrastructure and school projects.

10. Today, the UK offsite market makes up 2.1% of the whole construction market including new build, refurbishment and repair, and civil engineering projects. The market share when only new build projects are considered and civil engineering works are excluded rose to 4.1% (DCLG, 2008).

11. In total, the market has achieved a growth rate of 7 % between 2000 and 2005 and forecasted to grow at the rate of 12 % per year in 2005 onwards (DCLG, 2008).

12. The research by Buildoffsite in 2006 has indicated that the total offsite sector valued at £6 billion which include both innovative and mature technology (Buildoffsite, 2007).

13. The innovative offsite technologies which are only readily become available in the last few years valued at £1.53 billion (Buildoffsite, 2007).

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