Offsite construction - Corus Living Solution

Interview 1 (Corus Living Solution)

Q: Please tell me about yourself, your current role and your past experiences in offsite?

A:   I come from an engineering background as my first degree then I have a PhD in Construction Management. I have a short spell in academia before moving to the industry with CORUS, I am running the construction innovation and R&D activities at CORUS and involve in a wide range of issues including modern method of construction, product development and construction efficiency as well as mid and long term strategic research. We try to forecast what might happen based on current scenario and looking into the development of future skill and technologies.

Q: What are the benefits of offsite, both overall and when applied to certain jobs and situations?

A: I strongly believe in offsite construction as the way forward due to quality, value for money, rapid development, allows for innovation to be used. Once we have a greater control on the processes, we can easily develop new product, try innovation, we can manage the risk, also it will resolve an issue on health and safety, well it move the construction activities from the site to the factory environment, we they can be controlled where the process and quality can be controlled. I believe that the move to modern method of construction is a right direction. However, consider the current economic situation that is not something specific to the method of construction. That is issue that effecting the investment to construction, rather than the method. So o don’t think the method of construction will effect. In fact it is an opportunity now to invest so when we get out from this situation, the market can be able to respond. People are comparing value it brings, accuracy, the quality, speed of construction, speed of assembly (the major factors), health and safety, reduce the project duration in weeks instead of month (important to have small, specialist, mobile erector’s team) which their skills and planning over process sequence can be improve from time to time. Less destruction to the environment and neighborhood (values that can save some intangible amount of money to the builders). The importance convinces the clients on value and the benefit of MMC, which should consider value other than cost (not to compare apple to apple in term of cost). Although clients are fully aware of the value but sometime they still prefer cheaper cost

Q:  What kind of investment is vital to offsite organisation?

A: I think we in the modern method of construction, we in the right way, you will invest Consider investment in technology, process and people. Not just move under one shed (doing what they do onsite to offsite which eventually a wrong approach). Business plan should take advantages to technology and processes. Careful consideration to the rule of the market 

Q:  What is it in Risk Management that exhibits move to use offsite? 

A: The risk is on market readiness and acceptance. The organisation can educate the industry. Build a number of demonstration project (prove that the technology and assembly works). Build confidence of people and potential clients

Q: What organisation structure and corporate set up that are favorable to offsite?

A: CORUS has a number of business units and CLS is one of the business units. CLS is very autonomous in management and operation. CLS is independent, train and recruit own staff but CORUS encourage knowledge transfer and experience sharing, people transfer from one unit to another. For example, engineer from automotive unit has been transfer to CLS to get their experience and expertise. It is aim to share risk and investment (opportunity), technology and processes

Q: Can you explain the role of project management to manage process at site?

A: Project management must train them before they will be able to assemble the product (planning, monitoring, logistic and handling). The decision to appoint own assemblers or subcontracts depending on CLS work load. However, we had a network of assemblers (long term, trust and strategic) in the region (spread in the country). The decision to use own assemblers or the network depends on the task, portfolio and workload but they must be trained before hand because of JIT and the product which is delivered at site are very expensive in nature. So, we make sure they can handle and assemble. CLS use only assembler register in the networking because they have specialization in offsite technologies and having high level of know how on the product.  Not using anyone (normal sub-contractor) but using a specialized contractor which has been train to the handling and assembling aspect of CLS products.

Q: How about the selection process for installer?

A: The selection of the assemblers based on networking and database per region in which contractor have ability to assemble CLS product at site.  CLS work with them and appoint them. No tendering. Just assemble CLS product. This is due to the nature of assembling process with is short in duration (a weeks or so not month) so the relation is brief, specialized and the contractor must be well trained. Erector also need to deal with other technical issues at site and use machineries i.e. cranes, CLS and the appointed specialized contractors deal with that issues with the strong networking. First, use own assemblers then specialized contractors. If too busy, the contractors will only concentrate in CLS jobs. Network of specialized contractor is become more vital. The key is networking. I use the example of Sky TV. They are local and maybe not. Contact in that area, train and accredited. They are trained with specialized skills in CLS products. Furthermore, the workers must be specialist, small in number and may have very familiar with the technology and process

Q: What sort of training that is important to offsite?

A: Health and safety, specific offsite skill, manufacturing skill and design. Important for labour and executive level

Q: What is it in leadership and corporate motivation that exhibits your move to use offsite?

A: Very important. Guidance and develop believe in offsite implementation

Q: How important is the ability of organisation to get and adapt to change?

A: Do not have option, have to do thing in a correct way.  We train the people to be able to do it and keep re-training until they are comfortable with the job

Q: How significant a thorough project planning to manage delivery phasing and scheduling in offsite projects?

A: Planning at site and manufacture of modular housing are run at the same time to reduce overall project duration. Due to just in time delivery, all the sequence and preparation must be done before hand. They must be prepare to deliver and assemble complete product rather than brick and mortar and logistic and preparation is a big issues. Logistic, handling, storing, moving up components, placing and site planning is vital because what is deliver at site is a very expensive product (component). Handling is crucial. All modular housing is Just in time delivering (important aspect to be consider in planning sequence), not stay to long at site. Careful planning so the modular can be assembles as soon as possible. Factory – arrive – crane – put (just in time) whereas planning and site coordination is very crucial. Arrive one by one and straight away to be assembled at site. Planning must be very accurate

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