without MMC Hamish Champ Housing Today
Hamish Champ reports in Housing Today that without modern methods of construction UK housebuilders will need nearly 200,000 additional workers to meet the government’s mid-2020s target of building 300,000 new homes a year.
Analysis by the Construction Industry Training Board and consultant Whole Life found that if housebuilding activity were to reach the levels currently being set by the government without any increase in the use of MMC, the industry would need to ramp up the number of workers by 195,000 over the next seven years.
Panelised & Volumetric Offsite
The CITB’s report, The Impact of Modern Methods of Construction on Skills Requirements for Housing, focused on changes to workforce levels based on using panelised and volumetric offsite housebuilding. It said that current levels of these techniques used in housebuilding were estimated to be at relatively low levels, around 6%.
Ramp up Required
The report’s scenarios show that ramping up volumes of panelised and volumetric construction to just over half of total building activity might ease some of the longer-term pressures on skilled trade and manual workers. But it warned that the number of skilled trades and manual workers to support homes being constructed with current build methods in 2018-21 would need to be increased.
Shift in Emphasis
After 2021, the emphasis would shift to maintaining employment levels of site-based skilled trades and manual workers “to support current build methods while at the same time developing skills for offsite workers”. And non-manual workers would need to be trained and developed to support both onsite and offsite work.
Government to do more
The CITB said the government should do more to encourage the use of MMC in public housebuilding activity. It also said one of the challenges it faced in compiling its report was the lack of available evidence around the impact on the workforce of MMC for home building.
“There is an opportunity for government to help promote a forum for sharing information, such as real data on workforce requirements and best-practice information on MMC techniques, which could help stimulate further adoption by industry.”
Longer Term Investment
The report also called on the government to “help to promote conditions for sustained, long term market investment in home building by helping to create a future, visible pipeline for housing development”.
Addressing the Issues
As Off-Site Construction matures into Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) this is clearly at the forefront in turning construction workers into technical deliverer and enablers for such delivery. Additionally, new homes will very soon be ‘Smart’ in numerous ways, including full incorporation of energy saving and TIoT (the internet of things) to deliver major components. This is something that ‘Off-Site’. DfMA (Design for Manufacture & Assembly) will need to seriously consider as the industry moves forward.
Greater collaborative ‘partnering’ between architects, builders and manufacturers is needed to accomplish this The greater speed, accuracy and quality that can result from manufacturing components in a dry, controlled factory environment, together with the ability tom incorporate (yet to be invented) ‘Smart Ware’ gives home builders perhaps the only way of achieving this, together with improved on-site build quality AND controlling costs.
While resistance to the change to DfMA has been the norm, the wish of most UK Builders to deliver excellent customer service and top notch homes is now driving an increasing number to choose Off-Site for their developments. Also, as ‘OffSite Hub” note, architects and designers are moving toward DfMA, something w have been encouraging for over 20 years. The emergence of LA Developers will only speed up this process.
Easy Timber Frame
To assist them in doing so our “Easy Timber Frame “ now offers standard size modular timber frame elements for them to use as a design base, cutting down on technical design and engineering to produce win-win results.