Innovative Offsite Needed to Meet Targets
Writing in UK Construction Week, Andrew Carpenter, CEO of the Structural Timber Association, explained why innovative timber construction is the only way to meet government housing targets, and why offsite's key players are lining up to take centre stage.
Government’s “Bold Radical Vision”
The Housing White Paper outlined Government’s ‘bold radical vision for the housing market’. Many construction commentators have come to the conclusion that there are no new exciting ideas or big surprises, but that a change of direction can be extracted with some careful sifting.
Commitment to Offsite
One key theme is Government’s commitment to support offsite factory built homes, following the Farmer Report’s call for the industry to ‘Modernise or Die’. Carpenter states that the STA firmly believes that offsite timber construction is the only way to reach the specified target of one million homes by 2020.
Scotland Builds 80% in Timber
Four out of five new homes in Scotland are now built from structural timber. Offsite timber solutions address many government concerns associated with public procurement of housing including speed of build, environmental impact, lifetime energy efficiency and cost performance.
Largest Volume of Materials
Today, structural timber solutions outweigh other sectors in volume of materials – the sector is quick to respond and can add capacity at a relatively rapid rate to meet demand. Shortages in other traditional construction materials will continue to encourage larger builders and specifiers to look to alternatives.
Intelligent, Integrated Construction Solutions
Innovation in the structural timber product range has broadened the appeal – the industry is no longer defined simply by the supply of timber frame kits and panelised solutions. It is driven by intelligent and integrated construction solutions, such as closed panel timber frame, structural insulated panel systems and volumetric modular options.
Support for SME Developers
As the government pledge support for small and medium size developers, as well as initiatives for self and custom builders – in theory there is a lot of positive content in the White Paper. Making the planning system more accessible and releasing land that is currently in public sector ownership, will certainly have an impact but only time will tell how it works in practise.
Developing Better Buildings
Last week’s Weekly Insight gave more information on the WELL Building initiative, which timber is well placed to deliver. As CEO of STA Andrew Carpenter now boasts that:
“We’re geared up and ready to go - the time is right for the construction industry to embrace innovative timber technology and offsite techniques to develop better buildings at a rapid rate to meet government targets, to overcome the shortfall in housing stock and produce energy efficient buildings.”
Andrew has played an active part in the construction industry for the past 36 years, becoming chief executive of the UKTFA (now STA) in January 2011. Outside of work, he is a well-known fixture on the South West entertainment circuit, both as an active thespian in amateur dramatics and as a DJ. As well as being a qualified referee, Andrew is a season ticket holder at Southampton F.C.
‘Fabric First’ Timber Buildings
Our business is ‘Offsite’ construction. Timber & SIP frames are designed from the outset in 3D to help architects and their clients deliver the positive benefits described above. Doing so places extra burdens and challenges on the small number of people with the knowledge, design skills, and experience to do this, but fortunately our inhouse training programme keeps them at the forefront of techniques, materials, developments and initiatives, like WELL (see WI 27th April 2018).
Prefabrication Is Key
Factory prefabrication of elements, following ‘Considerate Constructor’ guidelines, and delivering “light”, “warm”, and “modern” buildings along with renewable energy components is part of our quest. Produced under off-site factory controlled conditions, these can go a long way toward offering low cost energy saving homes and improved communities. This includes the availability of carefully selected complimentary components and methods to speed up work on site as well as providing unusual and hard to find environmentally sound, eco-friendly, sustainable and complimentary building products and components that facilitate merging with local vernaculars.
Your Partner in Development
Whether you are an architect, builder or private client, almost certainly you are becoming aware of changing homeowner preferences and aspirations. Working with our teams we believe will help you to provide you’re your clients want and more readily marketable homes.
Better all-round Savings
Our specialist services and CUSTOM homes division deliver best value and protect the interests of land owners, house-builder developers, professionals and private individuals seeking to build their dream home. Our off-site construction systems also reduce the amount of material that gets wasted on site, helping to avoid land fill, hazardous waste separation and handling, They also deliver better value for you and your customers.
PLEASE CONTACT US FOR AN INFORMAL DISCUSSION AS TO HOW WE MIGHT WORK TOGETHER
Better all-round Savings
Call us to arrange a factory visit and discuss your ideas and needs with our in-house team of professionals for your next project. You’ll be glad you did!