NOVEMBER 8 | BUILDING PRODUCTS
subcontracted labour but instead uses a highly
trained, permanent and multi-skilled workforce,
manufacturing buildings in safe, purpose-designed
factory environments. This has a hugely positive
impact on the quality of construction.
There is less disruption to neighbouring
properties, fewer vehicle movements to sites, and
far less material wastage.
With independent accreditations such as BOPAS
– the Buildoffsite Property
Assurance Scheme –
developers, investors and
lenders can now have
the benefit of stringent
assessments to certify that
an offsite housing system
will deliver consistent
performance for at least
60 years. This significantly
reduces risk and ensures
Offsite housing and digital technology
There is tremendous synergy between offsite
construction and the latest digital techniques,
which give us the opportunity to radically improve
the way we design and produce new buildings.
BIM is much more than the creation of 3D
models. It is about the process of how we deliver
new homes in the most efficient way possible.
Harnessing the latest technology allows processes
at the earliest stages of a project to be streamlined,
to deliver shorter design periods and properties.
It allows us to collaborate more effectively
internally, with our supply chain and with
the client. It also enables us to hand over a
detailed package of information to simplify
the management and
maintenance of the
periods are critical for
to start as soon as the
ground is broken on site.
To achieve that, detailed
has to be released to
manufacturing at a much earlier stage than with
site-based construction – and that necessitates
earlier decision-making on the part of the client.
BIM allows a building design to be coordinated
in a more efficient way and facilitates
better quality decisions earlier in a project. There
is better client engagement with the use of 3D
models than 2D construction drawings. If we
use data rich, fully detailed 3D BIM models and
walkthroughs, we can communicate a building
design much more effectively, and present design
options for discussion with stakeholders and
planning authorities that are easier to view,
simpler to follow and revise at the earliest stage.
Case Study - Helping to meet the shortfall in
The McAvoy Group is manufacturing the first
offsite housing scheme to be built in Northern
Ireland – a £4.7m contract for Clanmil Housing
The Joymount development will provide 40
much needed homes to help address the severe
shortfall in social and affordable housing. There
are currently 24,000 households in housing stress
in Northern Ireland alone.
Due for completion in spring 2019, the scheme
will feature apartments for couples and active
older people, and two-bedroom family houses.
There will also be three detached bungalows
specifically designed for individual families with
The McAvoy offsite solution will reduce the build
programme by around 60% on this scheme.
According to Carol McTaggart, group director
of development at Clanmil: “We want to be able
to deliver new homes more quickly for people on
the housing waiting list whilst still maintaining
our high standards of design and build quality.
We also need a solution that will deliver a range
of energy-efficient homes with affordable running
costs for our tenants.
“By using advanced offsite construction
technology, we believe we can shorten the
programme for these 40 new homes by around 56
weeks which is crucial to reducing waiting lists.”
There is a clear lack of knowledge about the quality
of buildings manufactured offsite, the whole
life cost performance, the technical ability of
manufacturers, and new offsite innovations. These
are restricting the use of offsite manufacture but
can change if procurement models, professional
bodies and government actively reflect the benefits
and drive its use in construction, particularly for
What the offsite industry needs now are more
enlightened clients, such as Clanmil Housing
Association, with the passion and commitment
to break the mould and apply new techniques to
To help address the challenges around
productivity, reliable delivery, quality and the
affordability of new housing, developers in both
public and private sectors should be willing to
adopt more innovative building techniques.
We will then be able to revive the ailing
critical for offsite