Aug 01, 2017

Winds of change afoot as construction industry realises the fight for survival

Launch of CITB white paper starts to drive an agenda for change amongst industry players as the advantages and importance of off-site construction methods are recognised

The publication of a research paper by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has provided a blunt reminder of the challenges facing the construction industry and that a change is needed in order for employers to survive.

For construction companies to evolve in the current environment, the ‘Faster, Smarter, More Efficient: Building Skills for Offsite Construction’ report recommended two solutions. Alongside developing the workforce and evolving new skillsets and training, a key recommendation was for the industry to adopt offsite manufacturing techniques.

Using timber frame solutions is a proven solution to the current housing shortage in the UK. Growing market demand and government pressure, to supply 400,000 homes by 2020, has highlighted that traditional building methods are “no longer fit for use”.

According to the report, offsite construction currently accounts for just 10% of total output but half (49%) of the industry expects their use of off-site solutions to increase as they capitalise on the “window of opportunity”. Timber frame offsite solutions are the largest offsite manufacturing producer in the UK, accounting for 60,000 UK homes, or one in four new homes, with projections expecting this to increase to become one in three.

The UK housebuilding sector already has access to timber frame solutions, and there is enough manufacturing capacity to meet demand, however there is wide-spread underutilisation of timber as many companies don’t understand the benefits that using offsite timber framing can bring to projects.

As the report highlights, the largest potential drag to the market fully capitalising on offsite construction is having a workforce that is not armed with the necessary skills. In a later blog, we will detail how Stewart Milne Timber Systems are already making progress in upskilling our existing workforce and training new entrants in a range of skills.

Homes For Scotland Home Builders Federation National House-Building Council Royal Institute of British Architects Structural Timber Association Constructionline British Board of Agrement Wood Campus Build Off Site Building Research Establishment WOOD FOR GOOD

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