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Supply Chain Sustainability School to launch Offsite for Everyone

Comprehensive suite of learning materials created to drive future understanding and uptake of offsite construction

At a major virtual event on 20th October, the Supply Chain Sustainability School will officially launch Offsite for Everyone, a comprehensive new suite of learning materials to guide the construction industry in its adoption of offsite construction and further the use of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC).

The launch day will feature a six-pack of taster workshops, as well as a ‘fishbowl’ debate with industry experts. Keynote speaker on the day is Mark FarmerFounding Director and CEO of Cast, author of the influential Farmer Review 2016: Modernise or Die, which challenged the construction industry to prepare and transform itself to seize future opportunities and mitigate risks, embracing offsite technologies and methods.

Speakers will include:

  • Emily King, Client Solutions Director, Mid Group
  • Alex Gosney, Head of Procurement-Infrastructure, Laing O’Rourke
  • Joe Dyde, Business Manager, Buildoffsite
  • Dominic Coyne, Director, Build Space
  • John Handscomb, Partner, Akerlof
  • Oliver Novakovic, Technical and Innovation Director, Barratt Developments

The need for change in construction

Meeting the targets set in the Government’s Construction 2025: Strategy will require a shift both in behaviour and towards offsite methods of construction. To make that happen, it will be essential all parties working in the built environment have a robust understanding of the fundamentals and benefits of offsite construction.

The changes will affect not just business models, but job roles too, which is why Offsite for Everyone is targeted at both organisations and individuals, explains Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain Sustainability School:

“We hear so much about the need to change the way we build, but very little about what have to do differently in our day-to-day jobs. Our new free to access, CPD-accredited, learning materials take six key job functions; design, project management, procurement, logistics, quantity surveying and site management, and for the first time outline what we must do differently if we are to reap the many benefits of offsite.”

The suite of learning materials

With 105 Partners and over 14,000 member companies, the School is in a unique position to help organisations of whatever size improve their offsite construction maturity, whether new to the sector, or already active in the market.

The learning materials in Offsite for Everyone range from full-day courses, virtual courses and e-learning modules, to videos – all of which are free for anyone to use. With funding from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the materials have been developed by the School in partnership with the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and National Open Colleges Network (NOCN).

For architects and designers

For architects and designers, it is critical to the successful implementation of offsite that they follow a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) process and consider offsite at an early stage – so, embedding knowledge of MMC within design professions is essential to increasing pre-manufactured value in the UK construction industry, says Nigel Ostime, Project Delivery Director at Hawkins\Brown:

“Implementing offsite requires a different mindset, which, once adopted, brings additional benefits, such as better collaboration (and therefore fewer disputes) and a better understanding of the construction and manufacturing supply chain, leading to reduced risk from building defects.

“However, each sector has its own specific requirements, so it is important to understand which MMC categories are best suited to each building type. The free-to-use School learning resources provide clear advice on this and have proved an invaluable resource for our designers, as well as forming networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities with likeminded professionals, constructors and manufacturers.”

For construction

Construction recruitment business buildspace supported the School to develop the training modules,  introducing key contacts to the course development team to bring relevant case studies and expert insight. The firm now requires that all candidates placed into offsite construction complete the relevant Offsite for Everyone training modules. Dominic Coyne, Director at buildspace explains:

“We have been helping offsite construction contractors build their teams for over 10 years and during this time we have seen some massive advances in the market. Quality, sustainability, design and cost have all improved immeasurably and constant advances being made need strong training to support them.

“The School training is a gamechanger, in a market with a major skills shortage, it is a great way of bridging the knowledge gap.”

For procurement

Procurement will have a key role to play in the future of offsite, says John Skivington, Group Director at LHC, which specialises in public sector frameworks and is working with social landlords on around 4,000 homes, promoting offsite manufacturing as a means of achieving better value on housing and construction projects:

“Through intelligent procurement, offsite can enable safer, greener buildings to be built more productively and for a lower lifetime cost. The range of offsite methodologies (in the MMC Definitions Framework) allows clients and designers a wide spectrum of choice for application of offsite, from low to high levels of pre-manufacture.”

Ultimately, construction is changing and offsite is core to achieving a safe and successful transition towards more sustainable ways of working, says specialist in site and project management, Ken Farnon, Director at Cooley Construction Services, which places offsite at the heart of its construction and procurement strategies:

“The modern approach to construction is evolving and offsite solutions play a pivotal role in ensuring that the industry meets its goals of quality, efficiency and safety.”


Further information

The case studies

Case study #1:

Cooley Construction Services developed an Offsite Strategy for their current project at 18 Blackfriars Road. The strategy commenced at RIBA Stage 2 which ensured early engagement with the supply chain and manufacturers of offsite components. It began with the structural components and ran through offsite unitised cladding to standardisation of construction details to enable over 60 per cent of components to be developed offsite. As a result, the Cooley strategy generated a cost and time saving of 8% over traditional methods of construction. Coupled with a revised construction management procurement strategy, this meant the overall saving was in excess of 12%, which equated to £42M in development construction costs.

Case study #2:

The work of Hawkins\Brown architectural practice on the Elizabeth Line for Crossrail, across three of the Central London stations at Bond Street, Liverpool Street and Tottenham Court Road, has allowed direct comparison of offsite against traditional forms of construction (used on other parts of the project) in terms of productivity and safety. The practice’s 520-unit build to rent development at East Village, Stratford, East London for Qatari Diar/Delancey and MACE has also demonstrated significant programme savings using innovative technologies such as the HRS system, which together have carved months off the programme, providing quicker completion and an earlier income stream for the client.


Useful links:

New Fairness, Inclusion & Respect resources will benefit everyone in UK built environment

A suite of new learning materials launched today and made freely available to all those working in UK built environment will drive positive change in the sector, industry leaders have said.

The new resources, part-funded by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), have been developed by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) and the Supply Chain Sustainability School, with a steering group of leading industry stakeholders. The resources have been rolled out to mark the beginning of National Inclusion Week (28 September-4 October 2020).

The resources include three new workshops:

These workshops are accompanied by newly developed e-learning modules:

Sarah Beale, CITB Chief Executive, said:

“Even before the pandemic, construction recruitment faced the challenges of an ageing workforce with a real lack of diversity and the pending implications of Brexit, so it is more important than ever to build inclusive cultures across all parts of our industry.

“These resources will help drive the positive change we need to attract new entrants from a wide range of backgrounds to our sector, and ensure construction is the rewarding career we know it to be for everyone.”

Andy Mitchell CBE, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, said:

“National Inclusion Week is an opportune moment to remind everyone that not only is there a moral case for driving inclusive cultures in the construction industry, but that there is a business case for it as well.

“Inclusive workplace cultures are more productive, innovative, and profitable. Promoting a culture of Fairness, Inclusion and Respect can bring benefits to businesses of all sizes and helps attract and retain people from the full pool of talent in the UK workforce.

“There has been positive cultural change across our sector in recent years, but it is beholden to us all to remember that we always have more to learn and things we can improve. These new resources are a welcome addition to the already extensive range of FIR materials that are available, and we hope their uptake will be as wide as possible by businesses at all levels of the UK supply chain.”

Stephen Cole, CITB Head of Careers Strategy, said:

“These resources will benefit UK construction and demonstrate why CITB has been proud to fund the Fairness, Inclusion & Respect programme since 2015.

“Cultural change also aids both in the attraction of new skills and retention of existing ones, which is of particular importance at this time.”


Related links:

All upcoming Fairness, Inclusion and Respect training

About the Fairness, Inclusion and Respect (FIR) Programme

All FIR e-learning

FIR Toolkit

– Contact [email protected] for more information on the FIR Programme

Press release PDF

Supply Chain Sustainability School launches MEP mapping tool to help reduce the volume of waste entering landfill

The School has launched its free Materials Exchange Platform Map (MEP Map), today, the 22 September. The mapping tool provides construction contractors and their suppliers with a central database of local MEP projects aiming to find a home for unused construction materials.

The MEP Map was developed through a collaboration of the School’s industry Partners and is a simple yet effective way of finding a home for unused materials. Partners involved in the development include BAM, Berkeley Group, Canary Wharf Contractors, Kier, John Sisk & Co, National Grid, Reconomy and Skanska.

The MEP mapping tool gives access to a network of Materials Exchange Platforms nationally, allowing the user to compare those in their local or regional areas.

As well as saving disposal costs, and potentially generating income, the tool aids local businesses and smaller contractors, by offering them access to quality materials at a lower cost, or even free.

Matt Nichols, of Reconomy, and Chair of the School’s Waste and Resource Efficiency group said,

“Awareness of the importance of a circular economy – based on the principles of designing out waste and ensuring that we efficiently use all the products and materials that we buy – is definitely gathering pace.

The MEP Map performs the crucial task of connecting those with excess materials and products to those who can make good use of them, therefore reducing the volume of waste we send to landfill.”

The MEP mapping tool filters based on location, MEP type and material information, and shows local platforms within 30km of a specified county.

Mark Turner, of the Supply Chain Sustainability School commented,

“Whilst Materials Exchange Platforms are not new, they are sadly very much underused. We hope that by providing this interactive map to our 37,000 online members, and indeed the whole industry, we can more easily access the platforms that exist across the UK, to ensure less unused or over-ordered materials end up in landfill.”

In its latest published statistics on waste, DEFRA reported that the UK generated 66.2 million tonnes of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste[1]. It is also estimated by Zero Waste Scotland that 13% of raw materials are discarded unused. And with many main contractors struggling to make 2% profit margins, the mapping tool’s ability to reduce waste will ultimately increase efficiency and profitability.

Most waste is produced onsite through; over-ordering, ordering the wrong thing, mishandling materials, offcuts, and unnecessary packaging of materials.

Access to the MEP Map is free, through a free membership of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, which anyone can join: https://learn.supplychainschool.co.uk/local/tlactionplans/resource_intro.php?id=4291&modtype=url


[1] 2016 is the latest year for which figures are published by DEFRA -19 March 2020 update: UK Statistics on Waste.

Related links:

Materials Exchange Platform Map, free to access

– Register for free membership to the Supply Chain Sustainability School

– About  Waste and resource efficiency

– About the Waste and Resource Efficiency Group

For further information on the MEP Mapping Tool, contact:

Mark Turner: [email protected], Ph: 07972 398256

Imogen Player: [email protected], Ph: 07884 666778