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New report launched to optimise social value in the world of offsite and MMC

Published 10th Nov 22 - by naomi

11 October, London, UK — A new report, published by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, Akerlof and the University of Salford, has launched to support clients and supply chain organisations on how to enhance the benefits of the social value created through the use of offsite manufacture.

In the face of urgent challenges (including the need to rapidly decarbonise, combat growing poverty and inequality, and address the cost-of-living crisis) what and how we build is crucial! Offsite construction and the social value agenda are two responses, driven by both government and industry. This report brings these agendas together, addressing a gap in guidance for clients and the supply chain.

Contributors to the report described how proposals which involve factory pre-fabrication are sometimes disadvantaged during bids, due to clients restricting social value measurement to the municipal area of the development site. Such assessments miss the significant benefits offsite manufacturing facilities can bring to other geographical areas, for example through provision of stable, long-term employment.

The report illustrates the potential benefits that can be felt at both development and manufacturing sites across five themes: employment, skills, economy, social and environmental. Across these, was unearthed promising stories of offsite organisations contributing positively, along with significant scope for improved data gathering and communication to support assumptions.

Examples of ‘good work’ include:

  • Opening opportunities for employment to members of local communities, students and under-represented groups.
  • Measuring reductions in embodied carbon.
  • Inclusion of local stakeholders in the design process using digital tools.
  • Creation of training opportunities and routes to progression through direct employment.

Ultimately, the findings indicate there is potential for offsite to deliver the same, if not more, value to society than traditional construction, providing early communication takes place among stakeholders to understand the possibilities and agree clear boundaries and methodologies.

Pressing forward in this space, there is a great deal of work needed to build up the robust evidence base required to set baselines for improvement and effectively communicate the benefits, which the School and collaborating organisations are keen to support.

Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “I’m delighted to share this guide providing practical recommendations with the offsite sector. I hope organisations will find it useful as a jumping off point to get to grips with their social value offering, measuring and communicating impact for the benefit of all in the sector.”

Ellie Jenkins, Partner at Akerlof and co-author of the report, said: “Offsite construction can create significant social value. We hope this guide will shape understanding and encourage the offsite sector to embed social value, growing a community of great practice.”

The report can be downloaded from the Supply Chain Sustainability School website here.




Gemma Laws

[email protected]

About Supply Chain Sustainability School:
The Supply Chain Sustainability School (the “School”) is a multi-award-winning initiative which represents a common approach to addressing sustainability within supply chains. Co-funded by over 180 collaborating companies (Partners), the School is delivered by an independent third-party consultancy, Action Sustainability. Leadership is provided by a School Board comprising elected representatives of Partners, responsible for fiscal governance and strategic direction. A Code of Ethics is signed by all Partners as part of the School Constitution and Partners lead the direction of the School content and activities through leadership groups. With more than 50,000 registered users, the School provides free practical learning and support in the form of sustainability training, events and networking, e-learning modules, tailored assessment and a library of over 3,000 online resources. https://www.supplychainschool.co.uk/

About Akerlof:
Akerlof is a specialist consultancy focussed upon delivering high value outcomes within the built environment through integration of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). Responding to contemporary challenges with creativity and clarity, Akerlof work with ambitious leaders in both public and private sectors to offer fresh and objective thinking on how to deliver economic, environmental and social value through Modern Methods of Construction (MMC). http://akerlof.co.uk