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Report to Optimise Social Value in Offsite Construction

Offsite, Social Value, Sustainability In Construction

Published 16th Nov 22 - by Gemma Laws

A new report, published by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, Akerlof and the University of Salford, has been 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 the industry build is crucial. Offsite construction and the social value agenda are two responses, driven by both government and industry. This report aims to bring these two agendas together, addressing a gap in guidance for clients and the supply chain.

The report illustrates the benefits that can be felt at both development and manufacturing sites, focusing on five core themes: employment, skills, economy, social and environmental. Perspectives brought by participants indicate that social value is considered important by the sector, with compelling arguments put forward on the ability of the model to provide secure, long-term employment opportunities. The report also highlights recent case studies around embodied carbon which indicate saving of between 30-45% can result from adoption of offsite techniques.

It offers guidance to the offsite manufacturers by sharing clear examples of ‘good work’ including; measuring reductions in embodied carbon; inclusion of local stakeholders in the design process using digital tools; creating training opportunities and routes to progression through direct employment.

The findings indicate 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.

Ian Heptonstall, Director of the Supply Chain Sustainability School, said: “I am delighted to share this guide providing practical recommendations within 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.”

Membership to the Supply Chain Sustainability School is free – simply register for an account to gain access to 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.

Download the report here.