Report into off-site manufacture warns of failure to meet housing targets

A report published by the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee titled “Off-site manufacture for Construction: Building for change” has suggested that the construction sector cannot meet the UK housing requirements due to the way it currently operates. It also shows that the UK is falling behind other countries when it comes to productivity in the sector.

The report has suggested that off-site manufacture (OSM) may be one of the best ways to increase productivity, reduce labour shortages and reduce costs, while simultaneously improving quality and efficiency. The report also reported on skills shortages and how young people entering the sector need to be educated on new building methods.

Chairman of the committee, Lord Patel, has stated that OSM offers clear and tangible benefits and it should be used in a more widespread way. He says that their research shows it could increase productivity by up to 70%.

Despite this, it seems that outdated business models are holding back plans to implement OSM. Patel points out that the sector needs to build more trust and create partnerships to allow OSM to get a foothold. He says that the Construction Leadership Council and the implementation of the Construction Sector Deal should help with this. He also stated that the government and the public sector are pivotal in the move to OSM.

The government has said it wants to build 300,000 homes per year by 2030, however, it has been shown the traditional methods of construction will not be suitable for this quantity.