Moving the building process away from the physical site and into a controlled factory environment has multiple advantages.
Here we take a look at some of the reasons why.
Efficiency and predictability
By building offsite, the process is the same every time, meaning that each time the process is performed, the time will decrease. Work can be guaranteed to be delivered on time and to the highest quality, as the mitigating circumstances such as bad weather do not delay the project.
The factory is a far more predictable setting than the physical construction site, which eliminates the variables of weather and visibility. Having the conditions be the same every time makes errors much less likely. Most of onsite construction’s most dangerous hazards: like fall from height and equipment accidents, are not an issue in the factory.
Offsite construction requires less heavy machinery and less energy. Transporting the finished building to the site also uses minimal vehicles, and wastage is minimised, as material requirements can be more accurately calculated, allowing the builder to make savings by buying in bulk.
A smaller workforce is required to construct a building in a factory setting. Less workers means less wage costs; keeping building prices more affordable.
While training to be an expert in onsite construction is a lengthy process, teaching staff to perform their role in an offsite build is much simpler and faster. Transferring the construction process to a factory setting essentially turns building into a manufacturing process, and each member of staff need only learn their own role in the production line. Less training means faster delivery, and more money saved for all parties.
No disruption to clients
An onsite build can severely test the patience of those unfortunate enough to be within the vicinity. Apart from the noise and air pollution of heavy machinery and equipment, construction and delivery vehicles travelling to and from the site can cause traffic delays and block parking spaces and access routes. This is a particular problem in constrained urban areas. Furthermore, construction works rarely look pretty and can be an eyesore for a long time. Moving construction away from the site and into a factory will be a great relief to local residents.
Building off-site delivers meaningful cost savings when compared to other methods of construction. The savings can then be spent on the integration of renewable energy technology with sufficient capacity to ensure net zero energy and net zero carbon performance.
We have been employing this approach at UK Energy Partners since 2012. Since then, we have been continuously refining our designs and construction techniques and it’s exciting to be able to report that it is working.
Our Schoolhaus buildings cost no more than traditionally built alternatives but Schoolhaus cost nothing to heat and light and emit no CO2. By the end of 2016, we will have delivered 50 Schoolhaus projects all with an EPC rating of A+.