What is offsite construction?
Offsite construction, also referred to as pre-manufacturing is the production and assembly of building components at a location away from the project site and is deemed to be a more sustainable approach to construction. Timber frame manufacture is a fundamental part of the process which has become increasingly popular in recent years.
The benefits of offsite construction and pre-manufacturing go way beyond the factory environment, especially when it comes to timber products. This method of construction in the timber industry is becoming vital for meeting build targets and plug skills shortages compared with traditional building methods.
With an increase in the demand for housing, coupled with shortfalls in sustainable housing in particular, builders are exploring new ways to speed up the build process and deliver on projects faster. That is why this method of construction is becoming more prevalent.
In this article, we look at five key benefits of Offsite construction:
1) Time saved on site
Control of delivery and proper planning can result in approximately 20% fewer on-site days when products are pre-manufactured (TRA). Timber products such as spandrel panels and floor cassettes are manufactured offsite and simply lifted into position and secured on-site. There is no time wasted splitting joist packs, reading drawings, working out angles and then physically building a floor or spandrel. This is already done.
Work in the factory can be scheduled to start at the same time as the site is being prepared, so the two processes can take place in parallel, resulting in quicker build times. Our production team use in-house planner software to pinpoint in advance a production bottleneck and move jobs to suit and ensure we always meet site targets.
2) No storage required
We often find that offsite builds are generally better coordinated with site times as they are better tracked when produced in our factory. Products are manufactured in the factory and delivered to the site when required, so there’s no need to find storage space on site. These are usually pre-fitted with lifting slings so that they can be craned directly from the back of the lorry and onto the build. We work in conjunction with our customers to produce accurate delivery schedules in advance to ensure efficiency.
3) Reduction in on-site labour
Offsite construction is also used to mitigate the current labour shortage. One of the most popular benefits of the process is that there’s less labour required on-site, which provides cost savings. Installation times are decreased as the material arrives pre-manufactured. For example, prefabricated spandrel panels eliminate blockwork at gables and party walls. You can find out more about building compliant spandrel panels in our infographic.
4) Accident risk reduced
When we deliver floor cassettes, a safe working platform is landed straight away, reducing the amount of scaffolding required. Risks on working at height are reduced, and as a result, pre-manufactured products such as floor cassettes comply better with building regulations as they are craned into place on site. The construction process is taken away from muddy sites with changeable weather and into a controlled environment inside one of our DTE factories. This results in a windproof and watertight build, quicker.
5) Reduction in waste
This system also has many environmental benefits such as less waste, cleaner manufacturing and allows for the recycling of unused materials. For example, floor cassette waste sheets are kept in the factory and can be re-used for another part of the project or another job, rather than having to be skipped on site.
The concept of moving the construction process into an engineering environment is becoming more popular to contractors and clients, and we are seeing this being used with some smaller customers too.
If you would like to find out more about how offsite manufacturing could benefit your project, get in touch.