David Harris - Q&A
Why do you think the offsite sector is so important to the future of the construction industry?
The offsite sector must be a critical success factor for UK construction over the coming years. There are systematic issues within the current construction market which have been clearly identified in numerous reports, such as the recent Farmer review. These issues are creating essential drivers for change; skill shortages, air tightness and higher quality demands, ever shorter programmes to make funding work and the current lack of cost certainty. The significant UK need for affordable housing is likely to be a key driver for extended use of offsite over the next 5 years.
The offsite sector can change the face of the current construction industry by addressing the issues currently constraining the market. Programmes are typically reduced by around 50%, often comparatively even faster on constrained or rooftop sites. Premier manufacture all modules from their five factories to exacting quality and environmental standards with zero waste to landfill. Premier buildings can be constructed to efficiency standards right up to Passivhaus level if needed. The direct labour used in the factories are well trained and used to consistent work, ensuring the quality and efficiency of output is second to none. Manufacturing in this manner means training is highly efficient as standard procedures can be followed, providing long term careers for apprentices.
As Premier’s factories run to a ‘heartbeat’ as one would expect from a world class manufacturing business, clients can be certain that their programmes will always be met, giving rise to more positive commercial relationships with trust in delivery at the forefront.
Do you think that volumetric modular is the future of the offsite industry and, if so, why?
The offsite sector has to be taken as a whole to understand the full benefits of the systems available. Modular construction is not a panacea to all construction issues, although is an efficient real solution option for around 30% of all buildings. Often clients should consider modular as part of an overall solution, rather than using a mindset that one form of construction is needed for the whole build.
Premier has grown year on year as expertise within the Business grows, new products are introduced and a greater acceptance of the technology is found throughout the Construction sector. There is a continued awareness and rapidly growing acceptance that modular is a truly viable and sustainable solution. The Premier steel framed solutions are all designed and constructed to permanent building standards and to an excellent quality level. Government has started to lead the drive for change to a modular solution and much effort has been spent throughout Universities educating the next generation of design and construction professionals about the options available to them.
There is clear evidence that modular acceptance is gaining momentum. As examples, Premier are in contract to construct £50m of modular buildings for EDF at Hinkley point and the EFA believe modular has a key part to play in their school redevelopments.
Why do you think members of the industry need to attend Explore Offsite at Ecobuild?
This exhibition is a fantastic opportunity for different members of the construction industry to get together to see, hear and discuss new ideas, innovations and solutions. The real diversity of off-site solutions now available to the UK construction market will be showcased providing great opportunity to learn and compare solutions for future use and growth within the market.
If you would like to listen to John speak in the volumetric modular session at Explore Offsite at Ecobuild, taking place on the 7 March, CLICK HERE to book your free place.