The role of Offsite in the future of the Built EnvironmentTuesday 10 October
A key focus for ecobuild is making sure that the event discusses and provides answers to the big issues facing the built environment. I believe offsite represents the future direction of construction technology and it will be a key vision for ecobuild 2018. The sector will be engaged on a number of levels, helping set the agenda and engaging with the most innovative, exciting and inspiring brands, companies and speakers.
The opportunities here are immense. Offsite construction is rapidly expanding but at the same time an estimated 90 per cent of the construction market is still to adopt offsite technology. The government has recently outlined plans to tackle the housing shortage in the UK and this is just one of the areas where offsite offers a unique solution. In fact the opportunities in both the public and private sectors are vast. Offsite can help deliver school buildings which are greatly in demand, it offers shorter build times, less waste and lower costs for buyers.
The government has played a part in raising the profile of offsite construction, and putting it on the agenda at the highest level has had a significant impact in recent months. As long as this messaging remains consistent it’s now up to the offsite manufacturing industry to pick up the ball and run with it. There is an old adage about ‘taking advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime, in the lifetime of the opportunity’. I think this is the mantra that the offsite manufacturing sector should now adopt, while the opportunity is greater than we have seen it since the end of the Second World War.
The challenge in expanding offsite construction lies in educating and inspiring the wider built environment about its potential. This is where ecobuild plays a vital part. The offsite district returns to the event as part of the newly introduced futurebuild districts, which will showcase cutting-edge industry innovations and help tackle head-on the big issues facing the built environment. This district will be home to a ground-breaking exhibition of offsite construction solutions and masterclasses, plus we will be hosting the ‘Ask the Expert’ facility where visitors can use the ‘drop-in’ clinics and obtain first hand advice on selecting the right offsite technology and the appropriate supply-chain partners.
With support from leading offsite technology experts, ecobuild will focus on key industry innovations and provide a comprehensive and balanced perspective on this rapidly emerging sector from a host of UK and international suppliers. During the three-day event a number of offsite solutions will be showcased, including: framing systems in concrete, timber and steel, modular and volumetric systems, bathroom and kitchen pods, offsite roofing technology, pre-engineered building services and a range of prefabricated building components.
There will also be daily CPD-accredited masterclasses facilitated by the Offsite Academy, where visitors will be invited to learn about the latest in offsite technology and manufacturing processes, plus hear from leading architects on how to embrace design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) and the impact of BIM in the context of offsite.
This ambition and dynamic collection of activities will make for the most significant offsite event ever hosted in the UK and it is fantastic to see ecobuild recognise the importance of the role that the offsite sector has to play in the future of the built environment.