Scotland could become offsite “centre of excellence”

Members of Offsite Solutions Scotland meeting with housing minister Kevin Stewart MSP

THE benefits of offsite construction were recently promoted to Scotland’s housing minister by a group of senior industry figures who are determined to make Scotland a “centre of excellence” for offsite manufacturing.

Offsite Solutions Scotland (OSS) met with Kevin Stewart MSP to discuss how they can work with the Scottish Government to grow the offsite manufacturing design and skill base in Scotland.

OSS is comprised of ten construction manufacturers – CCG (Scotland) Ltd, Alexander Timber Design, Carbon Dynamic, Mactaggart & Mickel, Makar, Norscot, Oregon Timber Systems, Robertson, Scotframe and Stewart Milne Timber Systems. They are supported by Edinburgh Napier University, the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre and Scottish Enterprise.

The aim of OSS is to nurture a culture of collaboration and create conditions whereby the industry can work together on projects, skills development and innovation around offsite manufacturing.

OSS chairman and CCG director Calum Murray said, “We were delighted that the Minister was able to join us and give us his support as we work together to position Scotland as the centre of excellence for offsite manufacturing.

“The Scottish Government has an incredibly ambitious target of delivering 50,000 affordable homes by 2021 and it is predicted that 295,000 houses per year until 2037 require to be built in the UK. To achieve that, it is necessary to significantly increase the average annual output of affordable homes and the only way that is going to be achieved is by embracing and making full use of offsite manufacturing techniques.

“Offsite manufacturing offers so many advantages – most notably the fact that homes can be built faster and to higher sustainability standard when compared with traditional construction methods, making them more cost effective to build and construct, as well as live in.

“The fabric first approach of OSS responds to this with higher levels of insulation reducing energy use through conservation and factory precision reducing waste materials by up to 40%. Building offsite saves time and money, and it also ensures a high quality finished product and Scotland is very well placed to take advantage of this market.

“In addition, OSS can embrace change and the emergence of digitisation, the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, with computer aided design and computer aided manufacture utilised as standard in their businesses.”

OSS partners used the meeting to highlight their focus on the pre-manufacture of the components required to build sustainable housing solutions from wood.

Calum added, “The Scottish Government’s housebuilding target is being made more challenging by overall low productivity in the construction sector, as well as a skills and materials shortfall which is only going to be exacerbated by Brexit.

“Offsite construction is growing and we are well placed to take our expertise to the rest of the UK and beyond.

“In partnership with the Scottish Government we are ambitious and confident that together we can cement our position as a centre of excellence.”