Sector should trust more in offsite manufacturing

Alex Brown

NorDan CEO Alex Brown responds to the article in last month’s Project Scotland, in which Ben Westland from the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre said there had been a surge in demand from firms looking to explore offsite construction methods

ALEX Brown, the CEO of NorDan, has called on the UK construction industry to take a “leap of faith” and follow the lead of their Scandinavian counterparts by increasing the use of offsite manufacturing.

The timber windows and doors manufacturer is currently engaged with more than 20 European offsite clients delivering full modular solutions across markets in Sweden, Norway, eastern Europe and here in the UK.

The perceived barriers to using the offsite model are often cited as ‘high cost of entry’, lack of confidence in the product quality and uncertainty about certification. However, Alex Brown said that for NorDan, the benefits of offsite manufacturing significantly outweigh these barriers.

“In Scandinavia and other European countries, as a supplier, NorDan has witnessed its client base increase productivity, improve delivery performance, as well as tackle the onsite skill shortage and ultimately increase profits over the long-term,” he explained.

As a major supplier to the offsite industry in Europe, NorDan said it is delivering some significant projects in partnership with offsite factories with great results.

Alex added, “The key to success for NorDan together with our partners is to have early contact with our clients, contractors and the whole supply chain to ensure first class delivery and customer performance.

“More businesses should trust in offsite construction methods if we are to help tackle the housing shortage and meet the Government target to build one million new homes over the next three years. Coupled with this, manufacturing offsite is a solution to the real shortage of skilled onsite labour in the UK.

“Offsite manufacturing allows for better coordination and logistics of a project. Products can arrive ‘just-on-time’ for that element of the structure to begin, resulting in less downtime and less risk of product being damaged or stolen while in storage.”

NorDan said it supports the research being carried out by Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) with Stewart Milne Group and Glasgow Caledonian University to better understand how offsite manufacturing can improve productivity and efficiency as they have seen “clear benefits” from using this method in recent years.