BD Solutions are a specialist offsite construction consultancy, our aim is to assist our clients in understanding the disparate offsite supply chain, build systems, approaches and engagement models in order to assist them in unlocking the benefits of utilising offsite construction methods (MMC).
Due to our unique position, sitting between supply chain and end user, we often act as both supply chain and client advisors (developer, LA, HA).
When working with end user clients, we are driven by our principle of remaining objectively system agnostic. We are only interested in providing the best solution for the scheme – be that volumetric modular, Structurally Insulated Panel (SIP), Light Gauge Steel Frame (LGSF), Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), Panelised Concrete, Pods or a Hybrid approach – which we establish by using our inhouse qualification metrics.
Innerspace homes are an innovative SME developer set up with the intent of delivering quality design led offsite manufactured homes. We were engaged by Innerspace to assist them in developing their strategy for entering the market, develop their business model, also advise on their product design and approach to developing their product.
Without a doubt, the continuing growth in the use of digital technologies such as BIM during the design phase, combined with the fact that offsite systems are manufactured in a controlled environment under factory conditions, following strict manufacturing processes and quality control protocols, provides far better build quality than a traditional approach.
The benefits of the precision nature of manufacturing are clear when comparing areas such as air tightness, thermal mass due to the minute tolerances, meaning that offsite homes are far more energy efficient as they require less heating and smart technology can be incorporated into the design using BIM and costed into projects during the design phase.
Offsite Home Manufacturing wastage is typically less than 2%.
Furthermore, offsite systems are subject to far more rigorous testing and robust accreditations such as BOPAS, the Build Offsite Property Assurance Scheme, which offers both assurances to the end user and 60 year warrantees to the end user.
We offer straight talking, ‘warts and all’ Impartial advice, we are completely system agnostic, we have direct working relationships with the majority of the leading systems providers in the UK and our team is made up of ‘best in-class’ consultants with real life practical experience of using the various offsite systems.
BD Solutions has also identified a disparity between the segmented, discipline based, skill set of the construction industry, that separates money, engineering, programming, management etc. Offsite requires a far more holistic approach that combines all of these disciplines. We have identified new roles and responsibilities for key stakeholders that improves management and reduces the required resources, compared to traditional construction methods.
There is absolutely a need for more housing in the UK, the offsite sector offers part of the solution and has its place in the market, for example there is a clear alignment with the private rental sector, as offsite has a the capacity to offer better quality homes, which can be built faster than traditional builds, but, in reality, in order for this to work, the rest of the antiquated system in the UK will need to evolve and change, hurdles such as fast track planning for projects using for offsite (MMC), better and clearer procurement options need to be put in place to enable wide spread uptake.
Also, there is the issue of perception. We need to drop the term “prefab”. This discourse does not help the discussion as it brings images of unpleasant boxes built in post war Britain. This is 2019 these are Precision Manufactured Homes.
If you start the design process early enough and commit to an offsite approach, the build options available to you are greater and you can certainly be flexible within the ‘rules’ of each system. However, whilst the industry is in its growth phase when it comes to credible supplier choices and the market options are currently limited.
Encouragingly, the sector is attracting major investment from the likes of Goldman Sachs and entrants such as Sekesui House, the largest house builder in the world, which will only bring more credible properly funded innovators into the market.