As a new year – and indeed a new decade – of construction activity kicks off, offsite construction and a host of modern methods of construction, or MMC, have started to dominate the industry conversation. This is not surprising given the deepening labour crisis that is impacting building projects across Ireland and the UK right now. The effects of a lost decade of construction requirement and upskilling are being felt.
Offsite construction is not a new concept, however, there is certainly a new approach to manufacturing that is changing the industry conversation, from project level to policy-making level. Modular building has moved well beyond the experimental and terms like ‘prefabricated’ are no longer relevant. Deep sectoral knowledge and significant investment in research and development across the Irish construction sector is driving change through new, modern methods of construction. Despite the growing interest in modular building and offsite construction in recent years, the industry has been slow to adopt it. Innovation is happening in pockets but application of the key learning has yet to reach a tipping point. Many industry commentators believe that 2020 will be a critical year for this in Ireland, given the recent UK endorsement by State.
Horizon Offsite and why Offsite Construction matters
Horizon Offsite was set up in 2017 to tackle the need for rapid, and more efficient, building to effectively improve the delivery time of projects. This is essential at this time of persistent housing shortage, we need to deliver quality homes faster and with a greater time and cost certainty; offsite construction allows project owners to do that. This is exactly why offsite construction matters. Modular building comes from the core concept that it is more effective to construct sections away from the building site, then delivering them to the intended site. The buildings are designed and intended to last, therefore, employing the most robust, proven building system, together with the most durable building materials is critical. The materials used for internal walls improve sound insulation and fire-proofing, also volumetric and panelised building structures are airtight, which ensures energy-efficiency in their makeup. As often reported, the shortened project time of builds is something that raises questions, however, studies have shown that offsite construction delivers projects faster than traditional methods when managed by an expert team. In a country as vulnerable to weather as Ireland, this matters a lot as delays usually observed on bad weather days do not delay works completed in a factory setting or in a controlled environment. Furthermore, while the offsite work is being developed, foundations and site works can be carried out in preparation for delivery of components on site. There is an ongoing debate about the cost savings of offsite construction, however, project experience tells us that cost efficiencies are achieved only through smart design and expert execution across the entire team. Quality project experience at every level of the team will greatly decrease the chances for the project to be delayed and works usually go more smoothly than traditional projects. The potential for collaboration is better on offsite projects and the environmental impact is a lot less than that of more traditional methods of construction. One of the main other benefits and why offsite construction matters right now is it ensures a consistently higher quality end product.
In Ireland, we have a construction skills shortage and this has tested the most experienced of construction companies, however, offsite construction provides an opportunity to move past this. With more organisation and collaboration, off-site construction helps deliver projects without jeopardising on quality or expertise. MMC tends to attract younger talent as there is more control and innovative thinking, making it a more alluring career prospect to younger professionals who are looking for their career start.
High speed delivery
Horizon Offsite provides structural Light Gauge Steel building systems for commercial, educational, residential and industrial developments. Light Gauge Steel products and systems are at the cutting edge of modern methods of manufacturing and construction due to the increasing demand for more off-site construction globally. The versatility of Light Gauge Steel gives architects and structural engineers the opportunity to create their most creative and enterprising designs. We live in an era where there is a need for fast and efficient building methods. Light Gauge Steel is on the fast track to becoming one of the most sought after building methods due to the relatively low cost and high speed. Every clients’ aim is to finish their project ahead of time and on budget, Horizon Off-site makes that a reality. Projects are designed in-house by our highly-skilled Chartered Design Engineers and manufactured in our state of the art facility in Cahir, Tipperary Ireland. Our structural system is delivered on site ready to be installed, therefore can usually be erected in a matter of days as opposed to months.
About Horizon Offsite
Horizon Offsite Ltd is one of Europe’s leading players in Offsite Construction (MMC/Modern Methods of Construction) providing a full accredited structural light gauge steel system to the domestic, Industrial, Commercial, Health and Educational market.