Over the period of shutdown and since the phased re-opening of construction sites in mid-May, the team at Horizon Offsite have consistently continued to deliver on projects initiated prior to the pandemic and on new pandemic-responsive rapid build projects, despite the unprecedented challenges for the industry due to Covid-19. You can access our essential projects updates, together with photo galleries, here: https://www.horizonoffsite.ie/news/
Dealing with a changed work environment
It has already been stated that the Covid-19 crisis will likely accelerate existing trends towards modernisation of the traditional industry, and this is welcome. As Horizon Offsite manufacturers its steel framing building system offsite, in a controlled environment, its processes remained largely uninterrupted.
Also, when it comes to onsite installation, the Horizon Offsite team have been able to make design changes in order to facilitate safe work onsite, in full compliance with the new CIF and HSE guidelines, including fully respecting social distancing measures. Many of these new measures are inherent in the offsite construction process. This is where offsite construction becomes a more appealing and immediate solution as it does not require much in the way of adaptation in order to comply with these new guidelines. The offsite construction process requires fewer people at every step of the project development, from design, build and delivery. In fact, Horizon Office Steel Frame Building System units can be installed with as few as four operatives on site at any given time.
This is something we have written about in greater detail here: https://www.horizonoffsite.ie/offsite-construction-speeding-up-the-process-of-getting-back-on-site/
Pipeline of work
During the period of shutdown, many property developers and project delivery teams re-evaluated existing projects and found that offsite and other modern methods of construction offer the most certainty of programme and the best opportunity to regain momentum. The most up-to-date figures suggest that the impact of Covid-19 and the inevitable ongoing delays while the industry adjusts to the new normal will reduce productivity across the industry by 38 percent in 2020 (the highest in the EU). Offsite construction, which offers build programme efficiencies of between 30 and 40 percent, presents a way for the industry to mitigate some of these effects. Significantly, this does not merely help project owners this year to recover lost resources, these project efficiencies and learnings are carried forward each year, with each project, for ongoing efficiencies using offsite construction.
Most recently, the Horizon Offsite team have been working on some exciting new projects, including PRS blocks and care home facilities. We look forward to sharing more details of our upcoming projects shortly.
New Government – Likely Policies
The newly-appointed Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has voiced his intention to double social and affordable housing delivery under his tenure. This is a big ask for the industry in Ireland, particularly coming out of the last two quarters.
It remains to be seen whether the new Minister will follow the lead set by the UK and push for offsite construction and other MMC to accelerate the delivery of vital new homes, PRS units and key infrastructure. While the spread of Covid-19 was unexpected – indeed, we still do not know the full extent and impacts of the outbreak – it has exposed an entirely unacceptable lack of resilience across the traditional sector. Conversely, buildings manufactured under more process-driven and controlled conditions have proven a more reliable link in the overall supply chain, with offsite and modular schemes experiencing less significant delays.
The changing of the guard, coupled with the ramping up of activity by the Land Development Agency (LDA), means there is unlikely to be a better time for the new Government to implement policies advocating for better, faster, more sustainable delivery of homes. And what better place to start than with public lands currently under the control and management of the LDA?
About Horizon Offsite
Established in 2017, the team at Horizon Offsite have decades of combined experience pioneering non-traditional or modern methods of construction (MMC). The company currently employs 22 people at a 35,000 sq ft. facility in Cahir, County Tipperary and is involved in projects across the private rented sector (PRS) in Ireland and the UK.