David Weare, Partner, Fladgate LLP (email@example.com)
For decades, modern methods of construction, including off-site, have been seen as the future of the industry. Yet, perhaps because of the stigma of low quality construction from the 1940s and 1950s when the focus was on quantity rather than quality, that vision was never really embraced. Now there are signs that industry is making the leap towards use of advanced technology in construction in what has been named the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
The benefits of off-site construction are well reported: improving speed and quality, overcoming shortages of skilled labour, improving energy performance and productivity whilst reducing waste generated by traditional construction.
It is no surprise that Government is endorsing off-site as part of the solution to the UK housing shortage but for the first time the influence industry-wide cannot be ignored. Technology is not only improving how we can build but also becoming integrated within “smart” buildings themselves.
As construction methods change, so must the way in which we engage with the construction industry whether that be the contracts we use, procurement approaches we take or the risks to be managed. Some key points to consider include the following:
The answer to many of these issues can be found in adapting existing solutions to the new challenges associated with modern construction. Managed correctly, the obstacles can be overcome and we can embrace these opportunities to ‘build better’.