Offsite construction could revolutionise the construction industry and provide a solution to the UK housing shortage, but only if the sector develops the right skills, a new Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) report has shown.
With the use of prefabrication widely expected to rise across the industry, the CITB says that new standardised courses and qualification units are needed, and funding is required for them.
Faster, Smarter, More Efficient: Building Skills for Offsite Construction shows that 42% of construction industry employers with over 100 staff expect to use offsite methods in five years’ time. When asked about the use of offsite-specific construction materials and products, 100% said they expected the use of precast concrete panels to increase; 91% anticipated the use of precast concrete frame to rise.
At present however, offsite construction accounts for just 10% of industry output.
The report – which follows the recommendations set out in industry expert Mark Farmer’s government-backed review of UK construction – also reveals that nearly 50% of construction industry clients expect the use of offsite construction to increase over the next five years.
Offsite processes save time and money and can improve quality through pre-fabrication of components – from panels to fully fitted rooms.
Mark Farmer said: “This report comes at a crucial time for the construction industry. The urgency for modernisation has never been greater, set against an insidious backdrop of an ageing workforce and increasing concerns about the impact of Brexit.
“Any strategic shift towards pre-manufacturing and offsite construction creates an immediate requirement to define our future skills needs through collaboration between industry, educators, training providers and government.
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