It is no secret that the UK industry faces a severe shortage in traditional construction skills – this pressure comes at a time when the average age of the construction workforce is increasing, creating a potential time bomb that will play out over the next 10 years as the labour force shrinks by an estimated 25%.
There is a smart solution – the industry needs to embrace offsite forms of construction to increase the attractiveness of the sector to new entrants and to improve productivity to increase output with less labour.
Transformation is happening all around us and whilst other industries have been quick to make the digital leap – the construction industry has been a little slower out of the starting blocks but now change is well underway. Smart technology is changing the face of construction with a range of devices making complicated tasks much easier – the combination of offsite manufacturing and digital construction technology presents a compelling proposition.
Looking to the future new roles are emerging such as Automation Technician, DFM Process Manager with digital design skills, together with hybrid manufacturing roles, for example a Digital Construction Manager, who will take ownership of the product end to end. At Explore Offsite South West, taking place on 11 July at Sandy Park, Exeter – Catherine Bullough, Programme Manager for the National Skills Academy for Construction at CITB will be discussing the offsite skills required to meet the future needs of the industry and will be providing an update on the action plan for qualifications and training support.
The official figures released at the end of 2017 show that the number of new homes in England increased by more than 217,000 in 2016. This signifies the highest level of net additions since the recession and it is the first time in almost a decade that the 200,000 milestone has been reached.
Without doubt, some progress is being made – experts have hailed offsite construction as the only way to respond to the huge demand for new homes, particularly in the social housing sector. Crucial to success, is understanding the construction dynamic and keeping abreast of constant innovations.
In her presentation at Explore Offsite, Dr Sonja Dragojlovic-Oliveira, Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader, University of the West of England – will present research into offsite routes to delivery for social housing commissioned by a consortium of housing associations. This represents a major opportunity for construction professionals operating in or entering the offsite arena to gain valuable intelligence.
Explore Offsite South West does not claim to have all the answers but can offer in-depth insight from those who are shaping the future of the offsite construction industry. Learnings can be gained from in-depth case studies from the UK’s largest infrastructure project – Hinkley Point C, together with insight on using structural insulated panel technology to deliver school buildings at speed.
As well as gaining intelligence and learnings – knowledge transfer is a key part of the conference programme, as will be clearly demonstrated in Alan Tate’s presentation on a Legal Guide for Offsite Manufacturing.