Offsite construction has proven performance and reduced costs, providing an advantageous construction method for affordable housing.
Facts about Affordable and Social Housing
Proven performance and new possibilities
Offsite construction is a proven feature of millions of affordable new homes in the UK – it’s quick to build without compromising quality.
Timber construction accounts for more than 25% of all dwellings in the UK. Timber is a natural, renewable, and sustainable building material. Engineered timber also embodies all these environmental benefits. Just one of the reasons why the use of cross-laminated timber (CLT) as a structural system is one of the fastest-growing construction methods in many parts of Europe and Asia.
Advances in timber technology have resulted in its use for multi-storey buildings such as Bridport House, a social housing scheme in Hackney, assembled in just 10 weeks.
Reducing costs and creating faster asset value
While broadly cost comparative with traditional building methods, the build times for timber construction are up to 30% faster than for other materials. Such fast construction reduces time onsite and the disruption this causes to a local area, speeds up practical completion and handover, and enables an earlier rental income stream.
Research into offsite construction shows that costs can be more carefully controlled, waste is reduced by up to 90% and fewer defects helps to reduce snagging costs by up to 80%.
Offsite construction is also safer, reducing the risk of onsite worker injury by up to 80%.
Reducing fuel poverty
Timber offsite construction is one of the most energy efficient methods of building homes, using a material with negative carbon emissions and low embodied carbon. Timber products in the built environment lead the way in terms of lifecycle assessment and Environmental Product Declarations. Building with timber can reduce energy bills by 90%.
Timber offsite construction enables significant thermal efficiency, with operational energy costs kept to a minimum. Offsite designers can also better incorporate renewable energy solutions such as ground-source heat pumps and heat recovery ventilation from the start, which can lead to further dramatic reductions in fuel bills to housing associations’ tenants.
Financial and political support for accelerated construction
Mortgage funding and new build warranties are readily provided to timber offsite construction housing developments. BOPAS (Build Offsite Property Assurance Scheme) provides assurance to the lending community on homes constructed using innovative methods that they will deliver consistent performance of a determined durability of at least 60 years.
In its 2017 Housing White Paper, the UK government has set out policies support accelerated construction.