Offsite Manufacturing for Affordable Housing
Offsite manufacturing (OSM) has been recently highlighted as contributing to increase productivity and to tackle labour shortages in the housing sector. Whilst a range of OSM building technologies are already used for the construction of homes, few evidence-based studies report on the evaluation of associated performances beyond the circumstantial conditions of project delivery. A comparative analysis of housing developments using different OSM solutions was carried out as part of a live pilot project in Hertfordshire, UK, to gather tangible data on the performances of offsite construction (OC) in housebuilding projects on small infill sites that may not be the prime focus of the industry. A dedicated evaluation model was described as per to highlight the impacts of varied building technologies integrating offsite manufacture (OSM) processes on homes delivery performances in the low-rise housing sub-sector. Secondary data from case study exemplars was extracted to test the model and speculate on associated contributions to knowledge. Delays in the progression of the project suggested inherent challenges in working with partners at a local level on the implementation of innovative construction methods for housing that might present complex and intricate contexts as well as a lack of economy of scale. The increase of risk and lateness of executive choices resulting from the adoption of OSM highlighted both the relative immaturity of the OSM market and the need to simplify procurement through dedicated business models.
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