On Tuesday 10th September, Ben Towe (Managing Director, Hadley Group) and Chris Holleron (Group Product Manager - Housing, Hadley Group) attended the Hadley Roundtable debate in London
Sponsored and hosted by Hadley Group; the debate was centred around the topic of: Enablers and barriers to great offsite technology uptake.
The following points were discussed:
How can the offsite manufacturing sector engage more with institutional funders/lenders and businesses that are providing finance to projects that are using offsite manufactured construction technology to remove a potential ‘barrier to finance’ and facilitate greater confidence in the sector? What does the industry need to do to demonstrate that modern offsite technology is substantially different to the post-war ‘prefabs’ that often stigmatise the sector?
What changes are needed to the Planning system to remove the barriers to development/deployment of offsite technology and for the pent-up pipeline demand for offsite technology – especially within the residential sector - to be unblocked? Is it really just about good design rather than the method of delivery or technology involved?
How can the Government assist in removing barriers or bringing forward enablers for the greater uptake of offsite technology? Is this likely to have best effect at a National level or do we foresee Region/Sub-Regional initiatives for further investment in offsite manufacturing facilities or in creating demand pipelines?
Is there enough focus on the training/skills requirements of the offsite sector and what can be done to address the demand for new skills and job roles associated with offsite manufacturing and offsite construction? Is the construction industry’s skills crisis being addressed by ‘kicking the can down the road’ in making an assumption that just flipping over to offsite solutions will be an immediate fix?
How important is the role of industry Trade Associations/Industry Bodies in helping to ‘educate’ specifiers/clients in the benefits of offsite manufactured solutions? Are the technology Trade Associations suitably funded or could Government do more to support these organisations in developing robust information to support the offsite arguments? Could the independent Industry Bodies (professional institutions) do more to educate the industry around offsite, perhaps by greater collaboration around messaging rather than duplication of effort?
Ultimately, the Hadley Roundtable debate was a successful event, where all parties shared great insight and ideas.