Shortly before the Easter break, the House of Lords launched an inquiry into the construction sector’s productivity. The investigation has been instigated to try and find answers into why the sector continues to fall behind other sectors, and to see if government policy could encourage better practice.
The Call to Evidence published by The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee points to the fact that the UK Construction industry was worth nearly £100 billion to the UK economy in 2016, with the sector contributing 6.1% to UK GDP. Despite its worth and vital role, however, the sector has not seen improvements in productivity like other sectors. In particular, the Committee will consider the potential benefits of offsite manufacture to help improve the productivity of the construction industry and any drawbacks and obstacles to its wider use.
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee invites contributions from those in the industry to better understand the problems facing construction. Open until Thursday 26 April, the questions posed in the Call for Evidence are:
Perceived advantages of offsite manufacture for construction
What are the opportunities offered by offsite manufacture for construction? What are the likely drawbacks? What factors are likely to influence clients, architects, design engineers, contractors and the supply chain in deciding whether to choose offsite manufacture?
It is often claimed that offsite manufacture can lead to:
• lower costs, faster delivery and increased quality;
• increased productivity;
• improved health and safety;
• greater provision of new, affordable housing. What is the evidence for this
Potential barriers to wider use of offsite manufacture
What are the drawbacks to offsite manufacture for construction?
What re-skilling of the construction workforce is required to facilitate a change to more off-site manufacture for construction?
Can the benefits of standardisation and factory manufacture be realised without hampering architectural ambition? If so, how?
What R&D is needed, and by whom, to realise fully the potential benefits of off-site manufacture?
(If published) does the construction sector deal correctly identify the issues faced by the construction industry and the actions that the Government and other stakeholders need to take to address them? What should it contain/what is missing?
What changes could be made to public procurement processes to encourage more economically and environmentally sustainable practises in the construction industry and facilitate off-site manufacture?
A full copy of the Call for Evidence, including the background and scope of the inquiry, is available to download from the Parliament website.
To contribute to the inquiry, responses should be submitted via the Lords Select Committee Offsite Manufacture for Construction online form.