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Offsite construction safer, faster, greener and cheaper, survey claims

5 December 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Offsite construction is safer, faster, greener and cheaper than traditional methods, according to a survey by the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) of businesses in the electrotechnical and engineering services industry.

Almost two thirds (61%) of respondents reported increased productivity, and nearly one in two (47%) reported enhanced employee safety. More than half saw improved quality of work (57%), reduced operational costs (59%) and less project downtime (55%). Meanwhile 43% also experienced a reduction in their carbon footprint.

However, there were also barriers to carrying out offsite manufacturing, including a lack of suitably skilled staff, a high level of ongoing investment required, and installation onsite. The number of clients specifying offsite was also lower than expected and maintaining a stable flow of work for offsite facilities therefore challenged its viability.

Despite these barriers, 81% of businesses agreed that offsite manufacturing will offer them new commercial opportunities in the future. And 42% of larger businesses (those with turnover of £5m plus) said that they would be using offsite construction within five years, in part due to requirements from their buyers.

ECA CEO Steve Bratt said: “Offsite construction has the potential to become a key mechanism for delivering projects of all sizes in the present and future. Early-adopters in the industry who have embraced this way of working are already reaping the rewards, so it will be important that the rest of the sector considers its response, or they could face being left behind.”

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