Prysmian Group, the world’s largest cable manufacturer, has released three new interactive product guides online for its Draka UCConnect™ structured cabling system in the UK. These provide an overview and quick reference facility to its best-selling Category 6A, Category 6 and Category 5e solutions combining data cables and connectivity into end to end permanent link and channel configurations.


The three guides cover the Draka UC500 Cat.6A/Class EA shielded, UC400 Cat.6/Class E unshielded and UC300 Cat. 5e/Class D unshielded solutions. Each guide has been designed as a double page spread divided into three sections: floor distributors, installation cables and wall outlets/consolidation points. Each product features the part number, part name, concise description and image. Installation cables also have the construction, diameter and available box/reel sizes listed.


Colour coding and easy to understand icons are used throughout the guides to highlight important information, such as CPR classification, remote powering (PoE) compliance and third-party certification.


The guides include interactive elements, including direct links to the installation cable datasheets, connectivity datasheets and termination demonstration videos for key connectivity products.


To download copies of the new Draka UC-Connect product guides, please CLICK HERE


Prysmian Group



According to show director, Steven Callaghan, every good B2B exhibition needs a blend of elements to ensure success – is this the secret as to why The Offsite Construction Show will open its doors at ExCeL, London, on the 20th and 21st of November, 2019, for the fifth consecutive year?

Visitors to shows are increasingly demanding in these days of wall to wall information, available at the touch of a button, 24 hours a day, says Steven, “and visiting a show is a big investment of peoples time. To justify this commitment and to get them to repeat it year on year, we have to put together an event that they feel unable to miss out on, where not attending could leave them at a serious professional disadvantage.”

At the core of a trade show are its exhibitors, Steven continues. “A successful show needs to combine a spine of major, established industry suppliers with a sprinkling of new names and, ideally, with both exhibiting some new products – the major reason that all show visitors give for visiting is to see what’s new. The Offsite Construction Show 2019 (OSCS2019) scores heavily in both of these areas.”



Industry and show stalwarts such as Caledonian Modular, Howick, Modular Building Automation, Euroclad, Frameclad SFS, Lindapter, Marley Plumbing & Drainage and Trimble Tekla, along with many show regulars, are joined at the show by legendary construction industry names such as JCB and Sika, both exhibiting at OSCS for the first time. Other companies showing for the first time include Green Life Buildings, Investment Brix, Johnson Tiles, Merlyn, Boomer Industries, Norcros Adhesives and Vado.

“More than a quarter of the show’s total exhibitors are showing for the first time”, says Head of Sales, Maddie Maclellan, with new product offerings being at the heart of the show”.

Maddie continues, “JCB are known throughout the construction industry worldwide but, until now, they are not associated with the Offsite industry, something they intend to change by exhibiting their new telescopic telehandler, the Hydraload 555-210R, at the show.”

JCB’s Senior Product Specialist, Matthew Cockerill said, ”This new telescopic telehandler has been designed with offsite construction in mind, as the company has observed that a greater use of off-site pre-fabrication calls for heavier lift capacities and increased on-site versatility.”

Exhibitor MBA (Modular Building Automation) have been ever present at the show since its inception in 2015 and will be unveiling their brand new steel frame assembly machine at this year’s event. Managing Director, Martin Smith, says that OSCS2019 was the obvious choice for bringing a new offsite construction product to market.

“The Offsite Construction Show has always been a good show for us, so it was clearly the right show for this important launch. The show spans both steel and timber sectors and, historically, attracts a wide audience with a good number of overseas visitors. This is important for us as we offer our equipment worldwide through our network of dealers.”

Education is another important part of the show blend, continues Steven Callaghan.

“OSCS is second to none when it comes to educational features. The seminar program, put together by our associates, buildoffsite, has become well known for its quality, with most sessions being standing room only every year. The show also features build offsite masterclasses and a second CPD Seminar Theatre, with presentations covering a wide range of offsite construction topics.”

Another important part of the blend is the show location and this is another area that OSCS leads the way, according to Maddie Maclellan.

“ExCeL London is the only venue that is located in one of the World’s leading cities that offers fast, easy access for all attendees via the DLR (Docklands Light Railway). Over 95% of our visitors arrive at the show in this way, and we believe it is a key factor not only in the size of our attendance, but also how long visitors remain at the show – a very high proportion of our visitors are still on stands and in the aisles at closing time”, adds Maddie.

The final part of the blend is networking, the ability to interface with ones peers and catch up with the latest news from colleagues old and new and this is an area where OSCS will be innovating in 2019 according to Steven Callaghan.

“Our new Offsite Direct Connect system allows all attendees that register on the system to contact with and be contacted by other attendees to prearrange meetings in special Direct Connect zones throughout the show. It is also possible to arrange meetings on-stand or in another show area such as the Networking Cafe. The software drives the whole process, making it very simple to ensure that you definitely meet up with the people that are on your important list”.

“The 2018 show was attended by 4,000 industry specialists and we look forward to seeing them all again, along with some OSCS first timers coming along to see what all the fuss is about”, concludes Steven Callaghan.

To register for your free show entrance ticket or to check out the details of exhibitors, seminars and masterclasses, please go to the show website.

Following increasing calls for the industry to modernise its approach, off-site and modular construction has become a big topic, with more developers and contractors favouring off-site and modular methods over the more traditional. Here, Rod McLachlan, SIPS Category Manager at Marley Modular Systems, discusses the increasing role of Structural Insulated Panel Systems (SIPS) within the housing sector and how they have helped to innovate off-site construction.


With an estimated 340,000 homes needed to be built every year between now and 2031 in order to satisfy the demand for social, private and affordable housing1, it is no surprise that offsite and modular construction are often dubbed as a potential solution. Indeed, the modern methods carry many benefits; with perhaps the primary one being the ability to save valuable time on site, with large portions of the structure pre-assembled in a controlled factory environment and less likelihood for delays caused by poor weather. Indeed, projects that implement off-site construction can be completed between 30% and 50% faster than other, more traditional methods2.

As a result of this change in approach, architects and contractors are increasingly embracing new products and materials that offer a more efficient, adaptable and modern way of working – one of those being SIPS.


While the concept of SIPS was first developed in the US in 1930’s, since then the technology has fast evolved, and it is now a well-established building method. Indeed, the use of SIPS in the UK continues to grow at an exponential rate – no doubt driven by the modern offsite approach and the urgent need for high-quality housing to be built quickly and efficiently.

A Structural Insulated Panel is perhaps one of the most energy efficient and advanced modern building materials. Constructed from an insulated core, sandwiched between Oriented Strand Boards (OSB), the panels offer a well-established alternative to traditional building techniques. As well as providing a high-strength and lightweight building solution, the systems also offer excellent inherent fabric performance and airtightness, alongside thermal and acoustic properties, to deliver a simple and streamlined construction programme, with the insulation already built in.

What’s more, many reputable SIPS manufacturers will provide the option of specifying either standalone panels or panelised walls suitable for volumetric construction, ready for on-site assembly. For example, Marley Modular System’s SIPS, which is both BBA and NHBC certified, can be supplied in prefabricated wall or roof sections, all of which are complete with structural openings for doors and windows, allowing for ease of assembly. Manufactured in a state-of-the-art factory, the panels are fabricated to exact customer dimensions for each project, allowing the overall building to be easily assembled on site, with less likelihood of snags occurring or re-work being required.

Of course, as well as considering the speed and ease of assembly, it is also important to ensure that the houses being constructed are of sound build and high-quality, providing their occupants with a comfortable space in which to live. This is another area that SIPS can exceed in, being incredibly versatile in terms of design and capable of easily meeting the Part L requirements of the Building Regulations. Passing the SAP calculation is also greatly simplified, due to the panels’ avoidance of linear heat losses at junctions. Indeed, Marley’s factory-assembled bespoke wall and ceiling panels can be produced with foam filled joints to help further improve the thermal performance of a building, in turn translating into lower energy bills for occupants and end-users.

A building’s acoustic performance is also an equally important concern, with nuisance noise being a major problem in the built and urban environment. As a result of its multi-density make-up, high-quality SIPS can help to cut sound transmission by 38dB – a significant reduction.

SIPS are also an extremely cost-effective choice. While savings will ultimately vary depending on client specification, the completed cost of the project can be as much as 30% less than those employing traditional construction methods, making SIPS a particularly good building material for local councils and authorities, where budgets may be tight.

If it’s a cost effective, versatile and efficient building solution that you need, then SIPS are the perfect option. The benefits of specifying the offsite, factory-produced system are clear, enabling it to be delivered to site as and when required, saving on valuable site space, as well as being quick to assemble, with virtually no waste and minimal re-work required, a result of it being fabricated to specific customer requirements.

A combination of Proteus Facades’ solid and perforated brass, zinc and aluminium cladding panels have helped to create a striking finish on the redevelopment of 24 King William Street, a new mixed-use office scheme in London.

The £23 million renovation of the 80,730 ft² building, located on the northern approach to London Bridge, was designed by Ben Adams Architects and includes the addition of two new storeys.


An elegant reception area comprises of a double height entrance hall leading into a lift lobby, finished with Portland stone floors and feature walls in marble and leather, with brass accents throughout. To reflect the style within, striking perforated Proteus SC TECU Brass panels and bespoke vertical fins and trim flashings, with an Artisan hand applied patinated finish were specified for the ground level, street facing elevations.

The fins at 24 King William Street are designed around a rigid bespoke aluminium extrusion that connects to the curtain wall glazing system. The outer TECU Brass element of the fins are profiled in shape and taper across the length to generate an angled effect – the fins increasingly extend outwards as they ascend – whilst the connection of the material to the extrusion and the window frame remains constant.

The internal aluminium structure of the fins provides the necessary support and structural connection back to the curtain walling. This also created a depth at the rear, hiding the curtain wall system from plain view and giving passers by the perception that the fins float in front of the glazing system.

The combination of thin gauge brass material and internal aluminium support framework ensured that this element of the façade met budgetary requirements. Proteus’s in-house expertise also overcame the difficult folding requirements of the TECU Brass fin profile, which were towards the limits of current bending technology.

The fins are complemented by Proteus SC perforated panels, which are fixed over insulated spandrel panels within the curtain wall system. These panels hide the ventilation elements of the curtain wall and blend the fins and curtain wall system together. The panels were finished with the Artisan patination effect which is created by applying a fine linear /orbital grain brush effect to the face of the material before having the chemical application and sealing. The panels will gradually weather over time and continue to embellish the already highly desirable warm ochre hues of the Artisan hand patinated finish.

The TECU Brass is developed by blending copper and zinc, which creates an extremely tough, robust façade and then applying a patinated finish that adds texture and contrast, giving a richly aged aesthetic. This rich diversity of the copper-alloy material allows unparalleled variety and high-quality aesthetics, complementing the natural stone and brass tones of the lobby.


A touch of zinc

The rear elevation of the nine-storey building near Monument station features an equally impressive façade complete with Proteus HR Graphite Grey Rheinzinc rainscreen panels. This zinc material then wraps up and over, forming a curved zinc roofing system which blends vertical and horizontal elevations into one. The material is gaining favour with architects and developers as it provides a long, maintenance-free life and offers adaptability to various design styles ranging from traditional to modern.

Once dominated by rambling plant rooms, the interior of the zinc roof is now home to state of the art offices overlooking the City and the River Thames. A limestone façade featured on the front of the building connects to the roof through Proteus’ perforated flat sheets in a United Anodisers UnAtex bespoke finish.

These United Anodisers UnAtex panels are also integrated within the windows on the top two floors, and then flow up and onto the roof generating the patterned effect, while making is look like the façade and roof become one element.

Together this juxtaposition of materials has helped to bring an outdated and under-utilised 1980’s office building back into use; transforming it into a modern, aesthetically pleasing structure that stands out amongst many others in a prominent and sought-after location within the Capital.

Redeveloped to a Grade A specification, the building includes a tranquil new garden coupled with new retail spaces at ground floor level.

For more information on the range of inspirational cladding materials from Proteus Facades, visit: or call: 0151 545 5075.


The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published its response to the government’s Building a Safer Future consultation, which proposes reforms to England’s current building safety regulations.

The RIBA called for a complete overhaul of the building regulations in the immediate aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and welcomes many of the proposals, in particular tighter regulation of higher risk residential buildings of 18m or more in height (rather than 30m plus which was originally recommended by the Government’s 2018 Independent Review of Building Regulations on Fire Safety).

However, the institute is concerned that England still lags behind other countries, including Wales and Scotland, in putting in place base line regulatory standards to ensure that high rise and other higher risk buildings are safe for the public. The institute urges the Government to:

  • widen the scope of the new regulatory system to apply to non-residential buildings – the new building regulatory system should apply to other higher risk non-residential buildings at any height, including places where vulnerable people sleep, such as care homes, hospitals, hotels, hostels, prisons, as well as schools and places of assembly, during the design and construction phase.
  • make significant changes to the responsibilities for all dutyholders – dutyholders based on the Construction (Design and Management) regulations model are essential. However, the duties proposed are not clearly defined and are not currently workable as set out in the consultation, particularly on design and build projects.
  • designate the Architect’s Registration Board (ARB) to oversee enhanced competence requirements of architects – as regulator the ARB should be responsible for the accreditation and licensing of architectural qualifying bodies, including the RIBA, who will hold registers for competent architects to work on buildings in scope of the proposed regulatory framework.
  • ensure all technical guidance issued to industry is improved by the new Building Safety Regulator –this should include setting baseline prescriptive requirements for fire safety and reviewing all relevant British Standards guidance documents, particularly those relevant to fire safety in the design, management and use of buildings.

Jane Duncan, Chair of the RIBA Expert Advisory Group on Fire Safety, said “Although a step in the right direction, the government’s proposals do not go far enough to protect the public and more work is needed, particularly to more clearly define the statutory duties of all involved in the industry. There have been many failings in England’s building safety regulations, exposed by the Grenfell tragedy two years ago, but we hope the government will act on their commitment post-Grenfell to ensure residents are safe, and feel safe, in their homes.”

Kingspan Kooltherm K110 PLUS Soffit Board and Kingspan Kooltherm K118 Insulated Plasterboard have been installed as part of the conversion and expansion of a former office building, adding luxury accommodation to Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter.

Beaufort House offers 88 one and two bedroomed apartments in the heart of Birmingham city centre. Benchmark Architects have drawn on Urban Luxe and Art Deco influences for their revisions to the Beaufort Housing Development Project. This styling is continued within all of the apartment rooms, which also feature generous open-plan living areas and a range of modern facilities. The construction work, overseen by Shaylor Group Ltd, included the erection of a recessed, two-storey roof extension.

To ensure the new apartments provided a comfortable environment for occupants, the design team looked to address the performance of areas of the existing building fabric – bringing them up to the standard of current Building Regulations. To insulate the ceiling of the basement (containing a residents’ bike store) and an undercroft below the ground floor they specified over 650 m2 of Kingspan Kooltherm K110 PLUS Soffit Board.

The soffit board has a thermal conductivity of just 0.018 W/m·K across all thicknesses, the lowest of any commonly used insulation material. This allowed heat loss through the ground floor of the building to be minimised without significantly reducing headroom within the basement area. Installers mechanically fixed the boards to the basement ceiling and concrete undercroft soffit.

The building’s stylish, glazed roof extension has been designed to provide contrast with the brick façade of the main building. To insulate its external walls, 57.5 mm Kingspan Kooltherm K118 Insulated Plasterboard was installed. The product combines vapour control, 12.5 mm plasterboard and a premium performance insulation core in a single product. This allowed installers to rapidly fit the insulation and begin decorating the apartments. The internal layer of insulation also mean that flats respond more quickly to heating – keeping them comfortable throughout the cooler months.

Kingspan Kooltherm K110 PLUS Soffit Board and Kingspan Kooltherm K118 Insulated Plasterboard produced at Kingspan Insulation’s Pembridge manufacturing facility are certified ‘Excellent’ to the demanding BES 6001 (Framework Standard for the Responsible Sourcing of Construction Products) responsible sourcing standard.

For further information, please contact:

Tel: +44 (0) 1544 387 384

Fax: +44 (0) 1544 387 484



Milbank Concrete Products based in Colchester, North Essex, are one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of precast concrete products with a focus on exceptional customer service.

Throughout the design, manufacturing, delivery and installation stages, Milbank offer one of the most comprehensive and professional service packages, providing a range of precast concrete products including: balconies, beam & block flooring, bespoke concrete products, ground beams, hollowcore flooring, helical stairs, rail products, sea defence & flood solutions, stadia products and straight stairs & landings.

Following on from market research and the identification of the need for an affordable, cost effective and efficient thermal floor arrangement, Milbank Concrete Products have recently launched their new and improved insulated concrete flooring solution, WarmFloor Pro.

WarmFloor Pro offers construction professionals a cost-effective alternative to quickly assembling a thermally insulated concrete ground floor over the industry leading competitor brand, Jetfloor, by Forterra (Bison). Reduced initial construction costs and an increase in energy savings make WarmFloor Pro a compelling alternative to a standard beam and block floor. In combination with its certification and A+ Green Guide rating, WarmFloor Pro is proving to be a must have addition to any new, eco-friendly development where keeping heating costs low is paramount.

WarmFloor Pro is suitable for almost any structure, but is most commonly used in housing, from single dwellings to complete housing developments. It offers a simple, cost effective, concrete insulated flooring solution to self-builders and construction professionals alike. Without the need for any specialist tools or skills, installation of WarmFloor Pro is efficient and streamlined whilst minimising waste and emission rates.

WarmFloor Pro works by combining rigid insulation modules (EPS panels) manufactured from lightweight closed cell expanded polystyrene which is laid in-between prestressed concrete beams (either 155mm or 225mm deep) with an EPS top sheet, damp proof membrane and structural concrete topping. If required, underfloor heating can be incorporated with the pipework attaching to the EPS panels with plastic pegs before the concrete topping is applied.

WarmFloor Pro is comprised of 6 main EPS components that are available in two types of EPS; standard issue in white (0.038W/m²K) or an alternative high-performance platinum in grey (0.031W/m²K). The 6 components are made up of Top Sheets – available in depths of 75-150mm, Infill Panels – available in 533mm for nominal 600mm beam centres and 343mm for reduced beam centres, and End Panels – available in both 178mm and 300mm.

EPS end panels are used for both the start and end of the flooring installation. The end panels are inserted at the start of the row with the straight (1200mm edge) opposite to the beam. All units are 1200mm long and can be cut on site to the required length using basic tools such as a handsaw; (minimum 300mm long).

As every building is different, Milbank are well equipped to design your floor to achieve the specific targeted U-Values (reaching as low as 0.07W/m²K) together with the structural layout of the floor to suit. Milbank then manufacture the concrete components and supply the materials (including the EPS panels) directly to your site. WarmFloor Pro is currently available on a supply only or

supply and installation basis using their vastly experienced installation teams.

WarmFloor Pro Benefits:

  • Easy to install – does not require any specialist tools or skills.
  • Quick to install – each EPS panel is the equivalent length of 5 standard concrete blocks.
  • Cost effective – WarmFloor Pro is designed to save you money. Faster installation speeds combined with reduced waste and excavation removal allow for an increase in overall savings.
  • Bespoke – a wide range of EPS panel depths and grades are available to satisfy your U-value or budget requirements.
  • Sustainable – WarmFloor Pro is designed to last the lifetime of the building while maintaining its exceptional thermal performance.
  • Clean, safe and easy to handle – lightweight EPS panels only weigh around 2Kg.
  • Underfloor heating compatible – heating pipework is simply held in place using plastic pegs that push into the EPS panels.
  • Proven Technology – now in use for over 10 years.
  • Industry compliant – Milbank WarmFloor Pro is Fully certified and has an A+ green guide rating.

For more information on Milbank Concrete Products or to enquire about their extensive range of products including WarmFloor Pro Insulated Flooring, please visit their website or call them on 01787 223 931.

For more information please visit

Faced with the problem of having to explain a complicated notion it is sometimes helpful to draw on an analogy. The conundrum of how to capture the golden thread of information through a design and build cycle to properly support effective operation and maintenance of a residential development could rightly be considered one such complicated notion.

In many cases, drawing on an analogy with a natural phenomenon is particularly useful if an audience already has some semblance of understanding of the physical entity, and can therefore easily link related concepts. In this instance, I am going to employ the idea of a river as the natural phenomenon that has parallels with the task of capturing the golden thread of information.

In terms of relevant characteristics of rivers, it is worth highlighting certain features which will hopefully assist in bringing the analogy to life. As the graphic below shows, such features contribute to the overall eco-system of a river and can include the following: sources of water; water flow; the concept of a water course; tributaries; a channel; a meander; a watershed; volume and velocity; and a delta.

Consider how, with a river, the volume and velocity of the body of water at the mouth forming the delta is directly influenced by the sources that contributed to the initial flow, plus any further rainfall that might have occurred as the body of water gradually builds over the entire water course. The sources of a river typically flow through independent tributaries before combining at points over the water course to form the main body of water flow.

Consider also that a river does not typically follow a linear path in travelling from sources to destination: it meanders contingent upon the topography of the land it traverses over, but is largely directed to flowing in channels between watersheds that have become defined over time due to effects such as erosion. Since some water is always lost to factors such as evaporation and spillage to flood plains, the volume and velocity of the body of water at the mouth of the river only comprises the water that needs to form the delta before spilling into an ocean.

Capturing the golden thread

The challenges associated with creating a complete and accurate digital record for a new residential development from conception, through the design and build cycle to practical completion, are typically pernicious. As with the analogy, the golden thread of information for a residential development emerges from multiple sources and there are many potential points across the design and build cycle where this information can be amended or embellished, or indeed where new information can be created.

Like a river, these multiple sources and additional downstream activities have the effect of causing the body of information to steadily grow. Accordingly, the complexity of capturing the golden thread of information for a residential development can be likened to controlling flow in a digital river. Often, the initial sources of the golden thread of information are manifold, comprising inputs from the manufacturers of raw materials, components and equipment (i.e. assets) that might be incorporated in a residential development. Subsequent activity facilitates ever-increasing definition of product comprising these assets and also elaboration of build logic which further enhances the body of information forming the golden thread, with the volume and velocity of information generation increasing with time. Again, as with the analogy, a typical design and build cycle does not follow a linear path and is often highly iterative in nature, much like the meandering of a river.

Unlike the case with the physical entity, topography in the human-made landscape is actually defined using artificial constructs such as model inter-operability scheme, execution plans, stipulations relating to organisational information requirements, and information management maps. Additionally, a framework such as the RIBA Plan of Work which helps define broad stages of the design and build cycle to practical completion from Stage 0 (Strategic Definition) to Stage 6 (Handover and Close Out) is usually employed to help maintain design and build activity within the confines of boundaries. These multiple artificial constructs are often configured to be bespoke to individual organisations, or indeed projects within the same organisation, and can be considered similar to the concept of channelling a river between watersheds.

In recent times, there have been advances in technology such as digital design software solutions and common data environments that can be used to help create a complete and accurate digital record for a residential development. These tools can be considered to represent additional artificial constructs that can help facilitate control of information flow, so in a sense they are also akin to the concept of channelling a river between watersheds. But equally, there have been important changes in the way parties engaged on a project work together which are also yielding influence. Furthermore, we have seen the emergence of new standards and codes of practice associated with the likes of naming conventions, common language definition, data exchange and building of information models, all of which also constitute artificial constructs which are intended to make the process of capturing the golden thread easier. This wealth of change in working practice is equivalent to adaptations in topography in the analogy.

Under normal circumstances, it is easy to comprehend how the fragmented nature of conventional construction approaches cause complexity in terms of information authoring and liability, and subsequent revision control, which acts to thwart and frustrate the process of capturing the golden thread of information to properly support effective operation and maintenance of a completed residential development. This complexity might arise due to a lack of foresight regarding the need to capture and manage information from potential sources ab initio, or from a lack of application of the artificial constructs required to control information flow over the design and build cycle. In contrast to the re-generative nature of a river eco-system which essentially constitutes a closed loop system, it is often the case that the lack of application or even inappropriate artificial constructs can lead to the evolution of a form of extractive process which is overly linear with many disconnects and embedded wasteful logic reflecting an ineffective approach to capturing the golden thread.

Notwithstanding, it is reasonable to take a perspective of end-state requirements and attempt to categorise the information that should constitute a complete and accurate digital record for a new residential development. Such end-state requirements would be somewhat akin to the body of water that needs to form a delta being directly influenced by all sources that contributed to the flow. At high level, these requirements should include:

  • Why was it built?
  • What was actually built?
  • When was it built?
  • Who played a part in the design and build process?
  • How was it built?

This information, constituting a definition of end-state requirements, is captured on the graphic below, along with a rough mapping of the RIBA Plan of Work stages through to practical completion. This definition of requirements provides useful insight insofar as it cements a really important concept regarding information which will provide the basis of the golden thread cannot be created in a single moment in time ex nihilo towards the end of the design and build cycle.

Indeed, it is plainly the case that since information is continuously authored from the very outset of a project and evolves progressively through the design and build cycle, there are manifold problems to overcome associated with managing currency, relevance, accuracy and robustness of the same from conception to practical completion and handover.
Starting at the source

The fact is that despite all the technology improvements, and the significant cultural shift towards more collaborative working, conventional construction approaches are still largely inefficient, and frequently flawed in terms of capturing the golden thread. It is interesting to note that even today there are many organisations across the construction sector involved in residential development who adopt a default position of employing junior level resource towards the end of a project to try to collect and collate relevant information falling in the categories referred above.

Whilst such a position is admirable in the sense it at least represents an attempt to capture the golden thread, it is common that this sort of approach can result in critical information being missed or lost, akin with the concepts of evaporation and spillage to flood plains in the analogy. Of course, it could be argued that these organisations do not really comprehend what creating a complete and accurate digital record implies, because what it should definitely not mean is curating a plethora of scanned drawings and other relevant project documentation that cannot properly support effective operation and maintenance.

Much is being made at present of the importance of the construction sector finding ways to leverage productivity, and organisations involved in residential development are not exempt from this challenge. There have been numerous publications, including material from central Government that sets out the aspiration to transform performance with more focus to be brought to bear on leveraging productivity, driving innovation and developing and training new talent. In the simplest terms, the productivity problem can actually be characterised as either generating higher levels of output using the same levels of input, or generating the same levels of output using reduced levels of input.

Nothing in the typical, conventional construction approach to capturing the golden thread of information is helping to yield improved productivity. This is because the resource typically being employed to collect and collate relevant information are not authoring information, nor are they really managing the same, and often the task is deemed to be unglamorous, so at best they could be considered to represent additional input cost which has limited likelihood of generating the required quality of output from fragmented input sources.
Charting a unique course

At Berkeley Modular, we have sought to examine everything from first principles. We are a business focused on the offsite manufacture, as opposed to offsite construction, of three-dimensional primary structural product (i.e. Category 1 in accordance with the recently published MMC definition framework). We have been afforded the luxury of time to conceive how we can apply lean thinking to information authoring, capturing and revision control, as well as to our manufacturing and assembly logic.

The result of this thinking time has yielded a transformative methodology for creating digital connectivity compared to conventional construction approaches. The work we have undertaken to create a Digitally Enabled Agile Manufacturing (DEAM) platform has focused on how technology can help resolve the conundrum of capturing the golden thread of information from the very start of the development process to the point of practical completion and handover. This DEAM platform we have developed has been configured to encompass the following:

  • Digital capture of information from source – We have deployed certain options from the coBuilder suite of software to configure the DEAM platform to facilitate a single source of truth for all assets to be incorporated in a residential development. These options represent the tributaries that allow information to be authored by manufacturers’, and subsequently filtered and fed to other components of the DEAM platform
  • Digital creation of design information – With the help of Majenta, we have deployed certain options from the Autodesk suite of software to configure the DEAM platform to facilitate a product lifecycle management tool wherein digital geometries and build logic definition are automatically linked to asset information in a common data environment. These options represent the topography that allow Berkeley Modular to author design and build definition, and subsequently filter and feed to other components of the DEAM platform
  • Digital creation of manufacturing instruction – Working with DAS, we have deployed computational rule-based logic to obtain high levels of design automation to support the efficient creation of data-rich, fully federated digital models and related manufacturing machine code. This logic represents watersheds that afford authoring of automated build definition by Berkeley Modular, which can be filtered and fed to other components of the DEAM platform
  • Digital management of supply chain, operations and finance activity – We have deployed certain options from the Oracle Fusion suite of software to configure the DEAM platform with an ERP environment which facilitates a single source of truth for all aspects of operational activity at Berkeley Modular comprising a design and build cycle. This environment represents further topography that allows capture of all transactional information authored by Berkeley Modular, and subsequent filtering and feeding to other components of the DEAM platform
  • Digital instruction of manufacturing and assembly activity – We have deployed certain options from the Siemens suite of software to configure the DEAM platform with an MES environment which facilitates a single source of truth for organising and communicating all facets of physical activity performed by Berkeley Modular. These options represent final elements of topography that afford capture of work instruction to both machine and human resource across all factory and site operations, which can be filtered and fed to other components of the DEAM platform

The challenge of creating a productive business operation whilst simultaneously addressing the conundrum of how to capture the golden thread of information has required us to think carefully about digitisation in general, but in particular about responsibility and liability for information authoring, and subsequent revision control. The technological platform outlined above represents certain of the artificial constructs we needed to configure, but in reality this platform is actually supplemented with a combination of other industry-standard and customised constructs that help shape the topography to allow the channelling and progressive capture of information in an efficient, lean manner.

There are plentiful example initiatives from across the construction sector wherein investment has been made into new technological platforms with an expectation that the same will readily yield increased productivity and capture of the golden thread, Despite these examples being many in number, it is somehow still common for expectation associated with the investment to be inflated, yet finding the right solution is not easy and often people easily become disenchanted and disillusioned which impacts the intended outcome. Hopefully the insights presented here regarding the complexity of creating a complete and accurate digital record to properly support effective operation and maintenance of a residential development being likened to controlling flow in a digital river represent a useful contribution to the field and will help steer future initiatives towards more successful and rewarding outcomes.

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Written by Graham Cleland, director at Berkeley Modular

Doors open on November 20th, 2019 at London’s ExCeL exhibition centre for edition 5 of this top class event specialising in offsite construction (OSC).

According to show director, Steven Callaghan, offsite construction (OSC) is now more in the news than at any time since he launched the show in 2015.

“Housing shortages in the UK, in particular the lack of affordable housing, have seen OSC advanced as something that could make a major contribution to solving these particular problems. This has lead to a wider appreciation of the other benefits of OSC such as improved quality of the finished product and, vitally, improvements in health and safety at work.

Shortages of skilled labour are another good reason why OSC needs to be considered very seriously – many employers are finding that current entrants to the workplace are less enthusiastic about working on a windswept building site than their fathers and forefathers, this is the digital generation” Steven adds.

Head of Sales, Maddie Maclellan takes up the story. “We organise the show in association with London based organization, buildoffsite, who we call the ‘voice of the offsite construction industry’. They are a membership based organization whose sole role is to promote the use of offsite construction technology and it only takes a brief glance at their list of members online to see the extent of their influence – it’s a real who’s who of end clients, contractors, manufacturers even government departments.

“A very popular feature of the Offsite Construction Show is the buildoffsite Seminar Theatre and I’m pleased to confirm that it will be making an appearance once again in 2019. The programme is yet to be published but for a flavor of what can be expected, please follow this link to see details of the 2018 presentations in the programme of events – there is also a series of Masterclasses plus the show’s own seminar theatre and programme and it’s all absolutely free of charge”, says Maddie.

The organisers feel that the show’s high turn out and excellent visitor quality is strongly influenced by it’s location in London, one of the Worlds most dynamic cities and the home to many spectacular flagship OSC projects. “London ExCeL is located in the heart of the Docklands and is a truly World class venue,” continues Steven Callaghan, “with superb facilities for visitors and exhibitors,” and nowhere is this more evident than with it’s communication links, he stresses.

“Visiting the show could not be easier,” says Maddie, whether by public transport or by your own car. “ExCeL has 2 of it’s it’s own onsite DLR Stations (Docklands Light Railway) and this is the most popular way of travelling to the show – fast, cheap and efficient however if you do prefer to come under your own steam, the venue has an underground parking garage with over 3000 spaces.”

“Register online on the show website  – for your free entrance ticket beforehand, it will save you time on arrival at the show hall’.

According to the organisers, this means that the show has easy access to the many thousands of senior construction, design and specifying personnel based in the capital city, as well as both central and local government.

In 2018 the show was attended by over 4,000 people, a record attendance, and a similar number are expected in 2019, with up to 100 exhibitors anticipated to show at the latest event, ranging from specialist manufacturers of offsite buildings, construction technology and design to product supply chain producers and the 2019 show will feature at least 20% brand new, first time exhibitors.

“The show is THE place in the UK to do offsite business” says Maddie and we cater for all aspects of the process – whether your reason for visiting is to learn more about OSC with a view to incorporating it in your future projects or to look to develop your supply chain, the show has something to offer you,” concludes Maddie.

For more information please visit

Fassa Bortolo, one of the leading Italian manufacturers of renders and integrated building systems has brought its popular Fassarend timber frame system to the UK market, making off site construction easier than ever.

To meet the soaring demand for timber frame and modular builds, this system is made with the potential to be installed off or onsite. Using a four-stage application process, light-weight carrier boards are mechanically fixed onto the frame batons and finished on site with Fassa’s high quality, thin-coat render, either by hand or by machine once the project reaches the final stages.

With superb insulation options, this system can be combined with a mechanical external wall insulation (EWI) rail system, in the form of mineral wool or Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) inside the timber frame, to help the build reach a required u-value and reduce emissions, as well as protect the structural integrity of the frame from any foreseeable damage.

The Fassarend timber frame system has been third party certified by KIWA BDA and approved by the National Housebuilding Council (NHBC).

For more information please visit