Speaking at Explore Offsite Futures at Birmingham’s NEC last week (24th November 2016), Fusion’s head of business development, Robert Clark spoke about the past, present and future opportunities for offsite manufacturing, saying he was starting to see encouraging signs of adoption by the construction industry.
As a designer and manufacturer of light gauge steel frames used by some of the UK’s most significant developers, Fusion is at the forefront of driving education and awareness of how offsite manufacturing methods hold the key to the future of construction in this country.
In his presentation to an audience of around 180 delegates from across all disciplines within the construction industry, Robert outlined the history of Fusion. He spoke about its experience in designing and building frames for low rise housing units through to high rise apartment blocks, and how its strategic view now is to focus on low rise, volume house building to help reduce the UK’s desperate shortage.
Robert recounted stories dating back 15 years when some of Fusion’s first projects were completed and little was really know or understood about the possibilities for offsite manufactured steel frames. Looking at the present, he referred to the widely-read Farmer Review: ‘Modernise or Die’, facing the truth about the drastic shortage of housing in the UK and the devastating decline of skilled labour in the construction industry.
Robert said: “The construction industry – or house building in particular, is faced with a dire situation. We’re still trying to make traditional building methods work but as Mark Farmer said in his review, radical steps need to be taken if we are to avoid an ‘inexorable decline’.”
With offsite recommended as one of a number of solutions, Robert explained projects which were currently underway using Fusion’s intelligent end to end service of design and manufacture and build – but pointed out that up until now, projects have largely been one off developments.
Robert continued: “A change in mindset needs to happen and I’m pleased to say it’s starting to. If we’re to make a serious impact on the construction process and housing shortage in the UK, offsite manufacturing needs to work in collaboration and as part of a developer’s integrated supply chain.”
Robert explained how Fusion was starting to see encouraging signs of change and an adoption of offsite manufacturing methods, from school building projects to a trial programme with the UK’s largest house builder. He also alluded to a branding idea called ‘4LP Homes’ or ‘four little pigs’, the fourth pig having his home made out of steel – strong, warm and built in a factory.
Robert was one of 16 speakers at today’s Explore Offsite Futures event – run as part of series of one day conference and exhibitions creating a platform for construction clients and their professional advisers to explore the latest offsite construction solutions, providing a dynamic and interactive learning experience for all visitors.