An increasing number of companies are choosing off-site construction methods for their speedy, efficient and sustainable builds. As an example, in recent years these modern methods have been used to create and extend hospitals quickly and efficiently to meet the demands of the pandemic. And in the current climate, projects such as these are continuing to gain pace.
Here at RQ Capital, we recognise that these construction methods offer many varied advantages to building companies. We also embrace their sustainability benefits, recognising the positive impact they have on the wider environment.
In this blog, we’ve taken a more detailed look at off-site construction methods and the associated advantages – as well as exploring how you can get funded for these modern builds.
The benefits of off-site construction
The phrase ‘off-site construction’ refers to elements of a building project that are manufactured at a separate location away from the construction site itself. This might include a roof, a house frame, or a section of a house, and it typically involves planning, design, fabrication and assembly in a purpose-built factory.
With so many associated benefits, it’s no surprise that this contemporary solution is such a hot topic in the industry. Below, we’ve outlined some of the reasons that RQ Capital supports these off-site construction methods.
Faster build times
The work environment is carefully monitored to increase efficiencies, using indoor factory machinery to speed up the build. With the environment more confined, site management is easier, and lean manufacturing can be implemented.
Improved health and safety
Health and safety risks are reduced because the factory site is carefully managed, and employees spend less time handling materials and machinery. Plus, the fall from height risk is reduced because on-site teams spend significantly less time constructing at height.
Off-site constructions are subject to careful quality checks, resulting in minimal flaws. The factory setting also allows for easy re-designs mid-build, making the process more efficient. Constructions can also benefit from the use of high-quality, fully finished materials for a convenient, consistent finish.
Off-site construction can be better for the environment than traditional methods. There is less waste, and the factory setting allows materials to be recycled for use elsewhere. There’s also less noise pollution, improved health and safety for employees (as mentioned above) and reduced traffic due to fewer deliveries to the site.
The use of modern technology
Off-site construction uses new technology to improve efficiencies. For example, manufacturing simulation can be used to speed up the decision-making process and lower the costs. Technology also allows for virtual assembly, improving collaboration.
There are many ways off-site construction can reduce costs. For example, adverse weather conditions won’t affect the productivity of a project. The complex build work is done off-site using modern technology, saving several weeks’ build time.
Incorporating alternative materials into your build
As well as taking advantage of off-site construction, we fully endorse exploring alternative, sustainable materials that are new to the industry. We’ve examined a handful of these below.
Durisol wall form units
Durisol is manufactured in South Wales from woodcrete – recycled waste wood which is chipped into wood fibre before being mineralised and bonded with cement. On-site, the interlocking units dry-stack together and are filled in with concrete to form a monolithic structural walling system.
The wall form units are suitable for any type of build project – from new build housing developments and commercial buildings through to self-build homes. They also meet all current and upcoming building regulation requirements.
Off-site timber frames
The off-site construction of timber frames provides buildings with a superior thermal envelope that requires minimal maintenance, enabling a fit-and-forget solution for the lifetime of the building.
There has been a huge increase in the demand for timber frames due to their many advantages, including cost and environmental benefits. In fact, 70% of homes built in the developed world now have a timber frame.
New types of concrete
Graphene is a material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is claimed to be the strongest material known to exist – 200 times stronger than steel and lighter than paper, with extraordinary mechanical and electrical properties.
The use of graphene concrete additives can increase strength and reduce clinker factor in cements, thus reducing the carbon footprint. It can also potentially increase the longevity of products. Usable in any type of construction, the technology has the potential to deliver stronger, less permeable concrete structures, enabling a new generation of concrete designs.
Borrowing capital for your modern build
We understand that modern methods of construction aren’t always cheaper at the outset. However, during the build you can benefit from cost savings and other advantages, as we’ve detailed above. And because they increase the speed of your build, you save money on finance by reducing the length of your loan.
Here at RQ Capital, we are willing to lend money on modern construction methods, even when other lenders aren’t. Quite simply – we see them as the future.
However, we do require a warranty, and modern methods don’t always acquire warranties as easily. But accreditation is available to support this, which you can gain through schemes such as BOPAS.
BOPAS – the Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme – is recognised by the principal mortgage lenders as providing the necessary assurance underpinned by a warranty provision (that the property will be readily mortgageable for at least 60 years).