Continuing from my previous post on Tony Woods (LHC Group Technical Manager) speech during this years CIH Housing Conference, both himself and Tim Oakley raised compelling views on how they feel the supply chain needs to work together to ensure improvements to the running of offsite projects.
Although the overarching failings tend to revolve around suppliers not having assurances over the number and flow of units, other points highlighted included:
- Design costs running too high on dreaded pilot schemes - they rarely work and create more question marks than solutions
- Overly complicated contract arrangements - offsite should simplify costs associated with materials, installation and consultations
- A lack of standardisations across specifications and design
- FAC1 documentation needs to be used across the supply chain to ensure the risk is spread and employers can invest across the project life cycle
- PR around MMC needs to change. Tony argued that consumers view purchasing clothes, food and even cars as a one off transactional arrangement. Their is still an emotional connection to buying a house. It is viewed that a team of men sweat from ground up in its building
Adding to this Tim Oakley emphasised the need for developers to invest in a "Offsite Project Integrator". Although consultants and project managers perform elements of this role, no one takes full control of the whole project across to numerous stakeholders. This is especially illustrated by the fact that the main sponsor rarely has control, let alone communication, with architects, developers, contractors and the like. In fact, no one particularly controls the interaction between contractors and specialist contractors.
This person will control in use reviews through the process which can latterly be used in future projects in terms of best practice.
Worthing council has signed up Skanska/IKEA joint venture developer BoKlok UK to build 162 homes. They will be the first IKEA style factory-built homes in the UK, after an earlier scheme in Tyneside hit the skids during the financial crisis. The BoKlok homes will be priced so that home ownership is more accessible for local working families.