With construction making a significant contribution to the latest very encouraging economic figures – thanks in part to the Government’s “Help to Buy” scheme – now seems like an opportune moment for your blogger to reflect on the housebuilding sector (one of the biggest clients for Plastic Surgeon’s #repair services) and its use of off-site construction or ‘#modern methods of construction‘.
#mmc as it is frequently referred to embraces a wide range of solutions, with almost anything other than traditional brick and block in a muddy field finding some claim to be included.
Timber roof trusses were arguably the first big success story as the industry looked to save time and money, and timber frame construction has in fact grown to the point where it is dominant amongst the new technologies.
In tandem with the open panel and factory insulated offerings you will also find laminated timber being used for big spans or even complete structures, while SIPs or Structural Insulated Panels can also provide whole-house and HMO solutions.
Our clients also include housebuilders making use of steel framed panels and modules or pods, while precast concrete remains a favourite material for those who specialise in blocks of flats and student accommodation.
As our recently ended series of blogs on the top 10 buildings erected using different materials showed, you can get very creative with everything from glass and stone to the humble plastic drinks bottle; with sustainability being a primary goal for most who seek to use new techniques.
The BRE’s Green Guide assessment of eco-credentials doesn’t convince everybody in the industry, but you will find ICF or insulated concrete formwork modules, made of polystyrene and filled with concrete in-situ, used for a lot of low energy housing projects, especially amongst self-builders. And the Mediterranean style ceramic blocks are having a similar impact due to their low weight and ease of construction.
So we do come across a very wide range of construction types in our repair work on residential as well as commercial developments, which reminds me of a key focus to the Egan Report and Rethinking Construction; which played such a big part in promoting MMC during the nineties.
Sir John Egan had criticised the industry heavily over poor quality and being wasteful – with one of the targets for his revolution being “Zero Defects” – or as our MD, Rob Mouser refers to it “Immaculate Construction”.
Suffice to say the building industry hasn’t quite got there yet as timber shrinks and moves, modules get banged about while being transported and craned into position, and tradesmen still drag toolboxes and trolleys around, taking chunks out of the interior finishes like doors and architraves.
Nevertheless off-site solutions have increased outputs and made costs more predictable while their use is bound to increase as construction programmes pick up to meet demand. And Plastic Surgeon’s Finishers will continue to turn up on site towards the end of the job in order to ensure the final product is as close to the designer’s and the purchaser’s ideal as possible.