Driving forward the Farmer Review and proposals for an offsite transformation

Constructing Excellence

Report of the Constructing Excellence members’ forum on 14 February 2017


  1. Introduction

Sixty members and guests attended the CE Members Forum on February 14th to hear from Mark Farmer on his report Modernise or Die (#FarmerReview), Darren Richards of CE Midlands on the state of the offsite manufacturing sector, and two speakers on application in the education sector, Richard Crosby of Blacc and the Education Funding Agency and Simon Reid of Lungfish Architects and the Scape integrated team. The agenda is attached as Annex A, attendees are listed at Annex B, speakers’ slides are available here[1], and we thank everyone for their participation.


  1. Objectives

The objectives of the event, beyond providing the usual learning, sharing and networking benefits of Constructing Excellence’s pan-industry forums, were to:

  • Understand the drivers and opportunities for a step-change in offsite/pre-manufactured industrialised solutions in the sector;
  • Develop a work programme to support the implementation of Mark Farmer’s report, and in particular to inform members’ strategies for high-productivity pre-manufactured propositions.

A discussion session invited roundtable discussion on five questions which emerged during the afternoon. This report summarises the feedback from this last session as well as some of the drivers and challenges discussed during the afternoon, and develops an outline work programme to be delivered in collaboration with other partners.


  1. Opportunities and barriers


  • Drivers for change – or why now?

A number of factors are convening to make offsite construction a more attractive solution than ever before.  These include:

  • Housing Shortage – a shortage of good quality affordable homes and the growth of the Private Rented housing sector (PRS);
  • Skills shortage – an ageing workforce with traditional skills, lack of new entrants to the construction sector and limitations on labour mobility caused by BREXIT;
  • Technology – opportunities to fully exploit the emerging digital agenda around BIM and big data;
  • Client demand – increasing client demand for project certainty and predictability as well as performance transparency.

Government has responded to these drivers with a range of policy interventions including the Housing White Paper and the Industrial Strategy with its focus on productivity and high value manufacturing as championed by the Construction Leadership Council.

The Farmer Review specifically looks at industrialisation and delivery through pre-manufactured methods. These can help address systemic failures including low productivity, low predictability, low margins, adversarial pricing, lack of collaboration & improvement culture, lack of R&D and investment in innovation and poor image.

  • Barriers

A number of barriers have held back the wider take up of offsite construction:

  • Scale – factory production requires consistent/high utilisation of capacity in order to be cost-effective;
  • Visibility of forward pipeline to de-risk investment in production facilities there needs to be a high degree of confidence in future demand;
  • Disruption to the status quo of the usual design/procure/construct process is perceived to add risk and uncertainty;

Quality –clients require confidence and assurance of quality (especially with regard to gaining insurance) this can be done through standards and certification.



  1. Proposed work programme

The following five questions emerged during the speakers’ sessions, and breakout groups convened to discuss each one.

  1. The Influencing the need for a common pre-manufacturing ‘interoperability’ protocol. Avoiding the ‘VHS versus Betamax’ choice. We need to progress as a systems engineering challenge.
  2. Collaboration led procurement models to enable true BIM enabled & integrated pre-manufacture led working.
  • Appetite for ‘calling people/firms out’ for poor behaviour – ‘name & shame’ to help drive behavioural change
  1. Contributing to what needs to be in Construction’s “Sector Deal” as part of Industrial Strategy response – CLC interface
  2. Developing a quantified benefits case(s) for clients to commit to higher levels of pre-manufacturing including data / feedback / evidence system.

A plenary feedback session captured the views of these groups, and towards the close of the event a number of attendees volunteered to meet again as a task group to take forward this feedback and discussion to develop a detailed plan of work. The following is a starter for 10 for that group to develop.



Activity Output/measure of success Lead/proposed partners
Demand pipeline A forward 3-year+ pipeline by sector in which supply chain has confidence, from public (HCA, EFA etc) and private sector where possible IPA (existing govt pipeline)

Others TBC

New delivery model Set out the new delivery model, the integrator role, integrated business model and procurement processes CE theme groups

RIBA digital plan of work

Better articulation of the business case Better evidence on the benefits for customers, suppliers etc – predictability, productivity, skills, data transparency; time, cost, quality; profitability

Develop KPI and baseline data for ”Pre-Manufactured Value (PMV)”

Cogent, BRE
Case studies, demonstrations and awards A set of regionally-sourced sectoral case studies, and demonstrations where new approaches have strategic significance.

A new category in the CE annual awards programme from 2018, eg Offsite Project of the Yr.

CE Regional Network



Influence the ‘Sector Deal’ under Industrial Strategy Support CLC to get the best deal with HMG CLC
Influence Construction ‘Catapult’ to support sector innovation A new centre and focus for innovation in the digital and industrialised built environment.

To feature a hub and industry supply chain ‘cluster’


Manufacturing Technology Catapult


Other Industry

Influence the investment community Dialogue with investors, insurers etc BuildOffsite (BOPAS)


CE Funding & Finance TG

Events – factory tours, conferences A coherent sector-wide programme of learning events delivered mainly by pulling together third-party organisations Radar

Explore Offsite



CE Regional Network

Comms plan Web page, blogs, social media, press etc CE/BRE


Resources for the above activity A resourced impactful plan of work by CE Existing CE theme groups, Univs (CEHE), BRE Trust



Constructing Excellence
February 2017

Annex A. Agenda of the CE members forum on February 14th

Supporting the Farmer Review – how to implement offsite solutions

Constructing Excellence Members’ Forum

14th February 2017
Pinsent Masons, 30 Crown Place, London EC2A 4ES


1.00                 Networking lunch

1.30   Don Ward, Constructing Excellence and Graham Robinson, Pinsent Masons – intros and welcome from host

Mark Farmer, CEO at Cast Consultancy and author of the Farmer Review

Darren Richards of Built Environment Hub on the current state of the offsite market

Networking/Tea and coffee break

Richard Crosby, Partner, Blacc Consulting LLP on the challenges of pre-manufactured solutions

Simon Reid, Managing Director of Scape’s Lungfish business “5 years and counting – Our modular story, the highs and lows of delivering school places”

Breakout session on adding value
– how should Constructing Excellence add value in this space?

Plenary feedback and prioritisation of a work programme for Constructing Excellence

5.15     Close

Annex B. Registered attendees

Name Job Title Company
Madoc Batcup Managing Partner Synaps Partners LLP
Mark Beirne Director Birch off site Solutions
Andrew Bell Director Kier
David Bleicher Principal Research Engineer BSRIA
John Blyde Director Module 200 Limited
Vaughan Burnand Managing Director VEB Lean Ltd
Tim Carey Director Willmott Dixon
Roy Casey Director Success Train
Jackie Casey Director Success Train
Paul Cooke Director Higgins Construction Plc
Andrew Cowan Real Estate and Property Consultant BRE
Richard Crosby Partner Blacc Consulting LLP
Ken Davie Head of Offsite & MMC Research Carillion
Adrian Farley Commercial Director Polypipe Terrain
Mark Farmer CEO Cast Consultancy
David Ferroussat Infrastructure Procurement Director Heathrow Airport
Ian Fletcher Director of Policy BPF
Paul Greenwood Managing Director Greenwood Consultants Limited
David Hawkes Policy Manager CIOB
Richard Henman Programme Delivery Manager nationwide Building Society
Phil Henry Market Development Director Polypipe Terrain
Jasmine Hui graduate engineer waterman
Peter Jackson Quantity Surveyor Kent County Council
Craig Johnson Regional Account Manager Trimble/Tekla
Milica Kitson Chief Executive Constructing Excellence in Wales
Robert Knight Operations Director igloo
Martin Lawton Director – Public Sector Blacc Consulting LLP
John Lorimer Director JLO Innovation Ltd
Julia Lydall Co-Chair G4C
Paul Marsden Specification Sales Manager Baxi Commercial
Peter McDermott Constructing Excellence NW University of Salford
Charles Mills Head of Stations Renewals & Enhancements Transport for London
Brendan Morahan Director Invennt Ltd
Alison Nicholl Associate Director Constructing Excellence
Kevin Payne Project director Westfield
Ben Pritchard Consultant Invennt Ltd
Colm Quinn Project Manager Constructing Excellence
Dale Rees Southern Construction Framework Manager Hampshire County Council
Simon Reid Managing Director Lungfish
Tim Renwick Director Blacc
John Rich Partner SRA Architects
Darren Richards Director Built Environment Hub
Graham Robinson Global Business Consultant Pinsent Masons
Mick Tetley Performance Improvement Manager Galliford Try
Jenny Tippetts Senior Project Manager Nationwide Building Society
Keith Waller Senior Advisor Infrastructure & Projects Authority
Don Ward Chief Executive Constructing Excellence
Paul Wilkinson Director pwcom.co.uk Ltd
David H Williams Chairman Management Process Systems
Clive Winkler Consultant ECI


[1] https://constructingexcellence.org.uk/presentations-14th-february-members-forum/