The next stage for our Offsite Manufacturing & Technology Group

Constructing Excellence

Our recent members forum was an opportunity to reflect and plan future activities.

We had an opportunity to say a fond farewell and thank you to two individuals who have been at the forefront of industry change and the Constructing Excellence movement.  John Lorimer reflected on his five decades in the industry and his hopes that the industry will finally embrace all of the current opportunities for change and turn itself around.  Don reflected on 18 years of leading the CE movement and looked forward to driving further overseas.

As John stands down from his role as chair of the Offsite Manufacturing & Technology Theme Group we are delighted that Alex Small of Tata Steel has agreed to take on the role.  Alex brings with him a strong perspective on manufacturing and digital and his energy and insight will be critical to us driving forward this important agenda.


We had some very lively discussions around some of the key areas that are impacting the effective implementation of offsite manufacturing and technology in the sector and things industry needs to start and stop doing.


Linked data, trusting content, golden thread, Alex Small, Tata Steel & Patricia Massey, Siemens

Things the industry needs to stop doing:

  • Stop thinking of data as the COBIE drop at project completion and BIM as the 3d model
  • Ban “value engineering” in the sense of inappropriate cost cutting? Transparent structure data would help with this, as referenced in the Hackitt Review
  • Ban the word BIM
  • Stop making changed without understanding impact of change
  • Manufacturers need to have standard apps, not a proliferation

Things the industry needs to start doing

  • Instil trust in data and information
  • Start utilising technology to minimise impact and understand compatibility of systems, products and materials
  • “product instance data”
  • Make 3D models available to housing associations and home owners
  • IPA to think how funding for 2/3/4 can implement digitisation of SMEs
  • More awareness and reaching out to various industry sectors on what’s happening with manufacturers and their digital journey

Maximising potential for innovation: What needs to change? How will this impact contracts and IP? – headed up by Phil Henry, Polypipe & Julie Barry, RIFT

Things the industry needs to stop doing:

  • Ban JCT
  • Ban Design and build

Things the industry needs to start doing

  • Adopt IPI – over insurance is a huge cost
  • Forms of contract as a single point of risk – early days of trading – Client and how funding is achieved
  • Pay for early involvement
  • Manufacturing led expertise – long term contracts

Tier 1 contractors: What needs to change? How do we leverage their knowledge and experience? Andrew Gamblen & Maxine Beadle, Willmott Dixon

Things the industry needs to stop doing:

  • Service industry that doesn’t act like it’s a service
  • Don’t understand what the End User actually wants the building for
  • Resistance of bringing the end user in at an early enough stage
  • Stop having the Tier 1 pushback scenarios
  • Undermining of the viability of construction because of focus on lowest cost
  • Stop being the mopping buckets of risk and cost
  • Stop Practical Completion

Things the industry needs to start doing

  • Tiers 1s should move towards assembling rather than constructors – Difference being the Tier 1s put the pieces together rather than having specialists do it behind
  • Educate the Client in terms of a more “assembly” mind-set
  • Education needs to take place to shift people from initial capital expenditure to overall cost/value
  • Different procurement methods need to be investigated to make the industry more viable
    • This ties in to both commercial as well as contractual/risk elements and issues.
  • Change the layers of a project team
    • Reduce the number of layers to make it clearer
  • Sizeable intelligent clients are needed to help drive the offsite
  • Leadership, long term view, integration
  • Earlier supplier engagement
  • Should be used to move further down the supply chain to like Tier 7
  • Start becoming more trusting throughout the supply chain
  • Education across the whole chain about value
  • Move from CAPEX to TOTEX
  • Start moving towards different procurement methods so that teams can be created


Combining digital and manufacturing approaches to deliver better outcomes, Ron Lang, Construction Innovation Hub

Things the industry needs to stop doing:

  • Using JCT

Things the industry needs to start doing:

  • Platform approach to building pushed by government
  • Help the government know what to ask to procure for value
  • Define what data to collect
  • Need a flexible framework to assess value

Moving it all forward

There is a very clear message around the need to educate the non-believers in the sector.  We need to find simple and effective ways of communicating the hard-hitting information that will convince people to change.

  1. Liaise, align and coordinate with the UK BIMAlliance Product Data Working Group and the CE Digital Group
  2. Look for a pilot project to demonstrate linked, interoperable data in use and the associated benefits
  3. Produce some “Snapshots” such as:
    1. A guidance note on what manufacturers are currently working on in terms of standards development and product identification (GS1 standards) and best practice for delivering trusted content (such as the PDWG report).
    2. Case studies/compelling stories to demonstrate what best practice looks like for all our themes
  4. We will be scheduling a deep dive session into how project insurance can drive change with hopefully a visit to Dudley college over the summer. The output from this will be a “Snapshot” for distribution.

The next meeting of the Offsite Group will be 1st October.   Please get in touch if you want to get more involved, have any ideas for our snapshots or want to discuss any other aspects of our programme.