Osite construcon has surged in popularity across the UK construcon market in recent years and it connues to grow at pace. Despite this, it is yet to be widely adopted by the M&E market, so it is therefore vital contractors recognise the significant benefits before they get le behind. Drew Clough, product manager – Building Soluons, at Rehau, discusses why contractors need to evolve their businesses and

the benefits that can be gained by doing so

all-time high at 30 per cent year-on-year. With approximately 12-15 per cent new construction currently occurring, we are seeing historical records and levels of activity and it’s for this reason that businesses should be considering the benefits in offsite construction to support the building services supply chain.

O Offsite opportunity

The construction industry is seeing a phenomenal level of investment, and this is predominantly due to brand new vertically integrated entrants to the offsite market investing into their own facilities, just to supply themselves. They are potentially a game changer and it’s for this reason that traditional supply chain partners need to embrace this change to offsite technology now, before they get left behind. Additionally, demand for offsite manufacturing is being driven by new government policy that is driving a ‘presumption in favour’ of offsite techniques and technologies on all publicly funded construction projects from 2019.

When it comes to the housing crisis, the build-to-rent space is the biggest driver for offsite construction and where the main opportunity lies for M&Es. This is due to the need to negate the skills issues, or to at least address it in some way, but primarily it is due to certainty of delivery, quality and costs.

An ideal approach

It goes without saying that there are a vast range of benefits to applying prefabrication and preassembly techniques to building engineering services.

Of course, one benefit is its impact on productivity as construction is much faster than traditional on-site methods. This also creates a faster return on investment for the client. As the project is completed within a factory setting, it is not subject to the delays usually experienced on-site, such as bad weather, therefore construction can be carried out efficiently and with a quick turnaround. This in turn offers considerably reduced programme times for building sites. Offsite technology also offers improvement to site management. As the process requires less labour and reduced materials handling, site management is much easier to maintain and control throughout the construction period. By redesigning the whole installation and assembly process, you are removing much of the risk that a construction site presents in to a controlled environment. Taking construction work offsite, with more reliable options such as compression fittings, you can take away the failure of connections that can cause issues with on-site projects.

Opportunity for application

It’s important to recognise that, despite the benefits, offsite construction is not a straightforward substitution for installing on-site as it relies on a remodel and rebuild the entire procurement process. At Rehau, we think this should be seen as an opportunity by the M&E world rather than a threat. While there are still skills required to install and commission the products on site, we are at a stage in the process where there is plenty of opportunity to evolve your business model ahead of your competitors. Take the architectural sector for instance. There is a new wave of architects emerging who

are differentiating and distinguishing their businesses by being positive about digital construction and embracing offsite techniques whole-heartedly. Essentially if the M&E sector embraces it early too, they will become strong in the supply chain.

From an M&E perspective, we’re noticing considerable growth for offsite construction in three key areas, including modular designs for bathroom pods, complex fit outs in utility cupboards, and volumetric modules that connect multiple units to create one structure. We anticipate that the demand for offsite construction will increase, making it vital that M&E contractors consider implementing these methods sooner rather than later.

Integrating heating and plumbing into offsite

One aspect of offsite construction that contractors may still be unsure of is how HVAC can successfully be integrated into construction projects using offsite methods. There are some key considerations that need to be taken into account when installing heating and plumbing products with offsite construction.

Using a flexible polymer, in place of tradition materials such as copper, reduces the number of joints and, therefore, the risk of failing joints. A single, flexible polymer pipe also eliminates the need for contractors to keep a large number of parts in stock onsite. During transport, pipes can get damaged and are exposed to many dangerous situations during their journey to, and installation at, the site. Offsite technology can help contractors reduce damage, and costs associated with any damage, that may occur.

Offsite technology can also help make spaces more efficient. Utility cupboards, for example, are one of the biggest growth areas for multi-residential properties and one where manufacturers will be looking for products that are compact and easy to install. Ultimately, the internal components need to be small enough so the cupboard doesn’t encroach into the habitable space. Additionally, we’re seeing a trend in build-to-rent towards underfloor heating, where a product such as the Rehau smart manifold can act as a super-fast and efficient modular install solution with highly reliable connections.

It is clear that M&E contractors need to consider evolving their businesses with the use of offsite technology. The benefits of utilising prefabrication and preassembly techniques, contractors will be enabling more economic, yet higher quality installations. About Rehau

uRehau’s smart manifold can act as a super

fast and ecient

modular install solu on with highly reliable connec ons


ehau delivers market-leading products, consulting and service, supported by market specific know-how from four business units: Building Solutions, Furniture Solutions, Automotive and Industry. Rehau is one of the world’s largest extruders of PVC-U window profile. It offers a range of high-quality profiles for windows and doors in an array of colours, from casement windows in bold ruby red to sliding doors in popular anthracite grey. In 2018 Rehau also officially launched its first co-


extruded profile, using up to 100 per cent post-consumer waste in the core. From heating and plumbing to cable trunking, district heating and water management solutions, Rehau Building Solutions Division continually strives to provide products that make an impact on a building’s performance today and in the years to come. Its sustainable products are said to deliver quality and reliability designed to leave a legacy for generations, remaining relevant and efficient as they can be as technologies advance.

Read the latest at:

ffsite construction is a significant contributor to today’s building industry output, and its significance must be seen as a positive opportunity for construction projects. The industry’s market size and rate of growth is at an

OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION Putting offsite front of mind

uUsing a fiexible polymer, in place of tradi on materials such as copper, reduces the number of joints and, therefore, the risk of failing joints


technology can help contractors reduce damage, and costs associated with any damage, that may occur

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