Explore Offsite

1st Explore Offsite South West Conference and Exhibition, Westpoint, Exeter

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Photo Credit : AEC Collaboration

The inaugural Explore Offsite South West Conference and Exhibition took place on 5th July 2017 at the Westpoint Arena and Exhibition Centre, Exeter.

Explore Offsite South West was organised by Explore Offsite with Event Partner Constructing Excellence South West (CESW), charged with driving the change agenda in construction within the South West.

The conference and exhibition brought together a range of offsite technology supply chain specialists and industry leaders to discuss the uptake of offsite construction in the South West.

On a gloriously sunny day, the inspiring full-day event attracted around 120 delegates predominantly from across the construction supply chain of South West UK : ranging from product manufacturers, including providers of offsite solutions and products, architects and engineers, contractors and client organisations, including several public-sector organisations. 

The event focussed on offsite technology options, regional offsite supply chain resources and opportunities and project case studies.

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Photo Credit : AEC Collaboration Photo Credit : AEC Collaboration

Headline Sponsors were METSEC and NHBC and the Lunch Sponsor was BLP. The CIOB, ICE and MPBA were the events' three Industry Partners. 16 exhibitors supported the event.

Event Introduction


Andrew Carpenter : Constructing Excellence South West #ExploreOffsite

Photo Credit : Taking Pictures Photography & Video for Explore Offsite

After a welcome to the event by Andrew Carpenter, an introduction to the current aims of CESW was given by Chair, Emma Odmundsen, before Andrew elaborated on the wider remit of CESW of championing collaborative working across the regional industry and supply chain.

Andrew said that the emphasis now is quality. He believes we are at a "turning point in the industry¨ going on to say that the “skills issue is vital" and further points to a need for collaborative working 

He outlined the CESW Regional Club and thought leadership Regional Forum organisation and leadership and said that the region’s demonstration projects show the value of using collaborative principles. He went on to set out what he perceives as critical success factors for collaborative working in construction before going on to explained the reasoning behind for collaboration between CESW to form the South West Offsite Hub with Explore Offsite.

South West Offsite Hub Launch

He then announced the launch of the Explore Offsite SW with a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Constructing Excellence South West and Explore Offsite.


Emma Odmundsen, Chair - Constructing Excellence South West & Darren Richards, Cogent Consulting for Explore Offsite

Photo Credit : Taking Pictures Photography & Video for Explore Offsite

The 2107 Explore Offsite South West conference presentation sessions then got underway.

There were two morning presentation sessions either side of a refreshment and networking break. Each ended with a Q&A panel session. After an address by one of the Headline Sponsors, voestalpine METSEC, they were followed by a lunch and networking break, a third afternoon presentation session, the event summary and close.

1st Presentation Session

The first presentation ¨Powered Up to Deliver Accommodation at Hinkley Point C” was given by Peter Redshaw and Ian Russell of Premier Modular. Peter outlined their production, values and cultures (including quality) before handing over to Ian who talked about how they are delivering offsite manufactured accommodation at Hinkley Point C and countering the logistical and weather-related challenges it can brings.

Nick Tune of CoBuilder then gave the second presentation, "Delivering the digital O&M with BIM". He outlined the vast range of data present within the construction supply chain and urged the industry to collect data throughout the design and construction process and not just on completion. He also said it’s time to ‘set the data free’ and that the use of structured data sheets and asset tagging is required to enable cost savings.

2nd Presentation Session

In the third presentation “Drivers and offsite technology developments in the residential sector¨, Darren Richards, Cogent Consulting presented the industry context surrounding offsite and statistics to show how it is more productive than traditional construction, revealing that it accounts for 9% of the industry today. He said that what is needed to improve it further is a change in procurement strategy that allows the whole supply chain to be engaged.

Jon Sawyer, Igloo said in the fourth presentation, ¨Custom build and the opportunities of the offsite housing sector¨ that there was a need to improve the offsite market to meet custom build demand as 50% in the UK would like to live in homes they have designed. He said that at Igloo they have created trios of designers, contractors and offsite manufacturers for housing projects.

In the fifth presentation, ¨New Housing Supply – the Need for new models of delivery¨, John Skivington, LHC procurement outlined the scope of offsite for small site projects and build to rent schemes and explored the need for new models of delivery for new housing supply.

Wayne Morgan, F1 Modular in a sixth presentation, “Offsite housing technology to service UK housing framework requirements”, outlined the multiple parameters that F2 Modular adhere to and explained their “smarter-quicker-faster” philosophy.

3rd Presentation Session

In a seventh presentation, “Getting your hotel ‘ship-shape’ – container volumetric,” John Colvin, Stride Treglown, explained the nature of volumetric self-supporting hotel design and presented other examples of prefabricated hotel projects, revealing the architectural variety possible in them and exciting potential of LEGO-like modular offsite construction.

In the eighth presentation, “A Light Gauge Steel Frame (LGSF) perspective for the Retirement living sector”, David Ellison, SIGMAT & PAW Structures Ltd said they were raising awareness of why Light Gauge Steel Frames should and can be used. He said their use is 50% quicker than traditional building methods.

Roly Ward, Offsite Solutions gave the ninth presentation, “How to specify bathroom pods to drive construction efficiency” and explained how panellised systems open up a new market for higher quality products (such as the build-to-rent market) and urged those choosing a bathroom pod to visit factories and talk other customers about their experience.

In the final presentation of the conference, “The Imperative for Offsite”, Andrew Dobbs, Willmott Dixon showed how the construction industry could learn from the automotive industry and be inspired by its environmental transformation. He said that offsite construction allows us to design, construct and operate better, that the problem many clients have is the low bar in terms of expectations of standards and quality…the time has come to move on.

Darren Richards, Cogent Consulting, closed the conference with an event summary and suggested the future of offsite lies more than with BIM, with Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).

For further insight into the conference and exhibition proceedings, please see the snapshot below.


Mary Bon : AEC Collaboration

Photo Credit : Taking Pictures Photography & Video for Explore Offsite

AEC Collaboration was delighted to report from this event on behalf of CESW. 

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