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13 Apr, 18 / post / Modular
Explore Offsite

This week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Explore Offsite Housing event at Birmingham NEC.

Explore Offsite Housing

A great event to see the latest strategies in the building industry to improve speed and quality in predominantly new build property.

Looking at the future is a strong part of what we do at Cityzen, so understanding where the industry is going helps ensure the sustainability of our company.

At Cityzen we have been looking at and delivering modular buildings as well as the more traditional site based designs since we started the practice.

Personally I started on a drawing board, then learnt CAD (my Boss at the time said it’ll never take off). Now we have Revit and BIM capabilities, we have the ability to produce 3D models, VR walkthroughs and we are working with Brighton University on a project which includes Augmented Reality, Circular Economy and Product Reuse in a build we are creating with them. You could say I like to embrace the new, but what of our industry?

At the talks, a lot was discussed around the custom house area where you configure your building within a set of pre-defined criteria dependent upon your budget, and your needs, essentially from a kit of parts, not dissimilar to a car configuration system.

Does it detract from the Architectural design? In some ways yes, but developers will always try to minimise the number of different buildings on an estate as repetition and volume is where the profit is. Great for housing estates, not perfect for one off houses you may think, but not impossible and there are companies out there who can do this really well check out Urbansplash’s ‘House’ I think they have done a really good job to make their building product a interesting and flexible space

The talks drove home that offsite and modular construction are drivers for change and there are so many factors at play, the UK construction industry has had a call from the government to build 250,000 new houses every year since the early 2000’s but in that period the sector has fallen woefully short of this often dipping down to 100,000 so something has to change. The only way to build faster is to industrialise it, put the building in a factory then deliver it pre-built. You can improve the quality, reduce waste, reduce site risks, reduce disturbance during the build and still have a great product.

Local and small builders will have to take on board new ways of working and new ways of thinking, AI, the Internet of things, Drones and 3D scanning are all available now and the whole industry is finding its way through it, yet we still have wet trades on site, noise from manual building methods,  H&S risks, multiple deliveries, which cause problems for neighbours. Will the small builder be displaced in the future? Maybe but the landscape will change as technology moves on.

Our goal is to always look forward and keep learning and pushing appropriate, cleaner and safer methods of construction within our designs.

‘How else are we going to get to the moon?’


#Architecture #Modular #Offsite #Design #CDM #Sustainable #volumetric #Brighton #Sussex #London

About the author
john smith
Architectural Technologist, Building Services Engineer Director at Cityzen & Lecturer at Brighton University
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