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Sun November 17 2019

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Pod specialist bucks the trend

10 Sep Bathroom pod manufacturer Offsite Solutions reports that it has booked £32m of orders for more than 9,500 units in the last six months.

Bathrooms on the production line
Bathrooms on the production line

The company said that its order book had seen “a significant increase” on the same period last year, bucking the trend for both manufacturing and construction in the UK.

Student accommodation represents the largest market for bathroom pods so far this year but Offsite Solutions has orders for both steel-framed and GRP composite bathroom pods and across a range of sectors – build-to-rent, apartments for market sale, hotels and retirement living. These projects will be delivered through to 2020.

The latest contracts include more than 500 pods for student accommodation developer Urbanest at Vine Street in London which is under construction by Balfour Beatty, and 778 steel-framed pods for Henry Construction in Croydon – a build-to-rent scheme for Hub. Among the GRP pod contracts is a 380-bathroom student project for Create Construction in Liverpool, designed by Falconer Chester for developer Niveda.

Pods waiting for delivery outside the busy factory in Somerset
Pods waiting for delivery outside the busy factory in Somerset

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Offsite Solutions managing director James Stephens said: “We have continued to grow the business year-on-year and the outlook remains buoyant with such a strong forward order book. The volume of UK projects using bathroom pods continues to increase, as this approach to offsite manufacturing has become a more standard method of procurement, particularly in sectors such as build-to-rent.”

He also sees benefits for his business in the UK’s chaotic withdrawal from the European Union. “There is still great uncertainty around Brexit, but the use of bathroom pods gives contractors and developers a much higher degree of certainty, as costs can be fixed at an earlier point in the construction procurement cycle. A UK manufacturer will also minimise any risk of currency fluctuations,” he said.

He concluded: “Brexit will continue to reduce the amount of site-based labour available, so by moving bathroom construction into a factory environment, the risk of inflationary increases from labour and materials is significantly reduced. Our customers also benefit from a better engineered, higher quality product. The UK is becoming a genuine market leader in this sector of manufacturing.”

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