This offsite construction centre at Stewart Milne Timber Systems’ facility in Witney intends to act as a timber systems training centre for offsite construction workers fabricating modular building components.
The project is part of a wider national initiative, run by the UK Commission for Employment & Skills, which is looking at ways to tackle skills shortages in offsite construction.
Stewart Dalgarno, director of product development at Stewart Milne Group said: “The UK’s shortage of housing is well-documented, but solving a challenging problem is made even harder by a persistent and chronic lack of skilled labour. Currently there are not enough people to build the UK’s shortfall of homes.
“Realigning the industry around offsite construction with timber systems means the UK will be less constrained and less dependent on current trades skills.
“The project is the beginning of an answer to this triple threat to the country’s housing ambitions, and having experts from industry and academia working together means we are in a strong position to deliver something meaningful for the good of the whole industry and the UK housing market.”
The two universities on board are Napier and Heriot-Watt. Dr Robert Hairstans, head of the centre for offsite construction and innovative structures at Napier University, said: “Offsite systems are more technically advanced due to the inherent quality assurance process of a factory environment and adoption of lean production principles. Bringing these advanced systems together on-site requires a new skill level. Stewart Milne Timber Systems’ investment in the process of upskilling is admirable, and the new centre of excellence being launched is a showcase of what can be achieved through collaboration.”