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Sun June 13 2021

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Workshops seek to boost offsite construction

2 May 19 Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart has launched the first of a series of workshops that seek to increase the use of offsite construction when building affordable housing.

Kevin Stewart launched the workshop
Kevin Stewart launched the workshop

The aim is to speed up construction, reduce costs and address skills and labour shortages.

The first of the series of workshops was launched at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre as part of Scottish Government initiative to maximising the value achieved through its Affordable Housing Supply Programme.

About 80% of housing in Scotland is currently built using timber frame, with only a small percentage using the more advanced forms of offsite construction.

The workshops are part of a wider partnership project to investigate increasing offsite construction in housing, particularly in the affordable sector. The collaboration between CSIC, the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise, which began in October 2018, aims to provide recommendations to the government and the affordable housing sector to help influence future policy.

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The project has been supported by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Offsite Solutions Scotland, Homes for Scotland, the Association of Local Authority Chief Housing Officers and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities via a steering panel, which has provided guidance.

Phase 1 of the project identified the challenges, issues and barriers that the affordable housing sector faces, and assessed the ability of the offsite industry to meet these challenges. The second phase examined the current and future capacity of the offsite industry through mapping existing companies, their capabilities and their development plans. Phases 1 and 2 have been led by teams from Edinburgh Napier University.

The workshops are part of Phase 3, which will see stakeholders working together to co-design and test possible solutions. The workshops, which are led by the Innovation School at the Glasgow School of Art, will bring together perspectives from across the affordable housing sector, from procurement to design and build and delivery. They will explore the challenges and opportunities around offsite, looking in detail at the areas of funding, procurement, culture, perceptions, design, performance, resources and skills.

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