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Offsite construction to play integral role

Posted: March 7, 2017

It has been widely reported that two of the largest growth sectors in the coming years will be Affordable/Social Housing and Student Accommodation, to which Offsite Construction will play an integral role in assisting with delivering such projects on time and within budget.

Steve Hardy, Sidey’s Joint Managing Director commented – “It might seem an odd thing to say that delivery on time and within budget has never been more important than it is now – these things should be a given – but with the sector undertaking the biggest sustained programme of student accommodation building ever the joint pressures of cost and delivery predictability are at an all-time high”.

“Ultimately term times dictate when buildings need to be ready, and failure to deliver on time can have catastrophic consequences for the client, the students and the supply chain; projects can often slip back a full year if they cannot be guaranteed to be delivered in time, and for clients the revenue losses can significantly disrupt their business plans and their ability to make suitable accommodation available for their students”.

“With the traditional construction sector generally reported to be delivering projects on time at a rate lower than 50%, and with material costs and material availability difficult to predict – in addition to well documented skills and labour shortages – it is little wonder that the student accommodation sector has embraced offsite manufacturing as the ideal choice to ensure its needs are met”.

“The cost and delivery predictability that offsite construction offers is far more assured, and buildings developed through supply chain collaboration and complementary specification offer a guarantee of performance ‘as built’ and not just ‘as designed’ for duration of their lifetime”.

“With a particular understanding of the needs of the student population in terms of large areas of glass to provide natural light, safety, security and pleasing aesthetics, Sidey’s student accommodation window and door range and KitFix® system is ideal for those looking to design and build new accommodation using offsite construction”.

“As a company we have been a significant part of the supply chain for many offsite manufactured developments. Working collaboratively with design teams, offsite panel manufacturers and major constructors we have contributed to the delivery on time and within budget of some of the most outstanding student accommodation developments in the UK”.


“Equally, the implications for the Social Housing sector are as pronounced; with the pressure on them to be the providers of much of the housing for the affordable market, once again an inability to deliver on time has a crippling effect on provision. It is the Social Housing Sector who have funds to build, and if legislation were to be changed in the future then their ability to build even more would be further increased”.

“The solution once again to these problems has to lie in the growth of offsite construction. Costs are now no more than when building through standard construction methods, but the two huge pluses are the delivery of better buildings by design, and delivery on time”.

“There is a growing lobby of government agencies, procurement organisations, and individual housing associations all reviewing whether they should directly invest into, or partner with offsite manufacturing factories; they are recognising that the housing crisis which the country faces is being exacerbated by a basic failure in the construction sector – an inability to deliver on time”.

“Offsite is well and truly proven as a construction option and it is also the way forward for the Social Housing sector wanting to build better quality homes; cost effectively, and most importantly sure to be delivered on time”.

Case Study

Longcross Construction

Housing Type
Student Accommodation

Project Size
66 Student Accommodation Flats

The site for this particular project was was extremely tight so having as much completed offsite brought multiple benefits including fewer deliveries to site, wind and watertight structures earlier to allow follow-on trades to start sooner & increased security of the structure all resulting in less time on site and lower costs. Sidey was also able to deliver
significant cost saving for both contractor and client through value engineering the fenestration package, including specified materials, without compromising on the employers requirements.

All windows were installed offsite in a light gauge steel panel system using Sidey’s unique KitFix® System in under 3-minutes per window frame. The completed panels were stacked and banded as normal with the panels craned into place with the windows fully contained within the panel due to the unique sliding action of the KitFix® bracket system.
Air tightness was achieved by using Sidey’s integrated airtightness membrane pre-fitted in our factory.

All glass was fully protected from scratches by Sidey’s unique Scratchguard™ glass protection system.

Coordinating between main contractor, offsite manufacturer and architect was key to enabling the bulk of the fenestration to be installed offsite successfully. The tight brown field gap site lent itself perfectly to factory fitted windows with integrated air tightness