In the ever challenging landscape across the construction industry, the Offsite Alliance has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to innovation, collaboration, and expansion in the past year. The Alliance welcomed 33 new members and forged an additional 10 strategic partnerships, underscoring its commitment to fostering a robust network. However, we must acknowledge the broader challenges that have impacted the construction industry throughout the year, with the offsite sector experiencing its share of difficulties. We are sad to see any failures.
Despite these hurdles, the Offsite Alliance remains steadfast in its mission, navigating the challenges collectively and contributing to the resilience and transformative change of the construction sector as a whole.
So what have we been up to in 2023 or what haven’t we been up to would be an easier question to answer. We have branched out from just covering the residential sector and are delighted to have formed relationships across the wider government departments. It has been a privilege to speak alongside and get to know the dedicated leaders driving change across the Infrastructure Projects Authority, the Department for Education and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
PROJECTS, PROJECTS AND MORE PROJECTS
2023 has been a super exciting year helping out with targeted projects that will drive the industry forward. Firstly we were delighted to have been asked by Akerlof and the project team to help as industry engagement partner on the Digital Kit of Parts.
Commissioned by the UK Government's Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities (DLUHC), the Offsite Alliance, in collaboration with Akerlof, HLM, and Buro Happold, dedicated the past year to researching and developing an open-source digital kit of parts. This initiative aims to catalyse the adoption of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) by addressing challenges related to component interchangeability and market scalability. Through extensive market research and stakeholder engagement, the team identified key barriers and proposed targeted mitigation strategies at policy, programmatic, and organisational levels. The result is a curated digital kit of parts, complete with standardized data structures and templates, fostering interoperability throughout the industry.
With the help of the Offsite Alliance, we saw a huge 350 people across the industry take part in this important piece of work.
Bridging skills gaps
In partnership with MTC, MOBIE, and Dynamic Knowledge, the Offsite Alliance have now successfully completed a workforce foresighting cycle funded by Innovate UK. This initiative, focused on the "Adoption of Manufacturing-Based Production in the Construction Industry," addresses the industry's skills gap. The outcome will be a comprehensive report featuring recommendations to shape future training and industry standards, contributing to the productivity, sustainability, and safety objectives outlined in national strategic plans. Our report is due at the end of January and from there we will host a series of workshops to test the outcomes with industry.
From the outset one of the main aims of the Offsite Alliance was to create new industry benchmarks and standards, so we are very proud in our involvement on two steering committees dedicated to establishing fresh standards for Offsite construction. Intriguingly, our engagement has unveiled a significant gap – the scarcity of the words panelised and modular, relating to construction in BSI standards. This revelation just goes to highlight the importance of the need for new standards and our contribution as we actively participate, ensuring a robust framework for the industry's future growth and innovation.
NETWORKING: BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS
We have been networking and developing relationships across the industry. Led by the dynamic Anna, the Offsite Alliance organised eight drinks receptions, bringing together over 1000 industry colleagues and clients. These laid-back and informal events proved to be invaluable for building relationships and fostering positive outcomes. Remember people buy from people, not businesses!
So we encourage all those who have not attended to mark their calendars for next year's gatherings. All networking opportunities can be found on our website at www.offsitealliance.org
EVENTS GALORE: A YEAR OF SUCCESS AND EDUCATION
The Offsite Alliance actively participated in a whopping 52 events over the past year, including partnership events, online forums, workshops, and networking sessions. Noteworthy highlights include invitations to take part in partner events, such as the TIPLive workshop focused on embedding value-based decision-making across the wider industry. Tata Steel’s construction summit held at BRE was also a huge highlight.
The UKCW events in London and Birmingham stood out as major successes, with the Offsite Alliance Hub receiving praises for being the busiest and earning the highest content ratings. Notably, the Birmingham event featured exciting workshops, including the Future Homes Hackathon, where children and teenagers collaborated to envision sustainable homes for the future. Another workshop organised by the wonderful Trudi Sully from Mott MacDonald and Emily King gathered a team of expert leaders to collaborate in a workshop to discuss the now. How do we stabilise the industry in 2024. The result helpfully collated and written by Dan Gurella from Liz Male Consulting will be a tips and tricks guide for businesses to survive and thrive. The guide will be available for all to download from our website at the end of January.
Huge thank you to all of our wonderful speakers.
A special acknowledgment goes to this year's sponsors, including Henry Riley, Autodesk, Metrotile, and Ibstock Futures, whose contributions were instrumental in making all the events a resounding success.
Please get in touch if you would like to sponsor any events in 2024.
As we step into 2024, the Offsite Alliance is gearing up for a transformative year marked by tangible outcomes. Our seven strategic workstreams led by our members, have set ambitious targets, totalling 24 outcomes to be delivered over the next couple of years. These outcomes encompass a spectrum of initiatives, ranging from quick wins that promise immediate change to long-term actions that will shape the industry over time. Huge thank you to all who have contributed and continue to help us drive the change. We are excited that the first deliverables of these work streams will be available in Q1 2024
Over 80 members of our design group have played an integral part in the creation of a knowledge transfer hub, designed to assist clients, local authorities, and housing associations in navigating the journey towards sustainable offsite homes. We anticipate the launch in June 2024.
The technical group has been working hard to deliver guidance documents to help ensure quality and standards across the sector. They have created a database of fire test data and in 2024 are looking into creating robust details that will be open sourced.
Our skills and Competency workstream has delivered workshops to a further 32 FE colleges, developers and industry professionals. This combined with the Foresighting Cycle is looking like a busy year ahead for our dedicated group.
Our commitment to fostering growth within the industry is evident in our continued efforts to expand our membership base and forge strong relationships. This initiative aims to provide our members with a supportive network, enabling their businesses to not only weather challenges but also to thrive and prosper. As such we are continuing to expand our strategic partnerships and give a big shout out to our new partner MMC Ireland.
Beyond the housing sector, we are actively cultivating relationships with government clients, contractors and private sector clients, aiming to help them in their journey to delivering better outcomes through the use of offsite construction across diverse programs of work. As the Offsite Alliance reflects on the achievements of the past year, it stands poised for continued growth, innovation, and positive impact on the construction industry for 2024.
Once again we can't do this without all of your support, huge thank you and best wishes for 2024.
If you are not yet a member, there's one question to ask yourself: What are you waiting for? Join us now get involved and be a part of a transformative journey, where innovation, collaboration, and growth are not just goals; they're our daily reality.