What does offsite construction mean for the skills supply chain?
The central difference between offsite construction and traditional onsite construction is that many different components are individually manufactured offsite before being assembled together, compared to being fully manufactured and built onsite. With this in mind, what does this mean for the skills supply chain?
What skills remain the same for both onsite and offsite construction?
Although there will be many areas of the construction process that will be vastly different for an offsite construction project, there are some skills that remain the same and are necessary for the completion of the project. These skills include foundation work and implementing drainage features, both of which must be completed onsite in preparation for the offsite-manufactured elements to build upon.
Less time onsite for specialised trades
Offsite construction will impact specialised trades, who will no longer need to spend as much time onsite, for example electrical and mechanical trades. This is because although they are still required, the overall finishing period will be notably shorter due to the amount of factory automation that can take place in the earlier offsite stages.
Skills used in turn
With the adoption of offsite construction, it is likely that projects will begin to be delivered in a piecemeal fashion, meaning that skills will be used in a systematic way. For example, different skilled-based stages can be completed in a supervised way and quality checked before the next stage begins.
Greater mechanisation and varied skills
The move towards offsite construction is not predicted to reduce the demand for expert skills, but instead include more automated and mechanised techniques that required skilled professionals to adapt their skills to work with new materials and methods. Experts with experience with multiple skills will become more popular, whilst there may be an increased demand for lifting and cranage for transportation to the site, and to different locations within the building site.
Flexible offsite building solutions
Offsite building solutions will see an increased requirement for flexibility and adaptation for skilled workers, with a greater need for installation skills rather than actual construction, which takes place offsite. This doesn’t mean deskilling but simply that workers may be required to have a broader knowledge and wealth of skills to work to complete new and innovative offsite construction projects.
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