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Contractors help launch supply chain school for offsite construction

Contractors and industry bodies have launched a new Offsite Management School, following the model of the established Supply Chain Sustainability School.

The new initiative has initially been backed by four contractors, Skanska, Carillion, Laing O’Rourke and Costain, with Siemens as manufacturing partner.

Speaking at the launch of the school, Skanska UK chief financial officer and executive vice-president Roger Bayliss said that his firm approached delivery partner Action Sustainability to set up an offsite school following the success of the Sustainability School.

The “industrialisation” of construction at Skanska UK had become a “core strategic theme” of its 2020 business plan, added Mr Bayliss.

The Offsite Management School will provide an online, interactive learning platform that acts in the same way as the Supply Chain Sustainability School, with e-learning modules and face-to-face workshops available.

The school will be free at the point of access for all subcontractors and suppliers that wish to join.

Contractors and other partners to the scheme are contributing funding and resources, with the government committing £180,000 of funding through the UK Commission for Employment and Schools, and contractors committing money, time and mentoring in offsite techniques.

Partners

  • Action Sustainability
  • BRE
  • Build Offsite
  • Carillion
  • CITB
  • Costain
  • Exelin
  • Laing O’Rourke
  • Siemens
  • Skanska
  • Total Flow
  • United Utilities

 

The school is expected to become self-sustaining, with the government’s chief construction advisor Peter Hansford telling Construction News that government funding would not be necessary in the future, with the “industry leading itself” on the issue.

Action Sustainability director Shaun McCarthy told Construction News that the model for the school could be further replicated into other areas.

He said: “Could we have a school for health and safety?

“We’ve got a vehicle here for reaching out to smaller businesses, so potentially we could do something in that space.

“If we can find the resources to do it, why not?”

The goals of Construction 2025 include cutting CO2 emissions on building projects by 50 per cent less CO2 emissions; delivering them in half the time; and slashing lifetime build and operating costs by 33 per cent.

Mr Hansford said: “The school will enable us to work better together, driving use of industrialised processes and delivery on a just-in-time basis.

“Through offsite manufacturing we can contribute to the efficiencies and improved ways of working that we need across the industry to deliver on the targets set in the Construction 2025 strategy.”

He added: “We’ve got to develop our skills in production-based techniques, which is one thing this industry has been slow to do.

“Why do this now? Because it’s urgent.”

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