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Mace boss: Offsite report puts ‘people on the hook’

Mace chief executive Mark Reynolds has welcomed recommendations from the House of Lords’ science and technology committee on offsite construction, suggesting they can be a catalyst for its adoption.

Speaking to Construction News at its launch yesterday, Mr Reynolds said the Lords’ report put industry leaders “on the hook” and that this could drive greater offsite uptake.

The committee’s report, Offsite Manufacture for Construction: Building for Change, called on the government to do more to drive adoption of offsite technology.

It suggested greater industry collaboration was needed for offsite to gain traction, and that the technology could help address labour issues in the sector.

“It’s a very positive report, I’m pleased to see it’s got a broad range of recommendations,” Mr Reynolds told CN.

“I think the recommendations are pretty good around skills, the supply chain [and] how the government can help around R&D tax credits.”

The Mace boss cited the role of the Construction Leadership Council in relation to the Lords’ recommendations.

“I also like that they have put a number of people on the hook,” he said.

“They have been clear about how the Construction Leadership Council can help, I’m on the board of that, so I think we can take that as a catalyst to drive some of the change forward.

“What we need is the top 50 consultants and contractors to really get behind this with the top 20 clients to really drive this forward. The trade associations can help a lot and the CITB too.”

In the Autumn Budget the government announced that public contracts will adopt a presumption in favour of offsite.

This week’s report recommends that the government publish explanations on those occasions when it decides not to follow this policy.

One the report’s authors Lord Fox told CN this was a crucial area in which the government could make a difference.

“I think that government believes [offsite] to be a way forward,” he said, adding that their report aimed to provide “a few ways that they can make this happen”.

“They can take all of the advice or some of it, but what they really need to think about is if they really do have a presumption in favour of this, how are we going to make this presumption work?

“This isn’t telling bricklayers they have to change; this is telling government that they have to modify the way in which they go about working with the industry, in order to create the environment in which beneficial change can happen.

“It’s not for us to tell the bricklayers or the companies that employ them that they have to change.” 

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