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Prefabs are sprouting up all over

DEVELOPERS and contractors have predicted the use of prefabricated components on site will accelerate rapidly this year as the skills crisis deepens and clients demand defectfree products.

London-based developer Development Securities said off-site manufacturing was beginning to have a benefit on the industry as firms try to combat the labour shortage.

Ray Pearse, managing director of Development Securities' projects division, said: 'It's definitely becoming more important on projects as there is now a limited capacity in the subcontractor market and firms see the benefits in terms of delivering on time and to cost by taking uncertainty out of the process.

'On the Paddington Central project nearly all of the distribution pipe network was prefabricated and it was very successful.'

Consultant Monk Dunstone Associates said today's more sophisticated prefabrication process is becoming commonplace on education and hotel projects.

Chairman Charles Johnston said: 'We need to move towards achieving a critical mass in the industry.

'I would like to see more government incentives such as tax breaks.'