The Construction Supports WRAP’s Off Site Construction Report

Following a report issued earlier this month by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) regarding off site construction (OSC), The Construction today announced it was in full support of the potential cost and environmental benefits to the building industry.

Kenilworth, United Kingdom, December 01, 2007 --( WRAP commissioned a series of case studies to assess which methods of off site construction could potentially reduce the most amount of on site waste. The government has set a target of reducing landfill waste by half by 2012 and the construction industry is a major contributor to this. As a result the report could provide answers for contractors when considering how to reduce on site waste. It also might provide alternative solutions for them to meet the code for sustainable homes or site waste management plans which both focus on sustainability.

Case studies were undertaken to create the report and involved four major companies in the industry; Yorkon, Bison, Stewart Milne and Framing Solutions. The study revealed that from 40 to 90 percent of site waste could be reduced by using various off site construction methods.

Firstly volumetric construction was found to reduce site waste produced by traditional methods by 90 percent. Volumetric construction involves the construction of units in a controlled factory environment. The units can be shipped to site in basic format or with internal and external wall finishes completed. This method of construction reduces the likelihood of errors or snagging which can produce site waste.

Secondly the use of light steel frame structures was found to potentially reduce waste from between 40 and 70 percent. The manufacturing process along with savings in terms of how complex the foundation or substructure designs need to be in order to support the frames.

The use of precast concrete was also found to significantly reduce waste by up to 50 percent. Much of the saving comes through minimising errors at the design stage before construction, rather than on site if using traditional methods.

Volumetric pods are now becoming widespread options for the construction industry. Complete rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms are shipped with the site waste impact only being the polythene sheet in which it comes.

Finally timber frames which can be used for the inner structural layer of the exterior wall can reduce waste by 20 to 40 percent. Again the timber is manufactured in a controlled environment and the need for additional plant and materials on site is reduced.

Some fear that using off site construction may reduce creativity of design in the construction of both private and commercial, but David Johnson, Director and General Manager of Yorkon said “Our aim is to embrace and celebrate off site construction and demonstrate that modular buildings do not have to conform to the conventional… can be delivered on time, on budget and with less impact on the environment.”

Richard Simmons, Managing Director at The Construction Centre said “The challenge for OSC is that it continually accommodates ways to allow for flexible design so we get all the benefits of efficiency in production and minimal site waste without having to endure the monotony of the 60’s and 70’s block style building. What we need to do is cut on site waste without building rubbish to look at. For example at the top end of this would be the Huf Haus which is a beacon of great design built in an eco friendly way.”

With waste reduction high on the construction industry’s agenda The Construction Centre stated that it was important for contractors and developers to consider the waste impact of a project throughout the supply chain not just on site, in order to make informed decisions about what OSC to use and implement.

More information can be found at

The Construction Centre
Angela Gallacher
01926 865825