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Understanding Offsite Construction: The Role of BIM in Offsite Construction


Back in 2016, when the 'Farmer Review of the UK Construction Labour Model: Modernise or Die' was published, it was expected to deal with ways to encourage all levels of labour and skills back into the construction industry. Farmer had already identified the mass exodus from the industry during 'the Great Recession', circa 2008 to 2015. While the purpose of the report was to investigate the labour model, it went further and proposed a host of actions intended to safeguard the future of the industry.


Farmer concluded that construction firms needed to better align themselves with the businesses that hire them and many of his recommended actions, or solutions, are designed with that in mind. One of the key recommendations was that Government ought to promote the use of pre-manufactured solutions in the housing sector, like modular and volumetric offsite building technologies. It is now accepted that emerging technologies and a new approach to the traditional building process is needed to tackle the construction industry's productivity problems and offsite manufacturing is leading the charge.


In April 2018, the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology launched a new 'Inquiry' into offsite manufacturing for construction. One the questions raised by the committee was:

'What factors are likely to influence clients, architects, design engineers, contractors and the supply chain to choose or not to choose offsite manufacturing?'

Factors not to choose offsite might be linked to a lack of understanding about the cost (see Understanding Offsite Construction: The Cost Debate) or inability to access the level of technical expertise and project experience that successful, on-target project delivery demands (see Understanding Offsite Construction: Identifying Expertise in Emerging Technologies).

"It is important to understand that BIM facilitates the offsite construction design process, thereby enhancing productivity and contributing to overall project efficiencies." Declan Wallace, CEO Evolusion Innovation

As Building Information Modelling (BIM) is an intelligent, digital, 3D modelling process that improves the planning, design and construction of buildings, the benefits of this digital approach have a particular impact in offsite construction. It provides construction professionals with the necessary insights and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure.


The Farmer Review focused on the potential of offsite manufacturing for construction and, separately, the impact of BIM on traditional construction methods; however, more than a decade of experience across €2 billion worth of projects tells us that the benefits of BIM on offsite construction far exceed those on traditional builds.


In fact, BIM might actually have a role to play in overcoming barriers to widespread adoption of emerging offsite construction technologies


About Evolusion Innovation: The team at Evolusion Innovation has been involved in over €2 billion worth of offsite construction projects across Ireland, the UK and Europe over the past 15 years. View our current career opportunities at www.EvolusionInnovation.com

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