Former UK chief scientific advisor and chair of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, Sir David King has backed modern methods of construction and warned that Britain must solve its housing crisis without putting the climate at risk.
With government targets of 300,000 houses to build a year, and a current shortfall of 100,000, the Offsite Alliance has challenged the industry to put offsite manufacture at the heart of their solutions or risk blowing carbon budgets.
At the inaugural Offsite Alliance roundtable hosted at the 2021 UK Construction Week, the panel discussed how offsite construction can achieve delivery in approximately 50% less time than traditional delivery with zero waste to landfill as components are manufactured in facilities, and less travel to and from site for workers with less deliveries required.
Opening the discussion, King said: “Within the next five years we must make critical decisions and take bold steps to safeguard our planet for future generations. At the same time this country is clearly in an acute housing crisis, so the question is how can we solve that crisis without risking further damage to our climate?
“Simply put, we have no carbon budget remaining. We must find innovative solutions that put climate at the heart of their thinking whether that be building houses or driving cars. What we do now will determine the future not just of this country but of our planet.”
During the event the panel also considered how the industry can urgently address the current skills gap to ensure that offsite can provide solutions at scale.
Gaynor Tennant, co-founder and chair of the Offsite Alliance, said: “Often the construction industry is one paralysed by fear, different is scary when margins are so tight. But the challenge we face is clear, how can we build at the rate required without causing irreparable damage to our planet? What is clear is that traditional building methods simply cannot meet that brief and so offsite manufacture must be at the heart of the government industry response.”
The roundtable was the first of its kind held by The Offsite Alliance and hosted as part of this year’s UK Construction Week held at the NEC, Birmingham.