Offsite Solutions, the UK’s leading bathroom pod manufacturer, has been awarded the first contract for its new enhanced and floorless GRP pods developed for the build-to-rent sector – a £1.6m project for ISG in Cardiff.

Offsite Solutions will manufacture over 400 bathroom and shower pods for Cardiff Interchange – an £89m flagship, mixed-use construction project for developer Rightacres Property. The scheme is designed by Holder Mathias Architects.




The bathrooms and shower rooms for 318 apartments for the private rental sector will be manufactured and fitted out offsite and installed on each floor as the building structure rises. This solution will reduce the build programme and the number of trades required on site and will enhance quality.

A UK industry first, Offsite Solutions’ new floorless GRP pods allow the bathrooms to be installed directly onto the floor slab to achieve continuous level floors throughout each apartment whilst minimising floor build up for each storey. This innovation in pod technology is ideal for build-to-rent schemes.

The enhanced GRP pods are also designed to have a strong aesthetic to appeal to prospective tenants. At Cardiff Interchange, the pods will have a tile-effect finish to the bath and shower areas, an inset feature wall with natural grey porcelain tiles and a recess above the bath with a coloured back panel.

Other design details for this project include a flush mirror-fronted cabinet which runs the full width of the bathrooms, wall-mounted toilet and hand basin, grey coloured vanity top, heated ladder towel rail, over-bath shower, and feature panels behind the toilet and basin finished in arctic grey. The shower and bath pods have shower trays and baths pre-installed and both have rain head and handheld showers.

Commenting on the specification of bathroom pods for this scheme, Jason Hyett, Director of developers Rightacres Property, said, “We needed little persuading of the advantages of applying offsite construction and a manufacturing process for the bathrooms on this development. The floorless option is an innovative solution to ensuring continuous level floors throughout the apartments. From our initial factory visit, we were impressed with the way Offsite Solutions approached the design process and their flexibility to accommodate our precise requirements at every stage. The first pods look great and we look forward to all the units being delivered to site later this year.”

Simon Pritchard, Senior Design Manager at ISG said, “Where there is a high degree of repetition in the bathroom layouts, pods are the ideal solution. The use of offsite construction reduces the number of fit-out trades on site and gives us the benefit of a much faster build programme. We have used Offsite Solutions’ pods on other projects and have found the quality of bathroom manufacture in a factory is consistently improved.”

James Stephens, Managing Director of Offsite Solutions, said, “We have had a lot of interest from build-to-rent developers in our new enhanced GRP bathroom pods. We have estimated that GRP pods can reduce maintenance costs by over 50 per cent compared to traditionally built bathrooms. The capital costs are around 15 to 20 per cent less than steel-framed bathroom pods. The figures make these new pods a very compelling proposition for developers in the private rental sector.”

All Offsite Solutions’ GRP bathroom pods have a panelised construction which is unique in the UK. This creates vertical walls and 90° corners to allow easier integration and the use of standard door sets to avoid further work on site. This design also improves aesthetics by avoiding tapered walls which you have with pods created from single GRP moulds.

Offsite Solutions offers the UK’s largest range of pods to suit many different building types and applications. Options include steel-framed bathroom pods with porcelain-tiled finishes for high-end apartments, PRS, student residences and hotels; robust and low maintenance GRP composite shower pods for student accommodation, build-to-rent, care homes, social housing and healthcare; hybrid pods for specialist projects, and award-winning demountable GRP pods for ease of installation in refurbishment schemes.

Offsite Solutions has also developed steel-framed utility pods for apartments or studios for build-to-rent or build-to-sell developments.


Offsite Solutions Website



Work has now commenced for a new modular housing development in Anfield, Liverpool.

The scheme is Your Housing Group’s first modular housing development and signals the start of using modern methods of construction to help meet the growing demand for quality, affordable homes.

We are building the homes on Rockfield Road, close to Liverpool Football Club’s famous ground.




The development, known as Rockfield Mews, will consist of seven two-bedroom homes for affordable rent. The modular homes will create quality and affordable housing in the heart of one of Liverpool’s most well-known areas and contribute to the significant investment already made to the area by the group.

The development has been designed by YHG in conjunction with modular housing specialist- Ilke Homes. Engie have been appointed to construct the development.

The homes will be built off-site in Ilke’s factory and then transported to the site and positioned using cranes. Engie are responsible for the preparation of the site infrastructure, foundations and external works associated. The development is due for completion in Autumn 2020. 

Brian Cronin, Group Chief Executive of Your Housing Group said:

“This new development is another step forward in the incredible regeneration of Anfield, and a new beginning for Your Housing Group in delivering homes using modular construction methods. The modular homes will enable us to deliver quality homes in less time and therefore at more affordable prices.”  


The development is being partly funded by Homes England. In May this year Homes England commissioned its own research study into modern methods of construction (MMC) to drive innovation in the construction industry.


Gabrielle Berring, Director of Loans at Homes England, said:

 “We are really pleased that Your Housing is making its first move into modular housing with Homes England’s support at this exciting development in Liverpool. It’s also good news that the modular homes are being built by ilke Homes, in which Homes England made a strategic investment as part of our commitment to accelerating the use of modern methods of construction.” 


Your Housing Group Website




Premier Modular, one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists, has appointed David Harris as Managing Director.

Premier Modular, one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists, has appointed David Harris as Managing Director. His appointment follows the retirement of Eugenio de Sa after more than 20 years in the business and who remains as Executive Chairman until the end of 2020.

With over 20 years’ experience in the offsite sector, David has been a Director of Premier since 2011 when he joined to lead its permanent offsite construction division. In 2018 he became Divisional Director with responsibility for Premier’s modular hire business.

One of David’s career highlights was leading negotiations to secure the £50 million contract for the provision of 38,000m2 of office and welfare accommodation for the Hinkley Point C project. This was awarded to Premier and is the company’s largest project to date, involving the offsite manufacture and installation of 900+ modules. The unions working on the nuclear power station site have since recognised the welfare accommodation as the best in Europe.

Commenting on the restructuring, David Harris, said:

“Eugenio is leaving a fantastic legacy. His leadership, commitment and passion for the business have made Premier the force it is today.”

“Our financial performance is one of the strongest in the offsite sector. We have achieved significant growth in the last eight years, taking Premier to a £65m turnover business. We have increased market share in our core sectors – commercial, industrial, education, and healthcare – and are diversifying into new markets such as residential. We are also expanding into new geographical areas, for example building on the success of our hire business in London to supply construction site accommodation to contractors across the UK.”

“Key to our success has been our extremely flexible approach. We offer a full range of design, offsite manufacturing, fitting out and construction services to both contractors and clients. We are also committed to innovation and are developing new building products for hire to meet evolving customer needs.”

“We have a clear vision and strategy for the next phase in our growth and have ambitious plans to increase turnover to £100m in three years, providing a healthy return for shareholders.”

Eugenio de Sa, said, “We are delighted that David is taking full responsibility for leading Premier and for the continued delivery of our strategic growth plan. This is a really exciting phase in the history of the business which is one of the longest established and most successful offsite specialists in the UK.”

“David’s appointment gives us fantastic continuity and he brings a wealth of industry and leadership experience to the role. He is supported by an outstanding management team.”

Premier provides interim modular buildings and bespoke offsite solutions to fulfil almost any application, site and design. It has manufactured buildings for more than 60 years from its head office and production centre in East Yorkshire, and is part of Waco International, a highly successful global industrial services business.

For further information call 0800 316 0888 or email

Work to breathe new life into brownfield land at Icknield Port Loop, close to the heart of Birmingham is being accelerated following a £4m investment by the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The funding paves the way for developers Urban Splash and Places for People to build a further 138 homes using cutting edge construction technology.

At least 20% of these homes will be affordable under the WMCA’s unique definition of affordability.

The WMCA, led by Mayor Andy Street, is committed to a brownfield-first approach to housing, which sees derelict industrial sites cleaned up while precious greenbelt land is protected.

Pioneering brownfield remediation

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “One of my key priorities since becoming Mayor has been to been build more homes to meet demand, whilst also protecting precious greenbelt land.

“Before the coronavirus outbreak we were building record numbers of homes, and doing so on old, derelict, industrial sites, thanks to our brownfield-first approach.

“Now housebuilding has an even more important role to play in the West Midlands. Not only do we still need to reach our target of 215,000 new homes by 2031 – protecting greenbelt land in the process – but we now need housebuilding and the wider construction sector to help re-boot our regional economy following the coronavirus pandemic.

“The government appears to be behind our plans, and last week wrote us a cheque for £84m to continue our pioneering brownfield remediation work.

“Icknield Port Loop is a prime example of what we are trying to achieve here in the West Midlands, and I am delighted to see this new waterside community come to life.”

Advanced Manufacturing in Construction

Components for many of the new homes at Port Loop, which will efficiently be part of a new 1,150 home waterside neighbourhood, are being built offsite in factory conditions using Advanced Manufacturing in Construction (AMC).

AMC allows entire building sections, complete with insulation, fitted plumbing, electrics and finishes to be manufactured off-site and installed more quickly and with less waste.

Last month, ten homes were craned in and assembled at Port Loop in just four days with social distancing in place.

Councillor Mike Bird, WMCA portfolio holder for housing and land and leader of Walsall Council, commented: “Having been awarded three Structural Timber Awards, a Sunday Times British Homes Award and the prestigious Housing Design Award, the quality of these new homes shows us just how good AMC can be.

“We’re proud that alongside design and construction excellence, we can offer 20% of the homes as affordable housing, under the WMCA’s own locally determined definition.

“What the project results in is a shining example of the sort of housing developments on derelict industrial land that will help us secure a green and inclusive economic recovery for the West Midlands.

“We are doing this through making homes more sustainable and affordable whilst also providing jobs, training courses and apprenticeships for local people to get the skills needed to work in the advanced manufacturing in construction sector.”

Mark Farmer, chair of the WMCA AMC advisory panel, added: “The announcement of this funding deal demonstrates the clear commitment that WMCA has towards not just delivering more high quality housing in the West Midlands but in driving forward its ambitious AMC agenda.

“Urban Splash are at the forefront of housing design and production innovation and through their MoU with WMCA both parties are now leading the way in modernising how we build new homes in this country.”

Port Loop development

The pioneering Port Loop development is being delivered by a joint venture partnership of Urban Splash and Places for People, alongside the landowners Canal & River Trust and Birmingham City Council.

Speaking on behalf of the joint venture partners, project director Adam Willets, commented: “Innovative and forward-thinking construction methods are helping us create a sustainable new community at Port Loop.

“We have been working alongside architects ShedKM and Glenn Howells to create a diverse housing offering, with typologies which have been designed with internal layouts that provide flexible space for residents.

“Using sustainable modular construction technology enables us to spend more time on developing quality inside and outside spaces for a growing city.”

When completed, Icknield Port Loop will include more than 1,000 homes over 43 acres and new spaces for walking and cycling along the Old Line canal.


Source: PBC Today


Construction journalist and civil engineer, Bruce Meechan gives his perspective on the challenges, and opportunities, presented by the pandemic disruption.


Many commentators as well as Government Ministers are using the phrase ‘new normal’ in reference to the way we will have to live, work and shop for years to come because of the continuing threat posed by Covid-19: the most globally lethal pandemic since the Spanish Flu claimed millions of lives in the aftermath of World War One.

For those of us who have spent our careers in construction, however, there is a justifiable sense of déjà vu regards the impacts of the virus. Yet again our industry has been at the economic epicentre of a recession that has shut sites, closed companies and cost countless workers their jobs.

While many UK businesses simply told their staff to stay away from the office, for tradespeople who spend their days wearing hard hats and steel toecaps, working from home simply wasn’t an option – you just can’t lay bricks on Zoom. Meanwhile those whose building projects were sanctioned as essential, ran the risk of catching the virus by simply travelling to work – a danger made worse in the capital where the posturing mayor chose to cram people into fewer Tube trains.

Now though, with the infection rate apparently receding, and the longest days of summer upon us, building sites and businesses generally are reopening. What then are the prospects for those of us whose livelihoods are dependent on new build developments, RMI work and infrastructure schemes?

As I count this as my fourth recession since I left polytechnic in 1979 and began work with George Wimpey, I believe there are a number of reasons for optimism.

Firstly, it should be noted that the economy was actually in pretty good shape as we began the year, with record numbers of people in employment, the stock market surging and most businesses in a bullish mood. Even die-hard Remainers and lifelong Labour voters must have felt relief at ending three years of parliamentary deadlock.

For everyone apart from a few Chinese scientists and communist party officials, the Coronavirus came completely out of the blue. Even in February as reports were leaking out from this secretive society, and the early cases were occurring in the West, the idea of a pandemic bringing everything to a halt seemed implausible.

Then the pubs shut and the rookie Chancellor had to conjure up an unprecedented rescue package for the economy. And as we peeped out at empty streets, or cursed empty supermarket shelves, the equally green new Bank of England Governor blithely predicted a V-shaped recovery.

According to economists now, we’re looking at a U-profile and, bizarrely, the Footsie has seen its best three-month rise for a decade, with some ‘green shoots’ emerging globally. In the US – where Covid-19 devastated many states – unemployment peaked well short of the worst predictions, while the IMF fancies China will bounce by 8% next year.

From a personal perspective I can report that not only did hardware stores stay open to service the lockdown lust for DIY, but a lot of independent merchants and small builders barely paused their activities.

Undoubtedly the building industry benefits from a can-do attitude, which shames our teaching unions and professions such as dentistry (for whom infection control should be a given at all times), who have sat back complaining about lack of clarity from Ministers.

By contrast, most of our major housebuilders had begun recalling middle management and site safety officers in May or earlier, to devise strategies for safe working. And while the clothes retailers were agonising over the viability of quarantining any clothes customers might try on, Taylor Wimpey was announcing a £500 million land purchasing spree, and committing to pay back the taxpayer money it had received under the furlough scheme. TW boss, Pete Redfern said: “We have seen robust demand throughout the lockdown and have been encouraged by the continued resilience of the housing market.” Redrow is another top housebuilder pledging to hand back billions.

I was further impressed to hear from Chris Hamlett, the MD of northwest based main contractor, Armstrong Projects, who told me his company had only furloughed one worker: an individual with a long term respiratory condition. Other staff had been retrained to work under the safe distancing guidelines and related restrictions, as well as to cover special inspection disciplines temporarily not available via normal channels.

Not only had Armstrong Projects’ three main sites in Manchester, Warrington and Crewe all continued, but the group has recruited two new employees to help launch a venture called Pod Life; building home offices for customers through the adoption of an ICF system.

The latter is of particular significance, because offsite technologies would seem ideally suited to addressing many of the obstacles which Covid-19 requirements pose for traditional building techniques.

We have known since the Eden Report shone a light on our industry’s failings two decades ago that system building increases productivity, predictability and quality of outcome, while reducing defects and injuries to personnel. Now there is the added bonus that transferring operations offsite and into a controlled factory environment should mitigate the chances of transmitting the virus.

The Prime Minister’s speech at a West Midlands plant this week not only pledged £5 billion to build new schools, hospitals, housing and infrastructure, but to build “Better, greener and faster,” with a revolution in UK technology to the fore. Modern and mainly offsite methods of construction must be the best way to deliver on those promises.

Finally, let us remember how this crisis came about, and where it came from.

The Government is rightly backtracking on involving Huawei in our 5G network – which posed a real threat to national security and access to Five Eyes intelligence sharing – and is also reviewing China’s role in our nuclear energy programme. A direct, multi-billion pound beneficiary of the latter should be the consortium involving Rolls Royce and major construction companies, seeking to deliver modular nuclear reactors for sites around the country, and even for export.

One thing the pandemic and the connected PPE shortages has demonstrated is the imperative for our country to be self-sufficient in essentials; including low carbon energy. I would argue, therefore, that our corporations and our communities should look to UK manufacturers as well as our own construction companies to deliver the properties and infrastructure we need for everyday life to continue: whatever that new normal looks like.

JCB has developed what it claims is the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator.

The 20 tonne 220X excavator powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has been undergoing rigorous testing at JCB’s quarry proving grounds for more than 12 months. JCB is the first construction equipment company to unveil a working prototype of an excavator powered by hydrogen.

JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said, “The development of the first hydrogen fuelled excavator is very exciting as we strive towards a zero carbon world.

“In the coming months, JCB will continue to develop and refine this technology with advanced testing of our prototype machine and we will continue to be at the forefront of technologies designed to build a zero carbon future.”

Power for JCB’s prototype excavator is generated by reacting hydrogen with oxygen in a fuel cell to create the energy needed to run electric motors. The only emission from the exhaust is water.

The UK-based OEM announced last year that is had gone into full production with the fully electric mini excavator, the 19C-1E. JCB has also extended electric technology to its Teletruk telescopic forklift range with the launch of an electric model, the JCB 30-19E.

As well as working on hydrogen and electric powered equipment JCB says that it has almost eradicated the most harmful emissions from its latest range of diesel engines. According to the company, Nitrous Oxide (NOx) is down 97%, soot particulates down by 98% and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions down by almost half.


Source: International Construction

AI has transformed our lives in a plethora of ways. Starting from advanced robots to simple household devices, it is hard to name an industry that does not involve the applications of AI. Most noticeably, AI has made a significant impact on the construction industry. AI-enabled construction robots are helping the construction industry realize its true potential by simplifying the laborious tasks and executing them with precision.

The construction industry primarily relied on manual-intensive labor with little to no automation. The main hindrance in using robots was the unpredictable landscape of the construction site. While robots can excel at repetitive tasks, a construction site requires adaptability and flexibility. However, the recent advancements in AI have empowered construction robots to analyze complex tasks and improvise based on what the situation demands. Construction robots are increasingly being used in building residential homes as well as commercial buildings. In this analysis by vHomeInsurance, we explore the impact of robots on the construction industry and the future for construction robots.

Construction robots are designed in such a way that they can be easily transported to the construction site. The main advantage of using construction robots is to save time, increase precision and efficiency, thereby leading to greater economic benefits. For instance, Hadrian X is a bricklaying automated machine capable of building walls of a house by calculating the necessary materials and movements without any supervision. It was developed by an Australian based firm by incorporating an intelligent control system. The robot can lay bricks at a speed of 1,000 per hour with 100% accuracy. It can also detect changes caused due to external factors such as wind and vibrations and create the design accordingly. It has been estimated that the bot takes 2 days to complete work that could otherwise take around 4-6 weeks when done manually.

Another hindrance to the progress of construction is linked to safety concerns and accidents occurring due to human error. Statistics reveal that 21% of work deaths in the U.S are linked to the construction industry. Many companies have been actively involved in developing robots that could increase the safety of humans. Most noticeably, Volvo has designed an autonomous self-driving load carrier, HX2, that can carry supplies and materials to the construction site without human intervention. It can also move heavy loads with relative ease. The autonomous carrier detects obstacles and humans with the help of the “vision system,” developed by Volvo. This could replace humans working in construction sites, thereby reducing the risk of fatalities.

The International Federation of Robotics and the Robotics Industries Association had predicted that the construction robotics industry would witness a CAGR of 8.7% from 2018 to 2022. The global market research company International Data Corporation went a step further and estimated a CAGR of 20.2% for the same period. While the numbers are not staggering, this is considered to be promising, given that the construction industry is one of the least automated industries. With the growing demand for residential and commercial buildings and the advancements in AI, it is safe to say that AI-powered construction robots will play a vital role in revamping the construction industry.

Source: Robotics Tomorrow



Another modular housing provider has signed up for what might have been a 359,000 sq ft logistics facility, as housebuilders succumb to government pressure to move to modular construction.

Mountpark Logistics, the industrial and logistics developer, has let a 359,305 sq ft purpose-built manufacturing facility to Countryside Properties at its Mountpark Bardon II scheme close to Junction 22 of the M1 motorway in the East Midlands.

Countryside plans to use the building to make its advanced modular panel system that will deliver around 3,250 new homes a year for the company’s three Midlands regions when the factory is fully operational. This is more than half the total number of modular homes Countryside is aiming to produce.

Modular housing providers need the large floorplates, high eves hights and good locations also demanded by the logistics sector.

Modular housing at scale is being pioneered by investors like Legal & General, who signed up for a 550,000 sq ft warehouse in Selby, Yorkshire, in 2017. The warehouse is now a modular housing facility.

The new Countryside facility will be the second building at Mountpark Bardon II, where the company recently completed a 579,160 sq ft national distribution centre for VF Corporation.  Mountpark has already delivered 1.4 million sq ft at the first phase of its Bardon development with lettings to Amazon, Eddie Stobart and Pharmacy2U.


Source: SHD Logistics



TLT Solicitors have advised social housing provider Stonewater on a multi-million pound deal with modular housing firm ilke Homes to deliver 120 new affordable homes in Herefordshire.

The partnership, worth £23m, will see ilke Homes provide Stonewater with land for the development, as well as manufacturing the homes in its factory in Knaresborough.

This is the first modular project that Stonewater has embarked on. TLT negotiated the land purchase and the development agreement for Stonewater, including bespoke contract clauses, against a short deadline. The team was led by legal director Sarah Hale alongside associate Andrew Russell.

Matthew Crucefix, director of development (West) at Stonewater, said: “Scaling-up the delivery of affordable homes is vital to ensuring that everyone in the UK has a place to call home.

“As a valued member of our legal services framework it’s really good for us to be able to share exciting new opportunities with firms like TLT.”


Sarah Hale, legal director at TLT, says:

“Modular construction has a critical role to play in addressing the housing crisis in the UK and meeting housebuilding targets, particularly because of the speed at which large numbers of attractive and eco-friendly homes can be delivered cost-effectively.

“It was a privilege to be involved in such a landmark scheme for Stonewater, and I hope we can continue to support social landlords with affordable modular housing in the coming year.”





Source: Business Leader



A Newry bathroom manufacturer has won a £3m contract with a London developer.

Connex Offsite, which specialises in high-end modular bathroom pods, said it will supply luxury modular bathroom pods to London property developer Mount Anvil for the firm’s Royal Eden Docks development in the east of the city.

The contract comes as Connex ramps up its promotion throughout the UK to target new business.

In the next two months, the firm will recruit staff for roles including joiners, operations managers, designers, general labourers and tilers, to meet their rapidly growing order book.

Brendan Doherty, managing director of Connex Offsite, said: “We have seen huge growth in recent months and I believe the Covid-19 crisis has been the catalyst for a shift to modular construction. Off-site manufacturing is being embraced by the industry because of the restrictions on the level of labour on site.

“Because our pods are completely finished in a controlled environment, shrink-wrapped on the factory floor and shipped to the construction site, we are reducing the numbers of trades required on site.

“We are delighted to be working with Mount Anvil, one of the leading property developers in London, with 30 years of construction history in the city under their belts.

“Mount Anvil recognised the high quality of our pods and standard of service from recent major projects we have delivered in central London and decided our product was a perfect fit.”

Connex moves into a new £2.5m facility in August.


Source: Belfast Telegraph