Offsite Production in the UK: The Way Forward?, A UK Construction Industry Perspective

Nadim, Wafaa and Goulding, Jack Steven (2010) Offsite Production in the UK: The Way Forward?, A UK Construction Industry Perspective. Construction Innovation, 10 (2). pp. 181-202. ISSN 1471-4175

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report on findings from the first stage of an ongoing research with regard to the UK construction industry's perception of offsite production (OSP) adoption/uptake, in an attempt to inform the second stage of the research (not reported in this paper) to infer the skills/knowledge areas needed for the wider uptake of OSP.

Design/methodology/approach – The objective of this paper was to capture the UK construction industry's perception vis-à-vis OSP characteristics using a quantitative approach. Postal surveys were employed to collect industry perception which was then analysed statistically for inference and conclusion.

Findings – Findings from 36 large construction organisations suggest that irrespective of respondents' organisations prime activity or professions, the majority of respondents perceive OSP to be the future of the UK construction industry; with a considerable belief that the industry is ready to embrace OSP. Nevertheless, the industry do not seem to fully appreciate OSP, which is implied by the uncertainty recorded in most of the responses.

Research limitations/implications – Whilst the data validity and sample set coherence can be considered robust and defendable, it should be acknowledged that care needs to be taken when interpreting results, especially as the data collected depended heavily on the survey approach. Furthermore, these findings are limited to the UK context only, as such, the level of generalisability/repeatability outside this context may not be representative of the findings presented here.

Originality/value – OSP falls under the overarching umbrella of modern methods of construction, which is high on the UK Government Agenda. OSP has attracted numerous research over the last decades; however, there is limited literature to quantify industry perception in this regard, especially to enable the inference and prioritisation of skills and knowledge areas needed to support the wider uptake of OSP (not reported in this paper).

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