Skanska wins cash for “flying factories” trial

Grant Prior 11 years ago
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Skanska has secured a government grant to trial offsite construction methods in mobile workshops which can be moved from site to site.

The “flying factorieswill be used to cut the cost of delivering zero and low-carbon buildings.

Skanska believe the factories can deliver the benefits of off-site factory assembly while overcoming the traditional barriers of capital investment and high transport costs

The technique will see clients benefit from a 28% reduction in cost per square metre and 30% shorter programmes.

The £750,000 grant via the Technology Strategy Board will help fund the research and development team which is led by Skanska and comprises:

  • ModCell – off-site fabrication of buildings using laminated timber and straw bales
  • University of Reading – application of virtual-reality technology to construction
  • South West Manufacturing Advisory Service (SWMAS) – lean manufacturing
  • BRE – built environment

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: “The government has challenged industry to reduce construction costs by up to 30 per cent, which would enable low-carbon buildings to be constructed for the cost of a standard building.

“The work we are funding will encourage the UK construction industry to undertake a fundamental rethink of current ways of working and enable businesses to explore potential commercial opportunities created by novel design, procurement and construction processes.”

The research will also support Skanska’s industrialisation strategy which aims to deliver more efficient manufacturing and prefabrication techniques to the company’s construction projects and clients.

Andy MacAskill, Technical Services Director for Skanska, said: “We have seen on our own projects how off-site manufacture can significantly reduce waste, cost and the time spent on site, as well as reducing the environmental impact in transporting materials to our construction sites.

“It’s an innovation that we feel should be developed, and this is a great opportunity to do that.”

Flying factories have been trialled on a school building in Bristol, using straw and timber construction, and will be applied to a wide range of building types and materials.

 

 

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