A government industry working group is being set up to promote increased use of off-site prefabrication in house building. The working group has been launched by housing minister Mark Prisk following on from the findings of a new report produced by the Construction Industry Council (CIC). 

Issues for the group to review include:

  • encouraging off-site construction and prefabrication to deliver an increased number of new houses
  • promoting investment in the emerging sector
  • helping to create market conditions to promote confidence in the technique.

The CIC’s Offsite housing review, led by Professor John Miles of Arup and Cambridge University, and Professor Nick Whitehouse of Oxford Brookes University, concluded that private house builders are without sufficient incentives to innovate in prefabrication. Howeve the new CIC report has found that the potentially most important technical development to promote increased adoption of off-site construction lays with the government’s aim to increase the requirements for the thermal performance of new build homes – via the uplift in Part L of the Building Regulations. Increased performance requirements are set to make it harder and more costly for house builders to achieve the performance levels needed through traditional construction techniques.

Housing minister Mark Prisk said: “Off-site construction is an industry with untapped potential in this country, and could in time revolutionise the way we deliver our housing, providing a swift, high quality solution to creating cost effective, zero carbon homes.”

Mr Prisk is also to request that the government’s private rented sector task force and the National Self Build Association identify potentials for increasing the prevalence in prefabricated construction in providing new privately rented homes, to include developments benefiting from the £200 million 'Build to Rent' fund.