Implementing an offsite construction strategy: a UK contracting organisation case study

Many United Kingdom (UK) contractors only consider offering offsite solutions on a bespoke project-by-project basis, with very few having immediate plans for integrating fully offsite manufacturing as part of their core business strategy. Limited literature exists regarding how a major UK contractor could achieve such a strategic offsite capability, as this capability is usually referred to as an out-sourced, subcontracted activity. The concept of a major contractor providing its own capability and completing large scale infrastructure projects using offsite construction (OSC) methods is not common in the UK, although the concept is less rare in certain other countries, such as Australia. The aim of this paper is to determine the benefits that OSC can offer for UK contractors and to investigate how an offsite strategy can be implemented in practice. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a major UK contractor, transcribed, and thematically analysed to determine how effectively the offsite strategy and methods were being implemented at different levels within the contractor’s operations. The potential attractiveness and future of offsite for major UK contractors is discussed. The paper concludes with three recommendations for contractors considering the development of offsite capability. First, commitment from senior leadership at a strategic level, second, clear communication to all level through the firm and third, investment in innovation.