The need for new homes continues to rise, with an average 200,000 new houses being built each year. This increase has resulted in added pressure being placed on construction companies, and their supply chains, to keep up with demand.
One solution which is aiding the industry and enabling houses to be built more quickly is the off-site manufacture of prefabricated building component products. Andrew Almond, Marketing Manager at Stormking, a UK-based manufacturer of Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) prefabricated products for the construction industry, explains how building off-site can benefit the new home construction supply chain and keep projects on track:
“GRP building products are helping to revolutionise the way new homes are built. These products range from door canopies to chimney stacks and are manufactured off-site before being delivered to, and installed, onsite. They can be ‘dry-fit’ into place, which requires no specialist knowledge, training, or tools.
“This ease of installation is saving construction companies both time and money – especially when compared to using traditional building materials and methods. However, this is only one advantage that is drawing the sector towards off-site manufactured products.
“Safety, choice and – in our case – UK-based manufacturing, are all benefits cited by construction companies when opting for off-site manufactured components.
“Firstly, safety. GRP products are substantially lighter than their conventional counterparts. This means they are easier to manoeuvre around site and at height, helping to reduce the potential for handling hazards. There is also no need for additional scaffolding or machinery, which again helps to mitigate against any associated dangers.
“Secondly, choice. GRP component products can be produced in a wide variety of styles, colours, and textures. This allows for more creativity with regards to design and enables specifiers to easily source products required for specific planning requirements. Overall, GRP off-site manufactured products offer greater scope in terms of look and feel than traditional tile or brick.
“Lastly, but definitely not least, is the ability to source these products from UK-based manufacturers. Here at Stormking we have over 500,000sq ft of manufacturing capacity spread over five sites in the Midlands. This, together with our 300 plus strong work force and fleet of over 20 delivery vehicles, means we can support the industry nationwide, from the Isle of Wight to Northern Scotland. Being based in the UK is also helping us to reduce our carbon footprint.
“We understand that environmental credentials are now an important consideration for many companies when choosing a supplier. Here at Stormking, we believe that GRP products offer more environmental and sustainable benefits than traditional building materials. Transportation is reduced as components are delivered in one piece and from one supplier; less resources are required to install the products which reduces the need for more deliveries to site; and the products have a long lifespan, of over 35 years at present, so need replacing less frequently. In addition to this, and to further reduce our carbon footprint, we are working with fleet operators on testing electrical vehicles for our service teams.
“So from cost efficiencies and safety, to ease of installation and sustainable credentials, it is clear to see why the construction industry is choosing to use more GPR prefabricated products to keep projects moving – and we believe this trend will continue to grow as more companies realise the many benefits off-site manufactured GRP products can offer.”