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Heathrow seeks offsite construction partners as part of £16BN expansion project

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye has announced an interesting new plan to build 4 logistics hubs via offsite construction methods before transporting them to be installed at the airport.

The aim of building the hubs offsite is to make the project more sustainable and environmentally friendly, to reduce costs and to boost growth in other areas across Britain. It is expected that locating the hubs offsite can also deliver greater efficiency in the projects delivery times.

Locations across the UK that meet the desired criteria have been invited to apply for the project. The airport is asking for communities across Britain to display their capabilities and provide examples of why their location would be suitable to host the construction work for one of four off-site logistic hubs.

The opportunity is expected to drive strong competition among locations with suitable criteria: local skills, good connections, and a powerful supply chain. The selected locations will receive a multitude of benefits including more regional jobs, and a boost to the wider local economy.

It is expected that the offsite construction and manufacturing sector will see a massive boost since this project serves as an example of modular building capabilities on a large scale infrastructure project.

 

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Most offsite construction has been limited to large-scale projects in the housing sector - where cost reductions of 25% and expedited delivery speeds of 30% have been typically achieved.

The participating contractors on the Heathrow project will pre-manufacture components of the hubs before sending them in larger, fewer loads back to Heathrow.

Growth in the offsite sector could potentially cause a huge increase in the construction industry by 2020, particularly outside of London.

Heathrow CEO John Holland-Kaye stated: “We want to use Heathrow’s expansion to not only upgrade Britain’s infrastructure but cultivate a new world-leading sector and drive growth across the whole country. Boosting off-site construction will help make expansion more affordable and environmentally friendly and give Britain a lasting legacy of expertise that it can sell around the world – helping Britain lead the pack in global construction.”

The move is intended to function as a “step-change” for Britain’s construction industry. Heathrow’s move suggests a revolutionary way of expanding growth, balancing the economy and increasing productivity. The decision to build offsite also clears up activity at one of the world’s busiest airports to continue with normal operations, maintaining their own efficiency while increasing economic growth outside of its walls.

The ripple effect might also be seen internationally. Other large organisations like Heathrow Airport, may follow suit and decide that offsite construction on large projects is an economically and environmentally wise decision.

The Heathrow announcement follows a recent study by WPI Economics that showed expected growth in the offsite manufacturing sector of £15BN.

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