Awards signal sconomic potential for construction sector
Scotland’s off-site manufacturing sector could be worth £240m over the next five years, according to Edinburgh Napier University research. The figure was published last autumn as a new the Scottish Government launched its £10m to help deliver hundreds of eco-friendly homes and bring down heating bills.
The announcement of the Greener Homes Innovation Scheme followed the Government’s 2013-14 budget which directed investment into construction, skills and the green economy. The scheme is specifically for affordable homes that employ modern, environmentally friendly methods of off-site construction.
Walls, floors, pipes, kitchen and roof are assembled in a factory then transported, as a unit, to the building site, ensuring a faster construction process, reduced waste and less disruption to the environment.
The research from Edinburgh Napier’s Institute for Sustainable Construction also predicts that exports will grow from £5m to £50m, leading to the creation of over 500 jobs in the off-site manufacturing sector.
Examples of such companies include CCG, Stewart Milne, Scotframe, Mactaggart and Mickel, Lomond Homes, City Building, Oregon and Makar.
This expertise and research has led to Edinburgh Napier holding discussions with Russia and the USA about future off-site manufacturing trade opportunities for Scottish companies.
Speaking in Glasgow during a visit to off-site manufacturer, City Building, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Investment and Cities, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland’s housebuilding industry makes a sizeable contribution to Scotland’s economic prosperity. Houses are key sources of carbon emissions so new technologies are essential to ensure we deliver energy efficient and low carbon affordable homes.
“The Greener Homes Innovation Scheme will encourage modern methods of construction thereby making more fuel efficient housing widely available, which will help to cut energy bills and tackle fuel poverty. The Edinburgh Napier University research points to a massive growth in the off-site manufacturing sector with export opportunities capable of securing 500 new jobs.” Meanwhile, the following month Professor Gokay Deveci from Robert Gordon University’s Scott Sutherland School of Architecture and Built Environment received four national design awards for a successful knowledge transfer partnership agreement with a local construction company which resulted in the building of a sustainable model house in Aberdeenshire.
The Model-D Show House at Pitmachie, near Insch, built in partnership with local firm Sylvan Stuart Ltd, was officially opened by First Minister Alex Salmond in 2011. Constructed almost entirely from Scottish timber, the house was created from a concept aimed at exploring affordable, low-carbon homes which could be easily constructed in rural communities.
The first of the Model-D’s quadruple plaudits was awarded last July, when it was announced as one of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland’s (RIAS) inaugural award winners, representing the very best of current Scottish architecture.
The Model-D was also the only recipient of a newly established RIAS award, sponsored by Wood for Good and the Forestry Commission Scotland, which seeks to stimulate greater appreciation of home-grown Scottish timber. The award was bestowed on the Model-D house as it best demonstrated the use of timber in construction out of all the shortlisted entries.
The Model-D was then announced as a recipient of the prestigious Saltire Society’s 75th annual Housing Design Awards. Recognised in the ‘Private Dwelling – New Build’ category.
Professor Deveci, a member of the University’s Institute for Innovation, Design & Sustainability Research: said “I’m absolutely delighted that we’ve been honoured on a local and national scale for our partnership project which offers a model for affordable housing stock in the countryside.
The alternative contemporary design of the Model-D house draws upon the architectural language of traditional agricultural buildings and incorporates energy efficient features.
“The design utilises its setting and natural daylight to radically reduce energy costs. Large windows in the south facade take advantage of solar gain and maximise views, and an external rain screen provides shading and privacy.” The Model-D, which was also nominated for a Scottish Design Award in the Affordable Housing Category, received further recognition when it was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Sustainability Category of the Aberdeenshire Design Awards. And it was shortlisted for the RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award.