Philip Watson, design director at Atkins, looks at what 2017 has in store for off site construction

Philip Watson

The big issue

This time next year I’m sure we’ll still be talking about the housing and schools shortage crisis. But my hopes are we’ll be talking about real solutions and the impact they’ve had. 2017 needs to be the year that we stop talking and start taking action.

The big challenge

Next year’s challenge is building enough capacity using modern methods of construction (MMC) and off-site industry so we can deliver the volumes we need to make a significant impact on meeting the demand for faster, more cost effective buildings. With the housing and schools shortage crisis still looming large, we need the UK industry to move quickly and with an open mind.

The big opportunity

We have a real opportunity to capitalise on the move towards off-site construction. For manufacturers, it’s about taking advantage of the huge market potential this offers. For designers, it’s about focusing on social challenges and collaborating to help make this approach not only the quickest option, but the best quality option. It’s time we put our prejudices aside and find ways to make off-site buildings creative, flexible and aesthetically pleasing.