Courses start this summer at the UK's first national training centre for workers dealing with prefabricated houses on site.
The centre, which is based at the Construction Industry Training Board's headquarters in Bircham Newton, Norfolk, will train workers in all types of prefabricated housing systems, including traditional timber frame, closed panel, steel frame and concrete frame.

Simon Palmer, of consultant TPP, which is running the centre, said site workers needed to be trained to properly handle prefabricated systems. He said that although a lot of effort was put into improving the systems in the factory, what happened to them once they arrived on site was often left to chance. The result was that workers often damaged the units or installed them incorrectly.

Palmer said: "If people are serious about prefab, then this new centre is essential. The industry needs to have people with different skills on site as well as in the factory."

New CITB chairman Sir Michael Latham is chairing the centre, which has received a £626,000, three-year grant from the DTI and the CITB. Palmer said it was hoping to train about 1000 people over three years. It will be officially launched in May.

TPP will start training CITB trainers next month so they can then teach the attendees in May. The centre will also offer top-up courses for workers to maintain their skills.