Stewart Milne Group is partnering up with academics to tackle both the building skills gap and new homes shortage with a new “offsite construction” training centre at its factory in Oxfordshire.
Stewart Milne Timber Systems has joined forces with Napier and Heriot-Watt universities, and industry partners CCG Construction Group, to develop a “centre of excellence” for building modular and pre-fabricated houses at its manufacturing facility in Whitney.
This offsite construction “hub” will include a product gallery, conference centre, and learning centre which gives visitors the chance to visualise the construction process end to end, view training videos, interact with the latest technology and take part in simulations. It also includes a “training rig” to allow hands-on experience of the real-life process of construction.
The project is part of a wider national initiative, run by the UK Commission for Employment & Skills, which is looking at innovative ways to tackle the skills shortage in offsite construction.
Stewart Dalgarno, director of product development at Stewart Milne said: “The UK’s shortage of housing is well-documented, but solving a challenging problem is made even harder by a persistent and chronic lack of skilled labour. Currently there are not enough people to build the UK’s shortfall of homes.
“Realigning the industry around offsite construction with timber systems means the UK will be less constrained and less dependent on current trades skills.”
Meanwhile, the Aberdeen-based group’s housebuilding arm, Stewart Milne Homes, has become the only major housebuilder in Scotland to be awarded “5 star” status by the industry this year.
In the latest rankings just announced by industry trade body, the Home Builders Federation (HBF), only five large housebuilders (building over 750 units per annum) appear on the list of fifteen with the top star status.
The accolade recognises companies who achieve over 90% customer satisfaction ratings customers who purchased a home in the last year.
Glenn Allison, chief executive of Stewart Milne Group said: “This award recognises the company-wide effort in the planning, construction, marketing and sales of our homes in Scotland and England. But more importantly, it provides an independent assurance on the quality of our homes and the service we provide to home buyers.
“We have worked extremely hard to achieve our five star status and we are proud to have been awarded this accolade, especially as it comes from our customers views. We will continue to deliver quality homes backed up by exceptional customer service.”