Education and Skills Funding Agency - Modular Frameworks

Project Details

Project - Modular Frameworks
Sector - Education
Technology - Volumetric
Company - Education and Skills Funding Agency

Project Overview

Winner of 2018 Offsite Awards - Client of the Year

Since 2013 the ESFA have built new schools, rebuilt and refurbished existing schools or blocks, some 500 in total. Over the last 3 years, in line with the recommendations of the Farmer Report, we have focused much of our efforts on delivering better, quicker, cheaper schools.

Whilst undertaking significant work in developing and delivering the new Contractors Framework for schools (approx. £1b), we have set up a separate team to focus on the creation of an off-site solution, engaging with the manufacturing sector and the delivery of three separate procurements of around £500m in total.

These are all based on a standardised approach, predominantly manufactured off-site, fully compliant and delivering best value. Many of these are being delivered by manufacturers new to the ESFA who are able to compete due to the approach of and guidance provided by the ESFA through its design guidance information and thorough engagement process prior to and during procurement and during delivery.

Other risks to the delivery of the school rebuilding programme include;

  • Brexit (35% of the construction workforce in London are EU Migrant workers)
  • Off-site construction makes best use of local labour nationally.
  • Declining skills in the industry (Industrial Strategy and Farmer Report)
  • Of-site construction increases repetition, requires fewer skiiled installers.
  • Low productivity
  • From starting on site to school opening, deliver period have been reduced, on average, by around 50%.
  • Lack of investment in supply chain, people and apprenticeships
  • Of-site construction provides greater long term career development opportunities for its workers.
  • Insufficient standardisation due to regional procurements
  • Off site construction is highly standardised.
  • Re-inventing the wheel on design
  • Off-site construction uses one set ot template princioples across a wide range of schools.
  • Rebalance of economy - we cannot afford to build schools in the South East and there is very limited market interest.
  • Off-site manufacture is spread throughout the country.
  • Other competing major projects such as Housing, accommodation for Hinkley Point C, HS2, Crossrail, Heathrow Terminal 3, ThamesLink Programme, Smart Motorways and Housing.
  • Off-site construction is creating greater market interest and new market entrants.


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The next issue of Offsite Magazine is closing very soon and includes skills development, hotel construction and the ways volumetric modular technology can revitalise a wide range of building sectors. Plus...

  • We hear about how the Marriott, Travelodge and Premier Inn brands are using offsite methods to create a new breed of hotel plus a detailed look at the Hampton by Hilton Hotel at Bristol Airport.
  • A summary of the reaction to the Hackitt Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety.
  • The CITB and BEX (Built Environment Exchange) tell us more about building a new skills base surrounding offsite technology and sustainable construction.
  • An overview of Centres of Excellence such as the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) Offsite Management School (OMS), Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) and Dudley Advance II.
  • Mark Hargreaves at DLA Design and Emily King from Portakabin highlight the potential of modular construction within the Education sector.
  • Derek Thomson at Loughborough University explains the need for through-life performance and design configurability with modular design.

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