Barratt Developments visits Fusion in offsite construction review

Inside Fusion's Northampton factory

Fusion Building Systems has hosted a visit by Barratt Developments, the country’s largest housebuilder to its Northampton factory as part of a selection process to find suitable offsite manufacturers to support its search for new off-site and modern methods of construction.

The visit by Barratt Developments’ CEO, David Thomas and COO, Steven Boyes, took place as part of a two-year review which has seen over 150 possible building suppliers examined and a trial run with Fusion’s light gauge steel frame system on a development in Southampton. Barratt aims to produce at least 20% of its new homes using offsite construction methods by 2020 and from its selection process, has concluded Fusion’s light gauge steel system is a practical option, alongside two other offsite suppliers.

The trial project in Southampton saw light gauge steel frames used in the construction of social housing properties at Barratt’s Swanbourne Park development. With made-to-measure structures delivered to site on time and according to precise specifications, Fusion was able to demonstrate how efficiently the offsite process can work – five times less transport than traditional methods, only five workers needed on site and individual house structures completed in just one day.

Oliver Novakovic, Barratt Developments’ technical and innovations director, said: “Offsite construction is high on our agenda and if we’re to meet our 2020 target, we need to find the right technologies and partners to help us deliver the quality homes our customers expect.

“Our trial working with Fusion was a success. We were impressed with each stage of the process from design through to delivery and assembly on site. And now, as we’re about to embark on live, large scale developments with Fusion, I’m confident they can deliver, offering the business a further alternative to both traditional brick and block construction, and timber frame.”

The visit to Fusion’s factory included seeing roll-forming, wall and floor assembly and Fusion’s patented pre-insulation process. Following the tour, Barratt personnel were also shown the Fusion system being used on a large three storey extra care facility in Northampton.

Mike Fairey, Fusion Building Systems director, added: “Using light gauge steel frames and floors, manufactured offsite for use in the construction of residential housing on a large scale is a significant cultural change for the industry. The trial project with Barratt was a key moment in their analysis of both our building system in a live environment and the evaluation of our company in general. This opportunity to open the door to the widespread use of light gauge steel in high volume housebuilding is probably one of the most significant we’ve experienced.

“Barratt Developments has taken the time to understand every step in the offsite construction process. They’ve trialled our product, visited our factory and seen other developers who are using our system. They agree that light gauge steel frame should form part of the housebuilding construction process now and into the future, and we’re delighted to be working with them.”

Barratt and Fusion will now look to do full trials with Southampton, Southern Counties and Stratford Divisions.

For further information visit  www.barrattdevelopments.co.uk