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£45m Offsite Automated Construction Factory in Braintree to Revolutionize Building Component Manufacturing

A state-of-the-art offsite automated construction factory, valued at £45m, is set to be established in Braintree. The factory will be operated by British Offsite in collaboration with Randek AB, a Swedish robotic engineering firm. Its primary focus will be on manufacturing light gauge steel panel systems and other components using advanced robotic automated manufacturing techniques.

This 137,000 sq.ft. facility aims to support the construction of up to 4,000 homes annually, employing a hybrid Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) approach. The components produced at the factory will be utilized for the superstructure and internal fit-out of houses, as well as multi-rise and high-rise developments. Weston Homes, the parent group of British Offsite, will receive the components, and they will also be available to local and regional house builders.

The factory, named “Horizon,” will specialize in British Offsite’s UniSystem range, an MMC technology combining light gauge panels for walls, roofs, and floors. These panels will be manufactured according to the specific requirements of developers, complete with windows, doors, insulation, vents, fire stopping, and external cladding. The production rate is impressive, with one fully dressed UniSystem panel manufactured every 15 minutes, and panels for an entire apartment produced within 60 minutes.

The versatility of the factory’s hybrid MMC approach extends beyond housebuilding, enabling its production line to cater to modular school buildings, healthcare facilities, and student accommodations.

The triple-height production line space in the offsite automated construction factory will be complemented by a 20,000 sq.ft. area dedicated to office space, research and development, marketing, and staff welfare facilities, including a canteen and health-screening clinic.

The factory itself will exhibit energy-efficient features such as a glass and Trimco-panels façade, solar panels on the roof for enhanced energy utilization, and comprehensive energy monitoring systems.

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