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Covid-19 Restrictions Have Driven Traditional Industry To Seek Out Offsite Construction Solutions

Horizon Offsite provides structural light gauge steel products for use in constructing walls, floors, ceilings and roofs. The fully-accredited structural building system encompasses an in-house design team expert in offsite construction technologies, manufacturing through the Horizon facility in Cahir, County Tipperary and installation of the system on site by the team of Horizon-certified installers. This innovative approach to offsite building sees the Horizon team working one to one with clients to meet their every design and building specification.

A career in offsite

Horizon Offsite was established in 2017 by some of the most experienced names in the industry, with Ger Fahey leading the team. The Limerick native has been involved in offsite construction for more than two decades, having previously worked with John Fleming, the Cork man whose company, Vision Modular, is driving innovation across the MMC sector in the UK. Initially backed by the Local Enterprise Office and then Enterprise Ireland as a High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) focused on the export market, Horizon Offsite has seen demand in both Ireland and the UK markets grow significantly over the past four years.

A Doubling of Output

Horizon Offsite Managing Director, Ger Fahey, confirms that his company’s output has doubled year on year for 2019 and 2020, and the pace of this growth is on track to continue throughout 2021. On foot of this rapid expansion over the past number of years, the company has recently expanded its Tipperary facility in excess of 30,000 sq ft, with an additional 7,000 sq ft of office space. The facility has the current capacity to process in excess of one million linear metres of steel per annum, which translates into approximately 1,000 residential units annually. The company has also been on a recruitment drive in Q4, with the team growing to 33 direct employees and more than 60 subcontractors, who work exclusively as certified Horizon installers on sites. The company now serves clients in both Ireland and the UK, citing deep sectoral expertise as the company’s USP.

Pandemic Offsite Demand

Speaking about the doubling of demand for offsite construction expertise on foot of the pandemic, Ger Fahey modestly acknowledges an element of luck and timing, with the company being set up and resourced, ready to meet the unprecedented and, frankly, unexpected demands of 2020.

Fast-track delivery

The fully-accredited Horizon Offsite building system is perfectly suited to the fast-track delivery of housing, apartment blocks, hospital accommodation and other healthcare facilities, commercial and industrial developments. Throughout the initial lockdown, the Horizon Team ramped up capacity, operating in two shifts, to deliver on essential healthcare and social housing projects right across the country. The company has evolved from working on mid-sized projects to much larger-scale projects that are, according to the management team, more complex in terms of buildability and with much shorter build programmes. Under this rapid delivery model, Horizon Offsite will routinely be approached by the hospital procurement teams and then appointed by the hospital authority directly, from that point, use of the fully-certified Horizon Offsite light gauge steel framing system is nominated or novated to the main contractor – once that main contractor has been appointed. And this is not just happening for public sector work, increasingly, the Horizon Offsite building system is being specified by design teams as the optimum way to deliver on build programme.

Growing demand for offsite solutions

Industry demand for offsite construction, across Ireland and the UK, is growing, and this growth is not all driven by Covid-19. While the pandemic certainly accelerated MMC adoption, this is building upon the increased awareness of the inherent benefits of offsite construction. It is a comprehensive or holistic solution, ensuring frictionless execution of design, and overall compliance with building regulations for issues including fire and acoustic performance. This is the primary benefit of a fully-certified building system, as it allows for the speed and certainty of budget that project owners and managers demand.

Covid-19 impact

“COVID-19 has highlighted the need for a smarter, faster, more streamlined approach to delivering better buildings with fewer labourers on site. Clients and their design teams have now seen first-hand that offsite works better than traditional building”, explains Ger Fahey, “and our R&D never stops. Our innovative designers are continually looking at ways to maximise efficiencies and to improve the fire and acoustic performance of our products.”

Contact Horizon Offsite

Horizon Offsite Ltd is one of Europe’s leading players in Offsite Construction and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), providing a fully accredited structural light gauge steel system to the residential, industrial, commercial, healthcare and educational sectors. Contact the Horizon Offsite team at www.horizonoffsite.ie