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Laing O'Rourke precast factory to boost off site construction

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CONSTRUCTION GIANT Laing O'Rourke last week announced plans to open a £100M precast concrete factory in Derbyshire.

The decision is part of the contractor's plan to develop a totally modularised construction process.

'We want an integrated component set capable of delivering the structure, envelope and M&E [mechanical and electrical], ' said Laing O'Rourke business unit leader for manufacturing Kemper Booher.

The factory will be able to produce high grade structural and architectural elements and bespoke beams and columns explained Booher.

He said that modularising the construction process would cut waste and risk. And by owning the supply chain Laing O'Rourke can better guarantee delivery of materials to site.

'This is the most exciting thing happening to the industry, ' said Booher. 'Construction is moving away from the traditional, outdated methods and drawing on new innovative technologies to take all the waste and inefciency out of the process.' An application for planning permission for the factory was submitted last week. The firm wants to construct it on the site of the disused Steetley Colliery in Derbyshire.

Laing O'Rourke managing director of construction in Europe Mike Robins said the idea for the factory came from the Sir John Egan's Rethinking Construction report. This called for building components to be manufactured and assembled, rather than created on site.

'Precast is just a part of that idea, we are looking to integrate all parts of the construction process.' Demolition of the Steetley Colliery should be complete by the Autumn assuming planning permission is granted. The factory would then open within 18 months. The contractor is also in the process of developing a sister factory in the Middle East to feed the $18bn (£9.1bn) Al Raha Beach project in Abu Dhabi.

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