Research Output

Structural optimisation of timber off-site modern methods of construction.

  Efficient and sustainable building systems are required
in order to achieve the UK government’s target of
building three million new homes by 2016. Given the
current lack of activity in the housing construction
market to achieve this target, increased levels of off-site
modern methods of construction (MMC) need to be
adopted which conform to future regulatory and code
requirements, are environmentally sound and structurally
The dominant form of timber construction for housing in
the UK is open-panel platform frame construction
(approximately 25% of the UK market share). In order to
meet future market and building regulatory
requirements, this form of construction needs to evolve and become an efficient closed-panel system solution.
The system solution needs to be capable of being
manufactured off-site to the highest possible
specification in terms of mass customisation, inclusion
of services, application of cladding and to achieve a high
standard of building performance (thermal insulation,
reduced cold bridging, acoustic separation) whilst
remaining cost-effective. An example of wall panels
being produced in a factory is shown in Figure 1.
Thus far research on off-site MMC has primarily
focussed on the understanding of the market, the
conceptualisation of modern building systems and
products, and the adaption of production theories to
construction. Attention has also be turned to the
implementation of modern business processes to
construction by means of adapting information and
communication technologies and micro-renewable
solutions (photovoltaics, ground source heat pumps etc)
to provide additional energy. However, the focus of this
research work is to ensure the developed systems
solutions are robust, safe and serviceable conforming to
European Structural design requirements.

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    TH Building construction

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    694 Wood construction & carpentry


Sanna, F., Hairstans, R., Leitch, K., Crawford, D., Menendez, J. & Turnbull, D. (2011). Structural optimisation of timber off-site modern methods of construction



Off-site construction; closed-panel systems; novel solutions; post-completion testing;

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