Research Output

Offsite HUB (Scotland): establishing a collaborative regional framework for knowledge exchange in the UK

  The UK is set to become Europe’s largest construction market by 2030. However, UK construction productivity performance is regarded as weak, with low skills levels considered to be a key contributory factor. Consequently, off-site construction has been identified by the UK Government as a vehicle for improving productivity levels if the skills deficiencies in this particular market segment can be addressed. A series of projects were, therefore, launched by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) to encourage an R&D approach to skills and development application in the workplace. This paper reports on one of these research projects, a University and Industry collaboration between two of the largest off-site timber platform frame manufacturers in the UK. The paper explains how a needs analysis process was utilised to develop skills training content tailored to the immediate needs of the industry partners. It also explores how working with academia and a wider community of stakeholders allowed this training content to result in sector-level impact via knowledge exchange activities and generic skills material creation. Finally, the novel approach of utilising ‘Hoshin’ planning to form a larger regional Offsite HUB (Scotland) Community of Practice, with a developed plan for collaboration aligned with international off-site research objectives, is also explained. The case study presented in this paper is evidence of success in mobilising industry through creating communities of practice to advance the construction sector regionally. It also provides a generalisable method that is reproducible by other university–industry cohorts in order to realise shared industry-wide goals.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    09 May 2017

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Informa UK Limited

  • DOI:


  • Cross Ref:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    TH Building construction

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    690 Buildings

  • Funders:

    Scottish Enterprise; Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - including Newton Fund; Construction Scotland Innovation Centre


Hairstans, R., & Smith, R. E. (2017). Offsite HUB (Scotland): establishing a collaborative regional framework for knowledge exchange in the UK. Architectural Engineering and Design Management, 13, 1-18.



skills; knowledge management; collaboration; closed panel timber frame

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