BLP: Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) is being formally launched on 26 March
The Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme (BOPAS) is being formally launched on 26 March 2013. The Scheme is new to the market and provides manufacturers and constructors of new homes and their developer and other clients and stakeholders with the means to have products and buildings independently verified regarding fitness to support long term loans.
The launch will take place at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors at a conference that will focus on innovative house-building technologies and processes and also innovative collaborations between clients, landowners and suppliers to support a substantial increase in the number and quality of new homes being built in the UK.
The Buildoffsite Property Assurance Scheme has been developed to provide assurance to house-builders, developers and other clients and stakeholders that new homes which are constructed using products, components and assemblies covered by the BOPAS scheme will be sufficiently durable to be mortgageable for a minimum of 60 years. There is no similar Scheme currently available on the UK market
The BOPAS scheme has been jointly developed by Buildoffsite, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Lloyds Register,
, major UK Banks and in consultation with the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Building Societies Association.
The Scheme comprises 3 elements:
- A durability and maintenance assessment carried out by BLP
- Process accreditation carried out by Lloyds Register
- A web enabled database which will provide valuers, lenders and surveyors, with details of housing units in the scheme. Details of accredited designers, manufacturers, constructors and building systems will also be included.
In addition to the pressing need for a substantial increase in the number of new homes being built in the UK it is also essential to improve the energy efficiency of these homes in order to reduce the need for and the cost of space heating. In order to meet these challenges there will need to be a fundamental shift in house-building practices including, in particular, a step-change increase in the use of innovative and offsite construction methods to improve the performance of new homes in use.
It is likely that over time house-building in the UK will transform from a predominantly site based activity to an activity that involves the on- site assembly of factory made quality building components. This is how construction has been evolving to meet the quality and performance needs of other sectors of the industry. Recommendations to this effect have been set out in the recently published Offsite Housing Review which is available as a download from the Construction Industry Council website:
The increased use of factory manufactured components has obvious advantages over traditional site based construction methods but since the use of these products will be new to many house-builders and developer clients it is inevitable that initially at least their use will be perceived as giving rise to uncertainty and risk. Traditional construction methods are also prone to risks including in particular those associated with poor workmanship and poor detailing. However, these risks have become part and parcel of the process of traditional house-building in the UK and the industry has developed methods to manage that risk - usually involving demolition and reconstruction or simply making good the defective work. In either case the outcome represents poor value in terms of sustainability and use of resources and the performance of the finished homes may fall well short of requirements.
For more information on the BOPAS Scheme
At this stage the Scheme is specifically targeted at manufacturers of offsite construction components and assemblies and at constructors of new homes. However, the value of the Scheme to eliminate construction and financial risk is likely to mean that the Scheme will also be of interest to Developers and RSL and Local Authority clients.