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Setting standards within the offsite sector: The Buildoffsite Registration Scheme

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Terrapin’s offsite work at the Chase Farm Mental Health Unit in Enfield contributed to their successful registration

Bassam Burgan, SCI Deputy Director, explains the advantages of the first offsite sector specific scheme that focuses on the safe and competent delivery of service.

Organisations behind the scheme  

Buildoffsite, an industry wide campaigning organisation, promoting the UK offsite construction sector, recognised the need to establish sector specific standards as part of a wider strategy to raise the profile of the industry. It was considered that the best way to achieve this aim was to introduce a registration scheme, which benchmarked members against sector best practice. A rigorous and technically well founded scheme would provide confidence to client organisations, end users, insurers and other stakeholders that best practice was adopted in designing and constructing assets.

Lloyd’s Register EMEA was chosen to develop the scheme, due to the strength of its reputation for integrity and independence, both nationally and internationally and the experience of developing and operating similar schemes in other sectors, such as utilities.

British Board of Agrément (BBA) and the Steel Construction Institute (SCI) were approached to support the scheme operation, through the provision of technical specialist support.

About the scheme 

The Buildoffsite members were concerned by the ever widening gap developing between current certification products and the demand of the market for flexibility and rapid change. The scheme was therefore required to create sufficient flexibility to bridge that gap but also to introduce coherence into the diverse product and systems certification.

To address these requirements Lloyd’s Register EMEA developed a scheme which focused on process but which also recognised and took account of existing product QA system certification.

Through its emphasis on process, the scheme encapsulates not only all activities from tender submission, through award, specification, design, manufacture, delivery, construction, handover and maintenance, but also all forms of certification held by the offsite constructor.

There are four categories of registration available under the scheme:

  • design
  • manufacturing
  • construction
  • project management.

Risk-based assessment 

The Buildoffsite scheme requires the offsite service provider to define the risks to his business/project/contract/activities and identify the required control measures to mitigate, where appropriate, those risks and ensure that those control measures are communicated and implemented as necessary through the organisation.

The focus of the assessment is on the risks to achieving best practice in the safe and competent delivery of a contractually compliant offsite service or product.

The SCI and BBA technical support

Having established the principles of the scheme, it was recognised that acknowledged sector expertise would be required to lend technical credibility to the assessment process particularly in respect of the evaluation of design competence and the design process. BBA represented a natural choice to provide technical support in the assessment of the design scope of registration as did SCI, when the principal material of construction was steel.

The organisations engaged in the delivery of the scheme are reflected in the Buildoffsite Registration Scheme logo.

Why the scheme has merit

The scheme focuses on process but also incorporates product through competency based self-certification, which provides for design variation, within controlled bounds.

The Buildoffsite Registration Scheme is the first offsite sector specific scheme that focuses on the safe and competent delivery of service or product. It represents a risk-based approach to assessment which will support the more rapid introduction of innovative offsite construction solutions.

Registration under the scheme is evidence to the market that the registrant is committed to the implementation of best practice in the delivery of products and services to the industry and therefore represents a powerful marketing tool with international, as well as national, recognition.

The current status of the scheme 

Terrapin were awarded the first Buildoffsite Registration Scheme certificate. Left to right: Richard Ogden, Buildoffsite Chairman; Glen Miller-McIlravey, Terrapin Health Safety and Environment Manager; Dick Ward, UK Asset Management’s Business Manager

The pilot assessment has been completed and the first Buildoffsite Registration Scheme certificate was awarded to Terrapin Ltd at the OSC Awards Dinner on the October 30, 2007, for the scopes of design, manufacture and construction. The pilot assessment provided Lloyd’s Register with the opportunity to apply the principles of the schemes, operated in other sectors, to the offsite sector and at the same time establish sector benchmarks of common, good and best practice.

The Buildoffsite Registration Scheme was launched at the Lloyd’s Register Group’s London Office on the November 7, 2007 during which Nick Whitehouse, former Chairman of the Terrapin Group, said of the scheme “The Buildoffsite Registration Scheme initiative is a scheme which we believe is valuable to us, to the client and to the sector as a whole representing a vehicle for continuous improvement”

The scheme has invoked considerable interest within the offsite sector and a number of constructors and designers are progressing assessment against the scheme, with a view to gaining registration.

More information on the scheme can be found on the following website address: or alternatively you can contact
Anna Whiting of Buildoffsite on Tel: +44 (0)207 549 3306 or
Samantha Lee of Lloyd’s Register EMEA on Tel: +44 (0)247 651 8631

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