Offsite Cutting – Understanding the Benefits

Although there will always be the need for minor deck adjustments on site, major changes to shape or size can lead to site disruption and delays to the project, not to mention an ongoing public relations nightmare.Off-site cutting could be the answer – but what is it?

Traditionally, all decking material is sent to site already cut into specific lengths to suit the design. However, in some cases it will need to be cut again to suit the shape of the floor, especially where curves and angles exist. The answer historically has been to use a trusty petrol saw to cut the deck to suit the final shape needed. This generates waste material that is not only taking up precious space in site skips but the cutting process is also incredibly noisy too.

What is off site cutting?

Off-site cutting, also referred to as quiet time working, is where certain on-site cutting operations are transferred to an off-site location where they don’t fall under the same noise restrictions or logistical pressures. Undertaking the secondary cutting at the factory makes complete sense as when the decking is delivered to site it can be simply fitted into position with little to no additional processing needed on site.


The benefits of off-site cutting.

Although this service will come with an associated cost, there are many environmental, safety, programme and logistical benefits that vastly outweigh the financial side of things. Two of our core businesses values are Health & Safety and environment, and so we like to use this method as a positive change that we hope will spread throughout the industry and become the common practice. So, what are the main benefits?



In many areas, particularly central London, there are restrictions on the amount of noise a site can make due to neighbouring businesses and residential properties. The petrol saw needed to cut steel decking can be over 120Db and is disruptive and dangerous to other on-site trades too. Off Site cutting eliminates this noise and with it the associated aggravation of upset neighbours.


Not only does this method reduce the amount of material transported on the roads and therefore carbon emissions, but the waste “off cuts” produced in a factory setting are more likely to be recycled as they won’t have been contaminated by other site waste.



Often the on-site cutting of the steel decking is done at height which has serious implications and risk of injury, however, in a factory setting it is more controlled and done at ground level which eliminates much of this for both the individual and other trades.



Having already done some of the work off site, when the material arrives on site already cut to the specific shape needed it will allow areas to be fixed in an efficient way that can lead to quicker installation durations, especially where the shape of the building is irregular.



With less waste material on-site, it means that fewer skips are needed (which is also cost-effective) and reduces vehicle movements on site. What’s more, with less scrap needing to be lifted down to be disposed, it means that crane usage is reduced and frees them up for more productive task.

What happens if the processed materials still need adjusting?

If after off-site cutting is complete there still needs to be small tweaks to the shape after delivery to site, then plasma cutting is just the thing. If there are last minute design changes or a need for adjustment due to site tolerances, this electronic tool can be used with virtually no noise.

The current fleet of plasma cutters in SMD’s armoury are lightweight and easy to use. Needing only 32A 110v site power they need no special requirements on site. Limited only by weather, they offer a reliable approach to on site adjustment, albeit at a slightly slower rate than a petrol saw.

Get in touch to find out how we can help.

We’re committed to constantly improving the methods we use in order to benefit our employees, clients, partner trades and the environment. Interested in using off-site cutting for your next project?

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