Modular Offsite Construction Today31 Aug 2015
Modular offsite construction is becoming increasingly popular due to the obvious benefits that it can offer. Modular construction can be up to 50% faster than a traditional build which combined with a more dependable build programme brings obvious advantages to sectors such as education, where a build can be scheduled during holiday periods reducing disruption to a minimum.
And these buildings are expected to be a permanent fixture. The temporary structures we traditionally thought of as modular buildings are a far cry from the permanent brick skin, pitched roof, attractive structures that modular offsite construction produces today. If correctly maintained a lifespan of 60 years or more can be expected. Many companies offer a 25 year structural warranty as standard, plus a 5 year warranty on the general external fabric of the building.
All this is usually combined with a lower cost. Modular offsite construction is generally more cost effective than traditional build without compromising on quality. Factory built modules are made to strict tolerances and quality control standards ensuring that quality is maintained throughout.
Sectors where there is significant demand for modular offsite construction include the institutional markets – accommodation for students and military personnel as well as care homes. Other sectors such as offices, healthcare, custodial and education benefit from the advantages that modular offsite construction offers. Affordable and key worker housing are also important markets, as a high proportion of output will be high-density flats.
Other advantages of modular offsite include:
• Greater predictability of costs
• Sustainability: considerably less waste in manufacturing and assembly, minimum disruption and noise on site.
• Reduced labour requirements on site
• Greater efficiency, simplified interface issues
• Improved site productivity and health and safety
• Time required for construction on site is considerably less as foundations and main structures can be prepared simultaneously resulting in a shorter delivery period and with only the final finishing to be completed on site.
These are all reasons why modular offsite construction solutions are increasingly becoming the construction method of choice.
We look now to the requirements of modular building manufacturers when purchasing windows and doors and ask Colin Freeman, Managing Director of ATB Systems, why this may differ to the requirements of more traditional construction methods.
What are the particular needs and requirements of modular building manufacturers?
Modular Building Manufacturers require the same high standards of quality, performance and pleasing aesthetics as traditional construction companies but with a quicker turn around due to the demanding time constraints when supplying Modular buildings.
What do you think are the key criteria for modular building personnel when purchasing windows and doors?
Modular Building personnel need to be confident that their window and door supplier can provide quality products that work in harmony with their individual wall panel construction preference, allowing ease of fixing and finishing. ATB Systems feel it is important to communicate from the outset, to ensure that by working together this objective can be achieved efficiently.
What are the main considerations when designing windows and doors specifically for the offsite construction market?
They must equal the standards for traditional building but take into consideration the varying wall structures for offsite construction. Specifications and sizes have to be determined in the early stages of a project because of the time limitations, so working in partnership is fundamental.
How do your product ranges differ in terms of those for permanent and temporary buildings?
As Modular Buildings become more widely used for Offsite Construction as permanent structures there are no ‘one size/style fits all’ type products used for this industry. Strict regulations and performance testing rules apply for this sector just as they do for traditional buildings so there are no compromises on quality or performance.
Within the TAURUS window range ATB Systems have incorporated designs that can quite simply include additional features such as:
• Unobtrusive mesh security guards for vulnerable areas
• Fully functioning venetian blinds within the glass unit for easy cleaning
• Remote window opening and closing activation for mental health facilities, disabled use, or for use with a ventilation management system
Go to www.atbsystems.co.uk for more information
What trends have become apparent in the design of windows and doors for the modular and offsite construction?
The most obvious ‘difference’ is that Modular Buildings and Offsite Construction methods have become more desirable for long term projects because of the advantages of providing accommodation quickly, at a reasonable cost but with all the benefits offered by modern building techniques. Many energy efficient products are utilised, including windows and doors such as provided by ATB, to meet the relevant high standards.