An alternative building method

Offsite construction has become a buzz word in the building industry, but it is not new to modular building sector. The industry has been manufacturing buildings offsite for in excess of 75 years. Modern factories now produce hi-tech buildings and delivery dates are met with no delays due to weather conditions.
Today’s modular buildings need not look like’ boxes’ or the old image of ‘site huts ‘without any character. In fact, the industry has reached a point where it is difficult to tell them apart from traditional developments. These buildings can be designed to meet both needs and budgets restraints that are all too important today.
For the health sector, often in urgent need of additional hospital space but without causing disruption to its services, the a modular approach to building can offer a fast and cost effective solution.
When looking at either replacing, extending or adding to existing structures, modular buildings is flexible enough to meet all applications specified by the client.
Layout and design services are available from suppliers including expert advice on planning issues, building regulations and safety requirements.
Fast installation with minimum disruption can be achieved, as transport, site work, and commissioning can be part of a turnkey package by using just one company.

The new building regulations that came into force from April 2014 has given the modular industry a further opportunity to prove its ability to meet the challenges presented with energy efficiency. Both traditional and modular buildings now and for the future need to be more energy efficient. Modular constructions built in a controlled factory environment can already demonstrate more energy efficiency.
From 2020, buildings will be required to be zero carbon to meet European Legislation. This year the new regulations continue to go part way towards that target and more will be expected by 2016.
All too often when discussing these subjects, end users are given the impression that it is a complicated issue. In actual fact buildings that can be provided by the modular building industry will be able to tick all the boxes. The industry sector is fully aware of what they need to do to comply and in many cases is ahead of what is expected.

Modular buildings are still a very good alternative if budget restraints are an issue; there is the option to hire buildings or purchase refurbished buildings, which is an area that many are not familiar with. Buildings that are readily available for hire or reused buildings available for purchase that were built prior to 2014 will still meet the specified requirements within the new regulations. These buildings can be provided with the required documents to prove ‘Energy Efficiency Compliance (EPC) and regulations.
We would recommend when looking for new buildings, adding to existing buildings, buying refurbished or hiring, to choose a supplier that will complete each project precisely on programme and meet the deadline for completion on time needs to be high on the agenda. What’s more, a vast majority of work can be undertaken off site. Companies familiar with this type of contracts are well aware that buildings have to be completed with minimum disruption to existing operational facilities.

If you are looking for a building make sure that you talk to industry direct. This will without doubt save money.
Ask the company to provide a turnkey package, as this reduces the number of people that you have to deal with. Make sure you have a clear idea of your requirements. If in doubt take advice from the industry before expensive plans are drawn as fancy buildings can be costly.
Look at healthcare buildings that have been built in modular and used for the same purpose. Talk to colleagues at other locations that are familiar with the systems.

If in doubt, talk to the industry association, an association that understands the industry and will give free impartial advice.

Bradford Royal Infirmary turned to the modular building industry when it needed a new radiology facility on a short timescale and in a tight location on top of an existing building.
A weekend delivery avoided disturbing other departments, while the modular construction meant there was less noise and disruption than with a wholly traditional build.
Actiform’s managing director, Stefan Dransfield, said: “The fact that we are a bespoke manufacturer, coupled with the flexibility of the Actiform system enabled us to meet the requirements of such a tight site and the irregular shape of the footprint. Such a solution would not have been achieved with typical modular accommodation.”
Meanwhile, Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire used a modular extension to an existing traditionally built building to provide a new private 12 bed surgical ward. It was a rather complex two storey building with storage and access on the ground floor and ward accommodation to the top floor. The complexity came with the two portal frames, one of which spans 10 new car parking spaces and the level of land creating the requirement for two different sizes of ground floor module. (Text Provided by The Actiform Group).

Five-storey modular wards and theatres at the country’s leading Hepatology (liver transplant) centre were constructed utilising Elliott’s innovative new bespoke steel frame modular system.
The scheme was funded through a SSAP21 compliant Operating Lease arranged through an NHS Leasing Framework specialist to ensure compliance with the strict accounting rules.
The building was completed in less than 12 months ensuring that critical operational dates were met and that disruption to the hospital was kept to a minimum.
The project was challenging logistically as the site is almost completely enclosed with minimal space for contractor’s site set up.     

The design ensured that the new facility links to the hospital street and fits closely to the outline of the adjacent Nightingale Wards. (Text provided by Elliott Group).


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