Embracing the alternative

New hospitals for the future can easily be achieved by the use of modular buildings. These buildings will meet all the criteria’s that are demanded today by legislation and the public demands for better facilities.
    
Recent press articles have given the impression that hospitals that are built using modular buildings are of a substandard nature. The professional industry that has worked hard throughout the years to ensure that this is not the case feels very concerned that these comments have been made.

Moving with the times
Many of the existing hospital facilities that have been made available in recent years to overcome the increasing need for more facilities would not have been possible without the modular industry. Manufacturing processes have moved with the times ensuring that all the correct boxes are ticked.
    
As with all products it is a timely reminder, however, that buildings are like cars – lack of maintenance means shorter life time span. The same applies to modular buildings as traditional buildings; they are not maintenance free.
    
State of the art hospitals have recently been built to meet the requirements for sustainability, embodied energy, carbon emissions, and reduction of waste. If you are looking to meet these criteria’s then off site construction in the form of modular or portable buildings is the answer.
    
Progress throughout the last 70 years has been considerable with buildings of all types of design and uses now being manufactured and installed. Hotels, hospitals, schools, offices and even prisons to name just a few applications, this industry has come a long way since the original concept and the ever increasing requirements to satisfy green issues. Traditional buildings are no longer the only option available.

Jargon explained
Terminology tends to proliferate in any sector and the portable building industry is no exception; with its multiplicity of designs and uses, the industry seems to have acquired more than its fair share. For example, buildings can be described as portable, modular, linked, panel, system or volumetric, take your pick.
    
Portable Buildings can best be defined as those made wholly in a factory and then transported for the installation on prepared foundations. Most, but by no means all, portable buildings can be removed and relocated to a new site without little or no waste.
    
The main advantage of this type of building is speed of construction, as, for example the groundwork can proceed at the same time as the building takes shape in the factory. Site assembly quickly produces a weatherproof shell, so progress is rarely delayed by bad weather. Speed of construction also leads to considerable cost savings when compared to conventional building methods.
    
Modular buildings tend to be larger and more permanent and are produced in modular or slices, bolted together on site in a variety of configurations to produce the clients required accommodation.
    
System buildings are yet more permanent because they comprise a steel or timber frame, erected on site to which are fixed cladding panels produced by a number of different ‘systems’ or designs.
    
Finally, volumetric units are defined as factory built modules in made-up form and are typically residential designs or increasingly, sophisticated hotel rooms or toilet and bathroom pods for installation in other permanent buildings.

Raising the profile
It is probably fair to say that historically prefabricated buildings have had more than there fair share of criticism levelled at them. Considered by many to be a poor substitute to the ‘real thing’. However, a classic example to the contrary are hospitals that have over the years proven themselves, with many still in use by health authorities.
    
The fact that thousands of temporary buildings continue to perform their function is a tribute to a largely unsung industry.
    
It is a well known fact in our industry sector yet not well publicised that the use of pre-owned modular buildings is the most environmentally friendly method of construction and a highly sustainable alternative to new build and to the demolition and disposal of buildings in landfill sites. Generating less than ten per cent of the carbon emissions and using less than three per cent of the energy during construction compared to a newly manufactured building of the equivalent size.
    
We talk continuously about sustainable solutions in these current times. What better example can you find than modular buildings; when they are relocated, the embodied energy in them is preserved.
    
Furthermore it is an industry which continues to make every effort to convince clients that today’s buildings are every bit as good as their traditional counterparts, but have the advantage of speed and lower cost.

Fast track solution
Fast track solutions have become increasingly more in demand over the years alongside the consideration that we need to make on reducing waste. With buildings, manufactured in a controlled factory the industry has the opportunity to take control of these aspects and able to prove its results.
    
Modern buildings can be stylish, secure, economical to heat and maintain and, above all, flexible in their use.
    
External appearance of buildings today can be specified to suit individual requirements. The design can include pitched roof, brick, stone or other decorative finishes as most new building requirements need to be compatible to other buildings in the same location.
    
The different concepts of system building – be they panellised or volumetric – have progressed dramatically over the years. They are no longer temporary structures but conform to all the latest legislation in respect of structural integrity, building regulations, fire regulations, and so on, and will compare favourably with the more traditional forms of construction.

Suppliers
Spacemaker Cabins has skilled staff with years of experience in building portable accommodation. The company emphasise on exceptional quality for all products, and customer service that is second to none. From the initial enquiry stage to completion of your unit, you will receive the same Spacemaker Cabins service throughout. Portable accommodation is the cheaper alternative to traditional buildings, so Spacemaker Cabins sets out to specialise in bespoke layout and finish options, as well as Standard Site Accommodation as they know that your needs are sometimes more than just an office space. Every cabin is given the same build priority as the next, long lead times for ‘unconventional’ units are not offered.
    
Keyspace Hire is a manufacturer and supplier of relocatable building systems, new or refurbished for sale or hire. The company has over 40 years experience in the design, manufacture and supply of portable buildings to government and health authorities, education, construction and retail industry. Products range from small Jackleg Units through to multi-storey Modular Buildings to suit your specific requirements and budget. There is also the steel Anti-Vandal range, which offers high security in a warm working environment.
    
Since its establishment in 1997, Integra Buildings Limited has grown rapidly and earned an enviable reputation for quality in both products and services. The company can supply high specification factory built, pre-engineered modular buildings, including multi-storey options, for a wide variety of commercial and industrial uses. Main aims and objectives are consistency, reliability, professionalism and cost effectiveness. The company’s ongoing success has been achieved as a result of the dedication, commitment and flexibility of the management team, who together have a wide experience of the system building industry.
    
Stackright caters for the demanding conditions of challenging working environments, with anti-vandal cabins manufactured to stand the test of time. Utilising robust materials and designed to each customer’s individual requirement, Stackright offers the optimum solution to site storage and accommodation requirements. The company has a huge range of facilities available, from secure toilets, offices and canteens to generate the enclosures and telecommunication housing.
    
Today in a market potentially worth in excess of a billion pounds, modular and portable buildings continue to fill the gap and the industry is no stranger to off site construction – it is what we do and we will continue to develop new ideas and technology.

About the MPBA
The MPBA is an association for the promotion and marketing of the modular and portable building industry.
    
Its members consist of companies directly involved within the modular and portable building industry and the associate members are companies involved in the supply of products and services to the industry.
    
Our Members are able to supply for either purchase or hire of new manufactured modular and portable buildings, and quality pre-owned modular and portable buildings
    
‘Associate Members’ are companies with strong business contacts within the industry that are able to supply materials, components and services to our Members.
    
In a market worth billions of pounds, the Modular and Portable Building Association has members that specialise in all types of building applications. Many of our members offer a variety of finance packages including hire, purchase and lease purchase.
    
The Association’s members are spread throughout the British Isles and there are also overseas associate members from other continents as well as the EU.
    
The Association holds bi-monthly meetings at various locations around the country and occasionally at member’s premises. On occasions, we have a guest speaker to give a presentation about a subject or matter that is important to the Association.

MPBA aims
The MPBA aims to:

  • To maintain and improve standards of service, performance and product quality
  • Promote the expansion of the modular and portable building industry in ways that benefit both its customers and the members
  • To promote just and honourable business practices ensuring that relations with the public are good and the clients can have confidence when dealing with members
  • To encourage, promote, protect and defend the legitimate interests of members
  • To communicate with EC, national and local governments, public authorities, standardising bodies, and so on, in respect of legislation and standards affecting the industry and also represent members collectively to those bodies
  • To provide a referral service for potential clients
  • To provide members with information, data and statistics relating to the industry and also a forum where opinions can be exchanged
  • To encourage members to further educate and develop both themselves  and their staff.

For more information
PO Box 99, Caersws, SY17 5WR
Tel/Fax: 0870 241 7687
Web: www.mpba.biz

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