Off-site construction benefits health

The Modular & Portable Building Industry, like other off site businesses, faced new challenges from the 1 October last year.
    
With the requirements for Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for modular buildings in the new regulations there was a need to consider the impact this would have on companies that have existing buildings and the way forward for the future, in particular to what is known as a ‘distress purchase’ to serve the health and education sector of the market.

Controversial buildings
Prefabricated buildings as they were known historically (and still so in many people’s eyes) have not always enjoyed good press in the past. More often than not they have attracted or been associated with controversy and it is fair to say that when used in the health sector they have had their share of criticism.
    
Considered by many to be a poor substitute for the real thing before they arrive – this has also been compounded by local authorities choosing the most basic models anticipating a trouble free building for the rest of its life. But this is not the case today.
    
Nowadays, everyone is being asked to consider sustainability, reduction of carbon emissions, reduction of waste, and embodied energy. These are four major factors that play a major role in the products that our industry produces today.

Permanent solutions
Our industry has proven the sceptics wrong – for many years now we have been providing temporary healthcare buildings, which still today remain as a permanent feature.
    
The current trend of off-site construction is not new to the manufacturers and hirers of modular buildings. For some 20 years the industry has been filling the need for additional classroom facilities throughout the UK. With the current government campaign to redevelop and rebuild, the benefits of modular buildings can be of great assistance.
    
To ensure that the industry can still respond, MPBA has put in place a compliance scheme for both members and non-members to continue to be able to provide quick solutions for clients as in the past. The industry has always been able to offer a fast track solution to providing equipment; the scheme enables this to still apply.
    
With the assistance of Local Authority Building Control (LABC) and the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI), a guidance document has been written by the MPBA and sent to all building control offices. This incorporates flow charts to enable ease of understanding of the requirements.

Modular hospitals
As an industry modular buildings are now increasing used in the health sector for a variety of reasons.
    
Healthcare modules used as a temporary measure can be added or removed (dependent on design) when a particular hospital new build is ready for occupation. This enables buildings to be removed and reused if required.
    
All buildings fully comply with the required building regulations, and are carefully planned by specialist personal that have many years’ experience in this type of facility. Soundproofing was an issue for many years, but with the new modern materials used this has now been overcome. The same principle applies to heating and lighting.
    
With limited space available, which is often the case for existing hospitals, the advantage of modular buildings gives clients the opportunities of making use of every space available.

Planned delivery
Consideration needs to be taken with regards to avoiding disruption to crucial day-to-day operations. It is always worth remembering that with modular buildings, ground works and production can take place at the same time.
    
The modular and portable building industry has many companies who will be able to meet the quality and needs of any project and will perform to a high standard of service and reliability.
    
Consider all the factors and you have an ideal solution to solving your problems of new or replacement buildings. If in doubt the industry is supported by its very own industry association and will answer any questions that you may have.
    
With the ever increasing demands for additional facilities in the health sector, once more members of the MPBA prove the benefits of using modular buildings for this purpose, as detailed in the case studies below.

Case Study – Recycled Modules
A project to expand an existing recycled modular building at Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford to provide additional bed capacity for its surgical services has been recently completed.
    
An interim ward building for the Short Stay Surgery Unit, which was supplied by Foremans to Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has been extended to create a further two new purpose-designed five-bed wards for the Elective Surgery Unit.
    
The building has also been refurbished externally with a new covered entrance and walkway, a new roof, low-level brick planters, and overcladding to each elevation using aluminium-faced panels in silver, blue and white for a more contemporary appearance and to further improve thermal performance and insulation.
    
The 26-module building was completed to a tight programme of just 15 weeks from receipt of order to handover to allow the Trust to increase surgical bed capacity as fast as possible. In order to minimise any disruption to patient care, the recycled building modules arrived on site and were craned into position over a weekend.
    
Commenting on the project, Graham Maynard, head of capital and estates at Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are very pleased with the building, the extension and the appearance.  The company performed well on this project and were sufficiently flexible to allow us to purchase and extend our interim ward accommodation to convert it to permanent use. We have had a good relationship with their team and would recommend their recycled modular building approach to other NHS trusts.”
    
Philip Howell of the Trust’s design consultants Drake & Kannemeyer, said: “The refurbished external appearance of the building provides a modern contemporary look and demonstrates what can be achieved when you combine the recycled modular approach with strong architectural design.”    
    
As budgets become tighter in the current economic climate, healthcare providers need to look for alternatives to providing accommodation solutions that deliver best value and yet maintain quality – whether for interim or permanent applications.  
    
With the Foreman’s approach, only the steel structure of the building is recycled – all fixtures and fittings, from doors and windows to wall linings and cladding, are new.  However, the recycling of modular buildings is a more cost-effective alternative to both new manufacture and traditional site-based construction and is up to 70 per cent faster. It is also very sustainable, giving organisations an environmentally sound alternative to the disposal of surplus modular accommodation in landfill sites.  
    
By re-using a modular building, less than ten per cent of the carbon emissions are generated compared to a newly manufactured building of equivalent size. This dramatically improves a building’s carbon footprint.

Case Study provided by Foreman’s

Case Study – New Build
Sunderland Hospital is one of the latest in a long line of hospitals to benefit from the experience of a member of the The Modular & Portable Building Association
    
With a unique bespoke approach to design, with no set module sizes, the manufacturer ensured the client gained all the benefits of offsite construction including speed without having to make changes to the complex design.
     
The 9000sq-mtr project consisted of 106 steel frame modules, some of which are up to 19 metres in length and include the latest technologies for robust floors.
    
Typically 80 per cent of the units were finished before being moved to site and in some cases many were 100 per cent complete. Quality Assurance checks by the dedicated team of personnel was a key procedure throughout the build process, from tendering through to design and manufacture and ultimately to erection on site.
    
As ever the clients benefited from less environmental impact, reduced waste and timed organised deliveries, all contributed to a satisfied client with professional service by the supplier.
    
With this new building Sunderland Royal has an addition of 120 in-patient beds and a  state of the art Integrated Critical Care unit. Other benefits from this new building are advanced infection control and privacy for patients, featuring more space for family and friends.
    
Staff who played a part in assisting to design this new unit will also have the benefit of new changing areas and a training room.

Case Study Provided by Britspace.

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