what is modular building?

a.k.a pre-fab builds

A modular building is one created like building a lego house. The pieces are pre-fabricated off-site in a large warehouse for economies of scale allowing for reduced costs like mass-producing Ikea furniture. The benefits of this allow faster production and multiple customisation options that are easily replicable across multiple sites and locations or can be designed individually for specific regions and needs.  

A modular build can be assembled on-site anywhere from a day to a week depending on the size and complexity of the design. Costs of construction are greatly reduced with minimal impact to regular day to day activities so disruption to regular classes could be reduced to a single day if at all. 

See the 3 day build below by Boklok.  

modular building for schools

a solution to overcrowding?

With the speed and efficiency of which a modular build can be constructed, the key factor here is time. In a matter of days a whole classroom can be built, fully equipped and kitted out with sinks, plumbing, windows fitted. All the items you could want can be customised at the factory to specific guidelines with rigorous safety guidelines, tested and ready to fit. 

Once delivered to the location, just like Lego, the walls are connected, sealed and secured leaving only the pipework and cabling to be connected to the spot. There's even a warranty to go with your pieces often covering most appliances and items decided at the factory, fitted and tested. 

 

poor quality construction?

think of the children!

You may have heard from your friend Bob, who knows a guy at work who had a modular build and said they were cheap and poorly constructed. This might have been true back when modular was in its infancy trying to work out how to make a cheap build. However, we've come a long way since then. Today some modular builds with customisation levels to the nth degree like HufHaus can be quite costly with rigorous testing methods (yet still cheaper than traditional builds overall). But all modular builds are now held to a high standard with the cost savings primarily from the 80% reduction in on-site construction including traffic, safety regulations and weather constraints.  

Often modular builds will use accurate BIM systems to 3D model the construction for incredible accuracy and simple sharing across planning levels. This ensures accuracy right down to final build with clear clipping points when assembling the pieces and the ability to adapt a design on the fly or add to it if you need an extension to the classroom down the line.  

David Attenborough

"Many individuals are doing what they can. But real success can only come if there is a change in our Societies and in our Economics and in our Politics".

greener and safer

sustainability from the start.

The use of green technology is at the forefront of most modular processes. By applying sustainable production methods to builds it becomes integral to the natural flow of construction. 

flexibility

A modular build can be disassembled, reconstructed, relocated and refurbished without the need for destruction or industrial equipment and machines. If the build is temporary it can even be recycled easily and removed without a demand for raw materials. 

less waste 

In the factory every piece can be used, off cuts recyled, and sitting in a controlled environment there is no weather damage or damp to content with. 

improved air quality

Because the pre-fabricated structure is substantially completed in a factory-controlled setting using dry materials, the potential for high levels of moisture being trapped in the new construction is eliminated. The usual teeth issues that can be had from paint dusting, settling and the release of chemicals requiring a building to 'air-out' can be entirely eliminated at factory. For children's safety and a fast build, the advantages are vast for the education sector.  

making changes, together

a cohesive national strategy.

As the Scape report highlights and referenced by David Attenborough's words, to make changes it needs to happen at economies of scale, together as one. 

The Education and Skills Funding Agency began using modular four years ago, but only a relatively small number (70 schools) have been built using offsite construction so far. This is in reply to the increase in demand for places in schools equating to 640 new primary and secondary schools in the UK. 

A recent project by Elliott saw a two-storey Elthorne Park School built in 18 weeks incorporating concrete floors with steel frames and timber panels. All frames, walls, floors and internal partitions we built off-site at the factory and transported to the site. This build matched the traditional look and feel of common construction, whilst reaping all the benefits of modular off-site methods.    

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