A Modular Approach to Meeting Future Housing Needs

Modular building is helping builders and developers to meet the higher degrees of the Code for Sustainable Homes, whilst achieving performance, cost and schedule requirements.

The residential home sector is embracing offsite construction for a way of achieving the increasingly stringent building regulations, combined with a need to reduce unit costs and meet tighter build schedules. Innovation in the business means that today’s modular structures can be as individual and unique as are houses constructed with traditional construction methods. The increasingly strict performance requirements of this Code for Sustainable Homes also suggests that many of the new build industry are seeing offsite as a method of strengthening they are able to satisfy these enhanced performance levels. Architects and offsite businesses are working together more closely than ever before to address the way future housing requirements could be fulfilled.

House contractors are under increasing pressure to deliver houses which incorporate sustainable construction methods. The new generation of ‘Hybrid’ offsite buildings means additionally allow for green technologies to be integrated, for example, rainwater harvesting, solar photovoltaics or even a green roof, in addition to mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) systems, all of which greatly enhance the sustainability of a structure.

With modular construction, panels are prefabricated within a factory quality controlled environment, which means that performance levels are assured. Additionally, it ensures that maintenance costs are lower over the lifetime of the building, because of the building being produced to meet stringent building standards.

For all these reasons, offsite construction is supplying a solution, which enables shorter build times, fewer stoppages as a result of adverse weather, less waste and a lesser environmental impact. The modular building also has the advantages of maximizing transportation, which means fewer deliveries to site, therefore enhancing a building’s green credentials and additionally providing less disruption to occupants.

As well as meeting exceptional performance requirements, the latest offsite solutions also allow for much more design flexibility. This may include the integration of non-rectangular modules and the debut of corner-to-corner glazed walls, which all add to the interest and diversity in progress with multiple units. This layout flexibility is helping change the perception of off-site construction held by many people who wrongly see it as being quite formulaic.

In real fact, construction offsite may allow for increased flexibility than with traditional assembles as well as the developer can benefit from a significantly lower carbon footprint. Many housing associations are searching to specify low embodied carbon building products for new homes which contain a high level of recycled substances and these can easily be specified within an offsite build. Visit quality home builders here: www.reidsheritagehomes.com/

Modular construction is now currently being embraced for constructing whole apartment blocks, as single living accommodation units can be made quickly and efficiently and stacked, with all the functionality and aesthetic advantages.

Another element that is attractive to the housing industry is the standardization and economies of scale provided by modular construction methods. By way of instance, the Hybrid concept was recently developed to make a number of Code 4 bungalows. Due to a large number of similar units created as part of this project, the client was able to gain from new homes delivered within a less expensive budget, which makes this an attractive option. And this notion could be applied to five-story buildings as a single narrative flat, demonstrating the versatility of this system. It could also be adapted to suit Code Degrees 5 and 6, as an effective way of producing the most sustainable buildings. As over 85 percent of a construction can be constructed in the factory, this reduces the amount of time spent on the website.

With modular construction, the roof is finished offsite, so the whole building could be watertight within only one day. The end result is a building that meets the performance requirements of the greater Code levels, backed up with the advantages of offsite construction.

Designs for all these modular buildings relies on meeting and exceeding current conditions, including the new space criteria as defined by the Mayor of London and HCA (Homes and Communities Agency), as well as the Code for Sustainable Homes level 4 or above, Lifetime Homes, Building for Life and Housing Quality Indicators (HQIs).

Where modular construction can enable the housing industry to create massive gains is when it comes to replication of components to a frequent design, using standard elements. Units can be made for a range of sizes from micro-flats and 1-4 bedroom units, that are ideal for first-time buyers, in addition to students and the older. Larger units are capable of being configured as two-story maisonettes, or side by side on one floor. The chances are huge – ranging from little 10-15 unit developments configured as flat blocks or terraces, through to 50+ unit schemes, which combine houses and flats, through to bigger 100+ unit regeneration projects. All of these can be given to meet an assortment of configurations to match their different settings and neighborhood atmosphere.

The exciting job is being done in the home sector where architects are working closely with offsite businesses to integrate the most recent technologies to ensure the country’s future houses can be delivered to fulfill performance and sustainability requirements, whilst nevertheless delivered involving tight budgetary parameters. This approach looks set to increase as the industry recognizes how it is an efficient means to satisfy the UK’s future housing needs.