What are modular homes, how are they made, and why would I build modular when I know how traditional construction works? These are just some of the questions we hear all the time.
First of all, we understand that this can be a confusing arena for the unfamiliar. There is so much talk about off-site solutions, MMC and modular in the news lately but what does it all mean and how can it help you?
This article should shine a light on these questions and help you understand what our system of modular homes is.
We will cover:
- New to modular - a customer experience
- What is our modular system and approach?
- How can modular help you build homes?
- Key benefits of building modular
- Flexibility in design and programme
- Performance & Standards
New to modular - a customer experience
The above video is a showcase testimonial from Employer’s Agent Henry Riley who required a main contractor to work with their customer, Housing 21 to provide eight new apartments for a ‘retirement living’ scheme. The homes were originally designed for traditional construction, but this route became unachievable due to time constraints of funding being granted.
Working closely with our new partners we quickly turned this project into a modular solution that could be achieved in a tight programme and on a restrictive residential site whilst still delivering, on-time and on-budget.
Within three days, our procurement team were ordering materials so that the factory could begin manufacture three weeks later. Thanks to our market-leading Light Gauge Steel Frame ASA system, we fast-tracked this project with minimal disruption to the community. A perfect example of how modular can be leveraged to accelerate the delivery of homes.
What is our modular system and approach?
Our modular system is a light gauge steel frame system, known as ‘modular’ or ‘volumetric’. This means that modules are constructed from steel and are precision engineered in our factory with the configuration being determined by our design team in line with your brief.
They are then constructed in a quality controlled factory environment, in compliance with our ISO9001 and BOPAS quality procedures and with the same materials you would see in more traditional homes but with a production line mentality.
These modules can be finished to any degree you specify from shell only to fully finished, curtains and all, ready to be delivered to your site and installed with any final touches and landscaping completed on-site.
Our market-leading Light Gauge Steel Frame system is extremely flexible in design, allowing homes to be up to 90% completed in controlled conditions leaving minimal on-site assembly at the mercy of the Great British weather!
How can modular help you build homes?
Naturally, modular is a much more efficient approach to construction due to the controlled factory environment and digital first approach. One of the biggest benefits of building modular is the speed... We can have your homes ready to move into in as little as 10 weeks.
Groundworks on-site are undertaken in tandem with the manufacturing of your homes so your programme is considerably reduced. And because we're not at the mercy of the great British weather, you'll have the programme certainty you need to achieve your targets on-time and on-budget. Keeping things lean and accelerating delivery without compromising on quality!
Some of the key benefits of building modular
As well as the cost and programme certainty you will have heard many benefits of building modular. Not all can be realised in every project but when working with us from the start, we will always make sure you are getting best value out of your project.
All of our projects are designed with a digital first approach, using BIM (Building Information Modelling) we are precision engineering the project from the outset which reduces waste and increases efficiency to ensure the maximum amount of factory based manufacture is carried out.
Other benefits include; Health & Safety improvements; energy efficiency; better working conditions for the workforce; higher productivity; environmental improvements; life-cycle costs; along with long term benefits such as reducing fuel poverty, improving the skills gap crisis and helping elevate the housing crisis by delivering homes faster.
All of our sites can be delivered through a Design & Build, Turnkey solution for the whole site. As a customer this means we can manage the site wide development including streetworks, civil engineering and services rather than just parts. We find that customers want this approach as these elements of a project can be the most challenging.
Flexibility in design and programme
An in-house design team on hand offering flexibility that extends beyond a cookie-cutter approach. We don’t just design homes, we design YOUR homes in partnership with you!
We are not slaves to standardisation. Just because we have a standard home, doesn’t mean you have to have it or that you can’t change things. In fact, we don’t expect to ever build our standard homes because, we want to build yours not ours. We are the industries best kept secret because we will move the boundaries and be flexible in design finding ways to make your ideas possible.
Not all homes are the same, and at M-AR we understand this and work with you to realise your design standard.
Do you need some of your kitchens at the back of the house? Yes. We can arrange this for you...
Do you need an En-suite in the Master bedroom? Yes. We can do this too...
Do you need an extra plug socket in the cupboard under the stairs for the tumble dryer? Yes. And this
We want to ensure that you enjoy working with us, so that we become your Partner of Choice and our flexibility in design makes us stand out against the rest.
And it's not just the build that's flexible, we can be flexible with the programme too. When developing a housing project, you might not want all of your homes to be the same or even delivered at the same time. You might have a mixed tenure site, dependent on requirements. You may require a show home first... Rest assured, with our flexibility we are able to phase works to suit you, delivering your finished show home first, then your tenanted homes for fast rental receipt income, with your open market sale homes, delivered in batches as you sell them. Simple!
Performance & Standards
Without getting into to much detail we do have some standards.
- Walls – 0.20w/m2k (Part L1a minimum = 0.30 W/m2K)
- Floors – 0.14 w/m2k (Part L1a minimum = 0.25 W/m2K)
- Roof – 0.12w/m2k (Part L1a minimum = 0.20 W/m2K)
- Doors 1.1 W/m2K (Part L1a minimum = 2.0 W/m2K)
- Windows 1.4 W/m2K (Part L1a minimum = 2.0 W/m2K)
Depending on Customer or site specific requirements, we have a flexible approach to our housing solution that enables a variety of options to be upgraded including:
- Renewable energy systems including roof mounted Solar PV, solar hot water and air source heat pumps for heating, hot water and electrical systems
- Sprinkler systems
- Smart energy systems for both resident and landlord use
- Improved thermal/air tightness performances
Our baseline design includes the following:Building fabric exceeds building regulation air tightness performance – we consistently achieve a maximum air leakage rate of 5 m3/(h.m2)@50Pa (building regulation maximum = 10 m3/hr/m2 at 50Pa)
- Fully fitted homes including kitchen units, sanitary ware, wall and ceiling finishes
- External product specifications based on value for money is a light gauge steel frame structural envelope, plasterboard inner leaf and an external envelope of brick slips, render or a timber effect weather board. EPS and insulation quilt buildups to achieve U values. Internal envelope uses a service void to improve air tightness performance and flexibility of service coordination
- Ceiling heights 2.4m which increases the sense of space and light without significantly increasing the height of the building or size of staircase
- Roof buildup using timber trussed roof and lightweight roof tiles
- Upper floor buildups use light gauge steel frame, 22mm P5 grade chipboard and service voids to the underside to provide flexibility of service coordination and future adaptability
- Ground floor buildups are suspended floors formed from light gauge steel frame, 22mm P5 grade chipboard and mineral wool and PIR insulation buildups over a vented void
- Party Wall Construction formed from a light gauge steel framed structure clad with a buildup of 25mm plasterboard each side and acoustic insulation interlayer to reduce noise transfer between homes and provides fire separation