Despite recent reports that suggest government departments are not adopting a presumption in favour of offsite, the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) has research which shows volumetric modular construction is undergoing a period of considerable growth. Here MPBA Chief Executive Jackie Maginnis shares her perspective on the uptake of modular construction with the Offsite Hub.
As an optimum residential building technique for timber, steel and concrete designs – volumetric modular construction is at the forefront of offsite technology, making up 60-70% of the market. These solutions arguably form a modern method of construction that is experiencing an entirely different growth trend to that of other offsite approaches.
Over 50% of our membership supplied detailed financial information to support the MPBA’s survey report commissioned through the University of Salford. This market intelligence from 2018 – 2019, provides evidence of a turnover in the sector that exceeds £2,956 million. This figure excludes the revenue from the major players who have recently entered the volumetric modular arena including banking giant Goldman Sachs, investing £75m into modular housing business, TopHat, as well as Japan's biggest housebuilder striking a multi-million-pound deal that will see Sekisui House partner with Homes England and Urban Splash. This agreement will also see a £55m investment into Urban Splash but the largest deal by far was revealed by ilke Homes’ involving a £100m agreement with Places for People.
The modular industry has had a remarkable impact on reducing costs while increasing quality and productivity. Having gained considerable momentum over the past few years, advanced modular techniques reduce build times by an impressive 50-60%. The demand for customisation has led the volumetric modular manufacturing industry to develop methods for adaptation during the mass production process to meet individual requirements.
A number of factors are considered to achieve optimal design efficiency. Module connection detailing and quantities, installation and crane costing rates, specific site logistics – all must be taken into account, together with foundations/transfer decks, volumes of materials and other service core requirements.
Each individual material can be selected specifically for its performance characteristics, tailoring every inch of a modular build. Eco-friendly materials are often specified, and waste is recycled for future projects wherever possible. As units are factory manufactured, stringent quality control processes can be undertaken within these well-managed environments. In addition, modular construction enables site work and building processes to be completed simultaneously, reducing labour costs and build times.
Transportation rarely poses issues, as pre-constructed, self-contained units can be shipped to virtually any location. As modules are designed to withstand long-distance transportation and craning onto foundations, they are structurally stronger than most traditionally constructed building materials.
About the Author
Jackie Maginnis Chief Executive of the Modular & Portable Building Association (MPBA) has worked within the volumetric industry for 35 years. Prior to her role with MPBA she worked for a manufacturing and hire company of volumetric buildings, being involved with the design and manufacturing process, supplying buildings to all sectors of the market.