A New Platform For Construction - Seismic Consortium

Project Details

Project - Seismic - A New Platform For Construction

Sector - Commercial

Technology - Components

Company - Seismic Consortium

Project Overview

With the UK government pushing for platform-based construction solutions, the Seismic demonstrator building represents the first example of a full system that has been delivered. It is the culmination of a four-year project developed by a consortium comprising consultancy blacc, offsite manufacturers Algeco (formerly the Elliott Group) and McAvoy, Tata Steel, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), the National Composite Centre (NCC) and Specific (part of Swansea University).

Seismic has been worked on in two stages. Phase one was developed in response to a project with the Department for Education (DfE) to improve the delivery of schools. It focused on the design of a standardised, lightweight steel frame and connector and was completed in 2020. Because of its success, a second stage was commissioned. The objective was to design and construct core components that would work with the frame system, including wall, floor, ceiling and roof cassettes, offering an “all-in-one” solution for clients.

Seismic has been part-funded by Innovate UK and is already being used as an exemplar project to promote the benefits of standardised construction platforms. Clients benefit from shorter delivery programmes, consistent quality, and cost certainty. Because it is a standardised system, it is compatible across multiple manufacturers.
This removes significant risk for clients as they are not “locked in” to one solution. For example, if the building needs to be extended or adapted for alternative use, the client can approach any manufacturer working to the same platform.

New and improved components can also be switched in as part of normal maintenance. The demonstrator shows this to good effect, with the three manufacturers (Algeco, Elliott Group and Tata Steel) working independently and then combining their systems together. This is innovative in itself – no other project has involved competitors
collaborating on a solution before connecting them at final construction stage. Because most of the work takes place offsite, there is improved health and safety, with tasks such as working at height, heavy lifting and hot work no longer required. Seismic’s design efficiency, manufacturing effectiveness and selection of materials also helps clients reduce environmental impacts significantly.

A standard Seismic module comprises 581.3 kgCO2e per m2, well below Construction 2025’s target of 1,300 kgCO2e per m2. And, because Seismic can be reused, either by relocating modules to other sites or by refurbishing individual components and cassettes, it adds a 234 kgCO2e per m2 claw back. It brings Seismic well beyond even the lowest stretch targets being discussed in construction today.