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Why modular construction is the building method of the future

Ashcourt Cavendish Street, ten-storey student accommodation scheme

Today, the benefits of modular construction are evidenced by an array of stylish and sophisticated building projects in countless city skylines. Across the world, increasing numbers of cutting edge architects are shaping skylines with broad sets of modular approaches from single discipline individual panels to fully serviced and finished houses. 

Examples we see today all prove how the method is quicker, smarter, greener and increasingly more architecturally versatile. This is why more and more architects, construction developers and contractors are going modular and moving towards precision-manufactured housing.

Reference 1: A modular design that reaches for the sky - Addiscombe Grove

The factors mentioned above helped TDS Midlands Ltd., specialists in light gauge modular building projects, to build Addiscombe Grove in the London Borough of Croydon.  Designed by award-winning architects at Metropolitan Workshop, the stunning 21-storey modular apartment block is one of the tallest developments to be manufactured offsite. While the impressive Addiscombe Grove building is tall, it’s still only half the size of the world’s tallest modular building, 101 George Street, which towers over the city of London at an impressive 135 meters. These examples showcase how cost, time, quality ratio and structure weight do not need to detract from construction developers’ and contractors’ ability to be architecturally expressive.

World’s tallest modular building, 101 George Street, London

It’s clear that modular construction has evolved in recent years. Today, flexible design creates inspiring buildings to bring the artistic visions of countless architects and developers to life. The BIM solution we use, Tekla Structures, has been instrumental to our modular projects. They ensure complete information accuracy in projects requiring tens of thousands of drawings and components, and help our team provide the concise and exact detailing to conduct the project within the budget. - says Daniel Leech, CEO at Technical Design Services Group.

Reference 2: The benefits of a fully coordinated approach - Spectrum House

This modest and modern four-storey apartment scheme located in Hendon, London, UK, contains 42 private apartments that were finished to an exceptionally high quality offsite. The building comprises 132 volumetric modular units, has 317 tons of hot rolled steel, and 101 tons of cold-rolled steel, which were all built on an RC podium slab over the basement.

To reduce disruption and construction time, the basement car park was excavated while the modules were constructed in the factory. ESS Modular employed a full BIM Level 2 digital model to ensure a fully coordinated model between all disciplines. The structure was built within a very quick time frame and was completed in 50% of the time needed for traditional construction methods. The tight deadline was met thanks to accurate model and fabrication information, as well as early-stage design coordination.

A full BIM Level 2 digital Tekla Structures model

Ross Wynne, Quality and Information Manager, said, Tekla for steel detailing does much more than project coordination. It aids in the overall quality of modular construction. The 3D modelling environment enables teams to design on their own and helps them to deliver project fabrication packages in an efficient, cost-effective manner. The model-based approach allows the team to break away from complex design issues by utilizing benefits such as 3D views.

A modern four-storey apartment scheme located in Hendon, London

Reference 3: Learning from the bottom up - Ashcourt

It was these wide-ranging features that helped Intelligent Steel Solutions Ltd with the design and manufacturing of Ashcourt, Cavendish Street. The inspiring ten-storey student accommodation scheme located in central Leeds, UK, is made up of over 239 units. It contains 234 tons of cold-rolled steel and 51 tons of hot rolled steel, all of which were built on a concrete foundation.

Cold rolled steel built on a concrete foundation

In order to overcome the tight constraints of inner-city construction, Intelligent Steel Solutions Ltd used a digital approach. This helped reduce waste and enabled them to build within a rapid time frame. Thanks to these precise and innovative construction methods, the building was ready for students to move in at the start of the academic year.

Crystal Williamson, Design Manager at Intelligent Steel, said,  Thanks to Tekla Structures, we were able to improve the construction accuracy and speed by allowing early access to the first fix. On top of this, we also managed to reduce material waste. 

Ten-storey student accommodation scheme located in central Leeds, UK

Learn more about Tekla solutions for light metal framing and precast concrete industry.