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DEVELOPER BE FIRST CHOOSES OFFSITE CONSTRUCTION FOR NEW HOUSING FOR HOMELESS FAMILIES IN BARKING

posted: 2nd Oct 2020

Premier Modular, one of the UK’s leading offsite construction specialists, has been awarded the contract to provide modular housing for homeless families in Barking who are in urgent need of accommodation. The new homes are developed by Be First, the regeneration arm of Barking and Dagenham Council.

The £1.5m contract was awarded to Premier by main contractor Jerram Falkus and will provide 20 two-bedroom apartments in two blocks, all manufactured offsite.

The use of an innovative offsite solution for this project has reduced the programme to just 15 weeks for the procurement, manufacturing and fitting out of the apartments, installation on site and commissioning.

The apartments will be fully finished at Premier’s factory in East Yorkshire using high quality materials and will be delivered to site complete with bathrooms, kitchens, flooring, partitions, doors, windows and external cladding. Only M&E connections, joint details between modules and service risers will need to be completed on site after the installation of the apartments.

Due for completion by the end of this year, the building will occupy a highly constrained site in a residential area and adjacent to a live railway line. Premier will install a trackway across an open field to bring in the 250-tonne crane and the apartments. There are also restricted hours for delivery of the modules as the site is located within the M25, requiring detailed logistical planning.

Commenting on the project, Marcia Kirlew, Development Manager at Be First, said, “Modular construction allows us to halve the construction time, with obvious benefits to residents in the neighbouring areas. But, more importantly, it allows us to respond to the rapidly developing needs of our local community much faster than we would otherwise, by providing value-for-money, high quality housing for local people.”

Ed Bartlett, Project Lead at Jerram Falkus said, “It is great to see how Be First has really embraced offsite construction to allow the development of challenging sites such as this, which would be very difficult to develop using in-situ construction methods. As a contractor, we appreciate that modular housing is helping us to deliver construction projects faster for our clients, addressing the shortfall in available housing. We are looking forward to working with Premier on this project. The apartments will be manufactured and fully finished while we prepare the groundworks on site ready for module installation.”

Dan Allison, Divisional Director at Premier Modular added, “This site is highly constrained and in a residential area so really lends itself to maximising construction offsite. Each two-bedroom apartment occupies a single 12.5 tonne module to optimise efficiency and will be factory tested before arriving on site. Premier will only be on site for 25 days which demonstrates the speed of our modular housing solution very well. This is a huge benefit when there is an urgent need for homes for local homeless people in the borough.”

“This is our second emergency housing project to help meet Government targets to address homelessness. Also on now site is a £7.5m contract for Buckinghamshire Council for the offsite construction of 58 apartments for homeless people in High Wycombe.”

Designed by ATP, the scheme will have roof-mounted PV panels to generate electricity and bike shelters will be installed, as well as some car parking and landscaping.

Premier Modular specialises in the offsite construction of high-quality mid-rise apartments and studios for affordable housing, build-to-rent, student accommodation and emergency housing for homeless people. Up to 100,000sqm of living space can be manufactured per year in a single shift, providing capacity large-scale residential developments. The speed of offsite construction allows earlier occupation and generates a faster return on investment for the developer. Disruption to local residents is radically reduced with modular housing and it offers much greater certainty of delivery on time and on budget.