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Modular building cuts rail construction costs

posted: 20th Jun 2017

Modular building cuts rail construction costs 

Within five years, over half of all construction projects will be built offsite . Far from being a lesser alternative to traditional methods, the high-quality of modular construction is now so integrated into UK construction that it is difficult to single out which buildings have been built using traditional or modular methods. 

At UK rail stations, modules are the new ‘bricks and mortar’, with Oxford Railway Station being just one example. Matthew Goff, director of UK operations at Actavo | Building Solutions, explains how rail can cut construction costs:


Great British rail in the 21st century


By 2025, the global construction market is predicted to grow by over 70% and the UK needs to fight for its fair share of that growth.

When the government launched Construction 2025 – a joint strategy which sets out how the construction industry and government will work together to put the UK at the forefront of global construction – it did so with ambitious targets. 

Stating that by 2025, the construction industry needs to cut both its initial and whole-life costs of built assets by 33%, it also says construction needs to be 50% faster, deliver 50% lower carbon emissions and reduce the trade gap between total exports and imports by 50%. 

The £56bn, High Speed 2 (HS2) puts UK construction well on our way to becoming the global leader in the rail sector. 


Offsite building methods fits well with rail construction 

Manufacturers’ investments in the research and development of modular buildings started to pay back some years ago. They have brought world-class buildings to the UK’s rail industry which are not only higher in their environmental performance than a traditional build, but can also be as aesthetically pleasing. 

Offsite construction offers numerous benefits to the rail sector; new stations, trackside and non-trackside, can all be delivered in short time-frames and with financial savings – that’s the difference modular methods make. Modular is also built to the same, if not higher, sustainability standards as traditional methods, including BREEAM. 

If you couple all these benefits with modular’s more nimble approach which means it adapts to changes in specification more quickly than traditional bricks and mortar, the rail sector is set to win all round.

Complete turnkey solutions delivered using offsite construction methods could be the rail sector’s answer to reducing its costs and construction programmes.  


World-class health and safety benefits 

HS2 is one of the world’s largest construction projects, and health and safety is one its core values. As HS2 is working with a broad group of contractors, suppliers and manufacturers, it has established a unique, belief-based health and safety brand – Safe At Heart. This culture puts safety at the heart of building the railway and reflects that the health and wellbeing of the collective is at the heart of everything they do. 

There are many health and safety benefits associated with modular building due to the controlled, factory environment in which they are manufactured. The factory-based setting provides cleaner, safer working conditions and safety requirements can be easily met and policed. 

There is also a reduced risk of trips, slips and falls, particularly as work at height is reduced and manual handling and lifting of goods is limited.

Actavo is leading the construction revolution from the front 


In 2016, Plimsoll Analysis named Actavo | Building Solutions as the UK’s fastest-growing modular building company for the past three years running (2014-2017). Additionally, Actavo was one of the first modular building companies to fully implement BIM Level 2 into its business.

Actavo | Building Solutions brings a wealth of experience and expertise to help the rail sector capitalise on the benefits of offsite construction methods and has been operating in the UK since 2009. In that time, Actavo has worked with Alstom, Signalling Solutions and Network Rail to deliver both trackside and non-trackside offsite solutions. 

Most recently, Actavo was appointed to design and build Oxford Railway Station’s new train operating company (TOC) building. A two-phase, 18-week project, the building forms part of the proposed £75m Oxford Railway Station upgrade.  

Now viewed as the modern, innovative, construction method of choice in the rail sector, modular building offers both robust quality and speed of build with minimal disruption. 

For more information, please visit: www.actavo.com/buildings.