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Taking away the construction headache

posted: 8th May 2014

Refurbished School

The use of modular construction radically reduces both disruption to teaching and time on-site, both which are essential factors when schools have an urgent need for additional school places It has been estimated that more than 250,000 new school places will have to be created nationally by 2014/15, which will put pressure on existing education facilities across the country. With this urgent requirement for additional school places fast, the modular building industry has risen to the challenge, to provide excellent quality learning environments that can be constructed to tight deadlines.

The new building regulations that came into force from April 2014 has given the modular industry a further opportunity to prove its ability to meet the challenges presented with energy efficiency. Both traditional and modular buildings now and for the future need to be more energy efficient. Modular products available with buildings built in a controlled factory environment today can already demonstrate more energy efficiency.

From 2020, buildings will be required to be zero carbon to meet European Legislation. This year the new regulations continue to go part way towards that target and more will be expected by 2016. With all this in mind it makes sense if new classrooms are needed today to consider modular buildings as a first choice to replacing, adding or buying new additional classroom facilities.

TICKING ALL THE BOXES

All too often when discussing these subjects, end users are given the impression that it is a complicated issue. In actual fact buildings that can be provided by the modular building industry will be able to tick all the boxes. The industry sector is fully aware of what they need to do to comply and in many cases is ahead of what is expected. As previously mentioned, new modular buildings, like traditional buildings, have to be fully compliant so clients will not have an issue using modular buildings.

Modular buildings are still a very good alternative if budget restraints are an issue to ease a cash flow situation; there is the option to hire buildings or purchase refurbished buildings, which is an area that still many are not familiar with. This is an option that is available from an industry with over 75 years knowledge and experience.

Buildings that are readily available for hire or reused buildings available for purchase, buildings built prior to 2014 will still meet the specified requirements within the new regulations. These buildings can be provided with the required documents to prove ‘Energy Efficiency Compliance (EPC) and regulations once more giving clients confidence that they are acknowledging their responsibilities in looking after our environment for the future.         

 THE NEED FOR MORE PUPIL PLACES

With the urgent need for the additional classrooms, modular buildings could be the solution that the education sector is looking for. We would recommend when looking for new buildings, adding to existing buildings, buying refurbished or hiring, to choose a supplier that will complete each project precisely on programme and meet the deadline for completion on time needs to be high on the agenda. A vast majority of work can be undertaken in many cases during school closure. Companies familiar with this type of contracts are well aware that buildings have to be completed for the start of the new terms. Buildings can be designed and constructed to permanent building standards and comply with the latest Department for Education guidelines for teaching and learning.

 BUSINESS AS USUAL

The use of modular construction radically reduces both disruption to teaching and time on-site, both which are essential factors when schools have an urgent requirement for additional school places. There are many more schools and colleges that are now using modular buildings to service their requirements. It has been estimated that more than 250,000 new school places will have to be created nationally by 2014/15 which will have a huge impact on education facilities across the country. Classroom buildings using the modular building method can be fitted out to suit the requirements of the school in question. Buildings can be designed to accommodate a wide range of applications, such as laboratories, art rooms, dance studios, technology rooms, IT suites, general classrooms, receptions, kitchen and dining facilities, and offices.

SIMPLE STEPS TO TAKE

 If you are looking for a building make sure that you talk to industry direct. This will without doubt save money.

1) Ask the company to provide a turnkey package, as this reduces the number of people that you have to deal with. Make sure you have an clear idea of your requirements. If in doubt take advice from the industry before expensive plans are drawn as fancy buildings can be costly.

2) Look at school buildings that have been built in modular and used for the same purpose. Talk to colleagues at other locations that are familiar with the systems.

3) If in doubt, talk to the industry association, an association that understands the industry and will give free impartial advice. For good examples of projects that have been undertaken by members of the Modular & Portable Building Association, see the website www.mpba.biz.

A NEW LOOK

Cladding panels from Steni UK have helped an infant’s school achieve a new look.    

Five special colours of Stein’s Colour fibreglass reinforced polymer composite panels with a smooth surface of electron beam‑cured acrylic (without the use of solvents) were specified by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council for the £1million redevelopment of Valley Infants School.

The two-form entry infant school with 240 children was built in 1957 over a single storey, over two floor levels using a timber‑framed modular system with single‑glazed wooden windows and vertical painted timber board-clad uninsulated hollow walls.

As such, it was identified by the council’s primary capital programme (PCP) as being in the highest category and requiring major PCP action in terms of improving the structure and fabric to extend its design life and encouraging community use.

You can read the article online on Education Business by clicking on the following link: http://www.educationbusinessuk.net/index.php/features/133--sp-508/4217-taking-away-the-construction-headache