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The future of modular: what’s next for schools and healthcare?

13th February 2019

School and healthcare future

At Elite Systems, we’re passionate about finding bespoke solutions to the issues our customers face, whether that’s a simple lack of space, restricted access to a proposed development site, or short time-frames.

We’re excited to see what the industry is doing to tackle the big issues at Futurebuild, which this year the theme ‘Time for Action’. Our business development manager, Steven Docking, has looked into some of the concerns facing the education, healthcare, and housing markets.

It’s what’s inside that counts

Last month, we mentioned that primary school numbers will peak in 2019, but secondary schools and early years numbers will continue to grow for the next five or six years.

However, Steven believes that the pressures on schools are not just focused purely on numbers. In fact, many education estates managers and head teachers are increasingly looking at the quality of the teaching environment.

Steven explains: “Creating additional space for increasing pupil numbers remains a primary driver for decision-makers at schools of all levels. But more and more schools are looking to the quality of the classrooms as well as the size.

“Head teachers are doing their homework. Even where there are budget pressures in place, they are searching for solutions that can offer a good teaching environment that will create the right ambience for students and teachers alike. That can refer to everything from the presence of natural light, outdoor noise reduction, the shape of the room, and more.”

Steven sees bespoke eco classrooms as one of the best solutions to meeting these needs. The advantages of modular buildings for schools are manifold. Using modular building systems minimises disruption whilst maximising the teaching environment and providing the best possible opportunities for children’s futures.

It is possible to build modular classrooms to a very high standard. The performance of the finished classroom is built-in from the design phase by specifying key features such as triple-glazed windows and effective wall insulation.

Steven added: “For academies, energy efficiency is also an important factor. Modular classrooms can incorporate ventilation and insulation systems that regulate the indoor temperature without the need for air conditioning or heating. Schools can select eco classrooms with solar panels and solar shading to keep heat out in summer. With off-site construction, it’s possible to all but guarantee a desired performance level, which is a huge advantage.”

Healthcare and the community

According to Steven, we are on the precipice of a transformation in the way the NHS provides healthcare.

The impact of the country’s ageing population on hospitals is well understood. Healthcare trusts are looking for ways to alleviate the problem, which is why the government is making increased funds available to support social care providers in 2019. This is all part of a drive to move patients out of hospitals and back into their communities.

That’s not the only change that Steven expects to see in healthcare estates in the coming years. He continued: “From April 2019, I expect to see more focus on sustainability and transformation. NHS Trusts are looking for longer-term impacts, and trying to find ways to prevent people being hospitalised is key to that. Part of this trend is a move towards healthcare ‘hubs’ rather than traditional GP surgeries.

“These health centres act as one-stop-shops to serve the community and require a great deal more space than a general practice, with room for community care and areas dedicated to additional healthcare such as physiotherapy. Trusts want to control costs and not cause any delays or disruption to their healthcare provision, which is why I see modular construction as an ideal fit for the healthcare market in the future.”

Steven and the rest of the team will be available to discuss this issues and more at Futurebuild on stand F22 – to register for your free visitor badge, click here.  Alternatively to contact Elite Systems, click here.