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The road ahead for modular construction

29th January 2019

Modular building being lowered from a flatbed truck

Over the past 24 years, we have witnessed an off-site construction revolution, with this modern method of construction becoming recognised by more and more developers as a viable, cost-effective and speedy way to build new homes, classrooms and healthcare buildings.

There’s plenty to suggest that the demand for modular buildings will continue to grow in 2019 and beyond. In this blog, we look at some of the factors that will be driving the modular construction market in the future.

 

Cheadle Hulme School, modular reception classroom

Cheadle Hulme School, modular reception classroom

Education matters

For several years now, increasing pupil numbers and a concurrent squeeze on school budgets have seen headteachers and local authorities turn to off-site construction and modular classrooms as a solution.

Modular classrooms can create more space and offer modern facilities within a timeframe that is not achievable with traditional construction. With schools not knowing their intake numbers until springtime, schools often have need for additional classroom space or common areas at comparatively short notice, which is where a modular solution is ideal.

Modular classrooms can be manufactured off-site then craned into position and finished on-site in the school summer holidays, keeping disruption to a minimum for the school.

This year, the Department for Education predicts that primary school pupil numbers will peak, while secondary school pupil numbers will continue to grow until 2025: so we expect to see demand for modular classrooms in the years to come.

 

Fitzwilliam Hospital, Peterborough, modular extension.

Fitzwilliam Hospital, Peterborough, modular extension.

Health and hospitals

 The UK’s population is continuing to become proportionally older: it is predicted that by 2027, over a fifth of the population will be aged 65 and over.

An ageing population means more pressure on hospitals and other healthcare facilities, and with strict budgets in place for NHS Trusts, the need for additional space will continue to be a driver for modular healthcare buildings. At Elite, we have previously provided new wards and administrative space for hospitals: modular construction is not only faster than traditional build, it allows administrators to control costs – a vital factor when budgets are tight.

This year, we also expect to see an increase in the use of modular buildings for social care facilities such as care homes: in the most recent budget, Philip Hammond announced a £1 billion fund dedicated to supporting social care providers to help ease pressure on the NHS.

Creating more space for social care is essential to free up bed space in hospitals, and we expect that once again modular construction will help to provide high-quality modular buildings that will allow existing social care facilities to expand their space without disruptive on-site construction works.

 

barometer on modular building

What about the weather?

Last year, the weather was a disruptive factor for traditional construction: the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ wreaked havoc in the early part of the year, while the long hot summer made on-site conditions difficult, with temperatures soaring as high as 35 degrees Celsius in Kent.

While the Met Office isn’t predicting a second ‘Beast from the East’ for this year, conditions may well be unpredictable throughout 2019 and off-site construction will allow build programmes to stay on schedule. With the majority of the modular building completed in controlled factory conditions, the weather won’t cause delays as it would with traditional build, which will make it an attractive prospect for those who want a reliable solution.

If you want to find out how our modular housing solution could help create more space in 2019 and beyond, please contact us today.