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Why the Modular Construction Market Needs to Show, Not Tell

6th April 2018

Ecobuild - Elite's stand

We recently launched our new modular housing prototype at ecobuild, a three day event that brought together sustainable construction specialists from across the UK.

As always, off-site construction was high on everyone’s agenda.  From speaking to customers and keeping a finger on the pulse of the modular construction sector, we know that it’s still a hot topic.

But being face to face with potential customers in a busy exhibition offered us the opportunity to discover exactly what the market is looking for from bespoke modular construction specialists – and the response was encouraging.

Taking risks pays off

Recently we launched two new modular concepts: an eco-classroom, designed to achieve an Outstanding rating by BREEAM; and our new modular housing prototype, developed to provide a solution for housing authorities needing high-quality homes in a fast time-frame.

Rather than simply announcing our capability of producing these buildings, we went as far as producing a full concept plan for the eco-classroom, building a 3-D digital model of the classroom building which included all building materials and components.  This allowed us to assess which BREEAM rating the structure would achieve in ideal conditions in the real world, and accurately estimate the sustainability benefits it would bring.

We went a step further with our modular housing product: we created a full-size physical prototype in our factory, a complete two-storey house which allowed us to test the functionality and feel of the home before we officially launched the product.

These concepts, and the time and expertise we chose to put behind them, represent a significant investment. But we feel this experience was essential to allow us to fully communicate the benefits our systems can bring to the end user.

And the feedback from delegates at ecobuild was overwhelmingly positive: the buzz around modular housing brought a lot of interested parties to our stand, but the fact that we had manufactured a full-scale prototype set us apart from the competition.

Our intention is now to transform this into a fully fitted show house, allowing us to give customers a real-life experience of stepping inside a modern modular house – and prove once and for all that it is a world away from the draughty, poorly constructed prefabricated buildings of old.

Seeing is believing

While we’re happy to be at the forefront of bespoke modular building product development in the education and housing sectors, it was surprising to discover that very few other companies are working in this way.

Off-site construction has a reputation as an innovative and creative space, offering inventive solutions to construction challenges: in fact, it’s something we pride ourselves on. But the persistent image of modular buildings as off-the-shelf, poor-quality stackable boxes still prevails.

We are educating the market about how our modern bespoke modular buildings are built to be fully compliant, and truly rival traditional construction as a solution to the housing and education space shortfall in particular.

But in order to be taken seriously in this sphere, the modular construction industry as a whole must demonstrate the capability of these products in a tangible, meaningful way that allows customers to connect with the benefits that off-site manufacturing can offer.

After all, our customers experience traditional buildings every day: shouldn’t we also offer them the chance to see for themselves what modular solutions have to offer?

If you want to find out how our eco-classroom or modular housing solution could create more space for you, please contact us today.