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In recent years, there have been major improvements to health and safety in the construction industry. However, the industry still accounts for a high percentage of fatal and major injuries.

 

Health and safety of staff and visitors is one of the most crucial factors on any construction project, but it can often be overlooked.

 

Matthew Goff, managing director at Thurston Group, believes that modular construction can help to improve health and safety onsite – he shares his top three health and safety benefits of using modular volumetric construction.

 

  1. Buildings are manufactured in a quality-controlled environment

Buildings on a traditional construction site pose many health and safety risks to workers, from falls from height to equipment accidents.

 

But with modular buildings, the majority of the manufacturing process is carried out offsite using specialist machinery in a quality-controlled factory environment, which in turn, reduces waste and increases quality control, leading to a lower environmental impact.

 

Modular units are then delivered to site pre-fitted with electrics, plumbing, heating, doors and windows and in some cases fixtures and fittings, therefore reducing the time spent onsite and accelerating the overall construction process. In addition, risks can be easily managed in one setting, resulting in enhanced health and safety on site.

 

  1. Reduction in waste

Modular buildings production ensure that materials are used more efficiently and accurately. On average, 67% less energy is required to produce a modular building and up to 50% less time[2] is spent onsite when compared with traditional methods, resulting in up to 90% fewer vehicle movements around the project which in turn, reduces CO2 emissions.

 

 

The impact on the local environment is also reduced, as there is less noise, packaging and emissions. These matters will have been addressed and resolved in the factory, which allows for greater efficiencies in environmental control measures and materials.

 

In addition, when a modular building is built to comply with specific sustainability standards, such as BREEAM, buildings can use resources more efficiently and may see a reduction in energy consumption and operational costs.

 

  1. Offsite can provide safer working conditions

Modular construction provides safer working conditions. The factory-based conditions of offsite enable safety requirements to be more easily met and policed, which leads to better build quality through improved quality control procedures.

 

Not only is there a reduced risk of slips, trips and falls – particularly as work at height is reduced – but there is also a reduction in onsite activity, thus ensuring health and safety always remains a top priority from start to finish.

 

Furthermore, if necessary, factory operations can continue 24/7 with less risk of noise and disruption to workers. Work is also unaffected by the weather and other environmental delays, which could result in the project being turned around even quicker.

 

To find out more about Thurston Group, contact the team on 0333 577 0883 or visit www.thurstongroup.co.uk

 

[1] http://www.hse.gov.uk/construction/healthrisks/key-points.htm

[2] https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Modular_vs_traditional_construction

School buildings are in crisis. With many UK school buildings in poor condition and requiring urgent attention, funding for schools to refurbish and rebuild is also in short supply. But modular construction using structured insulated panels systems (SIPs for short) offers a fast, efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution.

Quick construction

Usually prefabricated in a factory and delivered fully-formed to the school site, classroom buildings constructed using modular SIPs panels are ideally suited to busy schools. Although the factory line approach suggests a rigid and uniform construction process, SIPs panel construction is in fact a flexible method – schools don’t have to stick to a one-size-fits-all template but can work with architects to design a classroom building that will meet their needs.

Importantly for schools requiring urgent refurbishment, the off-site construction method has several advantages that can help schools to get their new buildings up and running speedily.

Classrooms prefabricated using SIPs panels can be constructed and installed in a matter of weeks, because the site preparation work and off-site construction stages can be carried out simultaneously. With the prefabrication process taking place under cover, the project can go ahead whatever the weather. And by reducing the amount of time spent on-site, noisy and disruptive building work that might interrupt the school day can also be kept to a minimum.

Cost savings

A building project that is quick to complete and does not involve intrusive construction work translates into cost savings for the school – a vital concern in these cash-strapped times. Modular buildings are likely to provide a better return on investment than traditional builds. With excellent insulation properties, construction using SIPs panels also results in lower energy bills, because the classrooms retain warmth well and require only minimal heating.

For schools looking to the long term, durability is an important concern. Built using high quality, sustainable materials, modular SIPs panel classrooms can be expected to serve the school for as many as 50 years – providing a solution that offers real value for money and can be relied upon to last well into the future. (Modular buildings can even be uprooted and installed at another site, if the school relocates).

Comfortable learning spaces

Why is the state of our school buildings such an important issue? As well as being a potential health and safety concern, constructing comfortable learning spaces is vital for both teachers and pupils. According to a 2016 RIBA survey reported by Building Specifier, as many as 1 in 5 teachers have thought about leaving a school because of the environment they have to work in. So, creating a pleasant teaching space is high on the list if schools are to improve staff morale and retain valued teachers.

Learning environments can have a big impact on outcomes for children, too. From issues like lighting and air quality to factors like natural light and classroom structure, pupils do better in well-designed classrooms built from high quality materials.

Classroom construction using SIPS panels helps to address some of these issues, resulting in comfortable learning spaces that promote better engagement from all classroom users. Due to their structure and composition, SIPs panels offer excellent thermal performance, eliminating draughts and keeping out the cold and damp. The slimline profile of a SIPs panel also means thinner walls – and therefore more space inside the classroom. Finally, modular buildings constructed from SIPs panels have an aesthetically pleasing, modern appearance.

 

Author biography

Steve Warr is the Director of Green Modular, a company which supplies unique and environmentally-friendly outdoor modular buildings as effective space solutions. Each modular building can be tailored to suit every space or budget and they are perfect for school buildings, mobile classrooms, meeting rooms or offices. Steve is passionate about the environment and creating sustainable and stylish solutions for extra space.