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COMMENT


INNER CITY SITES COULD BE OASIS OF PEACE AND TRANQUILITY


Building sites can be noisy, dirty and very disruptive to their neighbours, so are rarely welcomed – even when new housing is desperately needed. According to Brian Maunder, sales manager at Totally Modular, however, it does not have to be that way.


ew houses and flats are needed all over the country, partly to address the current housing shortage and partly to renew existing housing stock. Most people are sympathetic to this need, but few actually want construction work too close to their own homes. In large part this is because of the disruption that will be caused by the actual construction process. In cities and other urban spaces, the disruption is likely to be even worse, because the construction will be on infill sites which have restricted access and could be in close proximity to already occupied buildings. A typical house building project will take six to 18 months to build, with larger projects taking longer


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and/or causing more disruption. As well as the noise and disturbance of the construction processes, there is the constant arrival and departure of trucks that could cause traffic queues, block pedestrian access, create driving hazards such as mud on the road etc.


SOLUTIONS NOT PROBLEMS However, there is an alternative that minimises on-site construction processes and produces attractive high-quality homes almost instantly. Volumetric construction is a technique in which houses are built off- site and delivered as complete ready-to-go modules. They are craned onto prepared foundations and connected to the utilities.


In a matter of hours, they are ready for occupation.


As well as houses, blocks of flats can be built in exactly the same way, with each flat being a module that can be stacked and arranged in almost any configuration up to 11 storeys (although currently most projects are low rise). This is possible because all units are built around an incredibly strong three-dimensional steel frame. In fact, they are built indoors in a factory environment, so there is no need to allow for weather delays or any of the other issues that can slow up traditional on-site construction. Further efficiency gains can be made because the techniques and disciplines developed in the manufacturing


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