"The need for rapid solutions, which expand NHS capacity and

introduce greater flexibility in the health service, is therefore crucial to weathering the coming months,

helping critical services to continue operating even as COVID-19

commands increased resources."

completed in full alignment with pandemic regulations at New Cross Hospital to support patient treatment. Moreover, an 18-bed ward was delivered in a mere five weeks at Kettering General Hospital as part of their COVID-19 contingency plan and three new modular wards were opened the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary in Wigan in June this year.

With the NHS committing to reduce its carbon footprint by 34% by this year, it is critical that new solutions to tackle pressure on services do not come at the cost of these sustainability commitments. Again, modular offers a viable solution. As most modular buildings must run in compliance with the latest L2 Building Regulations on thermal efficiency, they deliver on average a lifetime energy saving of 90% compared to traditional buildings. Moreover, with manufacturing offsite in controlled factory conditions, it takes 67% less energy to produce a modular structure.

Furthermore, strict quality control results in less reworking, reducing project waste significantly, and 90% less vehicle traffic than traditional construction methods obviously improves the carbon footprint. Another sustainable benefit is that modular buildings can be reused, repurposed and relocated. This is especially important in the context of supporting NHS Trusts as, not only can buildings be delivered under tight deadlines, they can also be repurposed to provide different facilities whenever needed.

Moreover, modular construction avoids many of the pressures faced by traditional building, which can have knock-on financial costs. For example, the modular building process is far less labour-intensive, faster, and not impacted by weather because of its offsite construction. This prevents the incursion of unforeseen costs due to extended deadlines, weather-damaged equipment and labour management issues. As a result, modular is up to 35% cheaper than traditional construction.

At a time when the NHS resources are stretched more than ever, funding projects to expand capacity within the estate can seem daunting, but it need not be so. With leasehold financing options, the improved time and cost efficiency of construction, and the ability to redeploy and repurpose structures, modular can actually help lessen the financial implications of new construction projects. Indeed, modular construction has been able to deliver new relocatable CT scanning units to 15 hospitals across the country this year to help NHS Trusts deal with the backlog of radiology patients.

Besides the immediate benefits of modular in tackling the backlog crisis, the positives it offers extend well beyond the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, flexible modular; buildings can go on to reduce the temporary load on facilities and services demand during seasonal spikes

What’s more, post-pandemic we must all learn to observe new social and governmental rules and regulations and must ensure that social distancing and proper care for the community’s wellbeing is considered. Modular builds, which provide high- quality, temporary spaces, built cost-efficiently at pace, are inherently well-equipped to deal with this change, helping community facilities to easily flex up or down their space needs to accommodate social distancing.

Ultimately, for the NHS, modular construction offers a clear solution to tackling the extensive backlog it faces in the wake of the pandemic. Not only does it provide a cost-effective and time-efficient immediate solution, but the flexibility to adapt to changing demands and facility requirements will support the NHS in the short-term and long into the future. - 31 -


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