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Modular BTR homes on track for completion – highlighting resilience of MMC

Tide Construction has announced its modular developments remain on track despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic - highlighting the resilience of modern methods of construction (MMC).

Despite challenges posed by Covid-19, developer and main contractor Tide Construction has announced 1.7 million sq. ft. of its modular developments currently onsite remain on track. The company’s pipeline also includes a further 2m sq. ft. of development, and Tide Construction and its 3D volumetric company – Vision Modular Systems – continued to safely deliver new homes, hotels and student accommodation during lockdown. 

The two companies have eight Build to Rent, student, hotel and affordable housing projects across London. The projects include over 1,000 residential and Build to Rent homes, 1,500 student beds and 200 hotel beds. 

“While we of course didn’t plan for a pandemic, the resilience of modern methods of construction has been demonstrated during the coronavirus crisis, with our 3D volumetric company Vision Modular Systems working with us to ensure that work on all our projects continued safely under lockdown, meaning our schemes will still be delivered with no significant delays.

“This resiliency, combined with the other benefits of MMC such as faster delivery, better quality, improved building efficiency, reduced waste and time-on-site, will see momentum behind offsite manufacturing continue to grow as we enter the recovery phase.”

John Fleming, Chairman at Tide Construction

Offsite manufacturing

Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems’ advanced offsite technology creates sustainable, high-quality, factory-built space and delivers fully fitted modules to site. This modular technology offers greater certainty over projects and is less susceptible to external challenges.

As a significant amount of their developments are manufactured offsite in controlled, process driven environments, the projects are due to be delivered with no significant delays due to the safety, speed and efficiencies of offsite manufacturing. They have also been able to work safely onsite during lockdown, while following social distancing and safety rules – as well as the Construction Leadership Council’s ‘Site Operating Procedures’.

Vision Modular Systems’ factories provide construction workers a clean, safe, temperature-controlled environment to work in. So offsite manufacturing can implement stringent controls with regard to safety, sustainability and quality. High risk onsite activities are relocated to the safety of the factory floor. 

On site

Once the modules are onsite, they are craned into place to create institutional-grade assets. This was built for Greystar and Henderson Park’s 546 bed Build to Rent scheme at 101 George Street in Croydon, which is the world’s tallest modular residential tower.

Modules craned on site at 101 George Street, Croydon
Modules craned on site at 101 George Street, Croydon

Sites are less labour intensive given the fully fitted nature of the modules. This enables Tide Construction to reduce the number of personnel onsite by up to 60% and reduce vehicle movements to site by 80% – helping to ensure social distancing and safety of teams.

During lockdown

Tide Construction handed over 379 high quality rental homes in West London at the end of the March, just as the UK economy entered into what would be a three-month lockdown.

The restrictions introduced as part of lockdown led to housebuilders downing tools on sites that collectively would deliver 250,000 homes. Knight Frank predicts that the supply of new private homes is set to drop by 35% this year due to reduced onsite activity.

Offsite developers and manufacturing companies such as Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems will play an important role in housing delivery post-pandemic.

Modern methods of construction

In 2018, the House of Lords Science Committee was told the construction industry must embrace new methods of delivery to reach the government’s target of delivering 300,000 homes a year – largely on account of their ability to bring homes to the market twice as fast as traditional methods of construction.

Research by Savills predicts the proportion of housing built using MMC will grow to 20% by 2030, up from 10% today. 

Carbon neutral

Offsite manufacturing plays a crucial role in helping the UK become carbon neutral, which the government is legally bound to achieve by 2050.

Through sustainable design, digital technology and precision engineering, Vision Modular Systems’ is able to improve the sustainability, thermal efficiencies and air tightness of their buildings. The improved efficiencies stop heat escaping in the colder, winter months, and allows homes to remain cooler in the warmer, summer months.

This means there will be significant energy and carbon savings. The apartments’ ability to naturally control temperatures in the summer months is hugely important – as cooling a building uses three times as much energy as heating it. Waste is also cut by 80%, with 97% recycled. 

Tide Construction and Vision Modular Systems’ accredited method of delivery typically reduces carbon emissions and construction programmes by 50% – underlining the reasons why global investors continue to deliver their system.

“Building better, building greener and building faster: these are the three key principles by which the government has promised to deliver a housebuilding revolution, and these principles are exactly the foundation of modular construction.

“With the economy gearing up to meet net zero targets, the need to improve energy efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of housing and housebuilding has never been greater. Building homes in a controlled factory environment enables developers and manufacturers, such as ourselves, to contribute towards a green recovery while speeding up the delivery of much-needed housing.”

Christy Hayes, CEO, Tide Construction

All completed projects are backed by leading accreditations and warranties – so they are fully fundable, mortgageable and insurable.

Both companies are part of the national Homes for Heroes campaign, which is calling on the government to commit to delivering 100,000 affordable, eco-friendly, factory-built homes for key workers on public land. 

The campaign is backed by some of the largest housing associations, including Places for People, Notting Hill Genesis and Metropolitan Thames Valley, as well as Mark Farmer, the government’s MMC Champion and other modular housebuilders such as Legal & General Modular Homes, Urban Splash and Project Etopia.

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