BTR News Build to Rent (BTR)

Build to Rent scheme chooses floorless bathroom pods

Bathroom pod manufacturer – Offsite Solutions – has been awarded the first contract for its new enhanced and floorless GRP pods which has been developed for the Build to Rent sector - a £1.6m project for ISG in Cardiff.

Offsite Solutions will manufacture over 400 bathroom and shower pods for Cardiff Interchange – an £89m flagship, mixed-use construction project for developer Rightacres Property. The scheme is designed by Holder Mathias Architects. Cardiff Interchange is Cardiff’s new transport interchange that will include 318 Build to Rent apartments, a bus station and 100,000 sq ft of office space. The site is due to complete in 2022.

“We needed little persuading of the advantages of applying offsite construction and a manufacturing process for the bathrooms on this development. The floorless option is an innovative solution to ensuring continuous level floors throughout the apartments. 

“From our initial factory visit, we were impressed with the way Offsite Solutions approached the design process and their flexibility to accommodate our precise requirements at every stage. The first pods look great and we look forward to all the units being delivered to site later this year.”

Jason Hyett, Director of Developers, Rightacres Property

The bathrooms and shower rooms will be manufactured and fitted offsite and will then be installed on each floor as the building structure rises. This solution reduces the build programme and trades needed. 

“Where there is a high degree of repetition in the bathroom layouts, pods are the ideal solution. The use of offsite construction reduces the number of fit-out trades on site and gives us the benefit of a much faster build programme. We have used Offsite Solutions’ pods on other projects and have found the quality of bathroom manufacture in a factory is consistently improved.”

Simon Pritchard, Senior Design Manager, ISG

An industry first, the floorless GRP pods allow the installation of bathrooms directly onto the floor slab. The pods are designed to have a strong aesthetic to appeal to prospective residents. Within the Cardiff Interchange apartments, the pods will have a tile-effect finish to the bath and shower areas, an inset feature wall with natural grey porcelain tiles and a recess above the bath with a coloured back panel. 

Offsite Solutions' bathroom pods
Offsite Solutions’ bathroom pods

It will also include a flush mirror-fronted cabinet running the full width of the bathroom, a wall-mounted toilet and hand basin, grey coloured vanity top, heated ladder towel rail, over-bath shower, and feature panels behind the toilet and basin finished in arctic grey. The shower and bath pods have shower trays and baths pre-installed and both have rain head and handheld showers.

“We have had a lot of interest from Build to Rent developers in our new enhanced GRP bathroom pods. We have estimated that GRP pods can reduce maintenance costs by over 50% compared to traditionally built bathrooms. 

“The capital costs are around 15% to 20% less than steel-framed bathroom pods. The figures make these new pods a very compelling proposition for developers in the private rental sector.”

James Stephens, Managing Director, Offsite Solutions

Offsite Solutions’ GRP bathroom pods have a panelised construction – which is unique in the UK and allows easier integration. This creates vertical walls, 90° corners and the use of standard door sets which avoids work on site. The design improves aesthetics by avoiding tapered walls which you have with pods created from single GRP moulds.

Offsite Solutions has also developed steel-framed utility pods for Build to Rent apartments or Build to Sell developments. 

Feature image credit: Holder Mathias Architects

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