Graham Edward, Managing Director of Edward Architecture:
“At Edward Architecture we have experienced a noticeable rise in demand from Housing Associations for modular construction in the assisted living sector. Funding streams and grants are being set to encourage Housing Associations to provide a proportion of housing product through modern methods of construction (MMC). Furthermore, the funders definition for MMC is geared towards modular and ‘off site’ methods of construction rather than timber or metal frame, which has most of the process carried out ‘on site’.
“We have recently completed two assisted living schemes in Brighouse and Shrewsbury for M_AR and Housing 21. We also have a three-storey scheme in Bromley starting on site on March 2021. The pipeline of work in the office at planning stage is really exciting and it is proving to be nationwide in demand.
“Designing for modular is quite bespoke, it’s a similar design enigma as IKEA have in designing product to look good, be practical, economical and fit in the delivery box. Logistical access to site, crane locations etc need to be considered very carefully. The structure of the unit layouts and wall locations must suit the delivery parameters of the modular units whilst keeping the number of units economical.
“Whilst Modular is slightly more expensive than traditionally constructed housing, the advantages far outweigh the finances, for example;
- Speed of erection
- Quality of build
- Negligible site waste
- Cost certainty
- Helps resolve construction market capacity issues in materials and labour supply
“Modular becomes particularly competitive when units are standardised or repeated, and assisted living projects can benefit from this.”