Modern methods of construction
Harris Irwin have embraced the use of modern methods of construction – a process that focuses on off-site construction techniques – for a number of projects for its clients in the care sector.
Light-weight steel framed solutions
We have used this on a number of projects, it offers an accelerated construction phase over traditional methods of construction but does require an earlier design freeze and an extended technical design period.
The design is fixed at an early stage which allows the Metsec panels to be constructed offsite utilising cold rolled, galvanised extrusions, built offsite and delivered in a pre-panellised form. These are then incorporated into a range of structurally efficient floor, ceiling and roof solutions that provide structural stability and integrity to the building, eliminating the need for a steel or concrete primary frame.
The advantages of using this system are an accelerated build programme and reduced site risk due to it being precision engineered off site. By utilising a lightweight superstructure solution in lieu of traditional masonry we also managed to realise a more economic foundation design leading to both programme and cost savings. The downside is that the layout is fixed early in the programme with little opportunity for changes to layouts.
We are also exploring modular construction using off site pre-fabricated room units which can be fixed together to form a building. This offers the benefit of quicker construction times as well as repetition of rooms to a set quality. We are at an early stage in exploring this technology but there is an appetite with some of our care home clients to explore this further.
Whilst we continue to grow our experience of modern methods of construction, we find that many care operators continue to build traditionally as the materials are readily available, they are familiar to contractors (not limiting tenders to a select few) and are not reliant on longer lead times while in manufacture.
Many operators, instead of moving to modern methods of construction, are looking to refine their use of traditional materials using them more cleverly and efficiently to minimise the use of steel and reduce cost.
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