While those in the modular building sector have known for some time the benefits of MMC (Modern Methods of Construction), it has taken a pandemic to help demonstrate its effectiveness to a wider audience.
The same construction methods that made possible the fast delivery of additional vital intensive care space to hospitals can be applied to a whole range of projects, including the education sector.
The Qube, which has its headquarters in Northampton, specialises in creating bespoke modular buildings for schools. Important factors like ease of assembly and reduced time, and therefore disruption, on site, as well as sustainability and longevity have seen The Qube establish a large client base amongst schools, colleges and universities across the UK.
And looking to the non-too-distant future, the likelihood of these establishments needing additional space while social distancing measures remain in place is significant, and modular buildings could well be the solution.
Jordan Spittle, Associate Director of The Qube, said: “There’s a perception that modular buildings are purely temporary, makeshift and craned onto the site to create extra space, but that’s really not the case with the buildings being produced today. The main focus of MMC is about embracing off-site manufacturing in combination with more traditional on-site techniques.
“These modern buildings, constructed from sustainable materials, are a hassle-free way to create areas such as classrooms, offices, gyms, changing rooms and meeting rooms in a huge range of contemporary and customised options and finishes.
“When schools (hopefully) begin to return to normal in the next few months they may well find that they need additional space to enable them to observe social distancing. We don’t know how long we’ll have to live like this, but even if and when we do return to normal, there will always be a use for an extra classroom or meeting space.”
The service provided by The Qube allows customers the freedom to design a building, with the help of in-house designers, in the style of their choice and to suit their specific needs. Once agreed, The Qube team takes on the entire project, from handling planning applications and ensuring compliance with building regulations, through to providing drainage and utilities, on-site installation, testing, and the installation of furniture.
Off-site construction means that time on site is kept to a minimum, following stringent health and safety guidelines and causing as little disruption as possible when it is time to deliver and assemble.
Part of the building industry has been advocating MMC for some time – rightly so, with benefits such as shorter build times and higher quality control, coupled with the environmental benefits; the adoption of sustainable techniques and materials help to reduce the project’s contribution to the production of CO2.
Speedy construction of much-needed medical provision highlighted the benefits of MMC, and Jordan Spittle is hopeful that will act as a catalyst for bringing the wider benefits into sharper focus.
“Perceptions have to change and we need to open people’s eyes to the possibilities of using MMC,” said Jordan. “The possibilities are almost endless and extra space in a school or a hospital will always be utilised. A lot of our work has been with independent schools that are increasing capacity by moving to two-form year groups, so need additional space to house that additional intake.
“Traditional methods of construction are not going to disappear overnight (nor should they) but we are confident of the future potential of the products and services that we offer. We have the ability to work with other modular/volumetric partners, or to work with more traditional construction companies and architects to help them understand how and where they can utilise MMC as part of their wider offering.
“Our job is to raise the profile of the sector because we know that as attitudes change, and people see what is possible when utilising MMC, demand will rise and there will be fantastic opportunities across various sectors all over the country.”
Find out more about The Qube on 01604 785786, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.theqube.co.uk