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Offsite construction has come a very long way since the temporary, prefab housing solutions erected at the end of the Second World War. No longer are they seen as substandard, unmortgageable or uninsurable. They are, instead, thanks to modern methods of construction, a sustainable and practical alternative to traditional brick and mortar builds.

Domestic Buildings

MMC building solutions have created a range of exciting and affordable homes that offer a range of environmental, financial and timescale benefits to the businesses that build them. They also minimise daily running costs with no compromise on comfort for those that occupy them. Whilst they are an excellent solution to the UK's housing crisis, modular build homes appeal equally to the commercial marketplace.

Commercial Buildings

Traditionally commercial units have largely been steel framed structures with sheeted sides.  Over the last 5 years there have been major advances in terms of design and production which has led to new sectors looking to Offsite Construction as a viable build solution - data centres being a case in point.  The UK has seen a major spike in data centre builds over recent years, with uptake attributed to growing levels of cloud based computing and emerging technology that requires additional capability.  5G and the Internet of Things are two such innovations that are expected to fuel a significant increase in data usage.

Data Centres

Despite the increased costs of power and other utilities, demand for new data centres is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate of 5.5% by 2028 [2] and with a lead time to build of up to 2 years [3], IT companies and other large businesses are, with increasing regularity, turning their attention to prefabricated data centres. These are available in two distinct types - temporary data centres that are housed within containers and those that are assembled off site and delivered to site ready to be permanently installed. 

Modular Build Data Centres not only allow businesses to increase their data capacity in shorter timescales than would usually be possible, but they can be scaled down with equal ease should market conditions change, investors withdraw support or a larger, more permanent option be implemented. They are a cost effective solution to satisfy both short and long-term needs for additional data centre capacity.

Benefits of Modular Build Data Centres

Modular Build Data Centres can be constructed in shorter timescales than their traditionally built equivalents which often delivers substantial cost savings to the businesses that commission them. 

By employing modern methods of construction, it is possible to incorporate energy efficiency solutions into the builds, which not only supports businesses to meet their sustainability targets but also reduces the running costs of these inherently power-hungry facilities. 

Improvements in safety and quality standards are often noted in offsite builds [4] due to improvements in working conditions, easier access to specialist machinery and a safe, level footing upon which to work. This improvement in health and safety could serve to attract new entrants to the business, which the construction industry desperately needs.

Modular Build Market Overview

Modular Build construction is expected to increase in the UK over the coming years owing to a combination of population growth combined with ongoing housing shortages [5]. Increasing levels of investment and government support could see modular buildings playing a pivotal role in the achievement of affordable housing targets.

Areas For Growth

There are a limited number of companies offering mortgages and buildings insurance [6] for modular build construction and this could potentially be a limiting factor for those businesses that are contemplating offsite modular construction solutions. 

It will be necessary for those in the industry to continue to demonstrate the exceptionally high levels of safety and quality associated with modern prefab constructions and to lobby financial institutions to revisit their risk profiles and offer attractive rates to potential purchasers of these buildings. 

By doing so, uptake is likely to increase, confidence will grow and the marketplace may benefit from increased competition.

At Build Space, our Modular Space Team are keenly involved in all discussions relating to modern methods of construction and firmly believe that embracing alternative forms of construction is essential to achieve the government's housing and carbon reduction targets. If your business is embarking on a modular build journey, we can, through the targeted support of our specialist talent partner service, help you to tread the right track. 



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New Amazon fulfilment centre heralds excitement for our Open Space team.
Data Centres: a move towards more sustainable design and build practices.