In 2018 GLD started working with its first modular client, Simply Modular Solutions.
Like other developers, they found the pull of faster build-times and the ability to guarantee factory-standard quality homes irresistible.
It posed new challenges for GLD. It meant we were involved in a build at an earlier stage and were working with plans for a build rather than with on-site contractors. We had to integrate M&E into design drawings (which we can do via Revit or on paper) and then test the design concepts.
Modular demands high-specs: we were working on 2-bed semis where each bedroom had an en-suite. Our designs included low-voltage lighting and PVs (photovoltaics).
We had to consider the standardisation of kit, including distribution boards, light fittings and hot water cylinders, but interestingly, we also had to design for difference and consider the inclusion of a range of options for end users: for example, showers versus wet-rooms. We had to consider how to package the different specs for different modular ‘builds’ and the instructions for those installing the building services in the factories.
Perhaps surprisingly, our work doesn’t end with planning and design. Even when the same design will be replicated on other projects, construction variances such as site conditions, outside temperature and availability of resources, eg electrical supplies and sewer systems, mean that we have to review the building services for future builds.
This means no matter how much modular takes off, there will always be a role for building services engineers!