The construction industry, encouraged by the UK Government, has been moving towards off-site manufacture for some years now, (as elaborated upon in the report – https://www.parliament.uk/off-site-manufacture-construction) and modular buildings form a large part of this process.
What Is Modular Construction?
Modular construction is not new, but interest in, and demand for, modular buildings has been growing rapidly for some time now and its utilisation can only become even more prevalent (possibly the ‘Norm’??) as the benefits to health & safety, cost and timescales, to mention a few, become fully realised by the industry.
Modular construction is the process of creating individual units – or modules – in a factory environment, which can be transported to site and assembled together to form a complete building. There are many advantages in using this form of construction over traditional build techniques;
- Product quality – Module manufacture is carried out in a clean, controlled internal environment which allows for consistent manufacturing quality.
- Building programmes – Modular building manufacture is not subject to the normal vagaries of construction site conditions such as weather and the activities of various site trades. In fact, modular building manufacture can continue during other site preparations and operations (demolition, foundations, services etc) to ensure continuity of the programme.
- Waste – there is little of no waste in modular construction as all material components can be precisely controlled due to the factory environment. Any surplus material will be utilised in subsequent manufacturing.
- Local impact – delivery of completed units to a site for assembly reduces the amount of construction activity on the site as well as the number of delivery vehicles visiting the site, all of which helps the site to be considerate to the local population and improves the ‘green miles’ tally associated with the site.
- Safety – the health & safety aspects of site construction are removed to the more easily controlled and managed environment of the factory floor.
Modular buildings are a form of ‘off-site manufacturing’ which is defined, according to the afore-mentioned government report as “the design, planning, manufacture and pre-assembly of construction elements or components in a factory environment prior to installation on-site at their intended, final location”.
How Can AAC Waterproofing Help?
At AAC, our contribution to modular building construction is ‘modular roofing’. Our Prelasti flat roofing prefabrication process, which has been a major part of our offering for over two decades already, provides a roof covering ‘module’ of sheet rubber made to the size and shape of the roof. To us at AAC Waterproofing, off-site manufacturing and providing modular components is nothing new.
Prelasti is an E.P.D.M. membrane (synthetic rubber produced on calendaring machines from raw materials) which is supplied in 1.45m wide rolls of almost any length. We can prefabricate these rolls into large or small, custom designed sheets on a large vulcanising bench in our facility in North Wales.
Having been provided with the modular building designers construction drawings, our technicians draw up a manufacturing plan for the required roof sheet which can accommodate even a complex roof layout profile and will incorporate perimeter upstands/down-turns and rooflight openings.
The roof coverings can even be 3-dimensional, with internal and external corners being welded into the sheet in the factory, which reduces the labour input of having to site-form waterproofing details and gives enhanced quality of detail work. Even the formation of internal outlets is a simple, quick and efficient process. All of which ticks boxes in terms of time on site and programme continuity.
The sheet is prefabricated in our workshop under strictly controlled conditions, all in accordance with our ISO 9001 and 14001 credentials. The fabricated roof covering will then be delivered to the building manufacturer for application to the building module in their factory.
Prelasti EPDM prefabricated sheeting has a number of advantages over more traditional, as well as more modern, roof covering systems for businesses who manufacture modular units;
- Size & shape – the sheets will be provided to the required plan of the roof, inclusive of upstands, down-turns, internal & external corners, and where required – openings. Installation on the roof will be very quick as most of the work has already been done in our factory.
- Durability – Prelasti EPDM is UV resistant, weatherproof and very puncture resistant compared to thermoplastic single-ply membranes. Operatives can walk about on it freely during installation without fear of damaging it.
- Accreditation – Prelasti has BBA approval for roofing purposes and is manufactured under our ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditations. This means that as a modular building manufacturer your supply chain credentials are maintained by using Prelasti from AAC Waterproofing.
- Hot work – Prelasti is installed without the use of flame torches or even hot-air guns. Application is totally cold. There is no risk of burning anything – not even a scorch mark from a hot-air gun. Additionally, our adhesives are water-based and suitable for use in internal environments, with very low odour.
- Waste material – there will be little or no waste from a Prelasti sheet. As it is made to measure the only surplus material may be some small trimmings from the perimeters. Another bonus for the manufacturer’s environmental credentials (as well as their waste disposal costs).
The Government’s view, as outlined in the previously mentioned report, is that there are a number of benefits to off-site manufacture, including modular buildings, which are concerned with quality control, speed of installation, programme continuity and site safety, but their view of the overall beneficial effect of these criteria is ‘client experience’. By using Prelasti EPDM as the roof covering of modular buildings the manufacturer attains the enhanced ‘client experience’ through installing the most critical part of the building – the roof – in a way that satisfies all of the expected features and benefits of modular construction.
Prelasti E.P.D.M. prefabricated roof sheeting ticks all of the Government’s aspiration boxes with regard to modular construction, offering Enhanced quality control, Rapid site installation, Health & Safety advantages and Environmental impact mitigation, all leading to enhanced client experience.