BBES leads way in manufacturing innovation

Balfour Beatty Engineering Services (BBES), the UK’s leading provider of mechanical and electrical services, has officially opened its state-of-the-art off-site manufacturing and assembly facility – a facility that is set to offer new standards of M&E, safe and sustainable off-site practice in addition to cost and time savings.

Branded ‘Modular Systems +’ the new 117,000 sq ft manufacturing and assembly facility, located in Wednesbury, West Midlands, is the largest of its kind in the UK. Its focus is on the production of mechanical and electrical systems, including packaged plant rooms, corridor modules, service modules, riser modules, and modular electrical systems.

In creating Modular Systems + BBES will be able to provide customers with substantial savings in terms of time and money. It will also offer a safer and more sustainable method of construction. This will be achieved through the use of efficient off-site techniques which due to their nature, provides operatives with safer and more productive working conditions. The approach also minimises waste, reinforcing BBES’ position as promoting sustainability as a collective and inclusive responsibility, with the company working with customers, suppliers and communities to ensure that sustainability is embedded in every operation.

“The Modular Systems + facility has been built to enable us to deliver our lean construction philosophy, reducing the number of hours needed on site, improving lead times and providing safer and more productive working environments,” said Bob Francis, Director of Modular Systems + at BBES.

BBES carefully selected the location of Wednesbury for the facility. As well as being ideally located for the motorway networks, the West Midlands has provided the company with the ability to create a streamline supply chain of component manufacturers. Working in line with BBES’ Just-In-Time manufacturing philosophy, with each modular component being designed and built only when needed, close partnership with the supply chain ensures the company is able to deliver reduced processing times with minimal stock levels and controlled waste.

The new facility has been designed with the safety of the operatives in mind. Aiming to provide a Zero Harm environment, in line with Balfour Beatty Group’s corporate objective to achieve Zero Harm by 2012, in creating Modular Systems + BBES has incorporated a series of innovative working practices.

Part of the strategic growth of BBES, the new facility reinforces the company’s position as the UK’s leading mechanical and electrical contractor and has already proven its worth with the successful delivery of a number of contracts. This includes the successful creation of components as part of a £230 million mechanical and electrical contract at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. This project saw over 500 miles of cable, flexible containment and connector assemblies. With a committed approach to prefabrication, BBES was able to deliver phases of the installation some 12 months ahead of schedule whilst saving a massive 265,000 hours of on-site labour.

BBES’ relocation to the new facility was aided by London and Cambridge Properties Ltd (LCP), one of the UK’s largest private owners of industrial and retail property with a commercial property portfolio that runs to 14 million sq ft. Margaret Hopkins, Marketing Director of LCP, said: “We assisted Balfour Beatty Engineering Services to locate to premises at our Woods Bank Estate in Wednesbury and we wish the company well in the new base.”

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