Innovative modular building springs to life

Unite Modular Solutions Ltd has completed work on one of the most technically challenging volumetric modular buildings in the UK that is already benefitting over 450 students in north London.

Using volumetric modular construction - the fast-track design and factory manufacture of volumetric units in the form of lightweight steel frame technology that are then joined together on site – Woodland Court in Islington is a building with a structural integrity deriving almost entirely from the modules themselves, which enabled the manufacture and construction of the entire building.

With over 15 different types of kitchens and bedrooms, the diversity of the module design was the greatest ever undertaken by Unite Modular Solutions (UMS), alongside architects Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson, and dispels a common misconception that volumetric modular construction stifles design flair and creativity.

Woodland Court is notable for numerous innovations, such as the large panellised cladding element being constructed entirely off-site and shipped as a flat pack and then erected into position with the jointing interfaces completed via different types of mobile elevating work platforms.

The design of the build was one of the most challenging ever faced by UMS, with the offset and cantilevered areas making for a testing installation environment. Conventional modular systems would have struggled to meet the demands posed by a project of this scale, but UMS successfully changed their operating methods in order to not just meet, but exceed what could be achieved by volumetric modular construction.

The volumetric units, in addition to providing the structural integrity of the building, offer contractors the additional benefit of having all services incorporated, such as plumbing and electrics, ready for simple connection on site together with factory fitted room content including kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms, before students move in, making for more efficient construction and a tidier and safer site, producing less on-site waste.

Installation took 17 weeks – a significantly shorter timescale than traditional build - showcasing the ability of volumetric modular construction to meet the restrictive time demands of taking a building from concept to completion by the start of each academic year.

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