Comments Off on Construction Insights: MMC in Education, 2024.
At Thurston, we’re dedicated to providing educational institutions with cutting-edge, sustainable, and cost-effective solutions. As we look to 2024, our latest blog to explores the key benefits of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) for Education:
Thurston, Huddersfield New College, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, July, 2023
Enhanced safety measures are implemented during factory assembly, creating a secure environment for your employees and students.
We prioritise eco-friendly materials and practices, reducing waste and minimising environmental impact—a win for both future generations and your institution’s reputation.
Our modular approach typically reduces construction time, allowing schools and universities to accommodate growing student populations quickly.
Streamlined processes and reduced on-site work mean cost savings, freeing up resources for other essential educational needs.
Modular buildings can be easily expanded or reconfigured to adapt to changing educational requirements, ensuring longevity and value.
Our off-site construction minimises disruption to ongoing campus activities, allowing educational programs to continue without interruption.
Precision engineering in a controlled factory environment ensures consistently high-quality structures, meeting the stringent safety standards of the Education sector.
If you’re interested in exploring how modular construction can benefit your educational project, please reach out. Let’s create inspiring spaces for the leaders of tomorrow.
Comments Off on Apprenticeship Reform: Where are we now?
In 2015 the Department for Education set out its vision for English Apprenticeships following a review into the system, to increase the quality and quantity of apprenticeships through a transformational programme of change. Whilst apprenticeships were successful, the 2012 Richard Review of Apprenticeships found a number of challenges that we needed to address if we wanted to improve their quality and quantity.
It found that the quality of apprenticeship training needed to be improved and relevant to meet the needs of the employer. Employer investment and sustainable funding for apprenticeships must be secured and the accessibility of these apprenticeships also needs to be improved, supporting the vulnerable. Ultimately we needed more apprenticeships overall to meet the skills gap.
The Apprenticeship Reform Programme had four main objectives; to meet the skills needs of the employers, to create progression for apprentices, to widen participation and social mobility in apprenticeships and to create more quality apprenticeships.
According to the latest 2021 report on the programme as it comes to an end, three million apprenticeships had been entered into in England between 2015 and 2020. This latest report highlights how successful the Programme has been and outlines plans for 2021 and beyond.
On quality, their achievement rate for apprenticeship standards has gone up by 12%. But there is a lot more to do. To meet this objective, there is new employer and provider guidance and more self-assessment tools. There’s also a new national online Apprenticeship Workforce Development programme for training providers. The government is also implementing a new accountability approach to ensure high-quality assurance for all those registered to deliver training.
Last March the programme faced its biggest challenge yet with the Covid-19 pandemic. Apprenticeship numbers dropped due to the impact of national lockdowns, with staff on furlough, falls in vacancies and some employment failure. In response to this, the government introduced flexibilities and adaptations to enable apprenticeships to continue and all learners to start and complete their apprenticeship. Support was also provided to businesses, offering £1,500 in grants for every apprentice they hire, rising to £2000 if the new apprentice was under the age of 25. This was further increased to £3000.
We’ve always looked to employ apprentices within the business but due to our significant growth, we’re now looking to grow and employ even more. There’s a national skills shortage with more people retiring than entering the industry. So apprentices can help meet this need and improve local skills, helping more young people into the industry. We also help by working with local colleges to provide support, placements and apprenticeships to their students.
The Apprenticeship Reform Programme has been completed now but the focus now is on raising quality and extending accessibility of apprenticeships to employers in all sectors. The future of the programme remains responsive to the needs of the employers and apprentices through the new objectives. The government will now concentrate on embedding the reforms it has made and providing the market with sufficient stability to adjust to the new models of apprenticeships funding, delivery, and quality assurance.
The future programme will continue with a focus on four key benefits; to support employers of all sizes to benefit from high-quality apprenticeships that are relevant and responsive, drive up the quality of apprenticeships, support progression into sustainable employment and ensure apprenticeships are accessible to individuals at all stages of their career. This will hopefully help the country recover more quickly from the pandemic and help provide a solution to the skills shortage.
Comments Off on Radical rail reforms launched by the government
The Railway sector is on track for the biggest shake-up to its model since the 90s after Whitehall recognised the need for a complete overhaul. After years of anticipation, challenges and delays, it pledges to ‘fix the system’ and deliver a better service for passengers across the country. The government’s white paper presents a brand new vision for the country’s rail network.
Key takeaways from the white paper included the creation of a new body, Great British Railways (GBR). This is set to absorb existing organisations like Network Rail and bring the entire system together, similar to the Transport for London model in the capital. Bringing everything under one umbrella is ambitious but welcome, various elements such as timetables and fares are vastly different wherever you are in the country and this will help improve the system and provide consistency for passengers.
Speaking of fares, they’re set to be ‘simplified’ and designed for ‘for the passenger’. Prices are constantly rising and private franchises have failed for a number of years in delivering efficiency. New plans will see fares being set centrally and getting rid of thousands of existing, and somewhat complex pricing combinations. However, the problem is that there’s no guarantee this change will be cheaper.
Coinciding with a change in the way people work following the pandemic, one of the biggest changes will be flexible tickets for those who are moving to hybrid working. This will be a welcome change for those making the switch to this new way of working.
Breaking away from rail franchising, the government outlined that the new system will be run by GBR who will then pay each operator to run their services. So passengers won’t see any name changes but they will hopefully see an improvement in service. Bonuses will be given to companies who fulfil certain criteria such as punctuality and cleanliness.
Finally, aligning to the UK’s climate targets, the government plans to decarbonise the rail network over the next 30 years. A bigger, more detailed ‘environmental plan’ will be published in 2022 highlighting how it plans to set out this change. These changes will be welcome news to commuters across the country, who have been dealing with delays, price increases and overcrowding for years. Hopefully with a more central body holding companies to account, services will improve significantly.
We’re able to provide a vast range of services for this sector, from modular and portable staff buildings through to equipment stores.
Want to see our past case studies? Head over to our case studies page.
Homes England set to make Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) push. Telling its potential strategic partners, if they want more deals, that they need to start committing to increasing the use of MMC on projects.
Strategic partnerships provide housing providers with access to funding via a multi-year grant, rather than on a scheme-by-scheme basis. This means that organisations will have more stability because they can rely on a steady cash flow.
To be considered for a strategic partnership, applicants must “demonstrate a significant commitment to Homes England’s broader aims, from increasing the use of MMC to promoting great design.” After a shake-up, the Government body has expanded the types of organisations that it will form strategic partnerships with enabling more people to apply. Local authorities, developers and not-for-profit registered providers are now eligible.
Since its launch three years ago, there have been 23 deals with around 27 housing associations agreed. The government claims that the partnerships have delivered around £1.8billion in grant investment and built more than 40,000 homes across the country. Homes England has also highlighted that its initial phase of strategic partnerships also reported some unexpected benefits including unlocking difficult sites for development, attracting investment and accelerating delivery.
This is a welcome idea as the uptake in MMC and offsite construction has been relatively slow, despite its speed, quality and environmental benefits. With a push from Homes England, it’s what the industry needs to build greener and be more innovative. With the homes being built and 90 percent completed offsite in a controlled factory environment, there’s reduced waste, reduced disruption to neighbouring communities and reduced traffic in and out of site.
We’re able to provide a turnkey solution. Do you think a push towards MMC could help with your housing needs? We’re able to help. Find out how by reaching out today.
Comments Off on Rail reforms from the government “need more detail”
After the government launched its ‘once-in-a-generation’ plan to reform the UK’s railways, a parliamentary watchdog has reported that the overhaul lacks detail and urgency. It has also questioned whether the government has the capacity to deliver the rail reforms.
The railway sector was set for the biggest shake-up to its model since the 90s after the government pledged to ‘fix the system’ and ‘deliver a better service for passengers’ in their white paper. It presented a brand new vision for the country’s rail network, but can it deliver?
Key takeaways included; the creation of a new body, Great British Railways (GBR), simplified fares and flexible tickets, a break away from rail franchising and a decarbonised rail network. The Institute for Government, a leading think tank working to make Government more effective and efficient, has provided analysis of the white paper. It has highlighted that the rail reforms risk being undermined by lack of detail and urgency. As well as a lack of plan to bring people back after the pandemic.
The public accounts committee has also said that while they see the Department for Transport are aware of the issues surrounding the country’s rail network, it is worried that they don’t have the capacity to deliver and don’t understand just how much work is needed to improve the service. The GBR is set to oversee both train and track infrastructure and pay private companies to run the services on strict contracts.
However the parliamentary report says that while the white paper is a great first step, its implementation carries a lot of risk and has the potential to overpromise and under deliver. The department has stated that their proposals will ensure “greater value for money” and “a better deal for passengers” but the committee has called for not just an improvement to current rail services, but a more aligned service with other modes of public transport.
If it is serious in its plan to decarbonise the railway, we need to reduce those using cars and join the rail network up with local buses, trams and underground services. Without a better link up, there’s a risk of people using cars to get to the railway which could jeopardise the government’s net zero targets.
While it’s a welcome plan and a good first step, those around the government, holding them to account, want to see a lot more detail around implementation and timelines to try and get a sense of how it’s going to work. They want to see strategic long-term plans and targets for how this new ‘umbrella’ system will work and also how it will be held to account if it doesn’t go as planned for passengers. They also want a detailed plan and timeline for how the government plans to transition from the current model and clarify the scope of the GBR’s independence. This will ultimately help maintain both public and political confidence in the GBR during the transition and for the long term.
Comments Off on Modular construction in the Education sector
In the education sector, not every project or client is the same. These institutions, schools especially, are generally overcrowded and underfunded. Expansion is the first step to solving overcrowding issues, which in turn helps students improve their performance. But with tight budgets, traditional expansions don’t come cheap or quickly. From universities to primary schools, each building has a specific set of needs and requirements. How can modular construction in the education sector solve these issues?
Matthew Goff, Managing Director at Thurston Group, explains how modular construction benefits the education sector.
The main benefit I think is the fact that our modular buildings are built offsite with 90% of the build completed before it’s delivered and installed. Most institutions don’t need the disruption caused by traditional methods. With modular, you don’t have builders in and out of site. You have less traffic, less noise and less disruption. This means that you don’t necessarily need to wait until half-term to get your project underway. We can get around to it offsite and then plan the delivery for when there won’t be any students or children on site. Although if you wanted to, you could invite them to watch the installation, safely, from a distance and make it a learning experience.
The next benefit is reduced maintenance. We undertake a strict quality control process throughout the entire project to ensure that no product or building leaves the site until it has been checked thoroughly. From the design stage, we monitor and improve quality through the RIBA Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA), providing guidance to the design team in simplifying the product structure.
This reduces costs, improves efficiency and quantifies improvements. Not only does this help reduce waste and improve sustainability, it also improves the quality of the build. Nothing leaves the factory unless it’s been signed off and approved, meaning durable, lifetime buildings. This also means that over its lifetime, there’s less chance of any problems because of the way that it has been built.
Another benefit is flexibility. Modular and portable buildings can be modified and adaptable in order to meet the needs of the client. Modules can be added or taken away at any stage of the buildings’ lifetime to meet demand. This helps the education system significantly as no one can plan for how many students they’ll be getting in the future so with an ability to expand or reduce at any point, this is quite an attractive feature for education suppliers.
Not only are they flexible in size, they’re also flexible in design. Unless a client wants a brand new building, most education suppliers will need a building that is new but also matches the design of the current building. We’re able to provide bespoke buildings at the request of the client and have a range of options meaning that we will always be able to match the new building to the existing one.
This was a key factor for Aberystwyth University when they needed a new accommodation facility to meet demand. Working for Campus Living, we installed a brand new, bespoke triple storey modular student accommodation facility for the university. Designed and manufactured to the clients’ individual requirements, the facility comprised 60 fully furnished modern bedrooms to accommodate the increase in students. With tight deadlines and a live environment, modern methods of construction were the preferred choice to ensure disruption for students was kept to a minimum. The university also needed the accommodation quickly and traditional methods just couldn’t have been delivered in time.
We’ve also recently written about how offsite and modular construction benefits special education needs in Education specifically, too. Each module can be adapted to meet all needs and make sure every student has the best learning experience. Find out more here.
Comments Off on Thurston Group picks up its first RoSPA award
We’re extremely delighted to announce that we’ve picked up our first internationally recognised award; the Silver RoSPA Award, in recognition of our commitment to health and safety practices across our organisation.
After going for the award for the first time, we’re delighted to have achieved the Silver Award. The Silver RoSPA Award, organised by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), recognises Thurston’s and our employees’ achievements in health and safety. All of our teams focus on a “Work Safe, Home Safe” initiative, safeguarding themselves, their colleagues, our clients, customers and the communities in which we operate.
The annual Health and Safety Awards are categorised by different levels of achievement: Merit, Bronze, Silver and Gold, as well as long-term awards that recognise companies for achieving Gold Awards for multiple consecutive years. Organisations receiving a RoSPA Award are recognised as being world leaders in health and safety practices. Every year, nearly 2000 entrants vie to achieve the highest possible accolade in what is the UK’s longest-running health and safety industry awards.
Matthew Goff, our Managing Director, said,“We’re extremely proud to have received this distinguished award from the RoSPA. These annual awards are among the foremost international accolades that you can receive in the Health and Safety sector. It’s particularly gratifying to have received this recognition for Thurston Group’s long-term track record of excellence in this area, especially given the recent challenges of the pandemic. Safety is our number one value, with all our teams focusing on our “Work Safe, Home Safe” initiative, safeguarding themselves, their colleagues, our clients, customers and the communities in which we operate. These awards are a true recognition of our culture.”
Gary Ware, our Group Production Director, said, “This RoSPA award once again supports our group’s ongoing strategic plan and commitment to be the partner of choice, and in light of the current pandemic, the investment into our people, the estates and our buildings has us well placed to continue growing as a business. A special mention to our SHEQT Officer, Janet Sanders for the award support, and well done to all involved across all three of our operational sites, along with our construction sites throughout the UK . Keep up the good work!”
Want to know more about our organisation? Head over to Our Company.
Comments Off on How can MMC help meet sustainability targets?
The delivery of net-zero buildings doesn’t necessarily come under offsite and modern methods of construction (MMC) but it is one of the major benefits. The construction industry currently accounts for around 40% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. This is a figure that needs to change. The only way this is going to change is if companies start being more innovative and moving towards MMC. So, how can MMC help meet sustainability targets?
It’s important to explain that there are two parts to net-zero – embodied and operational carbon. They are vastly different and influenced by different parts of the construction process but applying both will still help towards any sustainability targets.
Put simply, embodied carbon is the carbon emissions associated with the materials and construction process throughout the entire lifecycle of a building or structure. This is an area often overlooked as companies try to put more focus into making a building net-zero when operational.
Adopting a MMC approach can significantly reduce the embodied carbon of a building or structure. Manufacturing processes produce much less carbon as the build is completed 90% offsite and with less labour required to build. Most of the people working on the building live relatively close to the factory so are more likely to car share, walk, cycle or use public transport to get to work.
There’s also much less traffic when compared to traditional methods. There aren’t trucks and lorries in and out of site or numbers of workers in and out. Once the build is complete, it’s delivered to site quickly and with much less traffic.
Our waste is also recyclable and all of our waste is diverted from landfill. Any wood is collected, shredded and then used for fuel at a local power station, plasterboard offcuts are sent to a plasterboard recycling specialist to be recycled back into usable plasterboard and any cardboard is also pulped for paper manufacture. Polythene waste is washed and processed into pellets, which can then be turned into a variety of products. Thurston’s also ensures that waste is minimal, using only what they need per job but any steel is able to be recycled and sent back to the supplier for reuse.
General waste that can’t be recycled is used for Refuse Derived Fuel, which means it’s sent off and incinerated to generate electricity. Soon Futur First will provide Thurston Group with food waste bins so the waste can be taken to an anaerobic digestion facility, where the gases are extracted to generate electricity and any remaining food is used on agricultural land.
Operational Net-Zero Carbon
This is when the net amount of carbon emissions associated with the building’s operational energy, on an annual basis, is equal to or less than zero. Operational energy consists of the annual amount of energy required for heating, cooling and lighting.
This part of the net-zero element is influenced in the design stages of construction. MMC and offsite construction has the best chance of getting this right from the start. A controlled manufacturing process is able to deliver to a higher quality and is able to deliver more certainty of achieving the required performance levels with low U values, good insulation and minimal air leakage. This manufacturing process also produces greater levels of air tightness and improved building performance. All instrumental in ensuring buildings meet operational net-zero requirements.
If the government is serious about meeting its sustainability targets then more pressure needs to be on the industry to innovate and move to more sustainable methods of construction. Looking at some of the ways in which MMC helps achieve net-zero can really help a business reshape its processes and ensure that going forward, we’re all working together to reduce the industry’s carbon emissions.
Comments Off on ‘Defining the Need’ – A conclusion and a look ahead to the future
‘Defining the Need’ has demonstrated an objective approach to understanding the needs of the public sector estate. It also highlighted the need to harmonise and digitise demand across new build programmes. This piece is a conclusion of our ‘Defining the Need’ series and provides a look into the future to see how it can provide a long-term solution.
The results of the cross-departmental pipeline analysis showed that the top three most common spaces were circulation, storage and bathrooms. Constituting around 30% of the entire government’s estate. This shows that there’s a huge opportunity for the government to harmonise pipelines and implement a platform system solution. A standardised, repeatable platform construction system that ultimately meets the needs of multiple departments would provide the public sector with a quicker, better quality building solution.
This report, combined with the government’s Construction Playbook, would give departments an opportunity to focus on building spaces that improve departments or communities and provide the greatest value.
A standardised approach to building doesn’t need to compromise on quality or flexibility. At Thurston’s we’re able to provide high quality modular and portable buildings for every sector. Utilising a standardised approach, we’re able to meet individual client requirements and create a bespoke building while reducing delivery speed, improving sustainability and improving quality.
Based on the data analysed and collected, the Platform team have been able to start developing their platform strategy that meets the needs of the customer. Looking ahead, the Hub’s project team plans to build a Rulebook with defined rules and standards detailing how technologies and components can be integrated. It also plans to build a Value Proposition which will define the characteristics, differentiation, cost-structure and life cycle of the platform and a Kit of Parts. The Kit of Parts will comprise the components of the platform highlighting how it can be varied within certain constraints. Finally the team will also progress with resources to support adoption, called Enablers.
A platform construction system solution provides new ways of working that may require changes to the ways that organisations are structured. Not every organisation will be able to implement a platform strategy without making significant changes, which is why the project team will build a set of processes and standards to help. The overall success of a platform system approach will rely on clarity of roles, responsibilities and processes, as well as the kit of parts.
The processes and standards developed by the Platform Design Programme (PDP) will be made openly available and in 2022, demonstrate how they can be applied in practice. The PDP will use the concept training building and work undertaken at the Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry as a showcase to show organisations how they can implement a platform construction system along with the benefits.
The PDP can also offer opportunities to the wider market. The full report, due to be published in winter, will demonstrate the potential for platform construction systems and how it could potentially be applied to other industries within both the public and private sector. Enabling others to procure, develop and apply platforms to develop better, faster and greener outcomes.
Comments Off on Planning permission and building regulations: A breakdown
Planning permission and building regulations can be a minefield. Even more so when you factor in modular construction and portable buildings. But what is it and do you need it if you’re planning on going modular?
Planning permission in the UK is a regulation that can help guide the way towns, cities and villages are developed. There are five main factors when considering what planning permissions you’ll need and they are the use of the land and buildings, the overall appearance of the buildings, landscaping, highway access and probably the most important; any environmental impact.
Will I need planning permission for my modular or portable building?
Now all modular and portable buildings require planning permission but if you’re coming to us for your building, we can do all the hard work for you. Whatever sector you’re part of and whatever building you require, whether that be a classroom, a container, a hospital extension, a gatehouse or a new home, we offer a full turnkey service.
Requirements state that, regardless of size, any structure in place for over 28 days, must have planning permission. If you’re ever unsure – it’s probably best to get it anyway. Or you can contact your local planning authority to establish whether you’ll need planning permission for your building or not.
Do your buildings comply with building regulations and do they need to?
In short, yes. All buildings must meet all current Building Regulations, including Part L2. If you’ve come to us to provide a building solution, then your mind will be at ease knowing that all of our buildings, modular or portable, are in line with all current regulations. Everything from fire safety, electrical safety and resistance to sound to sanitation and building access are all covered.
It can be really confusing, especially if you’ve always dealt with traditional methods of construction. Whatever you need, we’re able to provide bespoke solutions and do all the hard work so you don’t have to. Let us know your requirements and we can design and manufacture a high quality, sustainable, cost-effective solution to match.
Comments Off on ‘Defining the Need’ – What are the key insights and how will they provide a solution?
Following on from our last piece covering the Platform Design Programme, this week we’re looking at the key insights found from analysis of the five-year £50 billion forward pipeline from the Department for Education (DfE), Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
‘Defining the Need’, the initial project phase, conducted data analysis on this pipeline to capture customer needs, objectives and trends to develop and inform their platform strategy. It also identified areas of commonality and difference across the cross-departmental pipeline to see which characteristics of the platform systems can be applied to the public sector estate.
Of the £50 billion new build pipeline, the Hub found that at least £35 billion worth of projects could be created using a platform system. It also saw that more than 50% of space types, hallways, bathrooms and storage, aren’t sector specific and could be delivered with a standard platform solution for efficiency and productivity.
38% of the spaces within the new build pipeline will be for the Residential sector, presenting an opportunity for the private sector. If the proposed platform system demonstrates that it can build beautiful, sustainable and better quality homes then it could potentially be used to deliver, not just homes, but student accommodation, hospitals and hotels.
Another key finding was that buildings need to be highly adaptive so they can be repurposed across the required 60-year service life. The government is also committed to bringing a reduction in emissions to net zero by 2050. This means that all new buildings, especially those within the pipeline, need to align with this commitment and make sure that they’re sustainable.
If you take a look at companies like Thurston’s across the UK, this is what we’re already doing. We’re continuously innovating to be able to deliver sustainable buildings for a variety of sectors at a reduced whole-life cost and reduced speed. Our buildings are also adaptable. Whichever sector you’re in, if you need an office or are delivering a hotel, our buildings are able to be adapted, repurposed and moved.
During the open call for evidence at the beginning of 2019, the Institution of Civil Engineers said, “In order to encourage the adoption and implementation of the P-DfMA approach, each relevant government department must first examine its own technical standards. Having a consistent and streamlined set of standards and components in this way would enable the market to respond more effectively, particularly if the industry is brought into the process early.”
Aligning all of these trends and insights is important and an important step in innovating the Construction industry. The work demonstrates how the government can harmonise, digitise and rationalise demand in line with the policies in the Construction Playbook.
The next and final part in the series concludes the findings and looks ahead to the future to see how the platform design solution can be implemented to improve efficiency and productivity in the construction industry.
Want to catch up on the other pieces in our series? Head back to our Updates page to find the last two pieces in time for next week.
Comments Off on Modular buildings to meet the needs of the healthcare sector?
In a market where shortages exist, building standards are extremely high. Sustainability, comfort and infection control are all important but budgets are tight. Modular construction needs to be a part of the solution. The offsite industry can build for any sector, for any client, and boasts three main advantages; flexibility, quality and speed. From increasing the space in emergency departments and same day emergency care to improving the facilities and bringing them up to date. The healthcare sector can benefit greatly, but how?
Matthew Goff, Managing Director at Thurston Group, explains.
At Thurston Group we manufacture modular and portable buildings through modern methods of construction. With modular construction most manufacturers are able to build to customers’ exact requirements. The healthcare sector needs flexibility as not every project is the same. Some clients will need multiple buildings making up a large hospital complex, while others may need an extension of their current facilities. We can work with clients on designs that integrate with their current building or entirely new designs for brand new buildings.
Utilising the use of BIM and a controlled offsite manufacturing process, modular buildings are built to a much higher standard than traditional methods. Buildings are monitored throughout the build through a strict quality control process to provide durable, lifetime buildings. Nothing leaves our factory unless it’s signed off and approved.
Modular construction times are up to 50% quicker than traditional methods too. In a matter of weeks, we delivered a flat-pack style ward for Tameside General Hospital, increasing the hospital’s critical care capacity during the covid-19 pandemic. Due to the speed in which the numbers of seriously-ill people were growing, hospitals around the country were filling up fast and needed relief. Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust needed a brand new intensive care unit (ICU) quickly to cope with the numbers of people needing treatment and with a seven-week timeframe, only modular could deliver.
We were given the brief in March 2020 by Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust. This project was critical to the hospital’s ability to support the region with ventilated bedspace.
The first phase, a 10-bed ward facility was delivered within an incredible seven weeks. Followed by a A&E reception extension along with a linkway corridor to be operational within a short timeframe and with minimum disruption to the day to day running of the hospital. As much as 90% of our buildings are manufactured offsite in a controlled environment, reducing construction traffic and noise in a sensitive health environment. Meaning that healthcare facilities and hospitals can maintain their care standards, whilst expanding facilities to coordinate an emergency response.
The new respiratory ward that formed phase one of the project, included a brand new nurses station, staff room, accessible showers and toilets as well as the extra ten ventilated bed bays. It also included laundry and utility rooms as well as a one way entry/exit floor plan with sliding doors leading to the existing building. The new ICU ward had a capacity for ten beds and was built offsite and craned in ready to house seriously-ill covid-19 patients.
Phase two, saw the delivery of an A&E reception extension to aid the hospital’s social distancing capacity. The modular units were installed in a tight courtyard with less than 25mm tolerances next to the existing building, providing numerous challenges from a design and installation perspective, which were all able to be overcome, with clear communication channels throughout.
Phase three combined all these new modular buildings together with the existing hospital building.
Anything that can be assembled offsite, like staff rooms, toilets and shower areas, was completed at the factory, inside each of the module’s for delivery. The module’s were then loaded and delivered to the hospital on the back of multiple lorries, where a 200-tonne crane then lifted these into place and joined them together like one big giant jigsaw.
Despite being installed adjacent to the main A&E entrance for the hospital, the project was completed without disrupting the hospital’s ability to care for the region. We’ve managed to deliver successfully, despite operating during a global pandemic everything from vaccination centres to support the vaccine rollout, to these hospital extensions and numerous testing centres across the country.
Modular can definitely meet the needs of the Healthcare sector, we’ve been delivering to the sector for over 40 years. Our portable and modular buildings meet all NHS guidelines, including HTM and HBN requirements, and with over 50 years of experience, you can save both time and money coming to us, now even more since we’ve secured various positions on the NHS SBS – MB2 Framework.
Our team really understood the value of speed when mobilising at very short notice to deliver an emergency ICU ward, various testing centres and vaccination centres to support the UK’s fight against covid-19. Everyone at Thurston Group wants to thank the people of the NHS, who are doing so much for our people and country. They are the true frontline heroes with our teams doing their best to support them.
Comments Off on The four grand challenges to make the UK fit for the future
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS) has written a white paper to set out its long-term plan to boost productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK. As part of their plan to ‘build a Britain that’s fit for the future’, it has set out four Grand Challenges which aim to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future. Ensuring that the country takes full advantage of major global changes, improving people’s lives and the country’s productivity as a whole.
The first four Grand Challenges are focused on the main global trends that are set to transform our future. They are:
Artificial intelligence (AI) and data
Future of mobility
The DBEIS is developing ambitious missions to tackle each of these Grand Challenges. Each mission will focus on a specific issue and will bring government, business and organisations throughout the country together to drive solutions and make a real difference.
Wanting to put the UK ahead in the AI and data revolution, an Office for AI has been put together. AI and machine learning are already starting to transform the global economy but it is growing within organisations around the country. In healthcare specifically, it is already helping doctors diagnose medical conditions more effectively and assisting in communications. The hope is that embedding AI across the UK will create good quality jobs and drive economic growth. The main mission is to use data, AI and innovation to transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases by 2030.
Meeting the needs of our ageing society has been in focus for some time. The DBEIS hopes to harness innovation to help accelerate this mission and create an economy which works for everyone, regardless of age. It wants to ensure that people can enjoy at least five extra healthy years of life by 2035, while narrowing the gap between the richest and the poorest. It’s not just in the UK, but globally. We are living longer and this creates more need and demand for services like housing, education and healthcare. We need to help build homes that are fit for the future. Where people can grow as a family while helping our older generations lead independent lives. This will ultimately help them continue to contribute to society.
The shift to clean growth has also been a focus for some time but goalposts are so far in the future that there’s a worry it will be too late. The move to cleaner economic growth through more efficient use of resources and low carbon technology, is one of the most important missions. The DBEIS wants to halve the energy use of new buildings by 2030 and establish the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040. With at least one low-carbon cluster by 2030.
The final Grand Challenge; the future of mobility, aims to ensure the UK is a world leader in shaping the future of mobility. It also links to clean growth, with the main mission aiming to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero-emission vehicles. With all new cars and vans effectively zero emission by 2040. This mission is all about looking for the ways we can improve customer experience, drive efficiency and get people travelling around much more freely, without impacting negatively on the environment.
All of these challenges require innovation, not just from the Government itself. But from businesses around the country. Moving to more sustainable methods of working and building is an important first step. Construction specifically accounts for nearly half of the UK’s total carbon emissions. This is where the country could make a significant difference but it requires more people to move to modern methods of construction.
You can find out more about the missions and grand challenges on the government website.
Comments Off on Thurston Group lands a place on £1.6bn NHS framework
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve successfully landed a place on the £1.6 billion NHS Shared Business Services Framework. We’ve secured our position across four core lots for “Building Purchase” covering Healthcare, Education, Residential and Bespoke Buildings up to the value of £25m+ per scheme.
Set to run from July 18th for an initial two years, the NHS framework has an expected spend of £180m per annum for the lots secured. Securing a place on the four framework lots through a competitive tendering process will further support our ever-growing Projects division, whilst underpinning our overall growth strategy set out by our Shareholders and Executive Leadership Team.
The purpose of the framework aims to complement the speed of modular and offsite construction by providing an equally quick, easy and compliant procurement route for a range of NHS and public sector clients across the Education, Healthcare and Residential sectors. The framework contracts cover health and corporate services including IT, Legal, Estates & Facilities and Business Services.
From consultancy and design to finance and build, we offer turnkey building solutions for every sector. With three factories across Yorkshire, we have the capacity to deliver over 5000 units per year.
Our Managing Director, Matthew Goff, was delighted after landing a place on the framework. He said, “A huge well done to the Business Development team for securing our place on the NHS Shared Business Services framework. This is a fantastic achievement by the team and accelerates our position ‘to be the provider of choice’.”
To find out more about the NHS framework, you can head over to their website. Want to know more about our projects? Find out case studies here.
Comments Off on ‘Defining the Need’ – the plan to accelerate standardisation in the construction sector
The movement to bring standardised, repeatable platform systems found in the manufacturing sector to construction continues to grow. But has been held back by a lack of clarity and consistency in the processes and standards which allow platform solutions to work across multiple sectors, stakeholders, projects and building types. As well as a lack of confidence in a forward pipeline for these solutions. ‘Defining the Need’ is report outlining plans to accelerate standardisation in the construction sector.
The government’s Construction Playbook outlines 14 key policies and guidance for how public works projects and programmes are assessed, procured and delivered. This has helped to accelerate the growth for standardised, repeatable platform systems. At the same time, the Construction Innovation Hub looks to develop the processes and standards that support platform solutions and will develop a concept building using platform components to highlight how it works. The Hub aims to provide organisations with the processes and standards they need to make the necessary changes to their structure to implement a platform system and show them how to use it.
Last year, the Hub’s Platform team partnered with several government departments including education, housing, health and social care, justice and defence, to create a cross-departmental data set of future requirements against a £50 billion five-year new build pipeline using these new processes and standards.
Initial data analysis served as evidence in support of the policies outlined in the Playbook, and signals the government’s move towards procuring more construction projects based on three main focuses. Focuses include platforms consisting of standardised interlinking components and assembly, driving improvements in setting clear and outcome-based specifications and enabling innovation by using modern methods of construction (MMC) through aggregated and standardised demand.
At the end of last year, the Construction Innovation Hub launched a summary of their upcoming ‘Defining the Need’ report, due to be published this winter. This report takes these three main themes and defines the potential benefits of standardisation and harmonisation across construction projects. Construction generally suffers a variety of challenges including weather issues and delays, projects can take up a long time and can come at increased costs. Standardisation and repeatable platform systems can help innovate the industry and improve efficiency and productivity.
This short series will look at the summary report for ‘Defining the Need’ and the Platform Design Programme, including what it is and its key findings and insights. It’ll also look at how it will benefit the construction industry, its conclusions and a look ahead at what the future of the industry looks like.
Comments Off on How can MMC help the homelessness crisis?
We’ve been in a housing crisis for quite some time. With the effects of the pandemic not fully known yet, it’s likely to only get worse. According to the National Housing Federation, an estimated 8.4 million people in England are living in unaffordable, insecure or unsuitable homes. Of those, 400,000 people are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This number is only set to grow. But could modern methods of construction (MMC) be a solution?
The homelessness crisis
The Rough Sleeping Initiative, launched in 2018, is part of the Government’s strategy which aims to end rough sleeping by 2027. The initiative is targeted at local authorities across England with high numbers of people sleeping rough to tackle the issue and get people into suitable homes.
Under the Housing Act 1996, local housing authorities in England have a duty to secure accommodation for unintentionally homeless households in an emergency. While more permanent housing is secured, people may be placed in temporary accommodation. By June 2020, there were over 98,000 households in temporary accommodation. An increase of 14% from the previous year. Though the rise was driven by an increase in single adult households, and may be related to the Covid-19 ‘everyone in’ scheme. This figure has been rising since December 2011, and seems to be growing year on year.
Housing charity, Shelter, has said that at least 1.2 million new homes are needed to tackle the housing crisis. CPRE has said that there’s enough brownfield land to accommodate up to 1.3 million new homes. But new housing developments typically take around three to five years to complete. In this time, the numbers of people who need housing will only grow.
So what’s the solution?
MMC has been posed as a solution for some time but the uptake is still slow. Modular buildings can be delivered up to 50% quicker than traditional builds. They’re also 90% completed offsite, which means they don’t have the challenges of poor weather and are built in a controlled factory environment. There’s also minimal disruption to neighbouring communities.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can provide a solution, get in touch. You can also have a look at some homes we’ve already built here.
Comments Off on Councils given funding to help with homelessness
The Government will provide up to £211.6 million in funding for councils across England to deliver over 2,700 Move-On homes. Their mission is to significantly reduce homelessness and provide support services so they don’t end up back on the street. A ‘Move-On’ home is temporary accommodation and support. It’s made available to occupants as a stepping stone to prepare rough sleepers for fully independent living.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has invited councils, who work closely with local stakeholders including charities, local authorities and social housing providers, to submit proposals and bids for the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme (RSAP) up until 2024 and secure funding to bring a reduction in homelessness in their area.
Last October they announced funding for local partners to deliver the first year of RSAP. More than 3,000 new ‘Move On’ homes for rough sleepers across the country were approved and backed by a Government investment of more than £150 million.
Not only is the scheme for new build homes, it’s also for refurbishment, regeneration, private sector leasing and lease and repair. To ensure these homes remain ‘Move On’ homes, rather than long-term housing, tenancies will only be awarded for a maximum duration of up to two years. This means that they will always be available for the homeless, if necessary, and the support provided will help them move into more permanent homes.
Though this is a welcome idea and will help to get people off the streets and into safety. There lies the issue of long-term houses and whether there are enough. We simply aren’t building enough homes per year to meet demand. And despite the planning reforms, it’s still a lengthy process which means it can take between three and five years for a brand new development to be completed.
We’re able to provide a high-quality modular solution for both temporary and permanent housing, up to 50 per cent quicker than traditionally built homes. We can build pop-up homes in vacant spots while councils and developers go through the planning process to get people into ‘Meanwhile Homes’. Or we can build a more permanent development to reduce housing waiting lists.
Do you need help building homes in your area? Reach out and see how we can help.