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Tag Archive: sustainability

  1. Our Commitment To Being Sustainable

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    At Thurston Group, we are passionate about the environment, and we are constantly striving to be more sustainable in everything we do. We are proud of our reputation as one of the UK’s leading modular building manufacturers, and we work closely with our clients to create sustainable, affordable and energy-efficient solutions. All of our sustainable modular buildings are designed to be energy-efficient, low-waste and high-performance and comply with the very highest environmental regulations.

    Sustainable building solutions

    As the carbon footprint of traditional building methods becomes clear, many clients are looking for a more eco-friendly and less wasteful solution if they need temporary or permanent buildings. Our building process is far quicker, with 90% of the build completed off-site so we can make sure it adheres to our environmental standards. Many of our clients in industries from education to manufacturing are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and adopt more sustainable principles. If your business prides itself on its eco-credentials, our bespoke modular buildings are the ideal solution.

    There are many sustainability benefits to modular construction, making it ideal for green businesses looking to expand. By producing buildings in a controlled setting, we can monitor energy usage and streamline the construction process. Our offsite construction method is more sustainable than the traditional building method, with our solutions designed to last for decades and made using a range of durable and high-quality materials.

    We also acknowledge that every kWh of energy that a building consumes needs to be generated. This traditionally has involved the combustion of fossil fuels, which in turn produces CO2. Our approach to this environmental challenge is to design and build structures that consume as little energy as possible whilst generating as much as possible from a clean, renewable source, helping to reduce your carbon footprint.

    Where possible, we also minimise deliveries by delivering in bulk, rather than individually to separate sites, as well as reducing our vehicle movements. There are up to 90% fewer vehicle movements to site, further reducing disruption, congestion and carbon emissions.

    50 years of innovation

    Over the last 50 years, we have continued to invest in new ways to create high-quality and efficient buildings using a range of advanced technologies. From LED light fittings which reduce energy use to recycled materials that divert waste from landfills, we incorporate a range of sustainable features into our buildings and production methods. We are passionate about innovation and continue to use the latest technologies to make sure our projects are designed and built for a better future.

    However, it isn’t just the technology used in the modular buildings that is sustainable. As much as possible, we reduce the amount of waste that is produced. During the manufacturing process, waste is almost completely eliminated, and wood off-cuts are used as biomass fuel to provide space heating in our manufacturing facility. These are some of the reasons why we are ISO 14001 certified, and shows our commitment to being a sustainable business with an effective environmental management system.


    As a business, we also strive to ensure all of our modular solutions are BREEAM approved. We are committed to providing all clients with sustainable modular buildings that will stand the test of time and meet social and economic sustainability regulations. This includes during the design, construction, intended use and future of the buildings.

    Our fabric first approach

    We also use a fabric first approach that is designed to reduce waste at every stage of the process. This approach means we maximise the performance of the materials and components of our builds before we even start, to ensure an efficient construction process. Because our buildings are built to exact measurements there is no need for excess materials to be ordered and transported. In fact, research has shown that the modular building process can reduce construction waste by up to 52%.

    Self-sufficient modular homes

    Many of our sustainable modular buildings have a range of energy-saving and power-generating features to increase self-sufficiency. All of our builds maximize airtightness to reduce heat loss and we use the most efficient insulation to reduce energy loss too. We use a range of sustainable principles, such as encouraging natural ventilation, maximising solar gain and installing high-performance insulation to create modular buildings which are self-sufficient and energy-efficient. From classrooms to construction offices to defence buildings, all of our projects are designed to provide a high-quality sustainable alternative.

    Contact us today for more information on how we can produce sustainable modular buildings.

  2. Coalition calls for tougher carbon controls on new buildings

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    A coalition has written to Jeremy Pocklington, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government calling for tougher carbon controls. They’re warning that the proposed Future Buildings Standard (FBS) contains “significant shortcomings”. Also highlighting that the Government needs to be far more ambitious in the regulation of energy consumption in new buildings if it wants to meet carbon reduction targets

    RIBA president also said the proposed standards don’t go far enough to reduce the built environment’s carbon footprint. A letter, including 21 signatures from the likes of RIBA, Architects Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, CIOB and the UK Green Building Council, highlights significant concerns around the proposed energy and ventilation standards for non-domestic buildings and existing homes in England.

    The letter states there are several areas that are critical to achieving the UK’s net zero goals. And with the right decisions, can demonstrate global leadership and create a “world-leading built environment sector”. 

    The coalition, comprising architects, built environment and climate groups, has said if the Government wants to achieve this they need to start regulating total energy consumption, and not introduce primary energy, and set actual energy performance targets for buildings. The consultation states that new buildings should be “zero carbon ready” but to address the climate emergency, we need to be building net zero carbon buildings. We also need to assess building performance better to close the performance gap, introduce and regulate embodied carbon targets for buildings and set a clear National Retrofit Strategy. 

    RIBA President, Alan Jones, said, “The built environment is responsible for approximately 40% of the UK’s total carbon output. Put simply, the proposed Future Buildings Standard does not go far enough to reduce this impact. To reach net zero carbon emissions, demonstrate global leadership and create a world-leading built environment sector England needs more ambitious regulations. The Future Buildings Standard provides an opportunity to make critical and essential changes: to regulate total energy consumption and set critical targets for actual energy performance and embodied carbon. I urge policymakers to realise its potential.”

    We’re committed to reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring that we’re building a better future. We do this by observing the ten circular economy principles to help achieve true net zero buildings and adopting a fabric first approach. Offsite construction is more sustainable than traditional methods. We work hard to minimise waste and make sure we’re building sustainable modular and portable buildings. Though more organisations could do better to combat climate change and ensure that our planet has a better future.  

    You can read the full letter here.

  3. Thirty towns are set to receive over £700 million in funding

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    Funding has been announced by the government for 30 towns across England to boost their local economies, create jobs and new homes, and improve local skills. Helping these communities “build back better” from the pandemic according to a release issued by the government.

    Each of the towns will be sharing over £700 million as part of the government’s multi-billion levelling up programme. With the towns ranging from seaside towns like Hartlepool to historic towns like Bedford and Bishop Auckland. The funding will also include renovations to various attractions helping to boost the cultural and tourism offers from each of the towns. Sustainability will be at the heart of most of these schemes with greener transport infrastructure. This will include new cycle paths and pedestrian walkways to help connect areas in the greenest way. 

    Not only will this help grow local economies, it will also carve out brand new opportunities. Helping to breathe new life into neglected or vacant spaces by creating vibrant new spaces for businesses, community events or much needed new homes. Creating thousands of jobs and investing in opportunities to improve skills, vocational training hubs will help support high-skilled and higher paid jobs in the areas.

    These are welcome plans, especially the funding going into investment in opportunities to improve skills for people in towns across England. The construction and manufacturing industries are facing a skills shortage with more skillers workers retiring than entering so investment into new training will certainly boost numbers. In turn this will boost local businesses by bringing in a fresh wave of skills and innovation, which the industry desperately needs. 

    Communities Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said, “We are levelling up towns and cities across the country by building stronger and more resilient local economies, boosting prosperity and opportunity in our communities, and helping them build back better from the pandemic. Today I am announcing new town deals in 30 areas, backed by over £725 million investment from the Towns Fund. This will support locally-led projects to transform disused buildings and public spaces, deliver new green transport and create new opportunities for people to develop new skills. This is a boost for communities and businesses across England.”


  4. How can MMC help meet sustainability targets?

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    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. 

    Embodied Carbon

    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. 

    How do we help achieve our own sustainability targets?

  5. Planning permission and building regulations: A breakdown

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    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.

  6. ‘Defining the Need’ – What are the key insights and how will they provide a solution?

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    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.


  7. ‘Defining the Need’ – What is the Platform Design Programme?

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    The Construction Innovation Hub is collaborating with government and industry across four key themes of Value, Manufacturing, Digital and Assurance. The Hubs’ work supports the Construction Leadership Council’s strategy and the Roadmap to Recovery. A core element of the Hub’s programme, the Platform Design Programme (PDP) embodies all of the challenges of building design, while having to work with multiple departments and suppliers, to provide standardisation without compromising on flexibility and performance. 

    Funded through the UKRI’s Transforming Construction Challenge, the Hub aims to create better outcomes for the future by driving the adoption of manufacturing and digital approaches to improve the delivery and performance of infrastructure and create buildings that are fit for the future.

    Applying systems engineering and manufacturing techniques, the team is looking to develop a selection of processes, rules and standards to create a market for buildings made from platform construction systems. 

    Following these new processes, the Hub will develop, prototype and test this open platform construction system to highlight the benefits it will bring to the construction sector. 

    The new system will be implemented at scales across a pan-government pipeline of projects and programmes and look to reduce cost, delivery time and lifetime carbon emissions. It also looks to boost productivity and increase the asset whole-life value and offer an opportunity to integrate active renewable energy systems. It will also be able to be used flexibly to create beautiful, well-designed buildings that are fit for the future. 

    Analysis of initial data, combined with stakeholder interviews with clients and end users has identified a clear opportunity for platform design within the construction sector. There are companies across the UK manufacturing this way but the uptake has been slow across various sectors. Of the £50 billion pipeline analysed, around £35 billion has been identified as being able to be delivered in whole, or in part, through a platform solution. 

    The next part in our series will look at this analysis and its key insights to see why the ‘Defining the Need’ report is recommending a move to platform systems. 

  8. The four grand challenges to make the UK fit for the future

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    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
    • Ageing society
    • Clean Growth
    • 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.

  9. Tips to go plastic free

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    Around eight million pieces of plastic pollution enter our seas and oceans every day. And around 33% of this plastic is used once and then thrown away, most of which cannot biodegrade. Do you need help cutting your use of single use plastic? As part of Plastic Free July and our commitment to sustainability, we’re going to be sharing our tips on how you can go plastic free. 

    Plastic Free July is a global initiative challenging people to drastically reduce their plastic consumption, which is causing significant damage to our planet. As a business committed to improving our sustainability, we want to make sure we have a positive impact on our environment. Not only will you be able to save money with our tips, you’ll be reducing your plastic consumption and living more sustainably. 

    Carry a reusable water bottle

    Plastic bottles take between 70 and 450 years to break down. If you’re buying drinks on the go, not only are you spending money unnecessarily, you’re also contributing to plastic pollution. They’ll end up in landfill or in our oceans releasing harmful chemicals and emitting micro-plastics that will end up back in our own bodies. Carrying your own bottle will help you save money, keep you healthy by drinking lots of water and help save the planet. We actively encourage all of our staff to bring their own reusable bottles where they can refill it across our three sites. 

    Always carry a tote bag

    This is important for those constantly on the go and for those who don’t do their shopping online. Are you the type to nip to the shops after work to do your shopping? If so, carrying a tote bag means you won’t need a plastic bag for your shopping. It can fit inside your normal bag and be brought out when you go shopping. 

    Bring your own lunch

    In our business, many of our staff travel between sites and often spend their money buying their lunch out between travelling. Increasing their monthly spend and having a negative impact on the environment. For those who have spent time working from home during the pandemic, they’ve realised just how much they can save by making their own lunch. Try and set out a bit of time of an evening to prepare lunch to take in or use leftovers from last night’s dinner. Numerous outlets are still offering single-use plastic cutlery with their takeaway meals. If you still fancy lunch on the go, why not pick up eco-friendly cutlery so you’re always prepared?

    Look for reusable food wraps

    One of the best ways to save money, eat healthily and avoid buying single-use plastic is by bringing your own lunch to work as previously mentioned. Plenty of people have started to bring their own lunch to work but you find that lots of food is wrapped in cling film or tin foil, or brought in single-use containers. Households across the UK use more than 1.2 billion metres of cling film, which is enough to go around the circumference of the world 30 times over. You should look at using a natural alternative that could be reused over and over. The same thing can be used for makeup wipes – opt for pads you can throw in the wash instead. 

    Pick up a reusable cup for hot drinks

    We all love a morning tea or coffee, but carrying a reusable cup will do wonders for reducing plastic pollution. One single reusable cup equals 500 single-use coffee cups. A lot of cafes will now take your cup and use it instead of their own, sometimes even giving you money off for using a reusable cup. 

    How else do we make sure we’re reducing our carbon footprint? Find out about how sustainable we are here.

  10. Thurston’s awarded a level 1 Social Value Quality Mark

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    We’ve been awarded the Social Value Quality Mark (SVQM) CIC’s Level 1 Quality Mark. The Quality Mark recognises distinction in values-led business that benefits customers, communities and the planet, and is one of the most rigorously tested standards of its kind in the UK. It’s also the only social value accreditation that’s recognised across the UK and internationally.

    To gain the Quality Mark, we needed to demonstrate positive impact across a number of measures. These measures included reducing our carbon footprint, supporting young people into skills, investing in the local economy and fair treatment of staff. Other measures required us to show ethical decision-making and supply chain practices. We also needed to successfully complete a thorough and independently verified external audit.

    The awarding panel were particularly impressed by our commitment to providing educational and employment opportunities across the Yorkshire region and beyond as a solution to the skills shortage. The panel were also impressed by our work with local charities and how we work within the local community. 

    We’ve joined a growing number of organisations, including Kier, the Cabinet Office and Places for People, that are leading the way in creating a legacy of social value as a result of how they choose to operate. We’ll now strive to gain the next level over a series of months.

    Matthew Goff, our Managing Director, said, “We’re delighted to have achieved level 1 and will be working our way up through the levels. It enables us to demonstrate independent accreditation and recognises our commitment to social value. We have a responsibility to make a positive impact on the environment, the community and our staff and want to make sure that we’re doing all we can. We do this by actively engaging with and supporting local communities and charitable organisations, and working with local schools, colleges and universities to provide both educational and employment opportunities.”  

    Richard Dickins, Managing Director of Social Value Quality Mark, said, “Today’s consumers increasingly make their decisions based on how companies treat their staff, the environment and the society in which they operate. Through the Quality Mark we cultivate and recognise the highest known standards in values-led business. This award recognises Thurston’s outstanding commitment to create, report and embed social value within the fabric of their organisation. We’re delighted to remain their social value partner as they move up through the levels.”

  11. Thurston Group achieves Quality Management, Health and Safety and Environmental ISO Accreditations

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    We’ve achieved ISO Accreditations from the NQA for 9001 (Quality Management), 45001 (Health and Safety) and 14001 (Environmental Standards). Demonstrating robust processes and our commitment to health and safety and environmental standards across all three sites. 

    These accreditations will also highlight to our current and future clients that we have robust processes and systems in place that are regularly reviewed and audited. All three sites achieved the 45001 ISO for the first time and our Hull and Catfoss sites both achieved 14001 and 9001 ISO accreditations for the first time. 

    Achieving ISO 9001, the international standard defining the requirements for a Quality Management System, shows our clients that we’re able to meet the relevant requirements in managing processes and systems. This demonstrates a robust process behind the scenes, ensuring a smoother project delivery for the client. 

    ISO 45001 for Health and Safety standards provides us with a structured framework to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. This achievement recognises our commitment to employee safety, reducing risks throughout the workplace and creating safer working environments for our staff. 

    The ISO 14001 Environmental standards set out the criteria needed for an environmental management system. They also map out a framework that organisations can use to set up their own going forward. Achieving this provides our staff and clients with the assurance that our environmental impact is being regularly tracked and improved across our sites. 

    Matthew Goff, our Managing Director, was delighted to achieve all three ISO Accreditations. He said, “I’m really proud that we’ve achieved these accreditations and would like to thank all of those involved in the process. This demonstrates Thurston’s commitments to health and safety and sustainability, as well as ensuring robust systems and processes.”


  12. Meet the team – Project Manager, Harrison Hudson

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    This week, we talk to Project Manager, Harrison Hudson. With a family history in construction and a passion for sustainability, Harrison believes the modular industry has a lot more to offer. We talk to Harrison to find out more…

    1. Hi Harrison! How have you settled into your role since joining three months ago?

    I’m really enjoying it and finding it really interesting. The fact that Thurston’s manufactures onsite really stood out to me as it’s such a rarity in the UK. It’s a really busy time for Thurston and it’s exciting to be a part of the business during their growth.

    2. Tell me more about your role at Thurston’s and your key responsibilities.

    I’m responsible for a variety of things. From taking a project from the initial design into production and installation, right through to completion of a modular build cycle. It’s very rewarding and it’s great to have such a supportive team.  

    3. Why did you choose this industry? What excited you about it?

    One of the topics that interests me the most is sustainability and modular buildings certainly have a key role to play in this. They can reduce energy consumption and ensure that materials are being used more efficiently, so there’s less waste. Becoming greener and more efficient is such a current issue. So it’s great to know that I’m working in an industry that is putting sustainability at the forefront.

    4. What’s your favourite thing about working in the modular building industry?

    No two days are the same. From providing modular buildings for the healthcare and residential sectors to specialist petrochemical sites, there is so much variety.  

    5. What have been some of your favourite projects to work on this year?

    I recently worked on an Edinburgh Bio-Quarter project. Thurston’s supplied a two-storey building consisting of a large Cat2 labotatory, several meeting rooms and an office space for healthcare research. It felt very rewarding to be doing something for the greater good.

    Another project I particularly enjoyed was working with Rolls Royce. We supplied a full turnkey building package from design right through to delivery. It felt amazing to work with such a renowned brand!

    6. How do you think the industry can attract more graduates?        

    I believe we need to bridge the gap earlier between classroom education and working on site. This will give graduates a much better insight into businesses and the real world, whether that’s offsite or onsite. It also gives individuals the chance to learn and be mentored by architects and surveyors to fully understand the manufacturing process. Enabling them to figure out which path they want to take.  

    I do believe the face of the industry needs to change too. There needs to be an even bigger focus on sustainability and lowering emissions, which is something today’s generation are really passionate about. I believe that would inspire more graduates to join the modular building industry.

  13. Top 5 misconceptions of modular buildings

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    Offsite and modular construction is steadily on the rise with more companies choosing modular buildings as their choice of modern method of construction (MMC). Modular buildings provide more versatility, flexibility, speed and minimal disruption to a site. However, there are still some commonly held misconceptions of modular so we’re challenging the top five misconceptions of modular buildings.

    1. Disrupts work productivity

    It’s quite the contrary! Modular construction actually reduces construction time by up to 50%[1], minimising disruption on site and improving efficiency. The majority of the manufacturing process is carried out offsite. From building all the components, right through to the bulk of the assembly. This means less noise, less traffic and less waste.   

    2. Not built to last

    Modular buildings follow the same set of regulations as traditional construction and therefore need to meet the same standards of quality and structural integrity. The average life span of a modular build is around 20 to 30 years[2], so they’re definitely built to last. However, our builds are accredited to BBA standard, offering high quality, reliability and credibility for over 60 years.

    3. They all look the same

    As modular buildings have evolved over time, they’re able to offer more customisation than ever before. Our buildings can be made to look like an existing one or a brand new one.  From interior and exterior design to layout, insulation and cladding, we provide a full turnkey package and can manufacture to exact specifications. 

    4. Modular buildings are not sustainable

    Sustainability is a hot topic in the industry with companies constantly looking at ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Modular buildings are a much more sustainable solution than traditional build, as the majority of work is done offsite and kept in a controlled environment. Ultimately reducing onsite waste and carbon emissions in the process. Additionally, buildings can be re-used for another project after use due to their longevity. Find out more here.  

    5. Modular buildings are architecturally boring

    Whilst some companies may require a more traditional looking modular build, we know this isn’t the case for every customer. Modular buildings can offer creativity and versatility in line with customers’ needs. From timber clad to pitched roofs and customised colours, modular buildings are becoming more aesthetically appealing to meet market demand.

    Recently working with Caddick Construction to provide a marketing suite mirroring the exact internal space of their apartments of the Hudson Quarter development in York. We’re proud to be supporting projects such as these and debunking the myth that modular is boring.

    We pride ourselves on creating high-quality modular and portable solutions. With continuous innovation at the forefront of our business, we’ll meet any need. Find out more about our recent projects.

    [1] https://www.pbctoday.co.uk/news/modular-construction-news/offsite-tackle-issues-construction/51045/


  14. Modular vs masonry: What type of construction comes out on top?

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    With the aim of helping you to find out what’s really the best option for you, we’re comparing two popular methods of construction: modular vs masonry. Exploring the benefits of both, we’ll find out which comes out on top as the best one for your wants and needs.

    If you’re considering building your dream, lifetime home, it’s important to make sure you get it right. You don’t want to spend time, effort and money on something that you think might ­be perfect, just to find out that it isn’t.

    Modular housing: The Benefits

    Quicker construction

    When looking at the benefits of modular housing, this is always the decider. Construction times are never delayed by the weather. On traditional construction sites, weather is a big deal. A bit of rain and the work has to stop. Due to the fact that modular housing is constructed in a factory environment, the building will remain on schedule regardless of the weather.


    With modular housing, passive features such as house orientation, insulation, shading, solar power and grey water systems are easily incorporated into any designs and are installed during the construction process. Whilst these are options for traditional, it takes a little longer and it leaves a lot of waste. Also, since modular properties are constructed in factories, the amount of waste and site disruption is kept at a minimum. Meaning that it’s significantly more sustainable than a site build.

    Remote location installations are cheaper

    If your dream home is in a remote area, onsite building costs can skyrocket quickly. This is because there’s higher delivery costs, long-term travel and accommodation expenses for the builders working on the project. With modular, you can save nearly 90%  compared to traditional construction. With factory construction, homes are delivered 90% completed so installation is quicker and time onsite is reduced.

    Masonry housing: The Benefits

    Top-end luxury

    If your dream construction is a top-end luxury property, it’s unlikely that modular building is going to be the best option for you. This isn’t because a modular home can’t be stylish and luxury, it’s because large homes would require a lot of extra modules as well as extra features. This means that the modular process isn’t ideal as it will end up becoming expensive due to the amount of time it would take and the components required. This means that masonry may be the best option as it is all one construction instead of various modules.

    Best choice for cities

    In cities, transporting modular homes can be difficult. This is simply due to the number of obstacles that litter the busy city space. For example, in cities, there are lots of power lines. Making transporting pre-built modular homes difficult, resulting in higher costs. Although modular can work well in a city and has been used plenty of times in the past.

    So modular vs masonry? When looking for a housing solution, it’s best to plan ahead to see what best suits your needs. Modular will always come out on top, but traditional will always be available as an alternative depending on the project.

  15. Greener Buildings? Move to modular

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    There has recently been a big focus on everybody becoming ‘greener’ and improving their carbon footprints, leading changes in our lifestyles. But there are also other ways of helping the environment that people may not be aware of. Modular buildings are greener, and a large step forward towards improving sustainability compared to traditional methods.

    Here’s why:

    • Offsite construction results in less pollution

    Modular buildings are constructed offsite which offers numerous benefits. One of these benefits is that it causes less pollution when compared to traditional methods with less traffic in and out of site.

    As modular buildings are constructed in a factory, many of the materials that are used in the construction process are reused and properly disposed of when they’re no longer needed. As a result, there are less harmful materials left behind like there can be with onsite construction. The possibility of pollution is greatly reduced, making it the best option.

    • Materials can be recycled and reused

    The framing used in our modular buildings is made of steel. A strong and surprisingly light material which holds many benefits over traditional structures. As it’s particularly resilient, steel does not deteriorate or rot over time. Making it a good choice of building material.

    Steel is a recyclable material. This means that one piece of steel can be used time and time again in a wide range of different projects. In fact, a large percentage of new steel production is completed using recycled steel. How does this fact mean that modular buildings are green? If you decide in the future that you don’t want your modular building it can be deconstructed, and components such as the steel can be reused, meaning less waste.

    • Less waste 

    Offsite construction makes the modular build process considerably quicker than it is for traditional buildings. With less work conducted onsite, labour requirements are noticeably lower, there are less wasted materials. When construction is completed in a factory, we only use exactly what we need, minimising waste. Any other waste can either be recycled or used as fuel.

    • Carbon reduction

    Modular buildings tend to have better thermal insulation compared to traditional methods. Long-term, this means lower requirements for heating. With lower requirements, less energy is used resulting in a reduction in carbon emissions. This is more beneficial to the environment and to those using the buildings, as it also reduces energy bills!


    Modular buildings are the ‘greener’ option.

    • Results in less pollution and emissions than traditional methods
    • Materials can be reused when the modular construction is deconstructed
    • Less waste

    If more people owned and used modular buildings, this would lessen our impact on the environment. Improving sustainability, reducing emissions and ensuring a better future for our planet. Find out how sustainable Thurston’s is. 

  16. What can you make from portable modular buildings?

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    Portable modular buildings are increasing in popularity. Incredibly multi-functional, in contrast to traditional methods, they have vast uses and benefits. We’ll explore some of them here:


    • Cost-efficient

    The main benefit of portable modular buildings is that they’re much cheaper to build compared to traditional methods. Whilst you have the same performance, you have it for a much better price.

    • Sustainable

    Another benefit is that they’re much better for the environment. This is because they’re built offsite, using less materials resulting in less waste. But any waste that is produced is easily reused and recycled. Not only is it better for the environment, it also saves time and money.


    • Modular Housing

    Modular housing holds all of the benefits we’ve already discussed of modular buildings but also so much more. Firstly, modular housing is a fantastic option when buying your first property. It’s cheaper, meaning you’re able to own your first property at a much younger age.

    Secondly, modular housing allows for easy expansion. So many people move out of a house they love because they need more room. Fortunately, you can completely avoid this issue with modular housing. It’s incredibly easy and cheap to expand, so you won’t have to move to a new house when you need more room.

    • Modular Buildings for Education

    Education suppliers like schools regularly need to increase the space they have available, making modular the perfect solution. Education providers also have tight budgets. This often means that expanding gets pushed to the bottom of the pile with other needs given precedence. With modular, education providers can afford to expand.

    They can also be adjusted to meet growth requirements. For example, if a school has a massive influx of students that hasn’t been seen before, they might rapidly need to expand. On the other hand, they might all of a sudden need to shrink their space because they have less students. Modular buildings allow customisation year upon year, not just before construction.

    • Portable Office

    If you’re in a job where you often have to move to different sites, such as construction, having a personal, portable office is important. It means that you’re able to personalise and customise the space, as you’ll be taking it with you. As your business grows you may also need more space. Instead of relocating, you can always expand your space by adding another module or reduce it by taking one away. Ultimately saving you money.

    Find out more about some of our projects here.