Samuel Ryder was a very small secondary school with about 250 students. The Local Authority decided to extend the school’s provision to cover primary and secondary pupils. Since then the school, with an outstanding leadership Ofsted rating, has grown in popularity and demand for places has outstripped capacity.

Their timber frame modular building from TG Escapes was completed at the end of August 2020 ready for use in time for the students’ return to school. The block consists of 7 English classrooms, the English team office, an SLT office, year 7 and 8 toilets, a media suite and 2 year 6 classrooms. Whilst price was the key criteria during the selection process, the sustainable nature of the building materials used was a benefit.

“Offsite fabrication resulted in a very rapid onsite construction. I was impressed by the speed of delivery, which occurred on schedule, and the site manager who had excellent communication skills and was extremely accommodating of requests to tweak the original design.“ Ian Cushion, Scholars’ Education Trust Estates Manager.

Barker Associates consultancy sent out invitations to tender to six contractors, from which a shortlist of three was drawn up. The key criteria were price and quality, but it was also very important that the company selected had proven experience of working with schools, and that the individuals with whom the school had contact were of the right calibre.

The energy performance certificate for this building is A+ rated at minus 24 making the building carbon neutral, or net-zero, in operation.

Mechanical & Electrical systems are key to producing comfortable building environments as well as achieving energy efficiency and our M&E consultant Designphase Ltd used a combination of 4 systems to achieve this.

•  Air source heat pumps to heat the hot water and most of the space heating.
•  A hybrid active ventilation system to efficiently supply fresh air and extract stale air.
•  LED lighting & lighting controls with daylight dimming to keep consumption to a minimum.
•  A solar photovoltaic system was installed across the roof.

The air source heat pumps specified produce between 3-4 kilowatts of heat for every kilowatt of electricity used.
The ventilation system tempers the incoming air with the hot air being extracted using low wattage fans to distribute the air and provide a comfortable environment.

The LED lighting is inherently efficient and the addition of controls like daylight dimming means that when the spaces are flooded with natural daylight, the lights will respond automatically.

Finally, a large 72kW solar photovoltaic array was installed across the roof to help offset the energy used in the building.
The combination of these systems resulted in a building that is both comfortable to use and provides a high level of energy efficiency that will benefit the end-users at Samuel Ryder and the environment we pass onto the next generation.

TG Escapes partners in achieving this are Metropolis Architects,  Solar for Schools, Passivent, Westcott Air Conditioning and Dextra.

“Energy efficiency was considered very important given the passion of many pupils for environmental issues. Rightly so – it’s this world that they are going to inherit. The students and staff find their time in the building wonderful. The primary occupant was the English department who feel very spoilt and lucky to have the experience of teaching and learning in their new classrooms. It was a very good experience from start to finish with TG Escapes, I would recommend them to others.” Ian Bailey, Deputy Headteacher.

A modular build system that delivers to the highest standards of Passivhaus every time: Beattie Passive’s goal is nothing less than to revolutionise the UK Construction Industry. 

Becoming increasingly concerned with the widening performance gap between what was designed and what was built in the construction industry, Ron Beattie founded Beattie Passive with the aim of developing a simple build system; one that would lift the standards of building holistically across a range of elements, and consistently deliver high performance, high quality homes, delivering Passivhaus – the gold standard of energy efficient design – as standard. They have since gone on to deliver over 400 homes in the UK, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to complex grand design farmhouses and everything in between, all meeting the Passivhaus standard.

One of the key differentiators of the Beattie Passive system is not only the high energy efficiency and quality delivered as standard, but its flexibility in terms of buildability. The same patented, high performance system is supplied through multiple delivery methods from onsite stick build, to factory built panels, to fully modular solutions. This enables the organisation to easily respond to clients’ specific requirements, providing complete flexibility on design as well as being able to effectively respond to varying site and access conditions.

Responding to the growing demand for offsite build solutions, Beattie Passive evolved and developed their offerings, delivering modular Structural Thermal Envelopes for multiple terraces and detached homes at the Graven Hill Custom Build development in Bicester. This led to the organisation developing its innovative system into a fully modular home solution that is completed to turnkey in their factory in Norfolk. They are now delivering modular housing for multiple clients across the UK.

Since the beginning of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Beattie Passive has seen a considerable increase in demand for their fully modular solution, in particular their Haus4 range. In response to the developing homelessness crisis in the UK, Beattie Passive developed a flexible and affordable yet high quality solution to provide relocatable housing for the nations’ homeless. The product ranges from a Haus4one – a fully contained, single person home through to the Haus4Studio blocks and Haus4two and Haus4three. These modular units can be manufactured very quickly (in as little as six weeks), are all built to Passivhaus standards, providing a warm, comfortable environment to live in, and critically are easily relocatable, making them an ideal solution for temporary housing to address immediate housing requirements, and then can be relocated as needs change.

Beattie Passive have expanded on this concept to innovate a variety of flexible, modular housing offerings, from studios to 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments in 3 storey blocks, to bungalows and detached houses. They have also launched flexible additional building solutions, for example Haus4Care providing additional care for people coming out of hospital, and student / learning accommodation. This demonstrates the true flexibility of the system and the organisations ability to work innovatively with their clients to meet their exacting and differing requirements.

Having recently completed a successful expansion into much larger premises, Beattie Passive have been able to greatly increase capacity and ramp up production and take on larger orders, delivering over 150 units since setting up the new factory in August 2020. The largest of these projects in progress so far is a new modular development of 48 temporary 1, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments and office space for Cardiff Council. The apartment blocks will be certified to Passivhaus Plus standard, all delivering the high quality of Beattie Passive and will be fully demountable and reusable to importantly enable the Council to relocate the units as required.

As the need for good quality housing continues to rise in the UK, homelessness becomes an ever increasing challenge, and climate change continues to be a problem, the need for flexible, environmentally friendly housing is demonstrably clear. Beattie Passive are always on the lookout for partners with a shared vision, and whom they can work with to tackle these issues and together revolutionise construction in the UK for the better.


On the face of it, Euramax’s 70mm uPVC window is not so different to any other. But as Nick Cowley, the company’s Managing Director explains, dig a little deeper and the reasons why it’s ideal for the modular market are obvious.

For uPVC window, door, and composite door manufacturer Euramax, moving into the modular sector was the next logical step.
From making its name in the holiday home and leisure market before expanding into the construction sector, the 70-year-old company is now gaining a reputation as the UK’s leading manufacturer of fenestration products to modular and offsite thanks to its 70mm Eurocell Eurologik window.
Which, on the surface, might seem like an idle boast. After all, according to Insight Data, the leading provider of marketing data in the UK fenestration and construction industries, around 1,200 fabricators are currently making uPVC windows.

“Just because you can fabricate a 70mm window system, it doesn’t mean that you have the logistics in place to deliver it in the way a modular construction firm wants,” says Nick Cowley, Euramax’s MD.
“Our window performs perfectly on the technical side of things, by providing great energy efficiency and being made to measure, but what really sets us apart is our service levels and delivery systems.”

As a result, Euramax is already working with some of the biggest names in the sector and, having been acquired by Modular Group Investments earlier this year, the company is set to become a big player in modular construction.

A streamlined process
Euramax’s history in the holiday home market has provided the company with both the tools and the expertise to move into modular.
To cope with a production process that was making several holiday homes every hour on multiple production lines, Euramax manufactured windows and supplied them pre-glazed with quick fix brackets to allow an entire holiday home to be installed in the time constraints.
And it’s this approach to lean manufacturing, influenced by highly efficient practices in the automotive sector, which has allowed Euramax to hit the ground running.
“Companies may be offering a similar product, but it’s the service level and the manufacturing processes we’ve put in place over the last 70 years that set us apart,” says Nick.
“That’s what has allowed us to help customers meet the challenges they continually face in the modular sector.”
“Our focus has always been on developing those systems to enable us to deliver better quality products, faster lead times, and an overall better customer experience.”
Once the windows have been manufactured at its 205,000 sq. ft factory in Barnsley, they are delivered in dedicated stillages across the country.

Meeting a demand
Lots of companies will deliver products in bulk, split across multiple boxes. When it comes to installation, that means all the components may not be there, or some may be broken or damaged, creating hold ups that modular companies can ill afford.
Euramax’s lineside delivery system means that everything is packaged together and in one place, making for an easy install.
“By its very nature, modular construction requires precision, and smooth, well-rehearsed processes. Interruptions have to be avoided at all costs,” Nick explains. “As a result, modular construction firms are demanding when it comes to service.
“They need products in a certain stillage, there has to be a certain number on the stillage, and the fixing kit has to be packaged with all the individual components that marry to that window installation, so the two never get separated.
“It takes a great deal of effort to package things reliably and accurately, and deliver them in a uniform way – which is something not all window companies can do.
“We see our role as a vital part of the modular process for our customers; from our production line to our delivery, we make the flow process smooth so when the time comes our windows can just be picked up and easily installed into modular buildings.
“We know how important it is to keep their production lines as simple as possible.”

An easy fix
Another thing that differentiates Euramax from many other window companies is the fixtures and fittings which enable their windows to be installed in modular buildings. Euramax’s fixing systems have been developed in house by the company’s R&D team.
Nick says: “This combination of an innovative fixing system, quality window systems and quick, efficient installation methods is a very attractive package for the modular sector.
“It’s what sets a Euramax window apart from a standard trade window – and what sets us apart from any other window producer.”

For more information on Euramax and its work in modular, visit the website or call 01226 361639.


“This month our Hundegger Turbo cut arrived on site. This saw is becoming widely known as the best saw of its generation for cutting truss and timber frame material. Fuelled by files from Mitek software, the speed and accuracy at which it cuts timber is second to none.  This allows Roof Profiles to produce more volume of timber, to the highest quality standard”

Company Director Johnny Fellingham.

Due to the accuracy of the cut timber the tolerances in all the timber joints, both in our finished roof trusses and timber frame panels, are zero millimetres.  The benefit of this is multi-faceted as it makes it quicker for us to assemble and press our roof trusses and frame components and nail our wall panels as there is no need to make final adjustments for components to fit together, exactly.

The Hundegger Cambium software enables Roof Profiles to have complete transparency of productivity, timber yield, waste percentage and stock profile. Never has Roof Profiles had such a facility and control on their timber usage.

Additionally, the finished product that we then send to the building site pieces together in exacting dimensions in accordance with the building plans.  Furthermore, should there be any technical issues with the saw that we are unable to resolve internally there is excellent remote back up from Hundegger’s base in Germany.

The Hundegger support staff can dial into the machine and using mobile camera technology normally resolve issues immediately or identify any parts requiring replacement, allowing us to resume production with minimal interruption.”

In photo Co-directors, Carol Smith centre, Kenny Smith, centre right, and Johnny Fellingham left. Operators, Craig Speirs and Lewis Corson.


With the construction and commercial plumbing industry always looking for ways in which it can deliver projects more efficiently, both in terms of cost, labour and time, pre-fabricated drainage systems from Marley Plumbing & Drainage could be the answer.

As the construction industry adapts to the challenges encountered from the Covid-19 outbreak, it is faced with tightening client budgets, increased competition and social distancing restrictions on site. As such, ensuring a project is delivered as efficiently as possible has perhaps never been so important for plumbing contractors. Whether it be saving time, saving money or saving labour, specifying and installing innovative solutions that succeed in offering these savings is crucial.

It is perhaps here that offsite construction truly comes into its own. With components fabricated and pre-assembled in a controlled factory environment, projects can be delivered quicker and arguably with less chance of rework being required on site, in turn saving money. What’s more, offsite construction methods can also make it easier for main sites to adhere to social distancing guidelines, with fewer workers required on site to complete the assembly.
Fabricated HDPE or PVC drainage systems are one such example of offsite construction. Within high-rise developments, student accommodation, apartments, hotels and care homes, the soil and waste drainage systems can be hugely complex, requiring the appropriate skills to design and install. Ordinarily, once the main pipework had been delivered to site, it would first have to be measured and cut into individual sections depending on the system design, before then being installed. Understandably, the time, labour and skill required to carry out such installation work can be huge, potentially presenting plumbing contractors with a problem.

Prefabricated stacks, such as those offered by Marley Plumbing & Drainage, can change all of this, offering a more efficient means of delivering a complete system.

The first step in this process would be for the manufacturer to create the technical drawings for each individual stack element. As well as ensuring that every detail is both to specification and fully compliant with the current regulations, this also provides plumbing contractors with peace of mind that the drainage system will perform as expected once in-situ, reducing the chance of call-backs. The soil and waste stacks are then fabricated and welded together in a controlled factory environment to exact project specifications, providing additional assurances of the drainage system’s end-quality.

Another aspect of traditional soil and waste system installations that usually require additional time and dedicated labour is the need for each individual pipework elements to undergo pressure testing. Unlike traditional building practices, where pressure testing is carried out for the first time on site, prefabricated stacks undergo initial pressure tests within the factory environment. This allows for any issues to be detected at an early stage and rectified promptly before the stacks reach site. As well as helping to save time, reducing, the likelihood of costly rework being required further down the line, it also can provide contractors with added confidence in the product’s performance.

Finally, upon being delivered to site in line with the construction schedule, the installation can begin, where the prefabricated stacks can be simply lifted into position and connected together. The ease of installation carries a number of benefits, with perhaps the most obvious one being speed, enabling contractors to carry out a job quickly and efficiently. It also results in less workers being required on site to carry out the installation. In a society adjusting to the practicalities of living with Covid-19 this is invaluable, both considering the social distancing guidelines in place and also the potential for the size of a workforce to be affected.

Working efficiently, both in terms of cost, time and labour, has perhaps never been so crucial for plumbing contractors, especially as the industry looks to recover from the Covid-19 outbreak and adjust to this new way of working. Modern methods of construction and offsite solutions, such as Marley’s fabrication service have a key role to play, helping to deliver commercial plumbing projects both safely and quickly.



As external cladding grows in popularity as a protective and aesthetic finish to building projects, so does the range of cladding options and materials on the market.

Simpson Strong-Tie’s EBC angle bracket for cladding has been designed to fix vertical battens directly to the supporting structure without the need for horizontal battens, creating a zone for insulation and/or ventilation between the wall and the cladding and reducing installation time, materials and cost.
Previously known as the ABC bracket, the versatile EBC bracket is suitable for cavities 50mm to 145mm and can be used on concrete, masonry and solid wood.

“Cladding can enhance the external look of any building, making it far more interesting and often more pleasing to the eye” explains Dean Orchard, Managing Director – Timber Engineering at Sydenhams, who provide exterior cladding solutions from leading manufacturers.
“We have used the EBC on numerous projects to successfully fix various types of cladding directly to timber frame, in fact it is quickly becoming our go-to angle bracket for cement fibre boards such as HardiePlank® Lap Cladding. We typically use the 160mm brackets as this works with a 50mm cavity and 102mm brickwork at ground floor when the cladding at first floor needs to sit proud of the brickwork below.

“It’s rare that suppliers listen to our needs and respond the way that Simpson Strong-Tie has.”
Simpson Strong-Tie Sales Director Jon Head agrees “Customer satisfaction is at the heart of everything we do and our Technical Support team is on hand daily to answer your questions and provide sound installation advice, from making sure you have the most suitable product, to the best ways to go about installing them.
“We would recommend fastening the EBC cladding bracket to the timber battens with either the SSH Hexagon Head Connector Screw or the CSA Connector Screw, both available from our Premium Fasteners range.”

Simpson Strong-Tie’s Premium Fasteners range is a comprehensive collection of nails and screws for almost every application. Engineered to stand the test of time, and with a variety of geometries, threads, point types and coatings, as well as collated solutions, Simpson’s has considered all the details that help you deliver on the job performance.

UK Fastener Product Manager Jon Blunt explains “To us, structural connectors are more than just products. We see each one as representing a specific solution, and the same goes for our Premium Fasteners range. We manufacture screws, collated screws for Quik Drive, nails and collated nails with exceptional strength, precision engineered to meet any demand.

Whether you are fastening structural connectors, cladding, roofing, drywall or mezzanine floors and truck beds, you’ll find a handy Fastener Application Guide in our Premium Fasteners catalogue.”

Jon continues “We recently launched our unique new Impreg® coating system, which is the strongest alternative to stainless steel for use in outdoor environments and has been tested and approved for service class 3 timber applications where superior corrosion resistance is required. Our experience shows that most products can withstand the tough environments as long as the coating is intact.

Unfortunately, in real life the coating is very often damaged during the installation of the screw. The Impreg® coating however, is much stronger than regular zinc and creates a strong and impervious surface. Impreg® does not affect the hardened steel structure and can ensure that the tensile strength of the screw is sustained.”

The CSA Connector Screw is a no nonsense connector screw developed for installing Simpson Strong-Tie connectors to timber. The conical shape under the head ensures a full contact with the connector which increases the transfer of force. A fixed connection with larger cross-bearing capacity than for standard screws is obtained. The 6 lobe recess helps to drive the screw during insertion.

The CSA is also available in a collated option for the Quik Drive auto-feed system, which fits onto all leading screwguns with just a click. The CSA-T’s Type 17 point eliminates the need for pre drilling and reduces the risk of splitting the timber.

The SSH Hexagon Head Connector Screw Impreg®+ is used together with connectors where high load capability is required. The conical shape under the head ensures full contact with the connector, creating a firm assembly. The superior Impreg®+ coating makes the screw suitable for exterior use. The type 17 cut point prevents timber from splitting, and the milling thread and serrated thread reduce the insertion torque. SSH has both 6 lobe drive and a hexagonal head, enabling installation both with torx bits or hex wrench.

From the foundations up, Simpson Strong-Tie has every ‘No Equal’ solution to help you build safer, stronger structures, and to nail those finishing touches. Now available in new weather resistant Premium Fasteners packaging tough enough to endure the rigours of daily life on a building site.

CLICK HERE TO – Download your copy of the Premium Fasteners catalogue in the Resources section


Manufacturers are constantly bringing to the market new components to help contribute to modern methods of construction. With extensive experience in creating innovative façade options in this field, Wetherby Building Systems Ltd has teamed up with other industry leading manufacturers to introduce TotalWall. 

Wetherby, Frameclad, Kemwell Fire and ROCKWOOL have joined forces to offer this full through wall system for the building envelope, suitable for a variety of markets, including modular/offsite construction.

The collaboration offers a combination of expertise in external wall insulation systems, light gauge steel frame, passive fire protection building products and non-combustible insulation. The TotalWall system includes all components in one unique wall system, from the internal plasterboard to the decorative finish and everything in between.

The structural component of light gauge steel frame from Frameclad is manufactured to the highest standards of strength and durability, with the benefit of taking the clients plans and turning them into bespoke steel frames to create their own modular units.

The TotalWall system also incorporates non-combustible ROCKWOOL Stone Wool insulation and Kemwell WeatherKem Fibre Cement Board, then finished with a Wetherby Thin Coat Render System that can be applied on site to finish off the façade.

Wetherby Thin-Coat Render finishes are lightweight and flexible in nature, making them the ideal application onto off-site construction frames, where movement is likely. They also have a wide range of finishes and colour options available to achieve any design aspirations.

The system benefits from being the only ‘through wall’ system on the market to undergo a 2-hour fire test in both directions (from inside to out & outside to in), with temperatures in the furnace reaching over 1100°C. This thorough structural testing is approved to BS EN 1365-1:2012 offering piece of mind to the specifiers, clients and occupants.

The steel frame and external wall system is also approved by the 60-year BOPAS assurance scheme, which means the system has a minimum life expectancy of 60 years for durability and maintenance.

For further information on the new TotalWall system, or any other products from Wetherby Building Systems, visit the website or call
01942 717100.

In October 2019, the first step in creating 73 affordable modular homes close to Blackburn town centre was initiated as part of a deal between Places for People and Homes England – the government’s housing agency.

Funded through Places for People’s Strategic Partnership with Homes England, the development brought new timber-framed homes to a site off Alaska Street, just south of Blackburn town centre.

All of the two-, three- and four-bedroom homes were created offsite at the Modularwise factory in Wales, using pre-manufactured modular construction techniques, which included TapcoSlate Classic from Tapco Roofing Products for the roof structures.

Places for People were selected as one of Homes England’s first strategic partners in July 2018, receiving £74 million in funding to help deliver 2,603 additional affordable homes by 2024.

The Alaska Street development was created as part of a broader strategy which has seen an increase in commitment to modern methods of construction (MMC) – including an announcement of a partnership with Ilke Homes, which at the time was the modular sector’s biggest ever deal.
David Cowans, Chief Executive of Places for People, said at the launch of the project: “We are delighted to announce more details of this development, which will pave the way for the creation of affordable homes for the local community in Blackburn.

“Our recent efforts show how Places for People is embracing modern methods of construction as we strategically invest in modular, finding new ways to deliver better, well-designed and affordable homes in the process.”
The investment from Homes England comes following the organisation’s increasing support of modern methods of construction (MMC); Chris Groves, General Manager for MMC at Homes England explained: “MMC has the potential to be significantly more productive than traditional building methods and greatly increase the pace at which new homes are delivered.
“In October 2019, Homes England published its strategic five-year plan that makes the take-up of MMC a requirement for developers on our sites. We use strategic partnerships, like that with Places for People, to support our partners in adopting MMC and help create affordable homes that towns like Blackburn need.”

Councillor Phil Riley, Executive Member for Growth and Development at Blackburn and Darwen Council, concluded: “This project will bring affordable, modern homes to Blackburn, and increase choice for people in the borough.“It will also contribute to the wider regeneration of the area and add to the great home building taking place. The redevelopment of Alaska Street has been a priority for the regeneration of South Blackburn for a number of years and we are delighted that work can now progress.”

During the R&D phase Modularwise realised that offsite and modular roofing requirements are extremely different to standard-build roofing mainly because of unit transportation to sites. Most standard roofing materials are quite heavy and brittle, and therefore do not travel well, especially when lifting into place and joining to other structures. After researching and trialling quite a few roofing choices, Modularwise finalised on TapcoSlate Classic as the roof covering for the entirety of the project due to its lightweight but highly impact-resistant properties… it also helps that it looks just like real slate and so more aesthetically pleasing than some other products they compared.

TapcoSlate Classic is the market-leading composite slate product that helps to protect your home from the elements with the highest Class 4 Hail Impact Resistance, 110mph Wind Uplift Performance, thoroughly tested by the best in UK and European construction and approved by LABC & LABSS to meet local building regulation requirements. With its 40-year transferable warranty, low maintenance and easy fitting, what’s not to like?
Now, almost three years later the project is completed, and a new community has been born. This is exactly what MMC brings to the table, affordable houses, quickly built, for real people. Tapco Roofing Products is proud to be a part of this extremely worthwhile project.


Brick slip systems offer a raft of advantages over traditional bricks for the modular manufacturer but there has long been an elephant in the room and that has been cost.

Modular manufacturers live in the realm of new solutions and are very used to adopting new ideas and embracing materials and processes that enable them to deliver their end product.  Indeed, the modular sector is one of the primary drivers of growth for the brick slip sector, but there has never really been a clear answer as to why it usually costs more to dress a building in brick slips rather than traditional bricks.
Pilgrim set out with the specific mission of developing brick slip systems from scratch that were designed to meet the needs of the modular construction sector. The criteria were that the systems had to be simple to deploy, flexible enough to be installed either in-factory or on-site and on a range of different substructures, and crucially the systems needed to offer a financial benefit.

A1 Fire Classification
The first of Pilgrim’s brick slip systems to hit the market in 2019 was the A1 fire rated system, BrickShield which utilises a simple fibre cement backing board with channels for the brick slips. This system can be fixed directly to the substrate or combined with a helping hand system to create a ventilated façade. It has already been adopted as a favourite system for modular projects across both public and residential sectors and is one of the few brick slip systems that can address the “elephant in the room” question; not only is it simpler and quicker than traditional bricks, it’s also cheaper.

Insulated Brick Slips
The second of Pilgrim’s brick slip systems to make an impact is ThermClad, a system built around XPS insulation boards with pre-cut brick slip channels and available in a range of thicknesses. The ThermClad system provides an insulated brick façade in one incredibly simple package and when compared to the cost of insulation plus traditional bricks, is significantly more cost effective.

Supply chain disruption?
Compared to traditional clay bricks, brick slips use less energy to manufacture and are less bulky to ship. This means they are less affected by the current dramatic price increases and supply chain problems that are playing out across Europe at the moment. Pilgrim’s core business is manufacturing brick slips, both hand-made heritage styles and modern klinker types which are distributed across Europe and used by several of the UK’s leading system suppliers.  There is currently no shortage in supply and none foreseen for the coming year.

Contact Pilgrim Bricks & Tiles on, 01634 757191 or CLICK HERE to visit the website.

OFFSITE INNOVATION: Working with SMARTPLY MAX FR B flame retardant OSB

As the demand to build more homes in the UK continues to grow, so does the need for innovations that can help the construction industry build better, safer and more efficiently.

Offsite and modular construction in particular, is seeing a boost. As part of the chancellor’s spring budget earlier this year, funding of £10 million will be made available to accelerate the delivery of MMC homes in the UK.1 This is good news for those in offsite construction, as it means prefabrication and factory-based methods are seen as a solution to building more homes quicker, and more efficiently.

So, what innovations can offsite contractors make use of?

Flame retardant OSB
One of the biggest concerns when it comes to building is fire safety. Fire safety remains a top priority in construction and the government are introducing tougher rules. For example, earlier this year, it had announced that building owners could face unlimited fines if anyone is caught obstructing or impersonating a fire inspector or if they breach fire safety regulations under the Fire Safety Order.2 With new laws and regulations coming into force, it is important to help minimise the risk of fire, especially when it comes to choosing the best timber materials for offsite construction.
There has been a certain degree of hesitancy when it comes to using timber in some building applications because of its reaction to fire. However, recent innovations – such as the development of flame retardant OSB panels – address this issue, and can greatly improve fire safety in buildings where timber is a main material.

Flame retardant treatments are used to improve a material’s ‘reaction to fire,’ which is the measurement of how a material or system will contribute to a fire’s development and spread, particularly in the very early stages of a fire when evacuation is crucial.
A flame retardant panel has a much lower burn temperature after ignition, and crucially a slower char rate, compared to an untreated wood-based panel. This means the panel burns far more predictably and allows occupants more time to leave the building.

The benefits of working with SMARTPLY MAX FR B

When it comes to offsite construction, engineered timber panels can be practical and effective. SMARTPLY MAX FR B is a flame retardant, structural, moisture resistant OSB/3 panel with outstanding and reliable reaction to fire properties. This robust panel is ideal for use where strength, moisture and improved flame retardance are paramount.
It is the first Euroclass B wood panel to be manufactured in the UK and Ireland to be treated with a water-based flame retardant solution during manufacture, allowing the individual wood strands making up the panel to be treated before pressing. This makes its flame retardance integral rather than just surface based. Each panel is CE marked in accordance with EN 13986 at the point of manufacture unlike post-treated alternatives.
As an innovative wood-based panel, SMARTPLY MAX FR B is independently certified for the most demanding structural applications in permanent constructions such as wall sheathing, flooring and roofing, offering a wide range of design possibilities. In addition, it is suitable for general free-standing applications where enhanced reaction to fire performance is required, this includes timber frame construction, light gauge steel and modular construction, and commercial uses such as shop fitting and general joinery.
It is lightweight and easy to cut and fix compared to mineral-based panels, which can crack or shatter, giving you more flexibility to work with. Its high racking strength makes it suitable for structural use. SMARTPLY MAX FR B also complies with the performance requirements in the Structural Timber Associations “Design guide to separating distances during construction” for timber frame buildings. In this instance, the product is referred to as SMARTPLY MAX FR/FR BUILD.

It is manufactured using FSC® certified timber from MEDITE SMARTPLY’s own forests in Ireland, helping towards BREEAM, LEED and WELL Standard sustainability credentials for any project. SMARTPLY MAX FR B also has the added benefit being manufactured with no added formaldehyde or other harmful substances, which makes it safer to work with and contributes to an overall healthier environment in the building.

For more information on SMARTPLY MAX FR B and to request samples CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE FOR Funding boost in offsite construction, pushbudget boost for MMC mid offsite construction

CLICK HERE FOR Unlimited fines for those who breach fire safety regulations