Innovative construction in Bristol

Fri 30 August 2019, 2:26 pm

A Bristol developer has successfully lifted in pre-built homes into an existing building in a busy city street, as part of an innovative project believed to be an industry first in the UK.

Urban Creation worked on the scheme that placed nine bespoke pre-built homes into a former nightclub at 50 Park Street. The vacant site - unlike the other surrounding Georgian buildings - was created in the 1950s, after being bombed during the Second World War.

The site was bought by Urban Creation in 2018 and the pre-built apartments were lifted in over four nights in mid-August by a 200-tonne crane through the open roof of the building, after arriving by lorry from a factory in Southampton.

The building team previously stripped out 50 Park Street by removing internal floors and walls, and stabilised the shell of the building with a steel structure.

Urban Creation teamed up with modular construction specialist Go Modular, which created the ready-to-go homes built specially to fit into the building. The apartments were fully fitted out and decorated with kitchens and bathrooms.

Jonathan Brecknell, director and owner at Urban Creation, said: "We're very excited to be taking modular construction to a new level, using a highly innovative approach that has the potential to revolutionise the future of home building in the UK.”

The scheme includes two three-bedroom flats, five one-bedroom duplexes that have an upper bedroom area and two studios.

Brecknell added: "The UK is facing a significant construction skills shortage, which is exacerbating the housing crisis as it means we aren't delivering enough homes to meet demand. Modular construction is set to revolutionise the future of home building in the UK, as it brings huge benefits compared to traditional builds.

"There's potential for modular homes to be delivered much quicker than traditional homes, putting less pressure on our stretched construction skills pool. They're created in a controlled environment, meaning the construction programme isn't at the mercy of adverse weather - plus there are fewer snagging issues as a result. Not to mention the fact that it causes less disruption to neighbours as most of the build is carried out off-site."

The homes will be let to the student market, and are due to be ready in September.

Brecknell said: "There is huge demand from both UK and international students for high quality accommodation in the heart of Bristol, with this particular city centre location ideal thanks to its proximity to Bristol University and everything the city has to offer.

"It's important Bristol meets this demand as the student population is a major contributor to the local economy through spend in our shops, eateries and local businesses, not to mention the vast number of jobs created by the universities."

Phil Hodge, southern region director at the Federation of Master Builders, said: “Urban Creation's project of re-purposing an existing site by preserving the outer skin whilst using modular off-site manufactured units installed within it is ground-breaking.

“It combines new building technology whilst preserving the heritage of this much-loved part of Bristol. Bringing in pre-manufactured elements also assures that the building out-performs the expected standards for thermal efficiency, setting an example of what can be done to help meet our carbon emissions reduction targets as a nation.

"Furthermore, this project creates new accommodation above an area of retail units, helping to repopulate the inner city, relieving pressure on our housing shortage. This is a great example of how new solutions to renovating existing sites can address multiple challenges and the Federation of Master Builders is calling upon house builders to consider new approaches like this, in future projects."