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Creekside Wharf speeds forward utilising MMC

Creekside Wharf in Greenwich is home to one of the first UK build-to-rent (BTR) schemes being constructed using modern methods of construction (MMC).

Modelled by Meinhardt UK, the development, comprising two blocks of 11 and 22 storeys, is set to deliver 249 new homes designed exclusively for families with concierge, restaurant, nursery and flexible commercial space at ground level. While the construction of the ground floor, podium level and core may be in traditional concrete, the majority of the build will happen off-site.

Each unit or apartment is pre-fabricated using a volumetric modular system developed by Elements UK. 632 steel-framed modules are to be assembled off-site at Elements’ factory in Telford, where 60 per cent of the total work is carried out. Each apartment will comprise two to three modules; in total 23 are required for each floor. The units are fully finished in the factory, including electrics and plumbing – the outer walls will simply need cladding to be completed. The modules are then shipped to site, secured around a concrete core and ‘plumbed’ into the building systems.

The benefits of using prefabricated units are self-evident. The modules will be shipped to site at a rate of 20 per week from February 2017, dramatically reducing the construction programme and eliminating many of the risks associated with traditional construction methods. This ability to streamline the construction process through the application of off-site manufacturing processes helps to expedite the delivery of the project, making it possible to handover the facility far earlier than would be traditionally achievable. Fast delivery is crucial for cash flow and return on investment, as it allows tenants to move in and begin paying rent much sooner.

As specialists in modern methods of construction, Meinhardt UK’s role on this innovative scheme has been to establish and put into practice standard methods and procedures for the effective delivery of this modular project.

These include:

  • Development of a sophisticated 3D digital model for the purposes on design, coordination, review, phasing, costing and fabrication using various BIM software packages;
  • Rationalisation of structure to simplify the design and maximise the amount of repetition to simplify the fabrication of the modules;
  • Establish rules for the design and installation of the LSF panels to ensure that all apartments adhere to the clients brand requirements;
  • Define baseplate and module-to-module connections, given the design criteria and the Installation sequence.

This project represents a strategic move for Meinhardt into the field of MMC. “The benefits of MMC extend, and have great potential, across all building sectors” says Guy Spencer, Digital Engineering Technical Manager at Meinhardt. “However it is in the build-to-rent market, in which Meinhardt have considerable experience, where the advantages have greatest scope to address the current UK housing shortage and deliver benefits for investors and the country as a whole”.

Client: Essential Living

Modular Fabricator: Elements Europe

Concept Architect: Assael Architecture

Executive Architect: HTA Design