The suburb of Alperton was designated a Housing Zone by the Mayor of London in 2015 and is a key regeneration area for Brent. Up to 6,000 new homes are planned for the area in north-west London. Minavil House in Wembley is the gateway site to Alperton. A 27-storey mixed-use development, it comprises 251 residential units with 215 of these earmarked for shared ownership and the remaining 36 for affordable rent. Work started on the large-scale development in 2019 and is scheduled for completion in 2022.
Benefits of bathroom pods
OEP Building Services, a modular construction company based in Lancashire, worked with HG Construction and Clarion Housing Group to supply the bathroom pods across Minavil House.
Clarion Housing Group specified Twyford ceramic sanitaryware, with OEP then working with Geberit to develop the specification further. The fully fitted steel-framed bathroom pods were assembled at OEP’s off-site manufacturing facility.
Max Rossell, purchasing manager at OEP, explains the benefits of specifying pods. “One of the main reasons why installing pod bathrooms is preferable for a project like this comes down to cost. Our manufacturing facility is based in the north of England which presents some serious price advantages over installing the bathrooms on-site in London. Just factoring in costs like the on-site parking for the teams of plumbers on a project of this scale has a huge impact on overall budgets. You also have significant economies of scale with the manufacture of hundreds of bathrooms off-site in one facility – less breakages, snagging issues and so on.”
Pre-fabricated systems, where a variety of components are assembled off-site, is set to see huge growth here in the UK. In 2019, global management consultancy firm McKinsey & Co predicted that the UK could be one of the modular construction industry’s principal markets for growth, with the pre-fabricated building market expected to grow by 8% between 2019-2025[i].
However, with the industry recognising the benefits of modern methods of construction, Max explains why it’s not just cost alone that is driving the shift. “There is another huge advantage of quality control and consistency across a project. The factory-controlled conditions enable us to not only improve productivity, but also ensures that the ceramics are fitted to the highest quality standards. Every stage of the process is carefully managed and we quality test throughout the entire process.”