Helping Solve the Housing Crisis

Totally Modular News

Case Studies & White Papers, Press Releases, Totally Modular News

Totally Modular launches new range of modular houses for 2018

Leading volumetric modular housing manufacturer Totally Modular has announced the launch of its new TM line of modular houses for 2018. The portfolio comprises 10 models with the domestic range starting at 18.2m2 single module buildings and stretching up to 93m2 three storey domestic houses. Commercial solutions include single-module micro-living units up to temporary accommodation blocks designed using 17 modules.

Two volumetric module sizes are used in various layouts to create flexible accommodation solutions. In this way, Totally Modular, is helping to address the housing crisis from different angles, providing both low-cost affordable housing in large numbers and high-quality exclusive options to take advantage of compact city opportunities.

The design of the TM line is inspired by both modern and traditional elements of British architecture with different exterior cladding options available such as redwood or cedar, render, bricks or cladding panels. All of which provide quickly inhabitable modular living spaces for individuals, couples and families.

The modular houses are 97% complete when they arrive on site, including fitted kitchens and bathrooms, external finishes and electrical cabling. The home is then delivered to the building site and craned into place, typically onto a slab-on-grade or concrete piled foundation, although units can be placed on traditional foundations steel frames or existing roofs with the necessary structural calculations and planning permission.

The offsite engineered production-line building of houses from the TM line reduces waste by up to 80% and helps reduce CO2 by 50% when compared to traditional site construction. In addition, the materials used to manufacture the TM line are sourced from suppliers that use mostly recycled materials. Homes are extremely energy efficient and low-maintenance.

Mick Pettitt, Operations Director at Totally Modular, commented: “The main goal of Totally Modular is to provide a great quality house for everyone. With our TM line, we can offer a range of solutions that fit different family sizes and needs. Thanks to our modular offsite manufacturing capabilities, the homes in the TM line are quick to build, reliable, affordable, sustainable and customisable.”

“Modular construction satisfies a number of demands in addition to fast build times for developers; we have consistent quality approval processes so avoiding extended approvals and re-work onsite. We can also build exclusively affordable housing on any size of development plot, which is proving extremely attractive to housing associations with quotas to fill.”

Government Housing News, Totally Modular News

Totally Modular provides vital information for future government policy on Modular Housing

The written evidence provided by Totally Modular on the advantages and challenges of modular housing has been accepted as part of the evidence for the Lords inquiry on “Off-site manufacture for construction”. The document will help the Government to shape future building policies.

Leading volumetric steel frame modular manufacturer, Totally Modular, contributed with its expertise on the topic of offsite building, the key theme of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry.

The inquiry, launched on the 29th of March 2018, aims to examine whether the construction of houses offsite can help address the housing crisis. The committee is evaluating the potentials and pitfalls of modular buildings, any obstacles to their adoption, as well as how Government policy changes can encourage offsite manufacture.

The written evidence provided by Totally Modular, published on the UK Parliament website, makes a clear distinction between “offsite” and “volumetric/modular” housing. In offsite construction, only the house’s superstructure is built in sections in a factory, i.e. the skills required, and the final output are comparable to traditional building techniques. Whereas, in volumetric construction, over 90% of the house is completed offsite in a quality-controlled factory environment.

This enables houses to be built on a large scale, in a time and cost-effective way, while adhering to high-quality standards and minimising the environmental impact. Mick Pettitt, Operations Director at Totally Modular, commented: “We believe that modular housing, rather than offsite building, is the solution to address the housing crisis and help to address the skills shortage in the building sector. At Totally Modular, we deliver energy efficient homes quickly and efficiently, minimising waste and any disruptions that can take place onsite.”

To read Totally Modular’s written evidence, visit: http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee-lords/offsite-manufacture-for-construction/written/81642.html

Totally Modular News

Totally Modular solutions to star at Bristol Housing Festival

Totally Modular is – quite literally – taking its innovative solution for affordable housing to the Bristol Housing Festival, a new kind of event set up to re-imagine better ways to live in cities and to find solutions to the current national housing crisis.

Totally Modular is a leading exponent of offsite manufactured housing solutions and will be demonstrating one of its two-bedroom, four-person houses at the Bristol Housing Festival, Waterfront Square BS1, 19th October to 4th November. A highlight of the festival will be on Tuesday 23rd October, when a delegation from the Global Parliament of Mayors, which is also meeting in Bristol, will visit the showcase.

Like all of the company’s residential modules, the house on display is built in a factory around a high-integrity steel frame, an approach that brings advantages to owners, occupiers and developers alike. Most notably, a house can be built in less than 600 hours, the controlled internal environment of the factory contributing to efficiency and helping ensure quality at every stage. Once complete, the house is transported to site, lifted onto prepared foundations and connected to utilities. Costs become almost perfectly predictable and new housing schemes can be completed with previously unimaginable rapidity.

Available in a number of sizes and formats, the Totally Modular homes are ideal for both single person occupancy and for growing families. They can be used to create detached homes, semi-detached and terraced housing and even stacked to create blocks of flats. The exterior finishes can be matched to their destination’s style, traditional or contemporary, while internally, the fittings can be to any style and quality. They come with fully-fitted kitchens and bathrooms, lighting and heating; built-in furniture is a popular option for the smaller one- and two-person modules.

Interestingly, the unit taken to Bristol has already been used as a demonstrator at Totally Modular’s Cradley head office and manufacturing site in the West Midlands.

Its stylish two-storey design provides generous living areas and two large double bedrooms, so is suitable for four-person occupancy. The ground floor features a roomy kitchen with breakfast bar, a comfortable living/dining room with french doors out to the rear garden that also impart a light, airy feel. A downstairs W.C. and a storage/utilities space make for well-ordered living. Upstairs, there are two double bedrooms, a family bathroom and additional storage space. High vaulted ceilings and Velux windows on the stairwell and in the bathroom maximise daylight.

Brian Maunder of Totally Modular says the module is a perfect complement to the aims of the Bristol Housing Festival. “We face a crisis in the affordability of our housing. We need to rethink the way we create homes and communities with new approaches and new technologies.

“Bristol is taking responsibility for its future housing with innovation and creativity. It is a city that is prepared to stand up and lead.”

The Festival provides an opportunity to road-test a range of existing concepts and innovative solutions in the real-world helping to speed up the delivery of quality, affordable housing in the city. It will be visited by most, if not all, of the UK’s city mayors, along with overseas counterparts and others involved in creating and implementing strategies for developing cities, who will be in Bristol for the annual conference of the Global Parliament of Mayors. Their meeting aims to solve key global challenges under the theme Empowering Cities as Drivers of Change and will discuss innovative approaches to the many challenges of housing provision.

Totally Modular News

Rapid-build living modules to help government address homelessness

Rapid building of suitable affordable homes is essential if the Government’s new £100m strategy to end rough sleeping and eradicate homelessness by 2027 is to succeed.

Volumetric engineered micro-living modules are set to play an important role is this, says Brian Maunder of Totally Modular Ltd.

The number of people sleeping rough in the UK has risen every year for the last seven years and now stands at over 4,500 each night, with many more individuals and families in hotel and B&B accommodation. The Government’s announcement of a new plan to tackle homelessness has been welcomed, although not without criticism.

For instance, Howard Sinclair, the chief executive of homeless charity St Mungo’s, said: “Rough sleeping is harmful, dangerous and dehumanising. The new strategy is a really important first step towards meeting the 2027 target, but there is work to do especially when it comes to providing stable, safe and affordable housing.”

Jon Sparkes, the chief executive of Crisis, offers: “Once people are off the streets, a commitment to a rapid rehousing model can ensure that they never find themselves in this position again. If we’re to end rough sleeping, a bold, housing-led approach to tackling the problem is required.”

A solution to the need for suitable housing has been pioneered by innovative construction company Totally Modular. The company has developed a new method of construction in which complete homes, designed around a steel frame, are built in a factory then simply transported to site, craned into position and quickly connected up to water, waste and utility supplies. Houses can be created in a range of sizes and formats, from single occupancy units to large family homes. Houses can be detached, semi detached or terraced, while the units can also be used to form multi-storey blocks for multiple occupancy.

Totally Modular’s single-person micro home is an ideal solution for both homelessness recovery projects and the lack of low cost housing in general. This is the smallest unit Totally Modular manufactures, built from the same high-quality materials as the larger houses, it has a range of roof and cladding options, allowing each one to be matched to its surroundings. Significantly, they can be delivered and installed using a lorry-mounted crane and can also be stacked to make apartment buildings.

Internally the Totally Modular micro home is light and airy. It has a double bedroom at one end, kitchenette/living room at the other and a fully fitted bathroom in the middle. Like all Totally Modular solutions, it is Eco Pack ready, meaning you can easily add electric eco heating, solar PV and battery, so can be heated and run for about £30 a year.

Brian Maunder explains that micro homes provide a comfortable place to live, but that is only the beginning of the process: “The benefits of giving someone their own front door can be astonishing. It allows them to feel safe and secure, offering the chance to build their own independence. This encourages personal confidence, which helps them to re-engage with society and take a positive role in it.

Totally Modular’s range extends up to several larger houses, including two- and three-bedroom homes, which can provide comfortable living accommodation for families of five. All are designed to be light, airy and well laid out; they are robustly built, require little maintenance and have low energy requirements.

Micro homes in general are ideal for ‘move-on programmes’ that help homeless people transition from institutional hostels, hotels and B&Bs into independent living, where they take responsibility for cooking, cleaning, paying bills etc. With new skills, established routines and growing confidence, they can move on to permanent housing and employment.

Designed to help address the housing crisis via affordable housing, Totally Modular’s Micro Living Module homes are fast to build and, because they do not require conventional foundations, they work well on brownfield sites. They can also be located on sloping sites, in back gardens, inner-city in-fill opportunities and other sites that would not be suitable for conventional construction. They are also suitable for use by on-site workers, in remote locations and even off-grid.

Brian Maunder of Totally Modular sums up his company’s involvement with the project: “We have developed a radically new way to create homes, be they large detached houses, semis, terraces or micro-living modules. We can work quickly without weather delays or security issues because they are built indoors. This means we can ensure a high-quality product, with minimum waste and reduced environmental impact.

“They require relatively simple foundations and groundworks, and are designed for instant hook-up to services, so can be ready for occupancy within hours of delivery to site. This is a great benefit for any type of project and should help reduce the housing shortage as well as alleviate homelessness.”

Totally Modular News

New website is showcase for volumetric modular housing

Totally Modular, the UK’s leading volumetric steel-frame modular housing manufacturer has launched its new website at  www.totallymodular.co.uk. The site has been built to underline the advantages offered by modular construction to housing providers across the country. Key aspects include site flexibility, consistent quality, low environmental impact and a very fast method of creating good quality, desirable affordable housing.

Totally Modular’s new site acts as an online portal for users looking to access information about every aspect of modular housing and learn about the company’s involvement in the complete life-cycle of the homes it designs and creates.

The design team at Totally Modular has been developing and refining its high-quality modular steel-frame construction housing for over ten years. This expertise has recently been applied to a new portfolio of modular buildings and a range of complimentary support services. These include everything from modular consultancy, scheme design, approvals, customisation, manufacturing, delivery, installation and UK-wide maintenance.

In addition, anyone interested in modular houses, but with questions about options, flexibility and affordability can now apply for a cost quote online. Based on their individual requirements users can then develop the standard units to include everything from changes to exterior cladding and colour, kitchen appliances to disability equipment and adaptations.

Brian Maunder, Sales Manager at Totally Modular, said: “Just because our modular houses are standardised in terms of construction, it doesn’t mean they cannot be customised, every house can be different. Hence through the ‘get a quote page’, we aim to provide clear and transparent pricing. Every customer has slightly different needs and priorities and the important thing is for us to able to engage with potential customers early in the development process.”

Thanks to the in-depth knowledge contributed by Totally Modular’s experts, visitors to the website can also access an extensive library of useful resources on the world of modular housing. Available documents include case studies, whitepapers, planning advice, room layouts, materials technology, company news and industry sector bulletins on volumetric modular housing.

Brian concludes: “With this new website we have created a valuable resource and a great user experience. The navigation is designed to suit a range of visitors from housing associations and training organisations to home-owners and developers. There has been a lot of news on the political desire to tackle the housing crisis, from how to boost affordable housing availability to tackling the rough sleeping epidemic. We believe modular housing construction is a very good place to start to find solutions to those problems many of us are tasked with solving.”

Take a look at the website here: http://www.totallymodular.co.uk/

Totally Modular News

Helping to solve the UK’s housing crisis

It is widely acknowledged that more homes need to be built in the UK. The government has been issuing (and revising) targets since 2015, and although numbers have increased during that period, the fact is the industry is still not building as many new houses as it did ten years ago.  West Midlands based housing constructor Totally Modular believes it has the answer, or at least a major part of the puzzle solved.

Volumetric modular construction of houses essentially enables homes to be built on a production line, in a factory, with all the inherent advantages of being an engineered product built in a controlled environment. Repeatability helps to speed up construction, while also allowing for the very latest construction methods and materials to be used.

The materials are supplied to the production line as they are needed, ensuring everything is in place for a just in time (JIT) build process. Trained engineers and tradesmen work side-by-side to assemble the pre-fabricated steel structure, attach all the internal wall panels, insulation and external finishing’s such as bricks, renders or cladding and fully fit out the internal areas incorporating the necessary kitchen, bathrooms and central heating with all utilities connected ready for site erection.

The whole process is fast, efficient and precise while also being compliant with the company’s ISO 9001, 18001, 14001 and 1090 CE certifications. All work is carried out in line with internally developed QA plans and controlled by QC inspectors who certify compliance at specific hold points. They liaise with both customers and third parties to witness and approve the key build stages as would a building inspector during a traditional development.

As the build process is not subject to the outside elements it can carry on all year round, while lean manufacturing and purchasing procedures ensure minimal waste is created. In scaling up the process to the company’s planned levels of operation, a standard two-bedroom house can be manufactured in just 96 hours at either of the company’s West Midlands factory locations, resulting in the delivery of up to 900 homes per year at full capacity for the two sites.

A scalable and repeatable solution

The plan doesn’t end there though, the business model is infinitely scalable and according to company director Mick Pettitt, the company’s plans could help start modular building factories all over the UK, using vacant industrial units, creating local jobs, pulling-in education centres and developing new communities with a vested interest in where they live, having played a part in its construction.

“This model is not only efficient, it is productive and sustainable. It is working extremely well in the West Midlands and so there is no reason why it wouldn’t work in any other industrial town in the UK and Ireland. We have done the hard work in developing the housing modules and the construction techniques, along with the management systems and even the marketing process. It’s a housing solution in-a-box and it is ready to go – we are also actively interested in supporting organisations and individuals that want to set-up their own Totally Modular community and factory.”

Housing associations, according to the company are very much on-side, frustrated by the need for developers to maximise profitability, affordable housing is proving very difficult to create in anywhere near the numbers needed. Volumetric modular house building on the other hand lends itself to building affordable housing, with compact, high-quality living accommodation built to a modern optimised design being economically repeatable, in volume supported by an approved CML warranty.

Once a factory is set-up and the necessary skills and training are put in place the plan is for the process to be self-fulfilling as it will generate local employment, wealth and much needed affordable housing, benefiting the community and society as a whole.

The model has been established in the West Midlands where two factories are being fully converted into lean dynamic cellular manufacturing facilities specifically laid out for the production of housing modules. Both sites can build a wide range of housing solutions based on single modules or multiple units which simply lock together onsite and can be occupied within 4 days of positioning. The designs have been developed and refined over the last ten years so are tried and tested and offer a range of layouts.

Training and communities

The community aspect becomes far stronger when local education institutions are involved. In the West Midlands Totally Modular is currently working with Dudley College (DCFE), regarded as one of the country’s leading BIM, CAD and Volumetric educational facilities. The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Institute for Apprenticeships and the new National Housing Academy are also involved and committed to creating an ‘Apprenticeship in Volumetric Engineering’ in order to provide the necessary workforce the industry will need to ensure sustainability of growth in the modular process going forwards.

Totally Modular and its local supporters believe volumetrically engineered housing will enable the creation of a new skilled workforce to produce the houses required at an affordable cost in factories located near the places of demand. This reduces nuisance construction traffic in urban areas and the carbon footprint of the house build.

Using the Totally Modular model, the scalability of the opportunity is easy to appreciate with a 40,000 sq. ft factory being able to produce 1200 modules annually resulting in the supply of 45,000 sqm of living space which equates to the equivalent of 600 houses being delivered per year. With a national requirement for an increase of an extra 120,000 homes per year (National Housing Federation and the homeless charity Crisis recent statistics) from what is being built now, no-one in the trade will be out of a job as a result.

It will require 200 new factories and a newly trained semi and skilled workforce of 40,000 to meet this demand alone, alongside the increased jobs created within the supply chain to produce an estimated 250,000 tonnes of steel, 30,000,000 square metres of wooden panels, plaster board, insulation and external finish, alongside 10,000,000 square metres of wooden and composite flooring. Each home will also need factory-built kitchens, bathrooms, boilers, radiators, doors, windows, tiles, pipes, cables and so on.

Government endorsement

The government is taking the suggestion very seriously; written evidence provided by Totally Modular on the advantages and challenges of modular housing has been accepted as part of the evidence for the current Lords inquiry on “Off-site manufacture for construction”. This document has been requested by the commons and got underway in March this year to help the Government to shape future building policies.

Mick concludes, “Factory building is fast and efficient, it’s why we don’t build cars and consumer white goods outside! All it needed was a team of people with the right skills, experience and will to come together and commit to the challenge. We are a self-funded enterprise, so we have the added incentive of commercial reality to make sure we succeed.”

“It would be great to be able to access some government funding, especially for the education and up-skilling of the workforce, but local housing associations and educational institutions are already creating opportunities and putting valued time and resources in, which is very encouraging for us.”

“We believe this opportunity will deliver significant change in the housing market and support traditional methods not hinder them while the benefits of cheaper, better, quicker affordable and social houses will bring benefits to all.”

Totally Modular News

TM Portfolio of Modular Homes 2018

Our portfolio of houses and custom module solutions are all built using volumetric steel frame modular manufacture techniques, with virtually all of the work done under cover in our quality controlled factory environments. The range is composed of 10 models, ranging from 16.8m2 ground floor buildings to 93 m2 two-story houses and blocks of 17 units.

TM line contains 1 apartment type (TM-AT.01), 1 bungalow type (TM-BT.01), 4 house types (TM-HT.01 to TM-HT.04) and 4 micro living pods (TM-HU.01 to TM-HU.04).

The design of the TM line is inspired by British architecture, and different exterior cladding options are available, such as redwood or cedar, render, bricks or cladding panels.

The modular houses are up-to 97% complete when they arrive on site, including fitted interior kitchens and bathrooms, external finishes and electrical cabling. The home is then delivered to the building site and craned into place over a piled foundation.

Totally Modular News

Advantages of Volumetric Modular

Volumetric modular building brings a number of advantages, compared to traditional onsite building construction, making it highly appealing to buyers, manufacturers and policy makers. More specifically, volumetric modular techniques are faster, cheaper and result in high-quality buildings.

Speed

Modular buildings can go up much quicker than traditional ones, as delays are minimised. According to different studies, volumetric modular constructions are approximately 50% faster than traditional methods.
First, the buildings are manufactured in factory conditions, where productivity is maximised. Also, the climate-controlled factory setting avoids any construction delays due to bad weather.

In addition, modular building reduces material waste. As the building materials are kept inside the factory, they cannot easily be stolen, vandalized, or ruined. Therefore, there is no need to replace the materials and supplies.

Quality

The service life of a modular construction is comparable to the one from traditional onsite-build constructions of equivalent high-quality.

In addition, by manufacturing the building offsite in the controlled environment of the factory, it is possible to monitor closely the building’s quality during manufacturing and provide an edifice of standardised and easily reproducible quality. In fact, studies found up to 75% fewer defects in offsite buildings.

Fixed Cost

Thanks to the factory conditions, which reduce construction times, risks and delays while improving the building’s quality, modular buildings are considerably cheaper than onsite-built edifices of equivalent quality.

More specifically, studies found modular construction to be 40-60% cheaper than traditional onsite building.

In addition, by using pre-set module and by reducing the chances of possible delays, costs are fixed and kept under control.

Finally, the offsite method enables to manufacture highly energy efficient buildings, therefore reducing future energy costs.

Save more at scale

As buildings are quickly manufactured in a factory, it is possible to produce more of them in a shorter time. Hence, the cost saving resulting from the production of one building are further amplified in scale production.

Urgent need for homes

The lack of affordable and decent homes is affecting the entire country. To solve this crisis, the UK Government is aiming to build 300,000 new homes per year.

Modular construction can help addressing this issue by quickly providing affordable, high-quality homes for families or solutions for social housing.

Skills shortage

It is estimated that over the next ten years there will be 25% decline in the construction industry labour force. Volumetric modular may be the solution to solve this crisis.

Working offsite, in indoor and in a protected environment is more favourable and less demanding than working outdoor, onsite. With people more motivated to work on a building production line, it is possible to overcome the construction skill shortage that is affecting the country.

Totally Modular News

What is Volumetric Modular?

Volumetric modular building brings a number of advantages, compared to traditional onsite building construction, making it highly appealing to buyers, manufacturers and policy makers. More specifically, volumetric modular techniques are faster, cheaper and result in high-quality buildings.

Speed
Modular buildings can go up much quicker than traditional ones, as delays are minimised. According to different studies, volumetric modular constructions are approximately 50% faster than traditional methods.
First, the buildings are manufactured in factory conditions, where productivity is maximised. Also, the climate-controlled factory setting avoids any construction delays due to bad weather.

In addition, modular building reduces material waste. As the building materials are kept inside the factory, they cannot easily be stolen, vandalized, or ruined. Therefore, there is no need to replace the materials and supplies.

Quality
The service life of a modular construction is comparable to the one from traditional onsite-build constructions of equivalent high-quality.

In addition, by manufacturing the building offsite in the controlled environment of the factory, it is possible to monitor closely the building’s quality during manufacturing and provide an edifice of standardised and easily reproducible quality. In fact, studies found up to 75% fewer defects in offsite buildings.

Fixed Cost
Thanks to the factory conditions, which reduce construction times, risks and delays while improving the building’s quality, modular buildings are considerably cheaper than onsite-built edifices of equivalent quality.

More specifically, studies found modular construction to be 40-60% cheaper than traditional onsite building.

In addition, by using pre-set module and by reducing the chances of possible delays, costs are fixed and kept under control.

Finally, the offsite method enables to manufacture highly energy efficient buildings, therefore reducing future energy costs.

Save more at scale
As buildings are quickly manufactured in a factory, it is possible to produce more of them in a shorter time. Hence, the cost saving resulting from the production of one building are further amplified in scale production.

Urgent need for homes
The lack of affordable and decent homes is affecting the entire country. To solve this crisis, the UK Government is aiming to build 300,000 new homes per year.

Modular construction can help addressing this issue by quickly providing affordable, high-quality homes for families or solutions for social housing.

Skills shortage
It is estimated that over the next ten years there will be 25% decline in the construction industry labour force. Volumetric modular may be the solution to solve this crisis.

Working offsite, in indoor and in a protected environment is more favourable and less demanding than working outdoor, onsite. With people more motivated to work on a building production line, it is possible to overcome the construction skill shortage that is affecting the country.