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Building block for success

Building block for success

30/04/2008 | Channel: Construction

The Spaceover Group designs and develops modular housing concepts that are used in construction projects

The Spaceover Group is one of the UK's leading developers of innovative, unique modular housing concepts. The company, which has experienced considerable growth in its six years of activity, provides market leading housing modules for use in apartment, housing, hotel and office applications.

Steven Barrett, joint managing director of Spaceover elaborates on the company's operations: “Spaceover is one of the UK's leading modular housing providers, offering a unique building system that is BRE Certified, and was the first building system to achieve LPS(now BPS)2020 accreditation. The product is essentially a volumetric, modular housing concept that has been successfully used for a number of industry applications ranging from affordable housing projects through to private residential developments, hotels and offices. Additionally, a number of high profile architects and developers have adopted the system for both current projects and intend to use the modules in a number of building schemes in the coming years.

“The Spaceover Building System© can be produced as a series of units in almost any shape or design,” Steven continues. “Unlike other modular housing designs, our Spaceover Group solutions do not have to be produced as simple box-like structures, but can be designed in an L-shape, and can incorporate features such as slanted ends or sloping roofs. The nature of the production means that the modules come entirely pre-fitted from the factory, including all insulation products, linings, interior decorations, wiring, sanitary ware, kitchen ware and plumbing. Furthermore, they can be used in buildings from one to ten storeys high.”

Spaceover has found considerable success with its designs throughout a number of industry sectors. Steven attributes much of this success of the business not only to the excellent design of the modules, but also to the company's business strategy.

“Our unique business model is probably one of our main strengths,” he says. “We are not manufacturers, rather, we have our products assembled for us by four approved assembly plants that cover the entire UK market sector. Spaceover is the core of the operation - we do the design work, develop the intellectual property rights, and control all of the certification, accreditation, and specification processes. Everything is Spaceover designed and developed, which means that we co-operate very closely with the assembly plants.

“Because we do not have our own factories it means that we can easily scale up or down our production requirements within the plants,” Steven continues. “For example, when we have large projects come through we have the ability to switch on additional plants to meet those requirements.”

Looking to expand its operational capabilities, and its market presence, the business is in the process of introducing a new licensed production programme. Steven elaborates: “As of June this year we will be offering our own developer licence programme to give developers and building contractors access to the very latest in modular building systems without having to set up their own manufacturing plants and carry out their own R&D programmes.

“This will not cost a lot of money, just enough to cover the initial set-up costs for the designs, QA and accreditation systems, and will provide developers with the opportunity to take the modules from the assembly plants, put them on their own foundations, clad and roof them, and tweak them how they like in accordance with the correct building requirements,” he says. “In addition, we can also provide bespoke design services for a range of standard house and apartment types to meet a developers' specific demands.We already have a number of large players approaching us for licence contracts, for developments in the housing, hotel, school and office markets, and we see great potential for the future with this innovative programme.”

The excellent design, build quality, and capabilities of Spaceover's designs have made it highly popular with end clients and building contractors: “Quality is the most important factor,” says Steven. “Also, because the system was designed from scratch with a blank sheet approach, we have built in a number of requirements that suit the Council of Mortgage Lenders and insurance sector requirements. For example, the reparability of the system is excellent, and it is very simple to easily replace one skin of the interior lining if damaged by fire or water.

“Similarly, every module is independently waterproofed, which eliminates the risk of flooding from a higher floor passing through the building,” he comments. “Another important issue in modern housing developments is sound transmission levels, particularly in hotels, apartments and private housing. To address this, every module that we provide has an acoustic barrier that is placed between each unit during erection with an air gap to further reduce noise.”

Steven elaborates on some recent projects: “Our latest development is for Slo Living at South Chase, Newhall, Harlow, which is a unique project in that it is one of the largest modular housing projects to have been built in the UK. The overall development has been designed by leading London based architects Proctor & Matthews and the first phase has been very successful.We have also recently completed two projects for Network Housing Group, one consisting of 47 apartments at St Quentin View, and the other at Rodney Road in Twickenham.”

Looking ahead, Steven believes that the industry demand for Spaceover products, and the levels of work currently being carried out will ensure a bright future for the business: “Our product is a very sustainable and environmentally friendly system to work with, which can be used for a range of applications to both save money and significantly reduce the development risk, so I think that there is a huge market for us.

“Our immediate aim is to fully implement the licence development programme throughout the UK over the next 12 months and then take the system overseas where we already have relationships developing in North America and Scandinavia.We have a large number of major house builders and developers looking to use the modules for their developments. Ultimately, it is a complete package that offers the latest modular housing technology, which we want to be the product of choice for the modular construction of housing, hotels, offices and other new market areas,” he concludes.

The Spaceover Group
Industry Modular housing