Anyone who has met or talked with Keith Blanshard, aka The Modular Man, is likely to have detected his passion for off-site construction.



Keith Blanshard


Keith Blanshard

This comes across as a curious mixture of the forthright and the avuncular. Ask him an uninformed question and he is likely to correct you in fairly direct terms before insisting you come up to Yorkon’s factory for a tour of the production lines. This approach has proved superbly effective in developing, marketing and spearheading the prefabrication agenda in general, and the Yorkon brand in particular.

Those of us who recall the way prefab came to be associated with the temporary schools and homes that somehow ended up being permanent will be amazed at what Yorkon and its architectural partners can do with a factory module. The famous Murray Grove scheme in north London, which was built entirely from Blanshard’s modules, won 11 national and international awards for architecture. Then there are the units and pods in sectors that are as varied as supermarkets, schools, hospitals, airports, fast food restaurants and offices.

But perhaps his biggest single contribution has been his work as an apostle of off-site manufacturing. He has brought and sold the idea to many professional and public bodies, he has given evidence on behalf of the modular industry to the House of Commons, and he was the only modular manufacturer present on an ODPM working group. Building is pleased that, with this award, Blanshard’s contribution to the whole of British construction has been recognised.