Full scale exhibits of MMC building systems will be showcased at OFFSITE2005 including three demonstration homes in BRE’s new Innovation Park


Outdoor exhibition area

The three-bed townhouse being presented by English Partnerships made its successful debut at January’s Sustainable Communities Summit in Manchester. Designed by architect PRP, the house is designed to showcase the high environmental and Urban Design standards that can be achieved. The three-storey design responds to PPG3 which calls for higher-quality, higher-density developments.

The house has been constructed on site using a steel-framed panel and modular system with a single span of 6.3m, devised by Fusion Building Systems. It incorporates a range of sustainable features that can contribute towards an overall EcoHomes Excellent standard. These include a two-storey sunspace acting as an environmental buffer, good acoustics and environmental insulation, reduced energy and water consumption, recycling facilities and the ability to use alternative energy resources, as well as the incorporation of urban design principles such as Secured by Design.


Innovation Park

All three structures in BRE’s new Innovation Park have one thing in common – they are built on Van Elle’s Smartfoot. The precast, post-tensioned foundation technique brings many of the benefits of off-site manufacture to foundation construction. Van Elle says the precision achieved in the factory makes it ideal for modern methods of construction. The system is also quick to install - precast beams are jointed and post-tensioned on site and require no wet products. Van Elle says that 400-500m of Smartfoot foundation can be installed in a day and that homes can be built in three days.

The system can be used with all forms of structure and can be used with piles, or without for two-to-five storey buildings.


Innovation Park

Hanson’s exhibit sets out to prove that you don’t have to be at the cutting edge of innovation to meet the requirements of MMC. Hanson’s three-storey building and basement shows the benefits of using traditional materials in the factory.

The wall construction is packed with innovative features comprising prefabricated, thin-joint blockwork panels with an insulated cavity, thin-joint lightweight blockwork and the Wonderwall insulated composite panel system with brick slip facings.

Omnidec, Hollowcore and Jetfloor systems have been used for the floors. Omnidec is a precast formwork system, while Hollowcore consists of precast concrete floor units. The Jetfloor system comprises pre-stressed T-beams infilled with expanded polystyrene.

The garage has been built using a box culvert, traditionally used for diverting rivers and water supplies. A twin-wall system of precast concrete formwork wall panels that resist ground pressure has been used for the basement. The final piece of the jigsaw is the Uniflight precast concrete staircase.


Outdoor exhibition area

Ruukki is demonstrating a range of off-site technologies that can be used for housing as well as in the commercial and industrial markets. On display will be a factory-built roofing system that spans from 6m to 8m. The system also includes a single-ply external membrane, which saves on installation time and cost as only the overlapping membrane joints have to be welded in situ. Constructions can be tweaked for different performance requirements. For example, different types of heavy board can be used to improve sound reduction levels from 47dB up to 66dB.

Ruukki says speed of installation is a major benefit of its roofing system and says that one UK airport project installed 1400m2 in one night.

Also on display will be a prefabricated wall system based around a framework of thermally broken steel purlins. Windows, doors and facade cladding can be fixed in the factory. Facades can be made using profiled or flat metal, and the system takes a wide range of other cladding including aluminium sheets, rainscreens, wood, bricks, glass and render stone.


Outdoor exhibition area

The two steel-frame modules being exhibited by Terrapin are destined for the biggest off-site project in the country. The bedroom and living area modules are on their way to the Ministry of Defence’s Colchester garrison which is being upgraded in a £2bn PFI scheme.

Terrapin is constructing 23 buildings off site that will provide accommodation and en-suite facilities for about 1450 junior ranks and 375 larger en-suite accommodation units for officers and SNCOs. In all, the company is supplying 2622 modules.

The rigid light steel-frame modules at OFFSITE2005 will comprise an individual bedroom with en-suite shower room, carpets and curtains, and a study area. At Colchester, the modules are being stacked up to three storeys high. The internal finish consists of a single sheet of board measuring 5m x 2.4m, which is fixed in the factory. Terrapin says it has increased the rate of production by using GRP modules rather than plasterboard for the bathrooms. These are sealed units, making them easier to clean.

Production of the modules for Colchester started in May 2004, and the project is expected to be completed in September 2007.

Terrapin provides up to 2000 homes a year for Barratt Homes, and will shortly be offering its modules to other housebuilders.


Indoor exhibition area

Concrete as a material inherently offers excellent acoustic and vibration performance, fire resistance, durability, security and thermal mass benefits. The Concrete Centre stand will be equipped to supply information and offer advice on the methods and benefits of modern concrete construction.

The Concrete Centre, as the central development organisation for the UK's concrete and cement sector, is proud to be sponsor of OFFSITE2005. Throughout OFFSITE2005 the Centre will be promoting modern methods of concrete construction with a number of activities.

As part of the seminar programme on day three, Andrew Minson, Head of the Structural Engineering department, will be presenting on Modern Keyworker accommodation.

At the close of days one, two and three the Centre will be hosting a tour of a nearby house with basement, constructed using insulating concrete formworks.

Bookings for this can be made on The Concrete Centre stand, where a network of regional staff will be on hand for the full four days, to offer expert assistance and advice on concrete issues and solutions. For more information visit www.concretecentre.com.


Outdoor exhibition area

Kingspan is showcasing its single living solutions for public and private housing using structural frame systems. These systems are suitable for low- to mid-rise applications and can support building elements such as concrete floors, balconies and plant rooms.

Also on show will be Kingspan’s Architectural Facade System – off-site, non-load-bearing, rapid-build systems designed for use on steel- or concrete-framed buildings.


Outdoor exhibition area

The ICFA will be showing how quickly its insulated wall system can be built by constructing the walls of a new single-storey building each day at OFFSITE2005. “Building systems manfacturers talk about the speed of build but we will demonstrate in real time just how speedy our build times can be,” says chairman Christopher Stride.

The wall system is based on hollow expanded polystyrene blocks that lock together to form the walls before being filled with concrete. “Our system also exceeds the requirements of the Building Regulations in regard to thermal and acoustic performance, making it a genuine example of sustainable construction,” adds Stride.


Innovation Park

Europe’s biggest timber frame manufacturer is building one of three full-scale houses that will stay on BRE’s Innovation Park for two years. It will incorporate innovative features and has been designed with energy efficiency in mind, and should meet the U-value requirements of the next change to Part L of the Building Regulations.

The house has no internal load-bearing walls, which means cost savings on foundations and provides flexible internal space that can easily be reconfigured. The large spans are achieved by using I-beam technology in the floor. The I-beam has pre-service pop-outs to facilitate straightforward fitting of services on site.

The home will feature factory-fitted wall insulation and an innovative cladding system, novabrick, which looks like brick but uses no mortar and is rapidly built.


Innovation Park/Outdoor exhibit

In the Innovation Park Metek is showing a housing unit comprising six steel frame modules. The external face is finished with a red multi-brick slip system supplied by FI Systems. The first-floor external walls are render-finished by Weber Building Solutions. The two roof modules are Unidex Condor panels finished with tiles by Forticrete. As well as a full-scale housing unit, Metek is showing a panelised fast-track framing system with external coverings, featuring systems and components from Forticrete Permafast, Ibstock, Structherm’s Thru-Wall, Lafarge and Reppel Lewis.


Outdoor exhibition area

New Zealand-based Scottsdale, a leader in light gauge steel framing construction, will be demonstrating its technology at OFFSITE2005 .

Scottsdale specialises in the manufacture of automated roll forming technology and CAD software systems. It will show how this can be used in modular construction, with a fully fitted module manufactured by Stoneguard-Protec and offering a cost-effective framing solution for multi-storey modular construction.

OFFSITE2005 will mark the UK pre-launch information release of Scottsdale’s fully automated and engineered truss system, a highly cost competitive CAD to production process in light steel currently being developed for the UK and EU residential/commercial roof truss market.

Scottsdale will also demonstrate its roll forming plant which turns CAD concepts into components for multi-storey modular construction, residential house/apartment steel frames, bathroom/kitchen pod frames and external framing for cladding systems.