Readers from across the industry take a tour of Moho, the landmark Manchester modular housing scheme

Some 20 Building readers, representing a cross-section of the building industry, took part in a special visit to Urban Splash’s newly completed modular housing scheme in Manchester last Wednesday. It was the first of a series of readers’ visits to significant new buildings organised by Building in association with steel manufacturer Corus.

The visit began with a slideshow presentation in which Chris Stalker, Urban Splash’s senior development manager, explained that the off-site modular system was selected primarily to reduce the number of defects and avoid the disruption of making good after residents had moved in. Stalker then conducted a tour of the building and its three show flats of different sizes.

The development’s name, Moho, could be taken as an acronym for either “modular housing” or “modern homes”, depending on how technically astute the audience is. Whichever interpretation is used, Stalker confirmed that Moho was Britain’s first multistorey volumetric housing system for sale to be undertaken by a private developer. The scheme, which was designed by ShedKM and manufactured and fitted out in York by Yorkon, is also the first in which each flat is contained within a single module.

The visitors came from the contracting, housebuilding and professional consultancy sides of the building industry, as well as from local authority regeneration departments in Nottingham and Hackney, east London.

It was very useful to chat about Urban Splash’s experience

Andrew Brown of Leeds architect Design Group 3

Several visitors had already been directly involved in modular construction. They included Andrew Brown and Nick Baker of Design Group 3 Architects of Leeds, which had set up its own modular housebuilding system, called Modar, with manufacturer Pyramid Building Systems of Driffield, east Yorkshire.

Brown said: “It’s taken us four years to develop the system, build a prototype, and undertake feasibility studies with some developers. So it was very useful to chat to Chris Stalker about Urban Splash’s experience.”