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Fri September 20 2019

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Container housing pilot on Launchpad in Bristol

10 Sep A Bristol housing association believes the solution to housing shortages is modular metal boxes.

The development of 30 apartments was built in Yorkshire and trucked to Bristol for installation
The development of 30 apartments was built in Yorkshire and trucked to Bristol for installation

United Communities has taken delivery of 30 factory-built studio apartments for a £1.4m modular pilot project, called Launchpad, designed to help address a housing shortage in Bristol.

The steel-shell units were made by Integra Buildings in East Yorkshire in just 12 weeks and trucked down to Bristol.

Each box has room for a bed, sofa, desk and wardrobe, as well as a ready-made modular kitchen and shower room.

Integra is now completing the on-site installation of plumbing, power and broadband, with the homes expected to be ready to move into this autumn.

The fitted-out boxes took just 12 weeks to manufacture
The fitted-out boxes took just 12 weeks to manufacture

The initial concept for Launchpad was to convert shipping containers but it was decided these would be too small and restrictive. Instead, Integra was commissioned to design and manufacture a bespoke version of the shipping container concept, with more floor space and higher ceilings.

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Integra Buildings' kitchen and living area
Integra Buildings' kitchen and living area

Integra Design Technician Sam Treadaway said: “Shipping containers are very restrictive – instead we’ve created a bespoke product. It’s much larger, with higher ceilings and big windows, to bring in a lot more light, and to meet stringent building regulations, including insulation standards.

“Because it’s fully bespoke, we’ve been able to design the interiors to a much higher specification. These units are self-contained studio apartments, ready for people to move in.”

The shower room
The shower room

United Communities chief executive Oona Goldsworthy said the reduced project times offered by modular construction had been an important factor. “The speed of delivery means we’ve been able to do a deal on the land and will move people in within six months,” she said. “There’s a huge shortage of available land for housing projects, but modular gives us the flexibility to use what I call pop-up sites.”

Ms Goldsworthy added: “We’ve learnt a great deal from this pilot. We’d like to house key workers, such as nurses, perhaps using land owned by hospitals. There’s huge potential for creating aspirational modular housing communities.”

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