ModularUK has installed a new low-carbon building at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ Rainham Marshes nature reserve in Thurrock. By building the ‘Shooting Butts Hide’ off-site and installing it in less than half the time than would be expected with traditional construction methods, ModularUK has ensured minimum disturbance to wildlife and habitats while helping the RSPB bring their visitors closer to the wildlife spectacle on the marshes.
Completed yesterday, the 18 metre by six metre Shooting Butts Hide utilises glue laminated timber beam technology, clad with larch boarding, and has been designed to fit and blend with the surrounding landscape. For most of the 20th Century, the marshes were used as a military firing range, so escaped industrial development and became a haven for wildlife. The RSPB is undertaking a ten year programme to improve the habitats for wildlife and visitor infrastructure at the reserve. Built on the site of an old shooting butt, the hide provides 46 new viewing points through windows specially developed for the building to provide far-reaching viewing over the marshes.
Hettie Hirst, Project Officer at RSPB Rainham Marshes, explains: “ModularUK’s off-site solution has enabled us to improve the experience for our visitors without compromising our conservation priorities. The Shooting Butts Hide has been designed and constructed to the highest standards, and in keeping with our commitment to minimising environmental impact.”
Designed by HaysomWardMiller Architects, the hide was built in ModularUK’s factory at Driffield using specialist modular construction techniques. The off-site approach minimised the number of people and vehicle movements in the reserve. It also reduced the length of time working on the difficult site which is in the middle of the marsh, 1200 metres from the site entrance and 600 metres from the main visitor centre and services. The site also contains listed military heritage structures which had to be preserved during on-site operations.
Steve Wightman, Managing Director at ModularUK, comments: “This project really demonstrates the flexibility of modular construction. We worked closely with the architect to ensure that the building we created fulfilled the requirements of the client and future visitors in terms of design, viewing capabilities, quality and sustainability, and matched the angled dynamic form that they have designed.”
Patrick Ward of HaysomWardMiller adds: “Delivering the Shooting Butts Hide posed some unique challenges that working with ModularUK helped to solve. Ensuring the design was in keeping with the landscape was a priority, as was sustainability and accessibility. Working with ModularUK to create the building off-site before its installation at Rainham Marshes allowed us to achieve these objectives whilst minimising disruption to wildlife and habitats.”