Off-site success

The 2018 Ideal Home exhibition showcased Freefoam X-Wood Cladding as the ideal solution for off-site construction. This year’s ‘Innovation Home’ featured Freefoam X-Wood Urban Cladding, prior to its release later in the year, to create a ‘stunning’ exterior finish.

The whole house was built prior to the exhibition by Off Site Factory Homes in four separate modules, which were then transported to the show and constructed to form one house.

Tony Fox, director of Off Site Factory Homes, explained how the process worked: “To create a durable and stable modular construction we need materials to be light, easy to handle and to withstand the rigors of transportation. Whilst this project was for a temporary building, we apply the same criteria to permanent projects. We used Freefoam cladding last year and found it met all of our criteria and made perfect sense to use the new X-Wood Urban product for this year’s house. We found it really easy to work with and were very pleased with the finished results.”

With the construction industry facing challenges to reduce its environmental impact and meet the demands of the housing crisis, modular construction has become increasingly popular in recent years as a way to address and solve some of these issues. Technological advancements have increased the range of applications that modular construction can be used for including hotels, classrooms and healthcare buildings – but the scope is endless.

Tony continued: “We’ve been serving this sector for many years and have become specialists in proving modular constructions. The benefits to our clients are three-fold. Construction time using modular techniques can be nearly half that of conventional methods. Building in a controlled environment, with less stoppages due to weather can really add up. Secondly, we find that there is less wastage of materials with no exposure to bad weather. Finally, there is a substantial amount of money to be saved when choosing modular over a conventional build, with a shorter programme time for each project and lower labour costs.”

Colin St John, Freefoam commercial director, summarised: “We’re delighted to have been involved in this project which has allowed us to showcase the suitability of our products for modular construction methods. Whilst we’re aware that off-site construction will not solve all our housing needs, we see it as a growing opportunity across our entire range. PVC products are intrinsically light weight and manufactured to stand the test of time with guarantees of up to 50 years. Freefoam has always been an innovative company and to be embracing new ways of working with off-site builders is an exciting development for us.”