Aston’s JS Wright sets up prefabrication unit

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As construction workers from EU countries leave following the Brexit vote and the skilled British workforce is ageing, Britain is once more turning to prefabrication.

In a new warehouse facility in Digbeth, J.S. Wright has set up a prefabrications unit, producing low carbon Heat Interface Units (HIU), which act as a bridge between the central boiler and the heating and hot water systems of individual apartments.

The HIU units will reduce installation times in large developments such as Mount Anvil’s 595-home high-rise Keybridge development and Hill’s 580-apartment canalside scheme at Fish Island Village in London.

After the retirement of JS Wright’s previous owners, the company was bought by its senior management team: the finance director, national design and estimating director, national mechanical contracts director and national electrical contracts director. (Aston premises, left)

Reuter’s Astrid Zweynert reported a major policy announcement in 2017; the government said it supported off-site construction, promised financial support for prefabs and to make public land available for “modular schemes”, as they are now known. She added, after a brief account of post-war prefab building: “Faced with a chronic, new housing shortage, Britain is once more embracing prefabrication as it struggles to meet its promise to build a million homes in England by 2020.

Valued homes: Grade 2 listed Phoenix Wake Green Road prefabs in Moseley

There are examples of a UK off-site construction industry emerging. York Press reported in 2017 that L&G Homes has been set up in a factory near Leeds to build up to 4,000 prefab homes a year. The factory, which is the largest of its kind in Europe, and will at full capacity produce 3,000 modular homes a year, has just revealed its first prototype.

Though many eye-catching detached homes have been built using continental modules, a linked Birmingham site focussed on low cost prefabrication. Building Design highlighted three prefabricated solutions to the housing crisis in 2016.


The first design (above), by Urban Splash, was one of the new range of low-cost prefabricated housing solutions being ‘rolled out’ across the country with the potential to help tackle Britain’s affordable housing crisis and offer new employment opportunities.

 

 

 

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