Pro Installer December 2020 - Issue 93 - Page 15

News
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DECEMBER 2020 | 15

News

INCORPORATING ALUMINIUM INTO COMMERCIAL MODULAR CONSTRUCTION

In June 2017 , a 220-bed Holiday Inn Express opened in Manchester — just 38 weeks after construction began . Modular construction continues to reach new heights , but the industry must still consider ways to make commercial buildings stronger , safer and more environmentally friendly . Here , Nick Cowley managing director of aluminium building product supplier Endurawood , explains why modular builders should use aluminium to enhance their commercial construction projects .
Considering the Census Bureau ’ s 2019 Survey of Construction states seven months as the average completion time for a single-family home , constructing an entire hotel in less than ten months is impressively rapid . As well as helping to produce more residential buildings , modular construction is aiding the production of many commercial buildings . School classrooms , restaurants , hotels and public offices are being constructed using modular methods of construction ( MMC ).
MMC provide many advantages , such as quicker completion times and reduced waste , but considering the materials used in the project can optimise projects even further . Aluminium is lighter than many traditional construction metals , making it easier to manage on and offsite . This , alongside several other benefits , helps to support the quick completion times that modular builds are renowned for .
Minimal maintenance
Originally developed as a solution to quickly rebuild homes after the Second World War , modular builds face the misconception of being temporary structures . However , if the correct materials are considered at the start of a commercial project , the end result can be as durable as the modular build ’ s neighbouring shops and offices .
While commonly used metals such as iron and steel must be treated with a substance containing a corrosion inhibitor , using a naturally corrosion resistant material will lengthen a modular build ’ s lifespan .
Aluminium gains natural corrosion resistance from a layer of aluminium oxide that forms on its surface when it ’ s exposed to the atmosphere . This layer protects the material from further oxidation , enhancing its resistance against weather conditions and chemicals . Aluminium ’ s natural protection benefits commercial buildings for numerous reasons . Firstly , it increases the durability of the building , reducing maintenance and therefore keeping refurbishment costs down for the building owner .
Secondly , using aluminium preserves the building ’ s design , making it appear newer for longer . In an increasingly competitive market , people are more conscious about appearance and design of the facilities they use . Rust can diminish the exterior of a building , making it less likely to appeal to customers than a building that looks brand new .
Supporting sustainability Prefabricated buildings are far easier to disassemble and relocate to different sites , thanks to their pre-assembled parts . Therefore , if a building has become obsolete or disused , its modular parts can be repurposed so that they don ’ t go to waste . If modular construction techniques became the norm , the requirement for new raw materials would be substantially reduced .
This makes modular buildings inherently more sustainable , but project managers can further boost the sustainability of their commercial project by considering material choice . Sustainable materials are especially important when designing new modules , which have not been recycled from past projects .
Aluminium is an infinitely recyclable building material , meaning it can be reused multiple times without diminishing its original qualities . In fact , nearly 75 per
cent of all aluminium ever produced is still in use today . Replacing emission-heavy metals with aluminium can help to reduce the carbon footprint of a commercial modular project .
Choosing aluminium can further boost the sustainability of a building by reducing its energy output . Aluminium absorbs heat and is freeze and frost resistant , making options such as external aluminium cladding a thermally efficient alternative that could help to lower a building ’ s heating bills .
Securing safety
Finally , aluminium can improve the safety of a commercial building . Regardless of a building ’ s purpose , safety must always be at the forefront of its design . We ’ re aware of the disasters that have occurred when material safety standards have not been met , and it ’ s vital that these inconceivable mistakes never occur .
While aluminium is not fireproof , it acts as a flame retardant when it starts to melt . This means that aluminium provides additional protection against the flames , reducing the potential damage to the building and those inside it . All Endurawood products are manufactured to meet international fire safety standards and its decking systems are highly slip resistant .
Endurawood can be applied to many areas of a commercial building , such as decorative external battens to improve building design , for outdoor decking areas and for privacy enclosures to conceal building waste . Endurawood delivers safety in all conditions , providing the peace of mind for those involved in the construction and use of the building .
Modular construction brings many advantages to the construction industry , but using materials that can enhance the method ’ s advantages is key . Aluminium can create a commercial property that is more sustainable , safer and with less maintenance requirements — achieving a build that can match the dizzyingly fast heights of modular ’ s existing success stories .
www . endurawood . co . uk