Using Off Site Construction Methods
Fully fitted bathroom pods, constructed off site, save installation time, increase quality control and help to streamline the building process of a wide variety of projects – from hotels, housing and care homes, to the leisure sector.
Though prefabricated bathroom units are seen as a relatively new concept, they have in fact been used successfully by the off site construction industry for some time. The popularity of off site methods continues to increase due to the many benefits over traditional building, particularly in environmental and sustainability of the materials and processes, as well as increased speed, efficiency and the ability to work in tight spaces and difficult areas.
Advantages of Bathroom Pods
The main advantage of pods is the fact that they can be built off site, saving valuable installation time on site, and ensuring consistently high quality levels. This means that contractors can meet more demanding build schedules and there is less need for skilled labour. The age-old problem of co-ordinating services, such as plumbing, electrics, plastering, tiling, joinery and painting is no longer an issue. All the services are installed before the pod is delivered, and decoration is also carried out off site. All the need to be done on site is to crane the bathroom pods into position and connect them up.
Because each unit is made with fixtures and fittings from just one supplier, things are made far less complicated for client and contractor alike, not only when it comes to installation, but also for aftercare. With a traditional build programme, should there be any post-installation issues in the bathroom, there could be numerous different trades that need to be called in. However, with the bathroom pod concept, there is just one manufacturer, with the option of ongoing servicing and maintenance contracts to ensure the pod is operating to maximum efficiency.
Why Choose a Bathroom Pod?
The leisure sector, for example, which demands high quality, robust and aesthetically pleasing bathroom facilities, is increasingly making bathroom pods their preferred method of installation, since there is a greater assurance of consistent quality from a factory built product (pods should operate to ISO 9001:2000 quality assurance). Using a mopdular bathroom unit concept means being able to fulfill demands for rapid construction, whilst meeting all relevant performance requirements.
Many new builds within the leisure sector are also designed to meet BREEAM “Excellent” or “Very Good” standard, so it is therefore important that a building ensures the selection of sustainable materials from responsible supply partners. For example, the timber that is used for the outer edge and walls of bathroom pods can be produced from sources with strict reforestation programmes.
Flexibility of Design and Bespoke Options
There are also many other flexible design and configuration options possible, making bespoke bathroom pods a reality. For example, floorless pods, or floors with a lightweight concrete design, for areas where ground weighting needs to be kept to a minimum. These types of design are integral to creating lightweight structures that have a lower environmental impact, for example, by making savings on foundation materials. Bathroom pods can also be specified to meet with mobility or DDA (Disabled Discriminatory Act) requirements, with the inclusion of accessories such as grab rails and handles. Due to the wide variety of sectors that can benefit from the use of bathroom pods, a flexible approach is essential, so the architect and designer from the off site company can work together to create a bathroom pod that meets their requirements exactly.
In many build situations, especially in urban areas, space can be restricted, but more compact bathroom suites can be designed and created, making the best possible use of the available space. This ranges right through to high-end executive style pods, where the most luxurious bathroom accessories, such as corner baths or Jacuzzis could be specified. There is also a wide choice of accessories, including tiling, renders and finishes to the bathroom pod to meet particular project requirements.
Some bathroom pod manufacturers additionally offer CAD design services. This means starting with a blank page and working with the client to create either a contemporary or more classic pod design, advising the customers every step of the way. With good value for money being a top priority in the current economic and political climate, this is again a major benefit of off site construction compared to traditional bathroom installations, especially when you factor in the labour on site.
Pods can be produced to suit individual needs, in small numbers or large quantities, with the option of shower, bathroom, cloakroom or wetrooms. Many sectors are also taking the pod concept and applying it further than the bathroom, to other areas, such as bedrooms, kitchens and to create an office or study, in fact any single room that they require to be replicated.
Bathroom Pods in Practice
A major venture in the use of bathroom pods market was for the Colchester Army Barracks in 2009, where a leading off-site construction company designed and supplied almost 1,500 for the new Ministry of Defence base, providing en-suites for officers and SNCOs, and facilities for the garrison’s junior ranks – taking into account the demands of over 50 soldiers using individual showers simultaneously at reveille or after an exercise.
The bathroom pod provides a contemporary concept that provides best value, is compatible with rapid construction techniques, enables flexibility of design and specification and removes the burden of co-ordinating trades and skilled labour on site.
The end result is a pod that doesn’t look like a pod: bespoke bathrooms produced to individual requirements in the quickest and most efficient way possible, helping the to meet needs for performance, sustainability, scheduling and cost.
A leading UK provider of off site construction solutions, Terrapin Ltd has been in the business of permanent and temporary solutions for 60 years. Off site construction delivers fast, accurate and affordable solutions to permanent, temporary and relocatable building requirements for healthcare, education, developer and commercial projects. Compared to conventional building methods, Terrapin’s modular solutions reduce time on site, cut the number of deliveries and are virtually unaffected by weather considerations. Importantly, for a site where disruptions must be kept to a minimum, the off site construction approach creates much less noise and interference to the day to day operation of the site and its occupants.