How MMC can help drive capacity and efficiency

Light steel frame specialist Metek has a significant market share in numerous sectors, including student accommodation and commercial development, not least because it operates its own factory and can guarantee supply.

Recently, however, the company is finding that their solutions are becoming increasingly popular for residential projects, as detailed by their managing director Oliver Rogan.

Mr Rogan says this makes sense due to the number of boxes that Metek's systems tick, both in terms of regulatory requirements and the well-documented need to build new homes more quickly.

"The design of housing and residential buildings is influenced by many factors, including new requirements for sustainability, as well as thermal and acoustic performance," he says.

He adds that the pressure for more efficient and sustainable construction processes to meet these challenges has led to a demand for higher degrees of prefabrication and improved quality in the performance of the chosen construction technology.

"Metek technologies have achieved a high market share within the building sectors and the same technologies are now being used in housing and residential buildings," he says.

"The main benefits include speed of construction, higher levels of quality, reliability and longevity and the ability to provide more adaptable use of space."
High demand
Metek says its systems allow project delivery up to 30 per cent faster than traditional methods of house construction, while the use of offsite manufacturing provide a high level of quality control, accuracy and freedom from shrinkage that reduces call-back for defects. What's more, the company say its systems result in minimum disturbance to the surrounding community during construction due to the reduced number of deliveries.

Certainly, Metek's systems are being deployed at scale in Stratford, East London, where a high volume of residential development is currently being built off the back of the 2012 Olympic Games. Technical director James Walker says: "Metek are heavily involved in delivering the residential projects that are so greatly needed in Stratford and in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

"We will be delivering over 1,000 units in Stratford alone over the next 12 months using modern methods of construction to help tackle the housing crisis. It is vital that we are manufacturing and designing intelligently, using offsite to deliver the number of homes that are needed."

"Not many people know about this, but a lightweight frame can have concrete floors. We are able to provide a 170 mm-full concrete fill while achieving a mass-saving in the foundations due to the lightweight frame"

Mr Walker says Metek's light weight systems are particularly well suited to meeting some of the challenges on sites adjoining the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which was built on largely derelict industrial land. "One of the big issues is that HS1 runs under one of the schemes we are working on, so they have had to specifically look at a very lightweight solution and are reducing piling in those areas," he adds.

In other schemes, mass was important to provide the high-level acoustic performance required in the nascent build-to-rent sector. However, Mr Walker says Metek's systems can still deliver this. "The reason mass was required within the floors was because it is earmarked for long term rentals and it was key to increase this mass to help with the acoustics".

He explains that the blocks were eight and nine-storeys high, built with a Metek concrete solution. "Not many people know about this, but a light weight frame can have concrete floors," he says.

"We are able to provide a 170 mm full concrete fill while achieving a mass saving in the foundations due to the lightweight frame."
'Exciting place to be'
Mr Rogan is extremely proud of his company's work in the area. "Metek are building residential construction all over the UK, working on regeneration schemes all the way up to Scotland across England and in Wales," he says.

"Stratford is the busiest area right now. It is a really exciting place to be and has the best sporting facilities in the country, so it will be a great place to live and work."

He adds that Metek is only able to work on such high-profile projects due to the quality of his team.

"We have the best factory team producing steel to millimetre precision, a design team that understands not only the engineering of the system but also that it needs to be buildable, and an installation team that delivers tough schemes safely, on time and to budget," he says. "It is a privilege working with them all."


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