Modular Student Accommodation Increase

As the cost of university education increases, so are students’ expectations of the quality of their accommodation. Elements Europe is finding that this translates into increased demand for modular room solutions.

The student accommodation sector is booming and modular construction specialist Elements Europe has recently taken a raft of orders for projects across the country. However, the accommodation being manufactured is very different from the student accommodation of old. Peeling paint and showers that soak the floor have been replaced with under floor heating and luxury en-suite bathrooms. Standards of accommodation are now more akin to affluent home owners or 4 star hotel guests than that of the meager student.

Elements Europe is currently manufacturing 200 room pods for a student accommodation scheme in Ewer Street, London for the main contractor Elliot Thomas. These room pods are designed to be studio apartments featuring a bathroom, kitchen, sleeping and study area. Installation will begin in March 2013 enabling the development to open in time for the September 2013 intake.

Studio student room pods have become the trend; Elements Europe has experienced a surge in studio style developments over the last year. Recent projects include; 202 studio room pods for Chester University on behalf of the main contractor Morgan Sindall, as well as the recently completed 175 student rooms in the heart of Birmingham for main contractor Multibuild.

“At the moment the student market is very busy,” says Elements Europe operations director Kevin Arthur.

“Modular construction is well suited to student accommodation as it provides a cost effective and time efficient solution enabling the development to open in time for the start of term” says Mr Arthur. It is clear that the reduced on-site snagging limits delays to a very sensitive deadline appealing to contractors and developers alike.

“We are usually busy at this time of year manufacturing student accommodation; however this year we have received even more orders for both student room pods and bathroom pods. This could be because of the rising university fees leading to higher expectations concerning accommodation standards. We’re going to continue to see a lot of new build student schemes throughout 2013 and 2014” he says.

As well as room pod orders, Elements Europe has also recently supplied its Solopod bathroom pods for high-end student accommodation developments for McLarens Construction at Paris Gardens and for Mace at their Commercial Road scheme, both of which are in London.

Beyond education

Modular manufacturing provides accommodation solutions to many different sectors including; healthcare, residential, hotel and defence. Elements Europe’s modular solutions are hugely adaptable, going beyond the stereotypical box style off-site accommodation. There are more opportunities for eye-catching designs beyond the front door and because of this off-site construction is fast becoming a popular method of construction.

Elements Europe has completed projects ranging from care homes to hotels as well as residential apartments. Recent jobs have included the delivery of over 500 bathroom pods to four new Premier Inns in Croydon, Waterloo, Ipswich and Dorchester.

What Is Roompod?

Room pod comprises a structural volumetric frame, manufactured from cold rolled lightweight steel “c” section panels, boarded and insulated as required to form the floors, ceilings and walls.

All internal fit out and finishes within the room module are completed in the factory prior to transporting to site. Once on-site the room modules are erected in conjunction with an interlocking corridor cassette system to form the complete superstructure of the building. By simply stacking the room pods on top of each other they are suitable for buildings of up to 12 storeys.

With the introduction of hot rolled steel the system can be used in projects of over 12 storeys. Live electrical testing and water pressurised tests are carried out at Element’s factory so that the pod can remain a watertight unit, with no need for tradesmen to access the inside of it, and remain sealed until the building is complete.

In terms of speed of design, installation and delivery it takes 14-16 weeks from being engaged by a client to being ready to install onsite. Once onsite, Elements Europe can typically install 32 room pods a week.