We recently provided structural engineering input on an unusual roof extension project at Belvedere Mansions in Hove, East Sussex.
As the property is sited on a primary arterial bus route in a residential area, it was determined that pre-fabricated units would provide the most convenient and cost-effective way to extend the building with minimal impact on neighbouring properties and local traffic flow.
A key advantage of pre-fabrication is that modular units can be designed and made to meet the highest construction standards in half the time of a traditional building project. An added bonus is that red tape can be kept to a minimum if pre-fabricated building units are designed to meet the guidelines set out by the Local Authority’s current Permitted Development Policy.
Gyoury Self provided engineering input during the site investigation and design of the pre-fabricated pods. To avoid disruption to flat owners at Belvedere Mansions, we stipulated that the modular units be designed to clear-span the full buildings width, supporting only onto the perimeter walls. This removed the need to investigate the condition and capacity of the internal walls inside the flats, an undertaking that would have caused widespread disruption to the buildings tenants. We recommended that the steel frames within the pods act as deep trusses, making them particularly strong for their weight. The pod manufacturers were able to achieve this within their final designs.
The extension pods were designed and built off-site by Boutique Modern – a specialist modular building design company that we have worked with on a number of residential and education pre-fab projects. The three modular units were constructed on the factory floor by a fit-out crew of plumbers, electricians, joiners, tilers and decorators. So they were essentially fully-finished and habitable when they left the factory.
On completion, the extension pods were transported to site and hoisted into place by a roadside crane – providing a unique spectacle for local residents! On the day, it was possible to undertake the installation with the road only partially closed, allowing traffic to flow via a single lane. The pods were then attached structurally to blend seamlessly with the existing building.
Image credits: Peter Overill Associates
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