Portakabin, the UK’s market leader in modular construction, successfully installed a 70-module complex at the Cross Green Road site in Leeds earlier this year, with installation complete in under three weeks.

Following a successful bid to the Department for Education in 2019, Leeds City Council announced Co-op Academies Trust as the successful sponsor of the special educational needs free school. The DfE selected modular specialist, Portakabin, to deliver this project.

The school opened in temporary accommodation at another Co-op Academy Trust site, on time and welcomed 56 children in September 2022. The new building will welcome the second cohort of students, an additional 86 children in September 2024. Full capacity of 200 is expected to be reached the following year.

Portakabin precision-engineered the modules, that were designed specifically for Co-op Academies Trust project, at its manufacturing facility in York and transported them less than 35 miles away to the site in Leeds. Known as ‘Co-op Academy Brierley’, the new SEND school will host 200 students from the ages of 4-16 in Leeds. The school is set to have a primary and secondary provision and will become an essential part of the local community in East Leeds.
Constructed off site using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), the school was installed quickly and safely despite having to manage around periods of high wind, with all custom-built modules on-site in less than three weeks.

James Pearson, Divisional MD at Portakabin, said: “Co-op Academy Brierley is one of the projects awarded to us on the DfE’s MMC framework. Despite the inclement weather, we were able to successfully deliver and install 70 modules safely in just 19 days, maintaining the agreed contract programme.

“Particular attention has been paid to preserving existing trees on site, despite the need for extensive sculpting of levels on the site, to achieve the gradients required for compliant access. It’s a great pleasure to celebrate the first milestone in this project, which will become an important part of the local community.”

Alongside over 27 classrooms and dedicated teaching space, the completed school will boast extensive minibus drop-off facilities, approximately 130 car parking spaces for staff and visitors, an immersive technology room, therapy, and sensory rooms.

After starting on site in January, installation was completed on 18 February, with the project set to be handed over before the start of the new school year in September 2024.

Sarah Harridge, Head Teacher, said: “The pace that our new school was built was nothing short of spectacular, this new school will give children with special needs in Leeds a state of the art, custom built provision with their needs at the heart of every decision made in the build process.”

Vicki England, Co-op Academy Project Manager, said: “This project has been very smooth and has remained on budget throughout which is of course very important when we’re working with Department for Education budgets, the school looks fantastic so far and we look forward to welcoming all 142 children to their new facility in September.”

The planned opening date for Co-op Academy Brierley is September 2024.



The MMC Awards recognise excellence in construction for projects utilising modern methods of construction. TG Escapes specialise in providing biophilic, net-zero buildings to the education sector. Following their success in the 2023 MMC awards (Project of the Year for the English Department at Ratcliffe College and Public Sector Innovation of the Year for their Biophilic School design), their classroom block at Brune Park was Highly Commended in the Secondary/Higher Education category and they were awarded Manufacturer of the Year for Category 2 Modular Panelised Systems.

TG Escapes provide bespoke, modular, timber frame system has been utilised for hundreds of school buildings including SEND facilities, classroom blocks, dining halls and drama studios. The biophilic approach ensures that these spaces are full of natural light and have easy access to the outdoors. The impact on students is pronounced, with a calming effect that helps to reduce stress and increase focus. They are particularly active within the SEND and SEMH fields, producing a range of specially designed spaces intended to benefit students with diverse needs.
They offer a turnkey approach to clients across the UK, designing, manufacturing, installing and finishing each building. Everything starts with a free site survey and bespoke design process, after which they provide a comprehensive fixed price covering every aspect of a new school building.

They offer several clear benefits to schools:

  • Stunning Bespoke Designs: The in-house team of architects and engineers is able to produce wholly bespoke designs to meet a school’s specific needs. The buildings are aesthetically beautiful and designed to blend seamlessly with existing structures and with natural surroundings. They can feature a variety of finishes from natural timber to brick or render.
  • Cost-Effective: Modern methods of construction offer cost savings at every stage, which are further enhanced by an in-house manufacturing and turnkey service. Streamlined offsite construction minimises waste, and quick onsite installation minimises labour. The buildings equal or better the performance of a traditional brick and mortar build at reliably lower prices.
  • Quick Installation: Components are delivered to a school site in a controlled manner and sensitive to the school’s timetable, which minimises disruption allowing education continuity. For smaller projects, time onsite can be as little as 8 weeks.
  • Biophilic Principles: TG Escapes has long been a proponent of biophilic design principles, emphasising a connection to nature with each of their buildings. They incorporate natural light, views of nature, physical access to the outdoors and advanced ventilation systems, all of which have a profound impact on stress, mental health, and even exam performance.
  • Net-Zero Design as Standard: Through a combination of energy-efficient materials, a fabric first approach, solar panels, advanced ventilation technology and expert design, they achieve net-zero in operation as standard and can also certify the buildings as lifetime net-zero if required.
  • Built For Long-Term Performance: Timber is one of the oldest and most sustainable building materials used throughout the millennia and still stands the test of time. These permanent buildings satisfy or exceed all regulatory compliance and TG Escapes are Gold Members of the Structural Timber Association and Platinum Members of Construction Line.
  • Turnkey Service: They cover everything from the initial design to the final handover of keys, for a single upfront price. This includes site preparation, all foundations, planning permission and service connections. Throughout the project, you will have a clear point of contact with their friendly team who will manage the project from start to finish.

With over 800 buildings UK wide they are dedicated to offering an unparalleled service to education clients, with an average score of 4.9 out of 5 from 189 customer reviews.

Mrs Gill Farmer, Trust Business Manager, said: “TG Escapes responded quickly to any questions or concerns we raised with them from the design stage to completion. They worked with us to ensure that the school could continue to operate safely whilst they were on site. Any issues that were raised with the site team were immediately addressed and they followed our school risk assessment. They made the experience far less stressful than we had anticipated. The project was delivered ahead of time to a high standard.”

For more information, call 0800 917 7726, email info@tgescapes.co.uk or visit www.tgescapes.co.uk


Ben Wernick – Managing Director Wernick Buildings


In recent news, concerns have arisen over the safety of school buildings in the UK constructed with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC). This urgent situation calls for immediate action to ensure the health and safety of students and staff. Guidance issued by the Department for Education (DfE) advised that “any space or area with confirmed RAAC should no longer be open without mitigations in place”.


This highlights the issue that some schools will have to either delay reopening or close and urgent plans to be put in place to overcome these challenging times. With schools hoping to reopen after the summer holiday, action must be taken almost immediately for those affected.

It is notable that the modular construction industry stands as a reliable and well-positioned alternative that provides enhanced safety, durability, and sustainability in building and developing educational units. Modular buildings exhibit exceptional attributes, notably in safeguarding the security and welfare of their occupants. Unlike traditional construction methods, modular buildings are built in controlled factory environments, adhering to strict quality control protocols. This means that safety measures, such as structural integrity and fire resistance, are rigorously assessed and implemented during the manufacturing process. Moreover, as modular structures are designed to be transported and installed on-site, they require stronger and more resilient building components to withstand transportation stresses. This heightened attention to durability offers additional reassurance regarding the structural soundness of modular buildings.

Efficient construction time

Time is of the essence when dealing with urgent matters such as the closure of your school. Modular construction provides a significant advantage by significantly reducing construction timelines. Since modules are created off-site concurrently with site preparation, projects can be completed much faster than traditional construction. This expeditious approach minimises potential interruptions to academic activities, ensuring students can return to their studies as quickly as possible.

Additionally, the fabrication of modular buildings tends to be less disruptive than on-site construction. Noise and other disturbances are kept to a minimum, further supporting an uninterrupted learning environment during the construction process.

Modular construction not only saves time but also offers cost-effective solutions. The controlled environment of modular factories minimises material wastage and reduces the need for rework. With fewer delays and expenses associated with inclement weather, modular construction projects are more likely to adhere to budgetary constraints. Furthermore, modular buildings are designed to be easily expanded or reconfigured, allowing educational institutions to adapt to evolving needs and enrolment fluctuations. This adaptability provides long-term cost savings by avoiding the need for major renovations or additional construction in response to changing circumstances.


Sustainability and environmental responsibility

At Wernick Buildings we constantly strive to improve our environmental practices. Our controlled factory environment allows for efficient use of energy and resources, limiting waste generation. Additionally, sustainable materials can be incorporated during manufacturing, ensuring a reduced carbon footprint.  Furthermore, modular buildings can be designed to be energy-efficient with the incorporation of green technologies such as solar panels, rainwater harvesting systems, and LED lighting. These features reduce operational costs and promote sustainability by minimising resource consumption and carbon emissions.  In response to the recent news regarding the closure of school buildings built with potentially unsafe construction materials, the modular construction industry stands as an ideal solution, armed with its focus on safety, speed, cost-efficiency, and environmental responsibility. We have a range of high-quality, flexible modular classroom blocks that are ready to go, offering a quick and efficient solution for your educational space. Our modular buildings are constructed with cutting-edge materials, exceeding safety standards and are built to last.

Wernick Buildings are dedicated to supporting schools and safeguarding the well-being of both students and staff.


To advance your educational space, contact Wernick Buildings today.



BOXX Modular, a leader in temporary space solutions, proudly announced the successful completion of a groundbreaking project in collaboration with the University of Delaware. The project involved designing and installing a state-of-the-art modular building on the prestigious Star Campus in Newark, Delaware.

The impressive single-story structure spans 27,000 square feet, making it the epitome of temporary on-campus leased space. Comprising thirty-two skillfully built modules, the sophisticated building weighs over 1 million pounds and occupies nearly two-thirds of an acre. It features three distinct wings dedicated to scientific laboratories, classrooms, and relocation flexibility, seamlessly connected by a central corridor.

The construction of this unique modular building commenced with the installation of engineered foundation piers, providing solid support for the entire structure and its access systems. Meanwhile, expertly crafted 15-ton modules were meticulously manufactured at an off-site factory and transported a combined distance of 25,000 miles. Once delivered by truck, the on-site assembly of these modules created an awe-inspiring building.

After completion of the foundation, a meticulous process of seaming the building sections together commenced, connecting to underground utilities and ensuring the installation of fire alarm and sprinkler systems. Additional construction tasks included pouring concrete sidewalks and constructing handicap-accessible entrances. The building received a meticulous fitting of cutting-edge laboratories, classrooms, and offices, with special attention given to the wet labs used for biology and chemistry. These labs feature precise yet flexible systems for ventilation, plumbing, electrical work, piped gases, and adaptive technological connectivity, meeting the stringent requirements of the university.

The Star Campus at the University of Delaware is renowned for its dedication to innovation, cutting-edge research, top-notch academics, community service, and economic development. Understanding the need for a superior temporary modular building, the university placed its trust in BOXX Modular’s proven expertise and outstanding reputation to deliver a customized solution that meets their exact requirements.


Source: Market Scale

The inaugural Modern Methods of Construction Awards recognises excellence in modular construction. TG Escapes Timber Frame Eco-Buildings were honoured to receive awards in two categories, winning both the ‘panelised system’ Project of the Year for their 10-classroom block at Ratcliffe college and the Public Sector Innovation of the Year for their innovative concept of a Biophilic Primary School with Early Years.

Ratcliffe College

Ratcliffe is an independent school located in Leicestershire. In 2021, requiring more space for their growing student numbers, they sought a company to build a new teaching block that would accommodate their whole English department.
Speed and design were two factors emphasised strongly by the college which played a key part in TG Escapes being awarded the contract – ‘they deliver a stylish, sustainable, economic solution with a bespoke design, a timber frame and engineering that achieves net zero in operation’.  Using a panelised modular system designed by in-house architects and engineers, the 925m2, ten classroom, two storey block was built in only 28 weeks, inclusive of demolition and enabling works to the original site. The modular approach saved time and compound space, simultaneously reducing costs versus more traditional construction solutions.  The building is sited in a prominent position in full view of parents dropping off their children and so was designed as an aesthetically pleasing addition to the school. The design includes a full height atrium with roof lights, a large PV array and a living roof along with a mix of render, cedar and neo-life cladding to the external façade. Views of nature, easy access to the outdoors, natural light and materials, were all considered and  are proving to enhance the well-being of students and their educational experience.

Head of English, Luanda Stannard says.

“Teaching staff are really enjoying the space in the rooms. We’ve got a lot more space to configure the desks as we want and it’s easier to walk around the room. We like the brightness. To teach in, they are extremely fit for purpose and having smart new rooms is quite exciting for the students as well.
It has all been received very well by parents and staff from other departments with comments like ‘Wow! This is amazing.’ Because it is the best building in the school. The most impressive building. The wall art particularly and the atrium area are fabulous. Very positive responses.
I think that there is a difference in attitude working in an environment that is good for learning. I can certainly see that because they have got the space and the light. It is a little bit early to tell but, I would say that certainly in behavioural terms in the classes themselves there has been a positive influence.
Overall, it is a massively positive building and it is a positive experience to work and learn in it.”

Biophilic Primary School

TG Escapes believe that connecting young people to nature can help not just educational outcomes but also health and well-being. They wanted to design a completely biophilic environment providing outdoor learning for the majority of the curriculum, and do this in a way which was affordable. This single-entry nursery and primary school for 300 children is constructed almost entirely from timber, with a low embodied carbon value, to be highly sustainable and lifetime net-zero.
The modular timber frame solution provides bright, airy buildings with high ceilings, exposed timber and abundant glazing for natural ventilation and light. It is clad in natural timber and features large solar PV arrays for sustainable net-zero operation. The approach makes biodiversity a priority with bird and bat boxes, insect-supporting structures, natural living roofs, rainwater capture and ongoing tree planting.
The design utilises separate pavilions connected by covered walkways and canopies, arranged to envelop a central landscaped, terraced area with an outdoor class at its centre. The walkways replace much redundant internal circulation with time outdoors, supporting various features such as seating, outdoor play and learning facilities, and sedum roofs. Modular construction means it can be built over a number of years, starting with early-years, adding accommodation for each new intake.
The total cost of the build, (excluding landscaping and services which will be site-specific) is £4m. The whole-life carbon calculation exceeds the RIBA 2030 target for schools.
TG Escapes provide an all-inclusive design and build turnkey service. The offsite modular construction process means that a bespoke design building can be completed on-site in as little as 6 weeks. With over 800 buildings countrywide, they are used in education for classrooms, canteens, sports facilities, training centres, early years spaces, SEND facilities and more. Rated by customers on Feefo they score 4.9 out 5 based on 183 reviews.


For more information CLICK HERE to visit the website


call 0800 917 7726


or CLICK HERE to email TG Escapes



Delivering outstanding educational outcomes for young people requires high quality teaching spaces. Whatever kind of nursery, school, college or university building you need, modular solutions for hire can be easily and quickly integrated into your existing estate.  Here, Chris Coxon, from Algeco, looks at why, with ongoing pressure on capital budgets, more schools are choosing modular classrooms.


‘The secondary school population is forecast to increase by an extra 207,000 pupils by 2026*. That means more classrooms are needed. At the same time, refurbishing old classrooms or reconfiguring schools creates a pressing need for temporary or decant classrooms.
By choosing to hire, schools benefit from a learning environment that’s there for as long as they need it, and without needing to dip into Capex budgets. When the school has finished with the classrooms, they are simply taken away. It really couldn’t be easier.

Greater flexibility
When choosing a modular classroom there are a number of factors to consider. Research shows that fundamentals such as lighting and ventilation are of utmost importance in a learning environment. The HEAD Project (Holistic Evidence and Design)** found that more daylight and fresh air, within an optimised teaching environment, can increase learning capacity by up to 8%. It’s one of the reasons why we incorporate design features such as larger windows in our temporary classrooms.
A whole range of configurations are available, offering light and airy classrooms, with modules stackable up to four storeys high. Flexible, highly effective teaching spaces can be created easily, to your exact requirements.

Minimal disruption

Our modular classrooms are prepared offsite, which means pupils and teachers face minimal disruption to the day-to-day running of the school. Expect fewer delivery vehicles, fewer vehicle movements and a quicker, quieter, safer installation process, compared to traditional construction methods.  It’s also worth bearing in mind that our permanent and temporary classrooms are fully compliant with building regulations and DfE specifications. That includes the latest acoustic and thermal performance requirements.  As you would expect, our temporary, modular classrooms offer full WiFi, 4G broadband and data packages. These are part of our Plug’n’Play solution, meaning your classroom can be online within minutes.
Suitable for all ages, our education solutions include portable nursery buildings and crèches for pre-school age groups. Our portable nursery buildings are configured to meet the spatial needs of the seven areas of learning and development for young children, so there’s no need to compromise on facilities, even if it’s temporary.
Our 360 service provides you with a building fitted with fire safety equipment, such as a smoke detector, fire alarm, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, emergency exit signage, access control and much more.
We can equip modular buildings with a range of safety features for students including finger guards for doors, heaters with a low surface temperature, CCTV, controlled access, taps with blending valves and more.
We offer modular classrooms, lecture theatres for students, laboratories, sports halls, music rooms, toilets and WC facilities, changing rooms, teacher and staff welfare units and storage facilities.
Built-in sustainability  Once you’re finished with your temporary classroom, we’ll remove it for you, refurbish it and use it again. In fact, our modular classroom units can be reused, on average, up to 20 times or more during their lifecycle, which is an efficient use of materials – much better for the environment than building anew each time.
Our classrooms are also up to 96% recyclable, and benefit from a number of features, such as LED lighting and climate control systems, to help reduce energy consumption and maximise comfort all-year round.   Plus, our new range of Smart technology solutions can help your school to save up to 30% on its modular classroom energy consumption, by actively managing the building to reduce running costs.

Decant solution for Mayfield Primary School

Operating as a 315-place primary school with a 26-place nursery, the classrooms at Mayfield Primary School were in a poor state of repair, and inefficiently configured. The existing school buildings were located towards the centre of the site which limited the capacity for external play and team sports.
The strategic vision for the new school was to increase the pupil intake to 420, as a 2-form entry with 30 nursery places.  The project, which was managed by Algeco, involved relocating the reception classroom modular building, decanting pupils into temporary accommodation, and constructing a new, three-storey, 2,214m2 building, complete with drainage, new service connections and hard and soft landscaping.  Manufacturing the modular buildings offsite minimised disruption at the school, while our high-quality temporary classrooms enabled teaching to continue throughout the build process.  The way forward  Whether you’re making space for additional pupils, or need a decant solution while you carry out much-needed refurbishments, or build a new school, we have the right solution for you.
Our temporary classrooms create high-quality, comfortable and inspiring learning environments that enable students of all ages to thrive. With our flexible hire contract terms, you can even spread the cost and avoid the need for capital expenditure. One phone call is all that’s needed to hire a modular building that’s ready for your staff and students.




Transforming the education sector with SmartSpace: McAvoy’s high-quality modular fleet for rental & sale

McAvoy has been manufacturing and delivering a wide range of innovative and adaptable space solutions for more than 50 years during which time it has delivered more than 10million square feet of high-quality accommodation across a range of sectors including education.

McAvoy recognised the need for a product that could support customers in meeting immediate needs, for example, to cope with classroom shortages, without having to make a large capital investment. Within the education sector, for example, this could enable funds to be used elsewhere, eg upgrading equipment or hiring staff, resulting in improved overall service levels.
Combining design expertise, engineering excellence and precision manufacturing, McAvoy created their SmartSpace modular fleet for rental and sale– which is amongst the newest of its kind – it is sustainable, safe, high quality, adaptable, and future-proofed. Offering endless configurations SmartSpace can also be easily repurposed.


So what is SmartSpace?
SmartSpace is McAvoy’s ready-to-go semi-permanent modular space solution designed for customers who want to rent or purchase accommodation within demanding lead-times. SmartSpace can be designed to accommodate anything from 10 to more than 1,000 people.

Incorporating the very latest in technology-led design, McAvoy’s high-quality SmartSpace solutions boast superior thermal performance, enhanced air tightness and U values that exceed current performance requirements. With a 90-minute plus fire rating floor to floor and a 60-minute plus fire rating inside to outside, complemented by A2 non-combustible cladding, insulation, and roofing every SmartSpace building is industry-leading and offers a stackable configuration of up to three storeys. For added design versatility and re-useability they come in three compatible and interchangeable module sizes.

All McAvoy’s SmartSpace modular solutions are warranty protected and boast high quality, low maintenance facades, commercial grade PPC aluminium external doors and low maintenance modern interiors.   With around 80% of the project being completed within our 70,000 sq ft purpose-built manufacturing facility, site disruption is significantly reduced.  McAvoy developed three different SmartSpace solutions to support its range of customer needs – with fast-track delivery guaranteed including SmartClass – designed and created for the education sector – which can be configured to meet the requirements of any education space in terms of whole-life costs, sustainability, flexibility, and overall quality.



0330 107 0799

SmartClass: Designed & Delivered

St Josephs National School,
County Dublin
Requirement:  To prepare for a rise in student enrolments, the Department of Education Building Unit required high-quality modular classrooms in time for students starting the new term.  Our solution:
Four SmartClass modular classrooms with WCs were delivered to site with 80% of the works having already been completed at our 70,000 sq ft purpose-built manufacturing facility, including electrics, internal partitioning, flooring, cladding and features an Air Sourced Heat Pump in accordance with NZEB requirements. The project was completed within 16 weeks and was delivered on time and to budget.

Ysgol Y Deri Special School
Requirement:  Home to 300 pupils, this is the largest special school in the UK. With rising admissions, the school had an urgent requirement for increased classroom provision for the September  term while it awaits a new build.
Our Solution:  52-week Rental.
Following appointment as principal contractor, McAvoy designed, built, and handed over the new SmartClass facility in less than 11 weeks from instruction and less than 5 weeks on site. The accommodation features an entrance lobby with cloakroom area, accessible WC and two individual pupil toilets with IPS as well as two 62m2 classrooms with wet play areas and dedicated storage rooms.

New ‘modular’ building planned for Bath Road school

A primary school is being allowed to build a ‘modular’ building for six new classrooms and a dedicated ‘family support’ area.

Applicants are set to put in the new building at Claycots Primary School on 19 Bath Road (site of the old town hall).

The new building will offer ‘a dedicated secure space’ for the family support team, where they can offer support to vulnerable children and their families.

This includes sessions for those children under nursery age, plus partnership working with other professionals to meet the needs of the individual children.

It will also add additional classroom space, which can also be used for indoor PE lessons when the weather prevents outdoor PE lessons.

The space which can be used for lettings in the community, ‘which will provide additional income for the school in the future.’

It can be used by community organisation’s ‘to develop partnerships and support our local community.’

Some ‘play structures’ will be demolished, freeing up the space.

The application was approved with certain conditions – including using the building as a support facility room/classroom only between the hours of 8.30am to 3.30pm to reduce noise and traffic pressures.

To see all documents related to this application, enter reference S/00015/053 into Slough council’s planning portal.

Source: Maidenhead Advertiser

TG Escapes modular eco-buildings have provided more than 300 education buildings in various settings UK wide. Over the past few years there has been a significant increase in demand from special schools and for SEND provision in mainstream schools.

Those working in SEND and SEMH report that a timber frame building using natural materials, with floor to ceiling windows and glass doors, also providing easy access to the outdoors with covered walkways, provide a particularly suitable environment.  Each TG Escapes building is architect designed with specific needs in mind. Small rooms can be included for breakout spaces while treatment rooms and sensory rooms can be easily accommodated, as can accessible toilets, ramps and kitchens.

The natural materials, natural lighting and excellent acoustics provide calming spaces which have a significant and positive impact on student and staff well-being.

Two recent projects have seen the provision of a building to connect to a SEND garden at Chichester College which provides further and higher education, and a multi-purpose building at Mountfield Heath SEMH school for students aged 5-11 with complex and challenging needs.  We asked Executive Head at Mountfield Heath, Lyndsey Jefferies, about the process and the building.

How did you find the construction service?

“I think the most important thing to share from my experience was the actual build. We were quite a small site and the space the team had to work in was tight but they were fantastic. They were so respectful of the fact they were working on a site with special needs children. They kept us up to date with what plant was coming on-site and knew that many of our children were very excited to see it. They let us know what machinery was coming, and when, so that the kids could be very involved and watch what was happening. Also, in terms of their conduct, we have previously had workmen here smoking, using foul language and playing loud radios. The TG Escapes team were just so respectful.

Timing was tight but every delivery came in spot on schedule. This really helped with us to be able to let our neighbours know when big deliveries were due which made the build less stressful. Dealing with complaints from neighbours can be tricky, but we could give them advance warning of large deliveries and noisy building work. It also meant I could move children to other parts of the school when needed.”

How is the eco-building working out?

“The first thing is it feels lovely. It feels very bright and airy and because we are in quite a rural area it really is in keeping with the woodland, the trees and the fields. It doesn’t look out of place with our environment.  The natural materials change the feel of it and I think for a modular build it feels really solid and robust. The other thing is all the rooms have got lots of light, but there has been careful consideration about it. The kitchen area is a long galley with floor to ceiling windows that maximise the natural light.

The height of the ceilings is another massive plus. Often the ceilings in modular builds are very low so you feel very enclosed, but our ceilings are of a really good height which gives a feeling of space. A lot of our children suffer from sensory processing issues and so the lighting and the feel of a space are very important, as are the acoustics. The acoustics in our building are very good. Although many modular builds are very echoey, ours is not because of the ceiling tiles which are different to the rest of the school. We also have adaptive ventilation, due to our concerns about Covid, and air conditioning which are also great. The insulation is phenomenal and the building heats up very quickly then holds the heat. It’s very efficient.

What works very well are the verandas. Having the decking coming straight off the front, that indoor/outdoor space works very well with our children. TG Escapes took full consideration of the school environment and maintained excellent communication.”

Robert Kay, Director of Estates at Chichester College says

“TG Escapes provide a real ‘turn key’ solution, and take care of everything, from design to planning and final installation.”

TG Escapes modular eco-buildings offer a complete design and build service.

CLICK HERE for more information and case studies


call 0800 917 7726


or CLICK HERE to email TG Escapes


Here, James Withey, Managing Director at Algeco offsite, looks at how innovation in the design and delivery of modular platforms is driving forward the new schools building programme.

The pressing need for additional places is driving significant changes in the type of construction technique specified, with the government pushing for platform-based solutions.

In 2020, the UK government published its Construction Playbook – a document which aimed to set the future direction for the construction industry. It contained the following recommendations: Standardise designs, components and interfaces as much as is possible to improve quality, safety, performance and reduce environmental impact and; Drive innovation and Modern Methods of Construction, through standardisation and aggregation of demand, increased client capability and setting clear requirements of suppliers.

Previously, the Government had stated that five central government departments would adopt a presumption in favour of offsite construction, leveraging their buying power to support the modernisation of the sector. Their goal was to facilitate a platform approach to design for manufacture and assembly (P-DfMA). This is a process by which building products and components are designed in a way that enables them to be made on a large scale and then factory assembled.

This platform based approach requires components that are designed digitally for use across multiple types of built asset, which minimises the need for bespoke components for different types of assets. For example, the same modular building component could be used in the construction of a school, hospital or university accommodation.

As part of the consortium of partners that developed the Seismic, which uses a platform-based approach and takes its lead from P-DFMA, we like to think that we are strong proponents of standardised, offsite construction. We are living, breathing and delivering on the government’s objectives – and taking a leading role in the transformation of the industry as a whole.

There are good reasons why we took this approach, with P-DFMA modular construction techniques able to deliver projects in up to half the time of a conventional build, whilst achieving important synergies around cost, efficiency, build quality and safety.

Northampton School for Boys

Partly in response to a need for high quality teaching spaces, Northampton School for Boys applied to the Department for Education (DfE) to open a co-educational Free School. At the time of the application, extensive public consultation with the local community showed considerable support for the proposal. The site for the proposed school was owned by Northamptonshire County Council and the new facility would help meet the need for school places that were forecasted.  Following public consultation, the proposal was successful in gaining DfE funding and it was subsequently named Northampton School for Boys Multi-Academy Trust. The new school will create a 1200 place new secondary school, including sixth form provision for 11-18 year olds. It is a state funded single sex boys’ school. Girls are admitted to the Sixth Form.

Algeco was appointed to construct the school on behalf of the Department for Education who are funding the school. When completed, the school will be operated by the Northampton School for Boys Charitable Trust. Fittingly for such a forward thinking school, we will deliver the construction programme using the Seismic platform.

We secured the project via the MMC1 Lot 1 modular framework and were appointed as Principal Design & Build Contractor, working with Watson Batty Architects. Our approach will provide a full turnkey solution. Work began on site in January 2023.  A combination of our offsite and modular building construction system was chosen to deliver the programme. Utilising the Seismic platform for the modules will realise significant benefits; it is 75% faster and achieves a 47% improvement in value compared to traditional construction techniques; it even offers a 33% improvement in speed when compared with standard modular construction.  Seismic delivers in other areas, too. It results in a significant reduction in both operational and embodied carbon of up to 70%. This is achieved through factors including design efficiency, materials selection and manufacturing effectiveness, leading to limited wastage.

A total of 210 Seismic modules will be supplied to create the main teaching areas. We will also be utilising a hybrid structure for the halls, which require large open plan internal spaces.  Delivering these important programme benefits is helped by the fact that we manufacture the modular buildings at our facility in East Yorkshire. Utilising DfMA (Design for Manufacturing Assembly) and Lean Manufacturing, combined with Seismic design platform, allows us to deliver the modules with a high PMV (Pre Manufacturer Value) of around 80 percent. This reduces the amount of work required on site and means that we can achieve the strict schedule on this project. The building modules will be delivered to site in August 2023. Handover of the completed school is scheduled to take place in 2024.

From a practical point of view, achieving a high PMV means that important compliance assessments can be carried out on the modules before they arrive on site, meaning it is done in a controlled, quality assessed environment that has strict procedures in place. That is important because, for example, carrying out fire and thermal performance testing on site is often a challenge due to it requiring continual observation and assessment throughout the entire build process to verify that the correct approach has been followed at each stage.

Doing this in a factory, where strict procedures and checks are in place is much easier and results in a more robust end result. In reality, it means that the building will perform better. In reality, they’re really aren’t issues with Seismic because of rigorous factory testing and we are exploring next phase developments on Seismic that will create pre-approved solutions.

Track record of project delivery

In line with the latest government guidance and policy, the Seismic platform was developed to drive a major shift towards a more productive, better quality and lower carbon construction industry.  Developed by a consortium of organisations, including ourselves, this cross-sector platform for construction projects uses the latest in digital and manufacturing technologies.  The platform facilitates the design, procurement, manufacture and assembly of buildings using standardised and interoperable components and assemblies. It enables contracting authorities to collaborate and benefit from increased efficiencies across different sectors.

We are currently the only company to supply offsite and modular buildings using the Seismic platform, enabling us to ‘manufacture at scale standardised building modules whilst maintaining exemplary quality levels. It’s currently being utilised in another major construction project, the £19.2m Laurance Calvert Academy in Leeds, along with several leisure and retail projects.

Designed in line with the government’s Construction 2025 targets, modular manufacturing programme makes a step change in the shift to a more productive, better quality and lower carbon construction industry. As a matter of course, we now guide any educational establishment looking to renew or expand their estates to consider the benefits of a platform-based approach. It has already been added to the Construction Platform Rulebook.

This approach uses a small number of repeatable base designs, whether the resulting component module is being used for a classroom, changing area or student accommodation unit. The standard design can then be tailored to meet individual customer needs later on the process, leading to significant economies of scale.   The platform has been transformational; previously the bottleneck in the modular industry was making the steel frame, yet with Seismic we have been able to more than quadruple our throughput. That has made a huge difference for customers looking for efficiencies in their construction programme.


Shown are images of the Build process of new Laurence Calvert modules from Algeco in Carnaby Bridlington. Images Copyright ©Darren Casey DCimaging

Consolidating growth  Recent project wins for Algeco came at the close of a very successful year, which saw us secure around £95m of new business, many within the education sector.  This year, we will consolidate this growth by investing in the expansion of our Carnaby factory in East Yorkshire to increase capacity. This includes ongoing investment in DfMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) and Lean Manufacturing to further unlock the benefits of standardised, platform-based construction and efficiency. Ultimately, it will drive a major shift towards a more productive, better quality and lower carbon construction industry.  There’s no doubt that developers, planners and manufacturers across the board are operating in difficult times, and the current economic climate requires us all to achieve more with less. But by adopting efficient approaches such as offsite construction platforms, combined with DfMA and Lean Manufacturing, the industry will be better able to achieve government targets and reduce costs and emissions, whilst delivering projects more efficiently.  In short, by adopting offsite construction more widely, and at the planning and design stages, the industry will be well-placed to meet the challenges ahead.


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