Modular Steel Framing Case Study - Mcdonald's 'Drive Thru' Constructed In Record Time

Topics Covered

Project Team

Client: McDonald’s Fast Food Restaurants
Contractors (Design & Build): McDonalds Corporate Technical Services Group
Structural Engineers: Britspace MBSL and Yorkon
Contractors: Britspace MBSL and Yorkon
Modular Unit Manuf’s Britspace MBSL and Yorkon

Project Overview

The Yorkon and Britspace Building Systems have been used to construct McDonald's drive-through restaurants nationwide. One project was completed in just 24 hours, and used a versatile light piling system.

Project Management

For many years Yorkon and Britspace have had a committed partnership with McDonald’s. Together their building systems have been used to construct over 300 McDonald's 'Drive-Thru' restaurants nationwide.

The 'Drive-Thrus' at Eye Green, Peterborough and Runcorn are two of a number of designs Yorkon and Britspace have manufactured for the restaurant chain, although these projects were not 'standard' designs. McDonald’s undertook these challenging projects in order to analyse the effectiveness of current procedures on-site.

The 50-seat restaurant at Peterborough was open for business in just 48 hours after site works commenced, including foundations. The installation of the Yorkon light steel frame modules took just under two hours.


Britspace have also worked closely with the McDonald's chain, and have constructed a large number of restaurants using their light steel framed modules. The Shopping City project in Runcorn was also notable for its speed on site and was completed 24 hours after the site had been fully prepared.

The switch from traditional build to modular construction initially reduced the construction programme of a typical restaurant from 12-16 weeks to 8 weeks. That has now been reduced to 4 weeks, with completion from module delivery to restaurant opening taking just 8 days.


This short construction programme was a challenge that gave McDonald’s the opportunity to examine their procedures on site and the use of a newly-designed pile foundation system by Bullivant.

The modules are positioned on top of the Bullivant’s piling system, which comprises a short steel pile driven into the ground, with a metal plate welded to the top of it. There is no need to dig holes, pour concrete or move foundation excavation waste off site. This system can accommodate whatever ground conditions are present.

Most of the fitting-out work was done in the Yorkon and Britspace factories. This included staff notice boards, chairs, tables and potted plants. It also includes some specialised fitting-out of the kitchen equipment, which was supplied and fixed by the client.

Application benefits

  1. Procurement through a single point of contact.
  2. Early return on investment.
  3. Modular framing offered the chance to achieve the minimum time on site.
  4. Innovative piling system suitable for all ground conditions.

A typical restaurant comprises six modules. The largest module used in the Peterborough and Runcorn projects was 12m x 3m and has glass facades on three sides. The Yorkon and Britspace modules have a rigid light steel frame, and it is this rigidity of the pre-engineered modules that allows the curtain walling to be factory installed.

The photograph (below) shows the units being lifted into position, arranged together, and the roof placed on the modules. The pitched roof is also made of light steel. The Bullivant light steel piling system is used to support the modules directly, and is suitable for all ground conditions.

Unit being lifted into position

Source: Corus

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