Experience of using Modern Methods of Construction on housing association projects is paying off handsomely for Wellington Construction of Lowestoft. About 60% of Wellington’s business is social housing, for which the use of a Modern Method of Construction is a prerequisite in order to obtain Housing Corporation funding.
Wellington has been using Celcon aircrete blocks with the Thin-Joint system, a recognised MMC, for this housing work and has been so impressed by the results that it has transferred the technology to other areas of its business – and is reaping commercial benefits.
A recent example is Quay View Business Park, Lowestoft, where Wellington is undertaking a number of office developments. Celcon Jumbo Plus blocks with the Thin-Joint system have been used throughout to infill the steel frame, forming the inner leaf of the building, and for all the internal walls. The steel-framed office blocks are between 250 and 450 sq m each. They have yellow brick facings with fittings and barge boards in steel grey and pitched tiled roofs which together create a high quality, stylish office block.
“We changed to Celcon blocks with Thin-Joint technology for the many benefits it brings,” says Wellington construction director Paul Pitcher. “The system provides excellent insulation – both acoustic and thermal – as well as airtightness, a key requirement under the current building regulations. On top of this the Thin-Joint system is so much more efficient: much quicker and tidier on site, no noisy cement mixers and no sand blowing around. Our bricklaying gangs adapted to it very quickly. Experienced workers will always be a bit apprehensive of changing to something new, but the first project convinced them. They could not believe how quick and easy it was; Celcon Jumbo Plus blocks with quick-setting Celfix mortar cut the time required for blocklaying by nearly half.”
Five office blocks have already been completed and have attracted high quality tenants including a firm of chartered accountants, a firm of structural engineers and a fostering society. Wellington is now working on the sixth and seventh buildings, and when complete there will be 11 on the site. The most recent building is being constructed using the Rå Build system, rather than steel frame, in order to cut construction time, as the client needs to occupy the building as soon as possible. The inner skin of the building is being constructed in Thin-Jointed Celcon aircrete blockwork, complete with first floor and roof to provide a watertight envelope. The outer skin will then go up while first fix trades are working inside the building.