Lego-style building blocks standardise school construction

Professional Engineering

(Credit: McAvoy Group)
(Credit: McAvoy Group)

The UK needs to build 500 schools every year to keep up with demand, and it’s falling behind. But engineers can help.

An industry consortium is creating a ‘building block’ that could revolutionise the construction of buildings such as schools. 

The Seismic project (Standardisation of School Components), which saw industry partners working with the Manufacturing Technology Centre, is aiming to reduce the number of parts and the weight of ‘offsite build’ construction with a one-size-fits-all approach. 

“By standardising, it will be possible to reach design solutions quickly and build schools with components from multiple suppliers, sharing orders and smoothing order books, giving stability and predictability,” says Darrin Witcher, senior transformation adviser at the centre.

The first step has been to standardise the modular frame. “The consortium has developed a universal connector, which enables frame connections across the industry to be standardised vertically and horizontally,” says Witcher. “Think of it as the ‘Lego’ building block for building design.”

The initial results have been encouraging, with the frame delivering a 70% reduction in parts and a 50% reduction in weight. This has also helped reduce the carbon emissions generated by the building work. 

Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the views of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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