New wine in old bottles

Go Modular Technologies (UK) Ltd
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Nine prefabricated homes are being lowered by crane into an old building in Bristol, to convert an old nightclub into modern housing.

The housing modules, complete with kitchens and bathrooms already in place, are lifted through the open roof of the existing building shell over four nights this week – Sunday 11th to Wednesday 14th August, between 8pm and 5am.

The site – 50 Park Street – was once a nightclub but was vacant and dilapidated when developer Urban Creation bought it in in 2018. Whilst most of the buildings in Park Street are Georgian, number 50 was built in the 1950s after the previous building was bombed during World War II.

Urban Creation specialises in transforming unusual, complex buildings. Director and owner Jonathan Brecknell said: "We're very excited to be taking modular construction to a new level, using a highly innovative approach that has the potential to revolutionise the future of home building in the UK."

Urban Creation has teamed up with modular construction specialist Go Modular, which has created bespoke, ready-to-go homes built specially to fit into the building. The scheme includes two three-bedroom flats, five one-bedroom duplexes (with an upper bedroom area) and two studios. The apartments are already fully fitted out and decorated with kitchens and bathrooms in place.

While modular construction has been used widely for new builds, often on greenfield sites, Urban Creation believes that this approach shows what is possible in tight urban sites.

For the installation, Park Street is closed each night. Modules arrive on the back of a lorry from the factory in Southampton and are lifted by a 200-tonne crane into number 50 Park Street through the open roof of the stripped-out shell of the building. The lifting contractor is Ainscough. The first box was lifted in during the early hours of Monday morning, and the second the following night; together they form one apartment and the first floor staircase.

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The building team had already stripped out 50 Park Street, removing the internal floors and walls, and stabilised the shell of the building with a steel structure ready for the big lift-in.

Jonathan Brecknell added: "Modular homes are a far cry from the prefab housing of the 1940s. They are designed and fitted out to the highest standard and built to last. We pride ourselves in our meticulous attention to detail and ability to take complex buildings and give them a new lease of life - and 50 Park Street is no different."

"Now that we've put this innovative approach into action, we'll be looking to use this method in other suitable development projects."

The homes will be let to the student market and are scheduled to be ready for occupation next month.

The first box was lifted in the early hours of Monday morning. [Photo: Go Modular Technologies (UK) Ltd]

The first box was lifted in the early hours of Monday morning. [Photo: Go Modular Technologies (UK) Ltd]


The first module is steered into place [Photo: Go Modular Technologies (UK) Ltd]


The student rooms were put together in the factory [Photo: Go Modular Technologies (UK) Ltd]


This is the gutted building that is being refurbished by installation of prefab modules


Home sweet home [Photo: Go Modular Technologies (UK) Ltd]