Pre-built apartments craned into position on Bristol’s Park Street

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Pre-built apartments, 50 Park Street,

Nine pre-built apartments have been lifted by a 200-tonne crane into 50 Park Street, Bristol, through the open roof into the cleared shell of the building

Urban Creation is behind a pioneering approach to construction that is seeing bespoke, pre-built apartments craned into an existing building on one of Bristol’s most famous thoroughfares.

The site – 50 Park Street – was formerly a nightclub but was vacant and dilapidated when Urban Creation bought it in in 2018.

Urban Creation has teamed up with modular construction specialist Go Modular, which has created bespoke, pre-built apartments built specially to fit into the building. The apartments are already fully fitted out and decorated with kitchens and bathrooms in place.

Jonathan Brecknell, director and owner at Urban Creation, said: “The UK is facing a significant construction skills shortage, which is exacerbating the housing crisis as it means we aren’t delivering enough homes to meet demand. Modular construction is set to revolutionise the future of home building in the UK, as it brings huge benefits compared to traditional builds.

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“There’s potential for modular homes to be delivered much quicker than traditional homes, putting less pressure on our stretched construction skills pool. They’re created in a controlled environment, meaning the construction programme isn’t at the mercy of adverse weather – plus there are fewer snagging issues as a result. Not to mention the fact that it causes less disruption to neighbours as most of the build is carried out offsite.”

Over four nights, from 11-14 August between the hours of 8pm and 5am, nine pre-built apartments have been lifted by 200-tonne crane into 50 Park Street through the open roof into the cleared shell of the building, after arriving by lorry from a factory in Southampton. Park Street will be closed during these hours. 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.

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

The pre-built apartments scheme will include 13 beds in total, including two three-bedroom flats, five one-bedroom duplexes – with an upper bedroom area – and two studios.

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.”

Phil Hodge, Southern region director for the Federation of Master Builders, commented: “Urban Creation’s project of re-purposing an existing site by preserving the outer skin whilst using modular off-site manufactured units installed within it is ground-breaking. It combines new building technology whilst preserving the heritage of this much-loved part of Bristol. Bringing in pre-manufactured elements also assures that the building out-performs the expected standards for thermal efficiency, setting an example of what can be done to help meet our carbon emissions reduction targets as a nation.

“Furthermore, this project creates new accommodation above an area of retail units, helping to repopulate the inner city, relieving pressure on our housing shortage. This is a great example of how new solutions to renovating existing sites can address multiple challenges and the Federation of Master Builders is calling upon house builders to consider new approaches like this, in future projects.”

The pre-built apartments will be let to the student market and are scheduled to be ready for occupation in September this year.

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