Pioneering offsite manufacturing and prefabrication

Pioneering offsite manufacturing and prefabrication
The now complete Plimsoll Building in King’s Cross. Image © John Sturrock

SES Engineering Services’ Will Newman explains how offsite manufacturing and prefabrication can improve the construction process while increasing efficiency

There is a common illusion that residential projects are generally repetitive. However, the Gasholders project in London tells another story.

Set in King’s Cross – one of the largest areas of central London to be developed in the past 150 years – the circular Gasholders London project is a pioneering example of cutting-edge offsite manufacturing and prefabrication.

Housing 145 luxury apartments, the project is the sixth Mechanical & Electrical (M&E) design and build project for leading national engineering specialist, SES Engineering Services on the King’s Cross site.

Its success has been a team effort. Working alongside main contractor Carillion, and developer King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership, SES is delivering full M&E works on three ground-breaking circular residential buildings which will sit within the original Grade II-listed, cast-iron gasholder guide frames.

A history of success

This project follows on from the success of offsite manufacturing on the revolutionary Plimsoll Building (P1). In this project, SES utilised world-leading offsite manufacturing techniques to design and install 255 service cupboard modules, one for each apartment. They contained all essential mechanical and electrical plant and equipment. The team is now applying the same technologies to install more than 300 (due to services being split) cupboard modules at the new Gasholders London build. The project presents the additional challenge of ensuring M&E solutions are designed exclusively for a circular building.

By creating the cupboard modules offsite, SES has avoided multiple trades on site working in a congested area, along with the associated logistical and health and safety issues.

The cupboards are produced at SES’ dedicated offsite manufacturing facility, Prism, and delivered to site shrink-wrapped in batches of 15 modules per lorry. The frames are fitted with stiffening bars to prevent any twisting during transportation, and with wheels, so that once hoisted up the building they can be rolled across the concrete floor slabs to the flats. Once in position, they are jacked up, the wheels are removed, and they are then lowered and fixed into position.

Also, SES is delivering all the main service risers covering six riser shafts each extending up the three gasholders incorporating 1.7km of finished and tested pipework, ductwork and electrical containment.

SES Operations Manager, Will Newman explains: “By using these cupboards and developing them in the factory, we’re taking about eight trades off-site. They only take about a week to make, and the finished products are dust free, clean and ready to go.”

The project has been set with high offsite manufacturing targets; in addition to the circular modules SES has successfully delivered the 3D BIM modelling for prefabricated M&E service risers, full take-offs and cut lists for the basement plant areas and corridors.

To date the hours taken offsite on this project are substantial, currently standing at a total of over 12,500.

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David J Mason

Executive Business Director

SES Engineering Services Ltd

Please note: this is a commercial profile


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