Precast modular construction is changing the sector

Precast modular construction

Neil Magner and Gavin Lowe, of FP McCann outline how precast modular construction has been used to regenerate Swansea University’s New Bay Campus

St. Modwen, the regeneration specialist behind the new £450 million Swansea University Bay Campus, signed another development agreement to provide an additional £50m of student accommodation and student facilities at the site. An additional 545 student apartments were completed during the first quarter of 2016. The main building contractor, Galliford Try, was appointed to the contract in 2014 and work commenced on the land, formerly a BP distribution hub, in the autumn.

FP McCann successfully tendered for the supply and install contract on student accommodation buildings 15 and 16 and deliveries of the precast concrete modular system commenced in late 2014. Based on a process where walls, floor and ceiling slabs are linked together to form a unique crosswall construction, the precast panels were factory-formed to suit design requirements.

In total, some 2400 individual precast units have been installed, consisting of walls, floors, stairs and landings. Gable walls and party walls are 160mm thick, while the floor slabs in each room are 175mm thick. Window and door openings have been accommodated and each bedroom has four conduits cast into the walls for electrics and communications networks.

All horizontal and vertical sections were designed for ease of build, linking together with hidden tie rods. Joints were finished with a high-strength non-shrink grout, fully conforming to building regulations. Walls and ceilings were completed to a quality fair-face finish, allowing for a simple gypsum wash prior to final decoration. In total, 541 individual bathroom pods have also been installed as part of the build. The modular system offers excellent acoustic, thermal mass and fire resistant properties associated with precast concrete.

The scope of precast modular construction

To date, over 33,000 precast concrete rooms have been manufactured by FP McCann and erected on a variety of projects, with one of the most prestigious being the 788 room University of East London Campus at the Royal Albert Docks. Over 30 student accommodation projects have been completed nationwide, providing nearly 19,000 rooms. On-going contracts include Southampton University and the student accommodation as part of the huge £1billion North West Cambridge development.

The new Swansea Campus is a major highlight of St. Modwen’s ongoing 3,500-acre regeneration programme across South Wales. The on-going development of the University will create a world-class educational establishment that will benefit students, staff and the local community for generations to come.

Neil Magner

Architectural & Structural Precast Managers


Gavin Lowe

Architectural & Structural Precast Managers


Tim Fairbairn

Architectural & Structural Precast Managers


Please note: this is a commercial profile


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