The Weigall Road Urban Houses project is part of the Kidbrooke Village regeneration scheme in South East London and consists of 15 terraced houses. Thirteen of the houses are the Berkeley Urban House typology, which is a patented design of back to back terraced house developed to deliver high quality homes at double the density of standard terraced housing, therefore addressing the land inefficiency associated with traditional house design.
The Berkeley Urban House is a three storey townhouse with a rectangular ground floor plate, which is repeated at the first floor and reduced in depth on the second floor to accommodate a terrace (see attached floor plans). The design lends itself to modular construction, so, after building an earlier version of the Urban House design with traditional construction methods, the decision was made to trial the use of modular construction for this project.
The project started in September 2016 with the first 2 prototype homes being built with pods manufactured by Elements Europe. The bulk of the project (the remaining 13 units) started with groundworks in January 2017 and is due to complete in February 2018. The structural elements of the build were completed in December 2017 with the last 2 months spent on landscaping and interiors. The pods for the remaining 13 units were manufactured by Caledonian Modular Ltd.
Each house is composed of 3 pods, one for each floor, with the exception of the 2 end terrace units that are a different design and have an additional pod. The pods are steel framed, insulated and finished internally with windows, floors, skirting, door frames, kitchens etc. and with service risers. The pods were delivered to site by Caledonian and lifted into place using a mobile crane (see photos). On site activities included: completing the staircases and services internally, cladding the building with brickwork, completing the roof terrace and external access staircase, and landscaping works.
This was the first fully modular housing project undertaken by the Berkeley Group and as such was a huge learning curve for all involved. Various hurdles had to be overcome mostly relating to successfully connecting the pods vertically and the pod manufacture achieving the required levels of quality. Despite the issues, Berkeley see modular construction as having an important role in the future of house building and as such we are investing in the development of our own modular manufacturing facility which is due to be operational by 2020. The lessons learned from the Weigall Road Urban Houses project have been documented in order to improve the efficiency of our future modular projects.