The McAvoy Group has unveiled a prototype house at its factory in Lisburn to demonstrate the potential of its new modular housing solution and latest innovations for the residential sector
Designed to be assembled onsite in just one day, the steel-framed building system can be used to construct both multi-storey apartments and houses in a wide variety of configurations to meet the needs of all housing tenures — affordable homes for rent, shared ownership, market sale, build-to-rent, student accommodation and emergency housing.
Designed and engineered by McAvoy in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and Todd Architects, the prototype house has been manufactured and fitted out entirely offsite to showcase a number of new innovations in offsite housing. It is now available for viewing by developers and housing providers at the Group’s Lisburn site.
The house has an innovative floor construction created using highly sustainable recycled material — an alternative to energy-intensive concrete — and offering excellent thermal performance and acoustic properties. The roof module is pre-tiled in the factory, which is safer, faster and avoids work at height and in poor weather conditions. There is also a new lifting system with specially designed load-bearing brackets to facilitate installation on site.
Commenting on the prototype house, David Clark, Head of Manufacturing and Innovation at The McAvoy Group, said: “We wanted to give developers, housing providers and lenders the opportunity to see at first hand the quality of finish that we can construct in the factory. The prototype house was a critical part of our design and engineering programme, allowing us to test innovative new building techniques such as the lifting system and the floor construction — which has proved to be a high performance, highly sustainable and robust alternative to pre-installed concrete floors.
“The team at Queen’s University Belfast worked with us on the project in a collaborative knowledge transfer partnership, providing input on testing and structural design. In return, we were able to give valuable industrial experience and the opportunity for academic research into new methods of construction to address the housing crisis.”
The 95m2 prototype house has been developed for the affordable homes sector, providing three bedrooms and two bathrooms constructed in four steel-framed modules and two pre-tiled roof units, which can be installed onsite in just a few hours. It is designed to Lifetime Homes standards and features an accessible bathroom and provision for a platform lift.
Certified by BOPAS with a design life of at least 60 years, the McAvoy offsite housing system is a highly flexible building solution. It offers a wide range of façade treatments; roof options such as flat or pitched, and module configurations, including offset modules for further design variation. The system uses a light gauge steel frame to avoid the need for internal columns and offer the same ceiling heights as site-based building methods. The homes can be finished in render, brick, composite panels, timber or stone cladding to address planning requirements and to complement local architecture.
Bespoke housing designs can be developed to meet specific project requirements and there is a library of standardised layouts to help developers and housing providers reduce design time for planning and cost.