Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to the newest version of your browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of Construction News, please enable cookies in your browser.

Welcome to the Construction News site. As we have relaunched, you will have to sign in once now and agree for us to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Offsite manufacturing vital to complete university challenge

Without the use of offsite manufacturing, NG Bailey would not have been able to complete its project at Manchester Metropolitan University within the programme.

NG Bailey identified offsite manufacturing as vital to achieving the aims of its design-and-build contract at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Birley Fields campus.

Located on a 15-acre site in Hulme, south of Manchester city centre, the campus will be home to MMU’s Faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care and its Faculty of Education.

An energy centre is being built to heat and power the campus, which also includes new student accommodation facilities alongside the academic building.

NG Bailey won the contract for both the energy centre and the academic building, beginning work on site in April of last year.

Variety of components used

The firm’s engineering division has worked closely with its offsite manufacture division to design, deliver and install a number of offsite components. In total, 20 per cent of the project is being delivered in this way, or around £2.5m of the £12.5m overall MEP contract value.

NG Bailey senior contracts manager David Oatts explains how a variety of offsite components were used. “The energy centre was built offsite on a number of skids and at least 50 per cent of the servicing element was done offsite, too,” he says.

“Without using offsite manufacturing, you would have needed 250 to 300 men to get it done in time, so you couldn’t have done it”

David Oatts, NG Bailey

NG Bailey manufactured 12 plant skids and 10 service modules for the energy centre, which were built, bolted together and tested before being dismantled and transported. Interconnecting pipework was also made offsite in 100 sections.

The process took 20 weeks from design to delivery and was installed on site in four weeks.

On the academic building, six mechanical pipework risers were built, along with four electrical and data risers. These were prefabricated in sections and lowered down the builder’s work shafts, with each installed in just a day.

There were approximately 500 underfloor service modules across five floors, each around 3 m to 6 m long. These modules carry pipework, insulation and containment, and each floor was installed in a week.

Staying on programme

NG Bailey made all of the components at its own manufacturing facility in Bradford. A tight 44-week programme, including a 17-week commissioning period, made offsite manufacturing vital if the team was to stay on programme.

“I think what this project has shown is that we can use offsite to deliver a large proportion of a project like this”

David Oatts, NG Bailey

“Without using offsite manufacturing, you would have needed 250 to 300 men to get it done in time, so you couldn’t have done it,” Mr Oatts says.

The programme is the biggest challenge for the team, as the buildings have to be finished in time for students to use them next year.

The client also expected a “very high level” of quality, another aspect that offsite manufacturing helped to control.

In addition, 16,000 onsite man-hours were moved into the factory, helping to ensure the levels of health and safety were as high as possible.

Offsite boosts sustainability

Both MMU and Sir Robert McAlpine, the main contractor, identified early on that they wanted the project and the buildings to have good energy performance.

The team is aiming for a BREEAM Excellent rating on the academic building, with sustainability a big consideration on the project.

“Manufacturing offsite allowed us to reduce deliveries and foot traffic,” Mr Oatts explains. The team was also able to reduce waste and fix costs more effectively.

NG Bailey is due to complete on site in March 2014, in time for the students and teachers to move in ahead of the new academic year.

“This is actually 15 to 16 weeks earlier than the main contract,” Mr Oatts points out. This allows time for the main contractor to finish and the fit-out to be completed.

“I think what this project has shown is that we can use offsite to deliver a large proportion of a project like this,” Mr Oatts says. “It’s had clear benefits for quality, cost, sustainability and programme on our M&E contract.”

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.