Not only does Seismic measure up favourably with traditional construction, with delivery up to 75% faster, it offers a 33% improvement in speed when compared with standard modular construction. That is because a significant amount of time is saved at design stage. Every project starts with a standard base module that can be tailored to the specific needs of the client.
And, because it uses standardised components, it means that manufacturers can keep materials in stock and operate a rolling production programme, reducing the time spent on procurement.This time saving continues when it comes to final assembly, with onsite labour also reduced.
This has safety benefits too, for example, the frame is bolted together rather than welded, and completed under factory conditions, which in turn can allow for better quality control. For the purposes of the demonstrator two options have been used – a Elliott Group and McAvoy module at ground level and a Tata Steel module on the top. It is a perfect demonstration of why a platform-based approach is the way forward. Components are made in three different factories before being assembled in one place ready for site. It means that clients are not beholden to one supplier, significantly reducing project risk. This can also add cost certainty to projects, with materials pricing locked in.
A standard Seismic module comprises 581.3kgCO2e per m2. That compares favourably against industry targets:
• Construction 2025: 1,300 kgCO2e per m2
• RIBA target: 800 kgCO2e per m2 (then 550 kgCO2e per m2 by 2030)
• 2020 target: 600 kgCO2e per m2
• 2025 target: 350 kgCO2e per m2
In sustainability terms, Seismic offers significant reductions in both operational and embodied carbon. This is achieved through factors including design efficiency, materials selection and manufacturing effectiveness, leading to limited wastage.
The quality of the end result also means that performance is improved. For example, air tightness is easier to achieve through a precise and repeatable manufacturing process. And, while a basic module performs well against sustainability criteria, clients can choose to switch in higher performing components to up the performance too. When compared against the Construction 2025 targets, Seismic achieves a 70% reduction in carbon emissions when compared with traditional construction. However, these targets are based on a 2025 baseline. Since that time, many new targets have been developed as the need to reduce our environmental impact becomes even stronger.
Standard elements (e.g., a classroom, a hospital ward, an office) can be easily repeated, freeing up time to focus on the areas that add the most value to the design and create a quality sense of place for end users.
At scale, a rolling programme can be managed with factories working at capacity to build modules that are suitable for any project of that kind. This can be done across the industry, with multiple manufacturers.
Site preparation works take place in parallel with the manufacturing process saving time. With so much of the build taking place in factory, there are fewer chances for injuries on site – we estimate an 80% reduction in health and safety incidents.
Every component and the modules have been tested[DG1] to a factory standard it means that the overall quality and performance is much higher.
Every component is tracked, tagged, and linked to a 3D model, allowing for a fully traceable process
for every component that goes into a module.
This aligns with the Hackitt Report recommendations for a digital golden thread, and makes for a safer, easier to maintain building. It also makes it easier to keep track of components and reuse them for other projects.
Modules are based on a standard kit of parts, there is little wastage during production and assembly.
Likewise, site waste is kept to a minimum and at the end of the building’s life, most of the components can be reused or recycled.
MMC offer a huge opportunity to reskill the existing labour workforce and bring new people into the industry, address wider skills shortage, and increase the diversity of the workforce too.
Seismic is a component-based system built on a standard frame, modules are easy to adapt throughout the lifecycle of the building. Components can also be recycled and used for other projects in the future.
Because Seismic utilises a platform-based approach with consistent components, it can be easily disassembled and reused. This approach is referred to within Lifecycle Assessments (LCAs) as Module D. While this is not mandatory in lifecycle analysis in the UK, we believe it is the standard that we will move towards as an industry in the future. When looking at this reuse case, we can start by using the frame as an example. It breaks down as follows:
can be fully reused ‘as is’.
can be remanufactured / refurbished – e.g., replacing nuts and bolts.
can be fully recycled.
Taking another key component, the roof cassette, the only thing disposed of is the insulation, which cannot be reused (comprising 10%). It makes for a highly efficient building that can last long beyond its original use. There is also the option to reuse the building in full, relocating it if necessary. There is already a growing market in the reuse of modular buildings, which Seismic aligns with. When considering Seismic against the Value Toolkit, this reuse element becomes even more important, as it considers the broader impacts and legacy of the building.