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Three buildings in ten weeks

Organisation : United Utilities

Building Use : Utilities, Offices

Product : Cabins, Modular Buildings

Location : Merseyside

Requirement :

United Utilities supplies water and sewage services to around seven million people and 200,000 businesses in the North West.  The company is investing more than £3 billion in improving the water and wastewater infrastructure and the environment across the North West, covering over 42,000km of water pipes from Cumbria to Cheshire, over 76,000km of sewers, and 569 wastewater treatment works.

It had a requirement for three new buildings on two sites to provide upgraded office accommodation and replace outdated facilities with purpose-designed office space and meeting rooms.

Solution :

Three recycled and refurbished modular buildings were completed by Portakabin (Refurbished) Relocatable Building Systems just 10 weeks after receipt of order.

At Gatewarth Industrial Estate in Warrington, a 22-module scheme is occupied by around 85 staff. Facilities include: 

  • ·       Open plan offices
  • ·       Meeting rooms
  • ·       Managers’ offices
  • ·       Kitchen
  • ·       Toilets
  • ·       Customer service reception. 

A smaller Portakabin (Refurbished) building is used as a purpose-built meeting room suite.

In St Helens, an 8-module building is now in use 24/7 providing interim office accommodation for 17 staff and up to 30 shift workers while another site is redeveloped.

Reduced Disruption to Existing Operations

Each building was delivered to site around 70 per cent complete, reducing disruption to United Utilities’ operations.  Portakabin (Refurbished) also supplied folding partitions, roller security shutters, air conditioning, and fire and security alarms. 

The use of recycled Portakabin buildings is one of the most environmentally sound methods of construction.  It generates less than 10 per cent of the carbon emissions and uses less than 3 per cent of the energy during construction, compared to a newly manufactured building of equivalent size (source: MPBA/Arup). Other benefits include programme times reduced by up to 70 per cent, reduced cost, and the buildings can be easily expanded, reconfigured or removed if an organisation’s requirements change.

“Each of these three projects was delivered on time, as expected and to very high quality standards.  Portakabin (Refurbished) also gave us the opportunity to spec the buildings to our exact service needs.  Feedback from the users has been extremely positive and staff have been unable to tell these are not brand new buildings.”

“We would definitely use the approach again.  Indeed, having experienced recycled modular buildings, it is now unlikely we would specify new build going forward because the quality of Portakabin (Refurbished) pre-owned is so good and the cost is considerably less.” 

Gary Collins, Building Surveyor, United Utilities

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