Stunning constructions

Rollalong is successful in constructing quality modular buildings

Rollalong is at the forefront of modular building construction, preparing solutions at its offsite facility that can be transported and situated onsite. Producing buildings in a factory environment allows the efficient construction of high quality modules, which are connected rapidly onsite to create an individual and attractive building often on very small sites difficult to develop with traditional construction techniques. The building system operated by Rollalong is an innovative lightweight steel frame, designed to provide up to nine storey buildings in a variety of shapes and sizes. Based in Dorset, and dealing with customers all over the UK, Rollalong has provided offsite manufacture solutions such as volumetric/modular units, sectional buildings, and portable cabins for an array of markets, such as the accommodation, defence, education, hospitality, and construction sectors.

Rollalong Jul Aug 07 bRollalong’s experience within the industry has been built upon a qualitycontrolled manufacturing environment, and the company works to manufacturing tolerances and zero defect principles, which has earned it ISO 9001 accreditation. The benefit of offsite modular production is steadily being recognised, particularly as there is less noise, waste, transport and material handling on a building location owing to the reduced time onsite, which means less environmental disruption and disturbance to the local community.

Project director Martin Sayers outlines the development of Rollalong: “After the Second World War, the focus of Rollalong was placed on volumetric manufacture of residential accommodation due to the housing shortage. Rollalong’s manufacturing processes developed overtime to produce both sectional buildings and volumetric or “modular” buildings. Rollalong has provided 10-16 metre span sectional buildings for offices and schools, which create open plan environments. Hotels, apartments and the Ministry of Defence accommodation requirements, utilise the volumetric or modular approach with the emphasis on these being permanent structures. A highly regarded project for the Ministry of Defence was HMS Nelson, located in Portsmouth that consisted of four blocks to provide 584 bedrooms. This was a £9 million contract, solidifying Rollalong’s reputation for dealing with volumetric units for single living accommodation (SLAM).”

Producing building solutions is a process the company has significant experience in, as Martin explains: “Rollalong’s background has allowed the company to experiment with different manufacturing processes. The system used now is a cold rolled framing system, which allows a module to be built from panels inside the factory. From a manufacturing perspective, this allows the prepreparation of panels with walls and ceilings, which encourages rapid erection and completion of the inside of the box. This process can be completed within three to four days. For the client, this is advantageous, as there is no protracted building period; so reduced construction time is an attractive feature. Rollalong offers bespoke solutions: the boxes themselves have no standard dimensions, with the width varying between three to five metres. The company also offers many height options, usually between 2.4 and 3.8 metres high. In terms of length, the modular industry is split between companies that make small (room sized) boxes and those that make large (multi-room) ones, with Rollalong focusing firmly on large modules of 10-16 metre span.”Rollalong Jul Aug 07 c

Industries have only recently come to realise and trust the benefits of offsite building construction, and the company is now part of a burgeoning market. Martin elaborates on some of the services Rollalong provides: “It is difficult for an architect to choose the best way of delivering a project with the multitude of offsite solutions now available. If there is a high volume of standardised product, the more it is constructed in a factory environment, the better it is. The company is working on a number of core schemes on military accommodation with Aspire Defence and social housing via Spaceover with Housing Associations, such as Genesis and Network, which all utilise standard designs. One of our buildings for Spaceover garnered positive feedback when it was displayed at the BRE Offsite 2007 show. My hope is that clients will develop an interest in utilising standard modules and arranging them to create a unique building each time rather than developing wholly bespoke layouts
for each project. Standardised solutions will encourage the volumetric construction industry to grow, and develop a range of products and services.”

In 2006, Rollalong was awarded a £40 million, seven-year contract with Aspire Defence. The company is currently in a position where contracts are chosen on the strength of mutual co-operation. Martin concludes on what separates Rollalong from its competitors: “I think the company has an established reputation in the market for providing quality buildings. Rollalong is a player that pushes boundaries within volumetric design. The company’s work with the MoD has been built upon establishing a close working relationship that has developed a successful long-term partnership with the delivery of many quality modular buildings.”