A staple of the offsite sector for many years, bathroom pods play an integral part in many timber-based projects. One scheme under construction at the moment is the Fleur-de-Lis development for Renaissance Retirement in Berkshire.
Under construction by the Hackwood Group, the Fleur-de-Lis is one of three luxury retirement schemes for the developer that are using high specification ensuite shower rooms from Offsite Solutions. The final batch of 44 steel-framed bathroom pods has now been supplied for the Sandhurst development which is Offsite Solutions’ first
timber-framed residential development. The scheme will provide 42 spacious retirement apartments set in landscaped gardens.
The timber-framed structure for each scheme has been engineered to create a recess in the cassette floor for the installation of the bathroom pods. This solution allows the application of factorybuilt bathrooms to work within a timber frame, whilst ensuring level access floors.
According to Jake Goddard, Technical Services Director at Offsite Solutions, “Advancements in timber frame manufacture have allowed bathroom pods to be integrated into the structures for these three schemes with no changes to the pod construction. This was achieved with the early engagement of both manufacturers – Cygnum Timber Frame for the timber frame and Offsite Solutions for the bathroom pods.
“The excellent communications and close collaboration between the two manufacturers from the earliest design stages were extremely positive and worked very well. Both manufacturers are offsite specialists, producing highly engineered solutions for the client so there was a clear synergy, particularly with the more accurate tolerances Cygnum and ourselves have to work to. This collaboration meant the client benefited from significantly reducing work onsite and all the speed and quality benefits
of factory-built bathrooms.”
Each ensuite shower room features ceramic-tiled finishes, walk-in rain dance showers with digitally-controlled thermostats, premium sanitaryware and fittings, and a mirrored cabinet – all fully fitted out offsite for a consistently higher standard of finish and quality.
Commenting on the use of bathroom pods, Graham Snowley, Contracts Manager at Hackwood said: “This is the first time we have used factory-built bathrooms and we
have found them to be a brilliant solution. The approach really takes the pain out of bathroom construction. It saves a huge amount of work onsite and we have been
able to dispense with several processes. The quality of bathroom pods is superior and more consistent compared to site-based construction – the fitting of pans and basins, for example, is more accurate in a factory environment. The use of pods eliminates at least six different trades and reduces construction time for the bathrooms to just three hours for the service connections – a significant time saving.”
Nick Watkins, Development Director at Renaissance Retirement added: “The use of pods gives us certainty in both product quality and completion, and with no compromise on bathroom design and finish. The labour market, particularly for finishing trades, is very challenging for developers and contractors, particularly in the South East. The impact of these market fluctuations is completely removed if bathroom construction is carried out offsite.”
There is now unprecedented demand for bathroom pods in the residential sector – for high-end apartment schemes, mixed-use developments, social housing and build-to-rent. This shift towards offsite is driven by the shortage of skilled labour, particularly in the South East – issues with consistent quality and the construction industry’s poor
delivery record with budget overruns and project delays.
The use of an offsite solution for bathroom construction reduces the number of activities and trades onsite. This achieves significant programme savings, quality
improvements and reductions in waste of up to 50% compared to site-based construction. The production line environment of pod manufacture provides consistently higher quality standards and much greater certainty of delivery on time and on budget. Pre-delivery testing is rigorous and quality assurance procedures are stringent for ready-to-use installation.
Original Link: Structural Timber Magazine