Portakabin Group

Video: Portakabin cranes in over 40 modules for new Renfrewshire education campus

Staff members from Crossreach and Portakabin joined teachers and local pupils to prepare to break ground on the new build

The development of an education campus on Erskine Waterfront, Renfrewshire, celebrated another milestone as modules arrived on site

The two-storey modular building in Erskine will provide a high standard of education for around 30 children, aged 8-16-years-old.

Over 40 modules in total have been designed, engineered and constructed to engineering tolerances 1mm at the Portakabin manufacturing facility in York over the past months. In that time, extensive groundworks have been undertaken to prepare the site, in incredibly challenging conditions. As well as bright, modern classrooms and office space, there are also plans to develop the green space around the site for the benefit of the local community.

The offsite construction of the modules which make up the new school building have meant that the local community and neighbours have not been disrupted, with offsite recording 90% fewer vehicle movements than traditional construction around the site.

Gregor Hood, regional hire manager for Portakabin Scotland, is pleased to see the programme moving ahead as planned: “It’s a well-known fact that offsite construction is faster than traditional building methods and we’re delighted to have hit this first milestone for CrossReach to programme. Groundworks and construction of the modules happen simultaneously, reducing our overall time on site; one of the biggest benefits of offsite.

“We’ve been working hard through some challenging weather and a changeable environment so it’s fantastic news for the project team to celebrate this momentous stage in the project.”

Sheila Gordon, director of children and family services at CrossReach, the social care arm of the Church of Scotland, said: “We have been delighted to work with Portakabin in order to build a new education campus.

“The location combined with the campus structure and layout will ensure that CrossReach can continue to provide first class learning opportunities for children and young people.”

CrossReach provides cradle to the grave services across Scotland, employing more than 2,000 people and scores of volunteers.

It is one of the largest social care providers in Scotland and has been providing residential care and education for children, who for various reasons cannot live with their families, for over 25 years.

The existing education team and pupils will move from their current base in Ballikinrain to the Erskine site in August for the start of the new school year.

Portakabin to provide modular buildings at Midlothian Energy from Waste facility

Plans for the Visitor Centre to be delivered by Portakabin

Modular construction provider Portakabin has won a contract to deliver three separate buildings at a multi-million pound Energy from Waste (EfW) plant in Midlothian.

The Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre is being built by Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) on behalf of FCC Environment, who have signed a 25-year contract with City of Edinburgh and Midlothian councils.

Portakabin is working with Hitachi Zosen Inova and FCC Environment to deliver a visitor centre, welfare area and gatehouse at the site.

The EfW facility, which is set to begin operation by 2019, will treat around 135,000 tonnes of household residual waste a year, and a further 20,000 tonnes of commercial waste a year from which the plant will generate sufficient electricity to satisfy the energy demands of up to approximately 32,000 households in the Edinburgh and Midlothian area.

After developing a comprehensive tender for the project, detailing the aesthetics and benefits of a modular build, Portakabin was chosen as the specialist subcontractor for the visitor centre, welfare area and gatehouse. The modular offering meant Portakabin was able to adapt a standardised format to suit Millerhill’s specific requirements. The Portakabin values and overall attitude to health and safety was endemic to this decision.

A high value contract to deliver the customisable modular system, the buildings will be handed over in early 2018 and will form an important part of the site when the facility opens in 2019.

A modular solution, built off-site by Portakabin, has allowed the team at Millerhill to experience the benefits of moving away from a traditionally built structure. The team were able to inspect the modules before they left the Portakabin manufacturing factory in York which helped visualise any prospective challenges with the final install and fit-out.

With an initial design focussed on traditional construction methods, the Millerhill team were delighted to see that the required high specification of the build could still be met by a Portakabin modular solution.

Andy Smith, project director for FCC Environment, said: “It has been great to see Portakabin and HZI work together on this innovative solution to the buildings required for our new facility at Millerhill. Despite being constructed off-site, it has still been possible to meet the detailed requirements of our existing Planning Permission and to fulfil our operational needs.  Our team is looking forward to moving into the new buildings in due course.”

Richard Keane, site manager for HZI, emphasises the advantages of the collaboration: “Their expertise helped us to realise the design under the most efficient and safe conditions. The finished product is excellent and clearly demonstrates the advantages of modular construction.”

Paul Kyle, regional sales manager for Portakabin in Scotland, added: “The benefit of a modular solution delivers an incredibly efficient and safe build. Our focus was to reduce impact and disruption in an already busy location and this in turn will help the Millerhill project reach full operation quickly. We’re delighted HZI and FCC have chosen to support an innovative UK company by working with us on this exciting project.”

Portakabin to deliver new education campus in Renfrewshire

Members from Crossreach and Portakabin join teachers and local schoolchildren to break the ground on the new project

The social care arm of the Church of Scotland has announced ambitious plans to open a “first class” education campus in Renfrewshire.

CrossReach said the new development in Erskine will provide a high standard of education for around 30 looked after children, aged 8-16-years-old.

The campus is being delivered by Portakabin Scotland and comprises of modular buildings, which will be built off-site and craned into position in April.

CrossReach chief executive, Viv Dickenson, broke the ground at the site at Erskine Waterfront this week to formally start the building work.

Mrs Dickenson said: “This is an exciting day for Crossreach as work commences on our new education campus at Erskine Waterfront.

“Our existing staff team and their pupils are looking forward to moving into bright, modern classrooms containing all the facilities they need to make it a first class learning environment.

“We have been delighted with the welcome already extended by the local community and look forward to building on the good relationships already in place as we develop the outdoor areas and explore ways of working together.”

Gregor Hood, regional hire manager for Portakabin, with CrossReach chief executive, Viv Dickenson

CrossReach is leasing the ground, opposite the Pandamonium Play Centre on Kilpatrick Drive, from Renfrewshire Council. It is expected to take possession of the campus at the end of May.

The existing education team and pupils will move from their current base in Ballikinrain to the Erskine site in August for the start of the new school year.

CrossReach hopes to work with local community groups to develop the green space around the Erskine site for the benefit of all.

The ground breaking event was attended by pupils, teachers, CrossReach staff and representatives from Portakabin Scotland.

Gregor Hood, regional hire manager for Portakabin Scotland, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Crossreach to provide a modular solution at Erskine.

“Portakabin has been building nurseries, schools and colleges across Scotland for 30 years.

“The building will provide a supportive and safe environment for up to 30 children and young adults within the local community.

“Constructed entirely off-site, the modules will be delivered and craned into position in April of this year.

“This is a process which will take a matter of days, reducing much of the disruption which would normally come with a traditionally constructed build.”

Portakabin showcases Dundee harbour wakeboarding hub

Foxlake Dundee PortakabinModular expert Portakabin has worked with Dundee City Council to deliver a new wakeboarding hub for the waterfront redevelopment.

The new Foxlake wakeboarding centre opened in August 2017 and is part of the £1 billion transformation of Dundee Waterfront.

Foxlake recommended Portakabin to Dundee City Council for the project after working closely with the team on the Foxlake sister site at Dunbar, East Lothian.

The new site, located on City Quay, Dundee, is three modular buildings which Portakabin designed and installed to host a shop, reception, office, changing facilities, showers, toilets and disabled facilities.

Providing a high quality, high specification outdoor environment was vital for Foxlake. The centre caters for the entire Dundee community and aims to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle for all who use it. As well as developing sport locally, the centre will also deliver social programmes with local schools and community groups.

Foxlake Dundee Portakabin 2In response, Portakabin engineered a modern, multi-use building to complement Foxlake’s vision. Additional glazing to the reception and retail elevations of the building allow more natural light to flood the busiest areas.

Previous experience with the Dunbar site allowed Portakabin to spec more robust fittings for areas with high footfall. The external finish was completed with timber fencing, Foxlake branding, decking and a canopy.

Foxlake Adventures director, James Barbour, said: “After commissioning Portakabin to supply and install bespoke shower, changing and toilet blocks for our site in Dunbar, East Lothian and finding them a very professional company to work alongside, with an excellent after sales service, we did not hesitate in recommending them to Dundee City Council as a potential supplier of buildings for the Dundee project.

“Our existing buildings at Dunbar have been in operation for three seasons now, and have had tens of thousands of customers using them, proving they are as robust as they come.

“Again, Portakabin has not disappointed and we are extremely happy with the finished article we have at Foxlake Dundee.”

Foxlake Dundee Portakabin 3Alex Murray, area sales manager at Portakabin, who worked with Foxlake to deliver both sites at Dunbar and Dundee, added: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the rejuvenation of the waterfront in Dundee. Our modular building was installed in just five weeks, bringing the Foxlake centre to life much quicker than a traditional build option.

“This investment in outdoor activity means our building will help introduce even more of the local community to the benefits of a fit and active lifestyle, instilling a lasting legacy with the development.

“Modular was a great solution for this waterside location; fast, a flexible design and the opportunity to share our learnings from a previous site with our client. We’re delighted with the finished building.”

Portakabin helps deliver Fife nursery in just three months

Lynburn Primary School 4Modular building specialist Portakabin has worked with Fife Council to provide over 550m² of space for 75 children.

Thanks to being engineered off-site, the nursery was delivered and installed while the school remained fully open throughout.

Following a local government challenge, Fife Council was exploring ways to build high-quality nurseries to meet new educational targets, and was keen to investigate modular construction as a solution for projects with very tight timescales. Lynburn Primary School in Dunfermline was in need of a large nursery quickly and Portakabin was called in to deliver a solution.

Lynburn Primary School 3Diarmid McLachlan, lead architect at Fife Council, said: “We have a lot of experience of designing nursery buildings that work well for the Scottish education system, and the Portakabin modular building system offered the adaptability and quality we were looking for.”

Portakabin worked with Fife Council to engineer a building that fulfilled all of the school’s requirements; a dedicated room for younger children, and two spacious areas for three-to-four year olds. There is also a dining area, a separate community meeting room, kitchen and office.

Lynburn Primary SchoolAlan Hyde, business development manager for Portakabin, added: “We provided a complete turn-key service, from helping the school gain planning permission, through to installing all foundations and constructing and fitting out the building. We also installed a CCTV access system, outdoor fencing, and playground.”

Groundworks and site preparation were completed while the units, which were manufactured offsite. Twenty-one modules were delivered and installed to form a weathertight and secure building within four days. Fitting out the interiors followed shortly afterwards and was completed in just three months, allowing the nursery to be operational for the start of the new term in August.

Lynburn Primary School 2Lynburn Primary was delighted with the way Portakabin and Fife Council Property Services managed the project, which ran to schedule throughout. The clean, self-contained nature of modular meant Portakabin was able to separate the site completely from the operational school. It meant the school could remain open throughout the construction process, with no impact on the children’s education or safety.

Portakabin secures top spot on LHC modular framework

Modular Buildings framework 2Modular construction firm Portakabin has been awarded a place on 15 lots on LHC’s Modular Buildings Framework.

Portakabin was one of the only offsite specialists in the framework to be successful on all 15 lots bid for.

The Modular Buildings (MB1) framework runs until 2021 and covers a range of sectors within the public sector which Portakabin is already an active partner in, including education, healthcare, offices and community buildings. Both permanent and temporary hire buildings are included on the framework, which operates across England, Scotland and Wales with a combined value in excess of £1 billion.

Modular Buildings frameworkOther LHC winners include:

  • MTX Contracts Ltd
  • Western Building Systems Ltd
  • Wernick Buildings Ltd
  • Extraspace Solutions (UK) Ltd
  • Module-AR Limited
  • The McAvoy Group Limited

Derek Carter, chief executive of Portakabin, said: “To be successful in all lots bid for is a huge achievement for our team and reaffirms our recognition as the UK’s leading modular specialist. As a business, we are continuing to innovate and in doing so we challenge the traditional perceptions of offsite in today’s fast-paced modular construction industry.”

Local authorities urged to embrace off-site school’s construction

Portakabin Our Lady of LourdesThe Portakabin Group is marking the first decade in operation of the UK’s first school to be fully built off-site.

Our Lady of Lourdes in East Kilbride, which opened its doors back in 2004, broke new ground in the education sector as it was constructed using a Yorkon off-site building solution, and was also the first school to be funded through an operating lease.

Describing the school as ‘robust’ the group is seeking to encourage other local authorities to follow in its footsteps by citing the positive reaction of councillors and teachers.

More than a decade on, both the school and South Lanarkshire Council are still delighted with the building and with how well it has stood the test of time, demonstrating the robust nature of off-site construction and how the approach can successfully deliver high quality school buildings for demanding education environments.

“I was here when the building was delivered 11 years ago and we are still extremely proud of these facilities”, said Paul McGarry, Head Teacher at Our Lady of Lourdes School. “It is spacious and light with wide corridors and suits our current requirements really well – but will allow us the flexibility to reconfigure should the need arise. The teachers and pupils absolutely love the building and it looks fantastic more than a decade on from when we moved in.”

“The building’s construction went very smoothly and we have a great relationship with the Portakabin Group. We would certainly recommend the Yorkon approach to other schools needing a lasting solution to expand or upgrade their buildings.”

Frank McCafferty, property manager at South Lanarkshire Council, added: “We are very pleased with the appearance and performance of the building after more than a decade and it looks better than we could have anticipated. Off-site construction was an ideal solution for this project to replace a series of 1960s storm-damaged buildings in a radically reduced timescale.

“We have worked extensively and very well with the Portakabin Group over the years and on projects ranging from the supply of complete schools to extensions and decant facilities.”

The Portakabin Group’s current projects for South Lanarkshire Council include the provision of a two-classroom extension at St Charles Primary School in Cambuslang to help meet the increased demand for school places.

The Our Lady of Lourdes primary school building accommodates 500 pupils and was ready for occupation after just eight months on site. This Yorkon off-site project included the design, construction and fitting out of a 16-classroom facility alongside the existing school, which was then demolished and replaced with landscaping and an all-weather sports pitch.

The school was constructed from 84 steel-framed modules up to 14m long and weighing up to 8.5 tonnes each. These units were manufactured off site at the Portakabin Group’s manufacturing centre in York and were craned into position in just two weeks.

Facilities include an IT suite, library, multi-purpose sports hall and a self-contained nursery with large play area.

The two-storey building has pitched roofs above the main entrance and main hall and was finished in two shades of blue with co-ordinating windows and doors.