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Off-site construction for modular equipment rooms.

There is a growing need for rapid replacement and improvement of the aged signalling environments of UK rail networks, including an imminent need for new signalling and communications equipment rooms (SERs and CERs, respectively). Using modern methods of construction (MMC) it could be possible to save up to 50% on the cost of each equipment room, amounting to tens of millions of pounds saved from the public purse.

One of the four “live” demonstrator projects under the TIES Living lab collaboration, the aim of the MMC equipment rooms project was to investigate whether this technique could be rolled out widely across the rail transport network, as well as gauging the level of savings that could be achieved.

As one of the TIES Partner organisations, Transport for London’s (TfL) objective was to demonstrate how MMC can not only drive efficiency in terms of manufacturing, delivery timescales and cost, but also minimise disruption within the SER locations via off-site manufacturing, providing a safer, quicker and more controllable environment with more reliable timescales.

There are numerous other savings and efficiency gains from the ongoing operation of a more efficient environment, such as reduced maintenance and upkeep, increased use of renewable energy per SER/CE, significantly lower on-site civil disruption when deploying and the ability to redeploy the units.

TfL worked with Mavin which has already supplied its Powercube containerised modular datacentres and other building types to the NHS and the Ministry of Defence. Mavin constructed the SER modular building off-site at its manufacturing facility in Wales. Currently, the first unit is in manufacturing and this process has been seamless.