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Modular apartment block installed in one day at County Flats development

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In just one day, timber frame and modular construction specialist, SO Modular, has installed the first block of apartments on phase two of Tai Tarian’s state-of-the-art project to build 55 new homes, and refurbish 72 existing flats, in Sandfields, Aberavon.  

The scheme will eventually provide 127 carbon-neutral homes for social housing provider, Tai Tarian, delivered across three phases, over three years. 

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SO Modular is working alongside J.G. Hale Construction to deliver the project on behalf of Tai Tarian, utilising modern methods of construction (MMC), including construction of the homes off-site at SO Modular’s factory in Neath. 

The development, which began in October 2021, has just commenced phase two. This phase started with the installation of the site’s only panelised block, consisting of 20 homes in a fully insulated closed panelised system, with windows and doors fitted offsite. It will also include the retrofitting of two blocks of flats and six new volumetric homes. 

The use of SO Modular’s timber volumetric construction system has enabled the three-story block to be erected in just one day. In total, the scheme will eventually see 44 homes made from 90 modular pods. 

The project is funded by the Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) – a Welsh Government programme to encourage and test innovative approaches to constructing social and affordable housing in Wales.  

It will achieve carbon neutrality via a range of in-house green and sustainable initiatives, as well as the low-carbon manufacture of the homes and the fuel-saving speed with which the buildings are being completed.  

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Modular’s timber volumetric construction system has enabled a three-story block to be erected in just one day.

Andrew Carey, Director of Assets, Tai Tarian, said: “The modular approach taken is innovative and the first of its kind for a social housing provider in this area. It will make use of natural, eco-friendly forms of insulation that includes Welsh sheep’s wool from a local farm, mycelium – the vegetative filament root structure of mushrooms, and a wood-fibre insulation developed in-house at SO Modular’s manufacturing facility. We’re very proud to have partnered with them on this landmark project helping us realise our sustainability ambitions.”  

The pioneering construction methods, developed by SO Modular on the scheme, are providing a pilot study for the viability of their use in the wider construction industry. 

As well as reducing the building project’s overall carbon footprint, the use of green materials and technologies also aims to reduce fuel poverty for the development’s tenants, by ensuring all homes are built with the top EPC rating of A. 

SO Modular is recognised for being dedicated to innovative, eco-friendly design, quality materials and finishes, and sustainable building practices. The company is committed to using local sub-contractors and suppliers, with all suppliers and sub-contractors for the Sandfields project sourced from within Wales, with 95% residing within the Neath and Swansea areas.

Charlotte Hale, Operations Director, SO Modular, said: “We’re very proud to be working on this project for social housing provider Tai Tarian in Sandfields, Aberavon. As can be seen from the start of the project, the use of our modular and panelised construction techniques is highly efficient. This means that the entire frame for the dwellings can be erected very quickly – leading to far less fuel usage on-site and reducing the project’s overall carbon footprint. Along with the ground-breaking, eco-friendly insulation materials we are using, this will hopefully set the standard for similar, future developments across the UK and around the globe.” 

“As a company, SO Modular has a firm commitment to using local sub-contractors and training local people. This will, undoubtedly, improve the skills, knowledge, and opportunities for those in the Swansea and Neath areas, ultimately making the region the go-to place for expertise on these new sustainable materials and methods.” 

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