Trevor Bowers, director at Washroom Washroom, talks about how off-site construction methods lends themselves well to washroom areas.
Off-site manufacture traditionally involves manufacturing a series of complete prefabricated modules, transporting them to site and piecing them together like a giant puzzle, and has long been acknowledged as a preferred solution for projects where volumetric modules form a large part of the overall construction.
Where Washroom Washroom’s off-site method differs from the traditional modular off-site building model is that it allows scope for individually-manufactured washrooms incorporating bespoke elements into a design as required. Clients can therefore benefit from the efficiency of off-site construction to complete on schedule without compromising on the uniqueness of a washroom design.
When dealing with high quality materials, there is no room for error as the finish has to be flawless to match the quality of the materials used. Not only that but any damage can result in further delays as more unusual materials can often be difficult to source, and therefore seeking replacements will add time to the schedule.
Taking the time to make sure the design is perfect at the earliest stage, especially when dealing with high specification materials, is essential.
By using an off-site approach Washroom can construct an entire run of washrooms at its factory in Essex ahead of installation. The full-scale washrooms are built using the specified materials and finishes and to the exact site measurements, even down to the placement of existing windows, doors and lighting and so on to create an accurate representation of the finished space for the client to see and approve several months ahead of installation.
In this way, Washroom was able to fine-tune the washroom design off-site and several months prior to the scheduled on-site installation as part of a recent office refurbishment project on Kingdom Street in Paddington. The full-size mock-ups, which were built to the exact site measurements, took into consideration the placement of existing windows, doors and lighting to create an accurate representation of the finished space.
Architects and clients, especially within the office sector in London, looking for unique finishes are increasingly specifying unusual and expensive materials. This project, which features bespoke vanity units with cast polished concrete tops as well as Douglas fir stained toilet cubicle doors, was no exception. Washroom undertook several trials off-site ahead of installation, adjusting the colour of the stain for the real wood veneer toilet cubicles until a near-perfect match for the distinctive pale grey Douglas fir timber panelling in the reception area of the building was achieved. This saved valuable time on site and reduced the chance of any costly changes to the design at a later stage.
Once the design has been approved, the washrooms are then deconstructed and stored safely at the factory ready to be delivered to site exactly and only when required. Storing finished products or materials away from site reduces the risk of any accidental damage occurring prior to installation.
The reduced installation time and smoother delivery process leaves the way clear for other trades to work and allows installers the flexibility to work away from the confines of a busy construction site, preventing any avoidable mistakes and reducing the risk of costly delays. Being able to create full-scale mock-ups is an invaluable tool to ensure the whole process is as efficient and cost-effective as possible.
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