Offsite Modular Housing

Description: 2 Bed Modular Starter Home for Social Housing & LHA
Client: M-AR Modular
ThermaSkirt Profile: Deco BMe
The Challenge
When building homes that are designed to be transported on Britains’ Roads, it is widely understood that there is a practical maximum width of around 4.5m before expensive vehicle escorts are required or circuitous routes planned to avoid narrow roads and bridges. Modular Homes that are joined along the vertical axis to create a wider home have to be particularly mindful of weatherproofing and services such as plumbing and electrical need to be configured with joints to facilitate them joining side-by-side.

It’s for this reason that many modular manufacturers such as M-AR restrict the unit sizes to around 4.5m x 12m to minimise transportation and assembly on site costs.

This is turn means that particular consideration must be given to the internal design and layout if they are not to feel cramped and pokey inside.

Ryan Geldard, Operations Director explains:

“At M-AR we know exactly the market we are aiming at, and it was important that we provide a quality product at an affordable price. In social and LA housing, houses need to be warm, economical to run, and to offer sufficient space to meet the needs of a young family. Given the above we opted to look for alternative heating solutions to conventional radiators”

The obvious option would have been underfloor heating. However, due to the floor construction and that there is concern in the social housing sector about repairing UFH and the effect changing floor coverings such as thicker carpets can have on performance, UFH was ruled out early on.

Electric Radiant panels were also considered, but again, these would take up valuable wall space unless they were ceiling mounted. But overhead heating has proven to be problematic in the care sector, as heating the head can cause challenging behavior in persons living with dementia and early on-set Alzheimer’s.

Then, when visiting the Offsite Construction show in Excel London, M-ARs’ Technical Director came across ThermaSkirt – the skirting board that heats your home.

The Solution

Manufactured in a range of styles, ThermaSkirt combines the heating and skirting in one practical, affordable, energy and space saving package.

Available in both ‘wet’ central heating version for conventional boilers and heat pumps, and direct electric, both technologies create an evenly distributed radiant heat, typically providing around 130w per metre. Aesthetically identical, this allows M-AR to standardise on the layout and design of the ThermaSkirt system whether it be wet or electric, which can then be selected depending on the requirements of the site, or indeed the requirements of the housing provider; without any significant drawing changes.

Combining the radiators and skirting boards in one to provide a safe and energy efficient alternative to radiators and UFH

Not only does ThermaSkirt effectively increase the useable wall and floor space by removing radiators off the wall, but it can also reduce repairs and maintenance costs for the housing provider. A great deal of maintenance work is generated by either bleeding the radiators to remove air, refixing radiators that have been dislodged off the wall either accidentally or deliberately, or removed during re-painting. ThermaSkirt not ony eliminates these on-costs, but also deters residents from drying their washing on the radiators, potentially creating damp and mould and aggravating resiratory disorders. In addition, ThermaSkirt e is the only electric heater of it’s type that will not overheat even if covered over, eliminating the risk of fire or heater damage due to clothing, towels and bedding etc.

The Result

Having tested the ThermaSkirt in their show homes, M-AR selected ThermaSkirt for their up coming projects. The response from their clients has been overwhemingly positive. Available in pre-cut room kits, the ThermaSkirt can be 2nd fixed in approximately 20~30 minutes per room in the factory. With an integral top gasket, there is no need for caulking or sealants to seal the skirting to the wall, so the whole install is a ‘dry fit’. Provided with a protective film, ThermaSkirt can be installed at any point in the build program; from before painting to even after the carpets are fitted.

Removing radiators off the walls enables the best use of space and flexible positioning of furniture

Ryan Geldard sums up:

“Thermaskirt is proving increasingly popular with our customers looking to move to an all-electric heating system, as the UK moves away from gas. Our customers have been surprised that the system offers consistent heat in their plots, especially in winter months, without the skirting heating being hugely noticeable compared to conventional. Another benefit customers are seeing is the maximisation in wall space the system offers, freeing up wall space for TV’s and furnishings. Beyond that, the digital user interface works simply and the aftersales support has been faultless, with information about the system presented in user friendly guides for end users”

There are several hundred units planned for 2020.