We’re taking an innovative approach to the design and manufacture of some of our operational buildings, in order to save money, reduce our environmental impact and limit customer inconvenience.

Rather than construct buildings on site in the traditional way, we are taking advantage of recent technological advances to manufacture buildings in a factory setting.

The buildings come complete with all internal fittings, plant and equipment, meaning all we have to do is slot the building into its foundations and connect it to the relevant services.

design, manufacture, assemblyThe process, known as Design for Manufacture and Assembly, has been used for 37 of our building projects to date, reducing time spent on site by 357 days and slashing raw materials use by 150 tonnes and waste by 90 tonnes.

The technique was recently used in Chorlton Brook in Manchester to construct a sewer overflow chamber – used to capture excess storm water during heavy rain and to prevent sewers from overflowing.

As a result, on site construction time was reduced from 10 days to 2, HGV journeys were cut by 75 per cent and significant cost savings were accrued. Just as importantly, we were able to significantly reduce disruption for customers, in terms of traffic noise and road restrictions.

We can use this approach on large buildings and even reservoirs, where they come as pre-fabricated sections or modules and are slotted together on site. It doesn’t work for all buildings, of course, but for those of a suitable size and remit the technique is allowing us to unlock a host of benefits.

If you would like to send us a comment about this report, please email our Head of Sustainability, Chris Matthews