Innovative construction practices were to the fore when New Ways Construction transformed the site of a former Network Rail engineering and railway workshop in Kent, England, into a quality new-build housing development.
As the company’s name suggests, this company is focused on innovative ways of doing business. The construction industry, clients and the environment all benefit. Innovative techniques applied by New Ways to construction include the use of light steel framing, for example, through to helical piling. Integral to the forward-thinking light steel framing equation, New Ways put its three Howick machines to good use during this recent project.
This project involved remediation of the 2.5 acre site, design and construction of 93 one and two-bedroom apartments. The residential dwellings are within seven individual blocks up to 3.5 storeys high. All the required associated roading, plus parking areas, were part of the project.
Onsite work began at Newtown Road, Ashford, in January 2020. The project’s contract value was £10.3m for the client, Pascoe Property Developers Ltd.
Not one, or two, but three Howick machines were used – each tasked with issuing a different profile setting and steel gauge.
FRAMA™ 3200, 5600 and 7600 were running at one time to maximise production. The variety was essential as profiles 75, 89, 100 and 200 were used.
“The New Ways team recognised that the use of light gauge steel framing (LGSF) was a productive method for this project (and others), thanks mainly to the manufacturing speeds it enabled and to weatherproof advantages,” says New Ways spokesperson Kate Surridge.
Bad weather during the construction period added challenges, but these have been mitigated by the use of LGSF. Snow and a water-logged site created some delays, but the project would have been slowed down considerably had traditional timber, as opposed to steel, been used. There would have been the need to wait for materials to dry out entirely before then ensuring water tightness. In contrast, because LGS is manufactured in-house, the work continued.
“Due to building in LGSF we could adjust our build programmes to start the structures for every block during the bad weather spells, so we didn’t miss out on wasted days of labour on site,” Kate says.
LGSF fits well with the company’s desire to operate in a modern, sustainable way, as it offers time benefits, cost effectiveness, high performance and environmental wins. In comparison, traditional methods of building can be slow, inefficient, weather-dependent, and environmentally harmful.
New Ways’ preferred design software, Vertex, integrates seamlessly with Howick machines which was of great importance. The company’s design team worked efficiently to produce design files which were delivered block by block to keep the production line constantly flowing. The block-by-block approach worked well as this project involved 93 apartments over seven blocks, so issuing designs in such a way avoided any confusion for the production team who were working on multiple projects at once.
New Ways brings together some of the world’s best technologies to allow them to produce homes that are cost efficient to build, affordable to live in and have a low carbon footprint with more than 80 per cent of the building recyclable at the end of its life. Howick is proud to be part of that “best technologies” picture.