Offsite specialist announces factory expansion

Offsite construction specialist Merit has announced a 4,000-square-metre expansion of its North East manufacturing plant.

The planned expansion would increase the size of its factory in Cramlington, Northumberland, from its existing 25,000-square-metre floorspace.

The firm said that the move will allow it to test the stacking of modules on top of each other before they are transported to site.

Merit CEO Tony Wells said: “Merit’s strategic objective is to deliver a step change in productivity within the construction industry and to show that investment in R&D and leveraging innovative approaches, such as advanced 4D BIM modelling technology, can lead to significant improvements.

“Our factory expansion will enable us to further optimise our way of working and better serve our customers.”

The extended high-bay facility will accommodate two new manufacturing lines for Merit’s UltraPOD+ product, an expandable full building technology.

Additional equipment, such as two gantry cranes and a module lifting frame, will also be incorporated into the new setup.

Merit said that it was also creating 50 new jobs at the facility.

In November, modular construction specialist M-AR announced plans to scale up its production after acquiring the freehold of a 9,200-square-metre factory in East Yorkshire.

The news came after a turbulent year for the offsite manufacturing sector.

Another firm, Caledonian Modular, entered into administration in March and was subsequently bought out by JRL Group, while fellow specialist Mid Group went under in July.

Countryside announced in July that it would close a modular construction factory in Leicestershire that it opened only a year earlier, after its profit plummeted. Countryside was subsequently acquired by Vistry .

In May, a modular construction firm backed by Japanese modular giant Sekisui, Homes England and Manchester-based developer Urban Splash was placed into administration, with up to 160 jobs lost.

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