Seeing is believing! By Platform 31

At Ursem in Wognum14 February 2019

On Thursday 14 February we received a group of 40 interested parties from corporations and construction companies for the fifth stage of the Zien is geloof-Fabriekstour, organized by Platform31.

Together with our partner Schouten Techniek we presented our vision, knowledge and expertise in the field of modular and industrial building.


Stage five: Seeing is believing-Factory tour at Ursem

Report by Platform 31



Remco van der Linden, Director of Technology and Market at Techniek Nederland, emphasized that the industrialization of building production by Schouten Techniek was valued at an early stage. Already in 2005, the company (together with several other construction and installation companies) took the first steps in a TNO knowledge project towards the factory-based integration of installations into floorboards.
The recently drawn up Climate Agreement makes a strong appeal to the innovative strength of the construction sector, he expects. The agreement brings together a large number of possible solutions for the sustainability tasks. In the built environment, Renovation Accelerator and Starter Engine will give an important impulse to making the housing stock more sustainable and to making districts free of natural gas. At the moment, however, both qualitatively and quantitatively enough hands are lacking. A training course in heat pump technology, initiated by Techniek Nederland, should eventually result in an additional 6,000 mechanics. “In the short term, some 30,000 extra people will be needed. Industrialisation must help to solve this labour problem”, Van der Linden stated. “In addition, support from residents is an important success factor. They attach great importance to affordability and comfort. This requires contractors to have people in their homes who are able to involve residents intensively in their approach. Professionals must have sufficient skills to enter into dialogue with the end users. Certification also contributes to the delivery of quality”.



When developing and realising construction projects, Ursem works closely with Schouten Techniek and Heddes bouw en ontwikkeling in the Modular Team. Erik van Haasteren, director of Ursem, observes that not every client has yet made the switch to modular thinking and industrial building. “That’s a pity, because this way of building is 40% faster than traditional building. Our construction projects take an average of 10 to 12 months to complete,” he says. The Ursem factory currently operates at 80% of its capacity. “If corporations want to realise 17,000 additional homes compared to the current annual production of 17,000 homes, then Ursem can supply 10% of this.

The partners in Team Modular focus their strategy on modular high-rise concepts not only for students and hotels but also for housing corporations. Ursem has 4 different modular building systems, with which they can realize projects from 2 to 20 floors. The housing modules are manufactured entirely in the factory, completely finished (including kitchen and bathroom) delivered to the building site and stacked on site. This makes scaffoldless construction possible.
“The proportion of installations in the current homes has risen sharply in recent years, from around 10 percent to around 30 percent today. The transition from EPC to BENG plays a role in this,” says Bastiaan Lankhoorn of Schouten Techniek. In order to be able to build quickly, the smart integration of installations in floors and walls is a must. For example, the installation facades and installation floors contain all the necessary source pipes and air ducts. Lankhoorn calls this ‘legolisation of the construction industry’.

“Modular construction is the ultimate solution for the future”, says Lankhoorn. Van Haasteren adds to that: “Clients could take the step to standardize the design of housing types in a modular way together with Team Modulair. A lot of variation is still possible in the external configuration of buildings. The advantages of this are obvious: less construction time, higher construction quality, more environmentally friendly due to less construction waste, less transport movements, circularity and (up to 5 storeys) demountability.” Such a method requires a different planning of decision moments, because the complete design of the house is determined prior to the production process. And because a large proportion of the homes are paid for when they leave the factory, it also requires a different financing model.

After a visit to the factory, the participants will discuss the possibilities and obstacles to the transition from traditional to modular/industrial building. “Linking construction projects together is the biggest challenge for Ursem,” says Van Haasteren. This requires more coordination between clients. Corporations can fulfil a role in this by bundling their demand. This does require a willingness to coordinate programmes of requirements. Ursem has already done finger exercises with various housing corporations in the region in the direction of a modular housing corporation. There are plenty of potential obstacles: about demands from municipalities and the Welstandscommissie that create obstacles. Or about the cost to the tenant when energy and climate are used as a service.