If the government is to address the UK’s housing crisis, then offsite manufacturing will go a long way to aiding the battle. In particular, prefabricated utility cupboards…or PUCs.
For the uninitiated, these units are pre-made enclosures containing utilities and equipment required for a building’s operation, such as electrical and mechanical systems. They are made off-site and transported to developments, with minimum packaging, where they are easily installed into the building’s structure.
A few years ago, Apex invested £500,000 in the UK’s largest specialist PUC production unit. We call our units the Apex Core, as they sit right at the heart of homes.
The benefits to using PUCs in construction are many, but the sexy ones are that they save money, increase efficiency, and improve safety.
Most ears prick up when talking about the savings they offer. It requires a significant amount of time, resource, and labour to traditionally install utilities and equipment on-site. It’s an expensive process, involving multiple contractors, purchasing materials, and paying for labour costs. By using PUCs, construction firms reduce the number of on-site contractors and materials required and the streamlined installation means projects are completed faster, which also reduces overall manhour costs.
PUCs also increase efficiency. Traditionally in construction, utilities and M&E are installed piecemeal, leading to delays and inefficiencies in the building process. With PUCs, these are all pre-installed, meaning that they can be quickly and easily “plugged-in” on-site, not only saving time, but also ensuring that they are installed correctly, reducing risk of errors or malfunctions down the line.
Which leads us into another massive advantage – improved safety. Traditional construction can require workers to perform installation work at height or difficult-to-reach locations, which can be dangerous. PUCs, on the other hand, are built in a controlled factory, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. Additionally, pre-installed utilities and equipment are all tested and certified prior to delivery, ensuring that they are safe and ready to use.
These are the main pluses, but PUCs offer more advantages to construction. They are highly customisable, designed to fit the specific needs of a building project. They are easily modified or upgraded as needed, without requiring extensive on-site work. And, as they’re built off-site, the units are manufactured year-round, regardless of weather conditions or other factors that can impact construction.
So, by using PUCs, developers can streamline construction, reduce labour and material costs, and ensure that utilities and equipment are installed correctly and safely…so, is it time for you to start giving a PUC?