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What is BlokBuild, and is it the Future of Construction?

The construction industry has long been marked by a continuous quest for innovation—faster methods, more sustainable practices, and smarter technologies. In this quest, a novel approach has recently emerged, capturing the attention of industry experts and stakeholders: BlokBuild. This concept promises to revolutionise building construction, but what exactly is BlokBuild, and could it be the future of construction?

What is BlokBuild?

BlokBuild is an innovative modular construction technology that offers a new way of building structures using prefabricated blocks. These blocks are designed to simplify and expedite the construction process, and their design and assembly resemble those of large-scale building blocks, which can be quickly assembled to form a complete structure.

BlokBuild is particularly suited to projects where speed, cost, and environmental impact are critical considerations. It has been employed in various sectors, including residential housing and commercial buildings, and in scenarios requiring rapid deployment, such as during natural disasters or for temporary facilities.

The facts behind BlokBuild

1. Prefabrication: BlokBuild’s core concept revolves around prefabricating block components in a controlled factory setting. This involves creating standardised, interlocking modules that can easily be assembled on-site. Therefore, each block is precisely manufactured to meet specifications, ensuring a high-quality finish and consistency across different projects. The blocks are manufactured from OSB, cut to shape to interlock and form a block.

2. Construction and Assembly: Once manufactured, these blocks are transported to the construction site, where they are assembled. The blocks are designed to interlock securely. Therefore, the building process is simplified, reducing construction time and labour typically required.

3. Insulation and Energy Efficiency: A distinctive feature of BlokBuild technology is its focus on energy efficiency. The blocks are often filled with insulation materials like Rockwool to enhance thermal performance. Rockwool is made from natural stone wool insulation, which provides excellent thermal insulation and offers benefits in terms of fire resistance and sound insulation. This inclusion helps create more energy-efficient buildings, therefore reducing heating and cooling costs over the building’s lifespan.

4. Versatility and Customisation: Despite the standardisation in size and shape, BlokBuild offers a level of customisation by combining different blocks or adjusting the layout to fit specific site conditions or architectural requirements. This modularity extends to various types of constructions, from residential homes to larger commercial buildings.

5. Sustainability: BlokBuild aligns well with sustainable building practices by reducing construction waste and improving energy efficiency. The controlled environment of factory production minimises waste production. The efficient transport and assembly processes reduce the overall carbon footprint of construction.

Is BlokBuild the future of construction?

While BlokBuild presents an enticing vision of the future, several factors will determine its position and longevity in the construction industry.

Potential Advantages:
  • Speed of Construction: One of BlokBuild’s most significant advantages is the rapid assembly of buildings, which can transform project timelines and reduce overall costs.
  • Reduced Environmental Impact: As the world moves towards more sustainable practices, BlokBuild’s reduced waste and efficient use of materials make it an attractive option.
  • Versatility: BlokBuild’s modular nature allows it to be used in various types of construction, from residential homes to commercial buildings and even temporary installations.
Challenges and Considerations:
  • Standardisation Issues: The interlocking design requires standardisation, which might limit customisation options in architectural designs.
  • Initial Costs and Investment: While the long-term cost savings are apparent, the initial investment in setting up production facilities for prefabricated blocks can be substantial.
  • Industry Resistance: The construction industry is traditionally conservative. Therefore, new methods can face resistance from those accustomed to conventional practices.

In practice – Lowfield Green

The Lowfield Green project, designed by BlokBuild in York, is a pioneering example of using OSB in multi-storey residential buildings. This three-storey home maximises natural light with large glazed areas and is built for adaptable living, initially with two bedrooms but expandable to five. Its innovative construction uses digitally manufactured, insulated floor cassettes, achieving unsupported spans of 7 meters, creating open, flexible spaces. The entire timber structure was also assembled using minimal equipment, refining BlokBuild’s low-impact installation methods​.

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