19th February 2020 | Information | Debbie Phillips

The benefits of using modular construction to deliver new student accommodation

ISO Spaces Managing Director, Ben Treleaven explores the benefits of modular-built student accommodation 

According to the House of Commons Library, there are an estimated 2.3 million higher education students in the UK. The demand for student accommodation is growing, with students outweighing bed space 3:1. A shortage of student accommodation in Bristol recently left students being allocated residence in halls in the nearby town of Langford, and even as far as Newport; some students even had to find their own means of accommodation.

Universities own and manage the majority of student accommodation, but with a growing number of applicants and a rise in international students, they are increasingly relying on the private sector to cater to this increase.

Across the UK, around 30% of full-time first-year students live in private, purpose-built student accommodation. Lack of accommodation for students can cause problems for both students and local residents. With first-year students having to source private accommodation, they are competing with second and third-year students as well as people living in the local area looking for rented accommodation.

Sourcing private accommodation can be an additional stress for students at an already stressful time. It can also prove to be a more expensive option than university accommodation, as living off-campus could involve additional travel costs.

Modular construction is perfectly suited to meeting the student accommodation shortage.  Builds can be completed in a timely and professional manner, with little disruption to the students by installing the accommodation outside of the fixed-term timetables. Modular builds offer universities cost certainty, as it is a manufactured product in factory-controlled conditions. 

Benefits of ISO Spaces modular accommodation:  
– Maximise site space with stackable units
– Permanently-portable; can be re-located as required
– BOPAS 60-year life guarantee 
– Quick to build and install  
– Cheaper than traditional build methods    
– Cost certainty
– Programme certainty with minimal risk of disruption due to weather


One of the overarching benefits of modular construction is that all units are manufactured on a production line, simultaneously with the preparation works onsite. This allows projects to be completed faster, with less time spent on site. Units are manufactured inside a factory – a controlled environment which eliminates the risk of weather delays. This also ensures better quality management as checks can be carried out at each stage of the manufacturing process.  

Modular units are designed and built to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities. ISO Spaces modular solutions are built with BOPAS accreditation, ensuring a minimal in-service life of 60 years.

Student accommodation developments can be added to over time to upscale, or the permanently portable nature of ISO Spaces’ modular units ensures the development can be relocated at any time. Entire apartments can be fully factory-finished, with all internal fittings, bedrooms, bathroom, kitchen, heating and flooring complete. Creating a home away from home with built-in facilities such as laundrettes, coffee shops or bike storage can also be integrated into the build to create a sense of community for students.  

The versatility of modular buildings means they can be assembled on sites that might not be suitable for more traditional build methods, as often no foundations are required. This is beneficial for maximising the use of limited campus or private space as minimal groundworks are required.

ISO Spaces offer modular accommodation solutions from self-contained independent studio apartments to large-scale shared accommodation developments. Take a look at our modular accommodation solutions here.

For more information on this article, please contact:

Danielle Lawson, Head of Marketing

danielle@isospaces.co.uk

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