Caledonian Modular

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Caledonian Modular's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Caledonian Modular is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Paul Lang, CEO
Caledonian’s offsite and modular solutions
are capable of creating 18-storey residential
buildings as well as complete secondary schools
As one of the largest specialist off-site manufacturing
businesses in the UK, Caledonian Modular are arguably
not your everyday construction company. Founded over
50 years ago, they work from a single 40-acre site in Newark,
Nottinghamshire, but operate nationwide. The modular buildings
they design, manufacture and assemble on site can be up to
94 per cent complete before they leave the factory. Serving the
domestic residential market alongside the education, military and
nuclear sectors, Caledonian Modular pride themselves on the
fact that their projects look as authentic as a traditionally built
property would, while remaining as efficient and cost-effective
as they do. CEO Paul Lang, who has been with the company for
just over three years, discusses their processes.
Our modular buildings are predominantly new projects rather than expansions, and
they retain the same kind of brickwork and strong architectural features that any
traditionally built project would. If you walk into any one of our buildings, I would
personally challenge you to be able to tell the difference – our builds are typically
traditional projects converted through modular construction.
The process we undertake is simple, yet effective and efficient. We design all
components, and the entire project, using building information modelling (BIM)
and then undertake considerably less work on site. It all just snaps together. A
two-bedroom apartment, for example, is three modules: a living room and kitchen
combination, a bathroom and hallway segment and a final module with two
bedrooms. We bring all three to site completely finished; all modules are fully
»CEO: Paul Lang
»Established in 1964
»Based in Newark,
»Services: Modular off-site
»No. of employees: 210
»Turnover: £55 million
»Achieve excellence through
the use of BIM, DFMA
and lean manufacturing
»Able to achieve up to 94 per
cent completion off-site
Caledonian Modular
painted and fitted appropriately with
appliances or lighting. The final stage
is just, really, bolting each module
together and then a few finishing
details. On typical residential projects,
we achieve between 87 and 91 per
cent completion in the factory.
A diverse and effective
Although there has historically been a
lot of stigma with regards to modular
building, and a lot of complaints, the
advance in quality has seen us able to
precision manufacture to extremely
high tolerances, often far higher than
traditional construction. We operate
stringent test and manufacture
processes, and can achieve levels of
quality far greater than one would
see on a traditionally constructed
We work on and deliver anything from
high-rise residential apartment buildings
to entire schools, and take the project
on from concept all the way through to
handover. We employ in-house design
resources, and, where appropriate, can
bring in specialist architects. Our ability
to take on a turnkey operation and see
it go through design, manufacture,
installation, commission and handover,
is renowned.
Values, growth and
We’re focusing currently on growing
significantly over the next three years,
and anticipating that our capacity for
growth on site will double. By the end
of 2019, we want our revenue, which
is currently around £55 million, to push
beyond £100 million. We anticipate
that this significant growth will come as
a result of diversification across market
segments, with a marked increase in
the number of domestic and residential
projects we’re working on.
This growth has been a result of a
focused ethos with regards to our
quality and delivery. Our central,
underpinning methodology is to take a
traditionally constructed building and
apply manufacturing techniques to
drive further efficiencies. We achieve
this through three core areas – the
use of BIM, design for manufacture
and assembly (DFMA) and lean
manufacturing techniques. Precision
manufacturing helps us to provide a
finished product that is more efficient
and of far higher quality.
Finally, we are working on some of the
largest modular government projects
across the entire country, including
£55 million hotel accommodation for
workers at the Hinkley Point C power
station, based in Somerset, which
comprises 1,496 en-suite bedrooms
across 44 individual buildings at two
locations. The entire project is worth
£18 billion across the board for the
nuclear build programme, and, for our
part in that, we completed on our first
phase in May, on time and on budget.
Another recent success for us and
our partner architects HLM has been
securing first place on the modular
framework to provide permanent,
component-based buildings and
facilities for the ESFA’s new secondary
schools block replacement programme.
We won this procurement competition
with others from the off-site
Caledonian operates
from a 40-acre site
in Nottinghamshire
and specialises in the
design, manufacture
and construction of
permanent multistorey
We work on and
deliver anything
from high-rise
buildings to
entire schools,
and take the
project on from
concept all the
way through to
Highlighting best practice
construction sector, securing top
spot against 64 other bidders. Being
awarded first place immediately secures
two projects with a combined value
of £12 million, with the potential to
realise further schemes within the £250
million funding allocated to the lot.
Procurement and projects
As people start to recognise the value
and quality we can bring to their
construction projects, the procurement
strategies remain a massive obstacle.
These single or second-stage tenders
are still geared towards traditional
and historic construction firms and
work best for their processes, and,
though we are seeing a shift towards
off-site construction technology, we
have not yet seen recognition in the
way projects are procured to deliver
and drive real value. As the industry
changes and the move to off-site
production becomes more and more
popular, the procurement process
needs to reflect that. Our government
procurement strategies need to be
aligned to the benefits and efficiency
that a manufactured project can
provide, rather than treating everything
as a traditional build.
This has secondary effects with regards
to our sustainability as a business. If
we bid for a project worth £10 million,
that’s great – but that contract is
only three months’ work. As soon as
that’s over, we need to win another
immediately, and then another;
rather than people coming to us with
individual projects, we want companies
to approach us with designs and
arrange long-term agreements. The
procurement strategies aren’t keeping
up with the rest of the industry
– the process is not conducive to
manufacturing excellence, and there
must be a change going forwards.
With a long-term investment in off-
site manufacture and procurement,
capacity will soon be able to meet the
increasing demand while retaining
appropriate quality.
Continuous processes
While we’re concentrated on growing
from £55 million to £100 million by
the end of 2019, our long-term goal
for the company is to make a real
difference. We want to utilise our
growth to deliver greater value and
quality, which we feel is ultimately
so important, through off-site
manufacturing. That’s where we
believe we can substantially improve
quality, time and cost.
By providing these improvements
through BIM, design for manufacture
and assembly and lean manufacturing,
we anticipate that we will be able to
see industry standards raised across the
board, with the entire sector becoming
aptly efficient. We want to continually
improve, continually grow and
continually drive the message about
off-site manufacturing, to reach above
our current station and change things
in the sector.
We anticipate
that we will
be able to see
raised across
the board
Caledonian is able to
complete all campus
buildings from a single
classroom block through
to a complete school

This article was sponsored by Caledonian Modular. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy