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Neath Firm Reaping Rewards of an Investment in Standards and Energy Efficiency

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Timber frame construction specialist SO Modular is reaping the rewards of an investment it has made in a specific type of construction standard based around environmental standards and energy efficiency.

The Neath-based company has made a significant investment in training all the employees in its fitting teams to educate them around the importance of air tightness and Passivhaus standards.

Passivhaus standards relate to the energy consumed by buildings and the extent to which they are energy-efficient, comfortable and affordable, applying stringent standards and certification criteria to buildings.

The training was carried out by specialist design and manufacturing engineer, Verity Moorhouse, who SO Modular is working with us as part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership, a Welsh Government initiative designed to help companies innovate by matching the skills and expertise of individuals in higher education with companies.

The initiative also represented an important landmark in its journey to establish a formal training academy at its headquarters, the former Metal Box Factory, in partnership with Neath Port Talbot College and Cardiff Metropolitan University. It is the company’s objective to create a cutting-edge training academy that will lead the way in teaching many types of modern construction techniques.

SO Modular is putting the new skillsets of its team to good use on a number of important projects including two exciting projects with Lloyd & Gravell that will embrace Passivhaus standards.

One is a new 270-place, English-medium primary school with 30-place nursery and up to 23 full-time places for Early Years provision, is being constructed adjacent to the current Ysgol y Castell in Kidwelly. The current facility will be demolished on completion of the new build to accommodate a MUGA sports field and car parking area.

SO Modular is also working on the Ysgol Gorslas project, a new £6.8million project that will create a new 210 pupil capacity school building on land located behind Gorslas Community Park.

The scheme will provide space to accommodate nursery provision and facilities which can be shared by the community such as a large hall, school field and a multi-use games area. It is hoped the new school building can still be completed by Spring 2022.

The project has been developed as part of Carmarthenshire County Council’s Modernising Education Programme (MEP) in collaboration with the Welsh Government's 21st Century Schools Programme.

Both schools will be built to a BREEAM Excellent, and energy efficient Passivhaus standard. For both schools, SO Modular will build and install a timber frame structure including all steel and glulam’s required for the buildings as well as installing insulation to Passivhaus standards.

Charlotte Hale, Operations Director, SO Modular, said:

“We believe in the importance of training the next generation and the value of quality in everything we do. A training programme like this helps instil these values in our people, and ensures our staff are trained correctly.

“We understand that without the right training in place we cannot achieve the best results. Our aim is to inspire future generations to believe in producing a quality product and protecting our environment.

“These are two fantastic projects to be working on. It is always great to be creating buildings that will play a vital role in educating and inspiring future generations. Evermore so when working with a partner such as Lloyd and Gravell who are such a remarkable Contractor to work with.

“We are also delighted to be able to apply Passivhaus standards to these builds. We have invested in training out staff in these standards and we look forward to putting that investment into practice.”