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Modular Construction: Five Steps to Help Control Your Costs

A groundworks contractor can have a huge impact on the efficiency of a modular construction project. A well-planned groundworks solution can not only help to save significant time but also costs.​

Key to achieving this is more effective partnership working and a better understanding of what information is needed and by when. So, if you’re planning a modular build, here’s our guide to working more effectively with your groundworks contractor and ensuring greater cost certainty:​

1. Seek advice at the tender stage​

Too often, groundworks contractors are appointed once the contract has been secured when there is less flexibility to shift the price.

​Engaging with a groundworks contractor at the tender stage means that specialist advice can be offered from the outset, ensuring more accurate pricing. We can make main contractors and their clients aware of any potential issues that could incur extra costs, and which are often overlooked at this stage.

2. Don’t scrimp on information

Ensure your groundworker is provided with as much information as possible about the site, the project and its design. The more detail the better. A key part of our role is investigating the hidden issues that could delay your project and affect the budget. We can do this more quickly and more effectively if we have access to relevant information right from the start.

3. Allow sufficient time​

A modular design will always raise questions for your groundworks contractor, so ensure that time is factored into the programme for these to be processed and addressed.

Even the most experienced modular designer is unlikely, or unable, to consider every detail in relation to groundworks such as drainage connection details or even workable project phasing and operations planning. Allow sufficient time and your groundworker will be able to advise on all of these issues as well as solutions that could generate better efficiencies.

4. Investigate ground conditions​

Commissioning a groundworks contractor to investigate the site and ground conditions at the earliest opportunity is crucial. This will help to determine what foundation design will be required as well as the drainage solution. For example, clay in the ground may mean that additional measures will be required to protect the foundations and allow for less load bearing capacity.​

Involving a specialist structural engineer with expertise in works below ground, is also advisable at this stage to ensure the foundation and drainage design are appropriate for the ground conditions.

5. Prepare for all eventualities

​There are certain challenges which are often overlooked by our clients and which could affect their costs. An experienced groundworks contractor can provide a more detailed analysis of the project taking into account all eventualities so that these can be considered in the budget. For example, limited site access may affect the type of plant and equipment that could be used for groundworks, which in turn may impact the overall construction programme. Similarly, constrained sites may present difficulties for work further down the line, limiting space for jobs such as cladding and roofing.

​For further information on groundworks for modular builds and controlling costs, please email

Modular Construction: Five Steps to Help Control Your Costs
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