Good Things Come In Small Packages
Lidan Designs’ €120,000, 60 sq m two-bedroom ‘Modular Dwelling’ achieves an A2 BER, is a certified nZEB building, is Part L compliant and fully sustainable. ROBBIE COUSINS reports.
At 60 sq m and with a budget of €120,000, Lidan Designs’ two-bedroom ‘Modular Dwelling’ for Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLR) Parks Department is probably the smallest and least costly Project Focus you are likely ever to see featured in Construction magazine. But living up to the saying “good things come in small packages”, Modular Dwelling is giving DLR Parks Department a lot of bang for its €120,000 price tag.
Designed and constructed entirely at Lidan Designs’ manufacturing facility in Co Roscommon and installed on site – all in just six weeks – the timber frame modular dwelling has a BER rating of A2 and is a Near Zero Energy Building (nZEB) certified building.
According to Dan O’Brien, Managing Director, Lidan Designs, the company adapted a design provided by DLR for production at its plant to meet the required performance levels.
“We provide a full design service but can adapt architects’ designs. We use Sketch-Up software to design our buildings, and we build to the exact measurements generated from the drawing,” he explains. “This project took six weeks to complete, including design, build, installation and eventual handover.”
Dan O’Brien says most of the challenges that occur with projects that the company takes on are site-related. Modular Dwelling was no different.
“The location for the building was Fernhill Park and Gardens, a recently opened public park that is designated as fully sustainable by DLR. The site within the park was very tight. We literally had to insert the building into a small space amongst a group of four historical buildings, which in turn are enclosed by mature trees,” Dan O’Brien continues. “We designed and fabricated the building with the tight site in mind. There was only a 5mm clearance to get the building into the site and with almost all four sides bounded by existing structures and less than one foot of room on any one side. We manufactured the building in two sections, transported them to site, then reconnected the units.
“What is unusual in this case was that the kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom, all internal plumbing, electrics, and energy systems were completed in Roscommon before being brought to site. It was then a matter of connecting the units once craned into position, then connecting services prior to certification and handover to the client.”
To achieve the A2 BER, nZEB and Part L, in conjunction with client sustainability criteria such as sustainable energy sources and waste management, required for locating in Fernhill Park and Gardens, Lidan Designs used materials that included Ecocel recycled paper insulation, air-to-air heat pump, a H20 exhaust air hybrid hot water system, a PV solar system, a vacuum toilet and a separate greywater system. In addition, this building had to meet the new Part L compliance for all buildings now purchased by the public sector, which came into force from 1st January 2019.
Speaking about Lidan Designs’ other work, Dan O’Brien says, “Almost 80% of our buildings are now modularly built in our facility in Roscommon and transported to site. Apart from the natural advantages of using a modular build system, this allows us to create sustainable jobs in the west of Ireland while leveraging local skilled tradespeople and professions. This is a core strategy of Lidan, and it is fundamental to our business as we move forward.’’
Lidan’s work is now almost equally split between private residential and public sector. Work to date includes sports and community centres, homes, and amenity facilities for heritage and environmentally sensitive areas where they sit seamlessly with their natural surroundings.
“Our houses offer a high-quality, cost-effective alternative to other house types, particularly in the current housing crisis, where cost, quality and speed of delivery of so important,” Dan O’Brien says.
Lidan Designs operates nationwide and is currently building a modular community centre in Dundrum for DLR, and completing a modular unit for the Office of Public Works at the Casino heritage site in Marino, Dublin.