Construction News

Masonry Frame Systems – Meeting the challenges of the pandemic

todayOctober 20, 2021


While Covid-19 has resulted in wide-ranging implications for every business, in some ways it has played into the hands of Kent-based Masonry Frame Systems, as its i-Form Solution™ is ideally suited to the challenges the pandemic has placed on the construction industry.

“The manufacturing process we have developed was arguably born ‘Covid-ready’, as it is very labour-limited in contrast to traditional construction largely because some 90% of the manufacture is conducted offsite and the site process is more akin to an assembly process,” explains Norman Hinckes, Managing Director. “We were therefore naturally equipped for working in smaller two-person bubbles. While no-one was prepared for Covid-19 and the effects it has had on industry, our system is well tailored to deal with the protocols associated with the pandemic. What’s more, the issues now surrounding the shortage of labour and materials has created something of a perfect storm and opportunities abound for us as a result. It is as if, after all these years, that the stars are all aligning at once. This does bring its own problems, particularly as it means we’re extremely busy, but they’re nice issues to have and we look forward to resolving them.”

Another positive for Masonry Frame Systems is the opportunities it is seeing are spread right across the residential sector, including high rise. “Our i-Form Solution™ is most relevant from three storeys upwards but the particular sweet spot is in the five to eight-storey arena,” adds Mr Hinckes. “Benchmarked against RC (reinforced concrete) frame, we are considerably quicker and at least 20% cheaper but that is only part of the equation, our system is also significantly greener and we have far better ESG’s (Environmental, Social and Governance) than most comparative build methods out there. The world is increasingly recognising the sustainability issues that need to be addressed and we’re confident that we’ll be able to play our part in this regard.”

Whilst some companies have been adversely affected by supply issues, Masonry Frame Systems’ close links with its manufacturing base has helped avoid any problems. “One of the key components on the system is manufactured on the continent and whilst there are delivery driver shortages in the UK, our manufacturers have been able to switch deliveries to foreign drivers, who are bringing product into the country before travelling back, therefore ensuring continuous supply is maintained. There has been a marginal cost increase, but most importantly there is absolute certainty in terms of availability of product and getting it to site. This has only been made possible thanks to the close relationship we have built with the primary manufacturer, the foundations of which go back many years.”

Albion Street, Southwick

In terms of specific projects that Masonry Frame Systems is involved in, the company is about to commence the development of two apartment blocks for Adur & Worthing District Council, one five-storey and one six-storey, on the south coast in Southwick, just outside of Brighton. This is a project that had previously been designed to stage level 4 RC frame, but as the client couldn’t make it work financially, Masonry Frame Systems stepped in to carry out a complete redesign from head to toe using its own system to bring it back on budget. “It is fully designed in BIM and everyone is taking full advantage of the digitally-designed components we’re able to bring to the table,” outlines Mr Hinckes. “It is scheduled to start onsite very shortly and will carry on right the way through into the New Year with completion due in April 2022.

“We also have a number of other projects that we are in negotiations with, but these remain confidential at the moment. We are extremely confident that we’ll have secured a couple of significant projects for tier 1 and tier 2 contractors in the near future, although I have given up with the crystal ball after all the lessons that Covid has taught us. Having said that, there is a fundamental need for new homes due to the housing crisis, on top of which there’s the shortage in both materials and skills. I am extremely confident that we have a solution to meet all three of those needs.”

Masonry Frame Systems is now determined to make the most of the opportunities it is currently seeing. With the careful management it has demonstrated over the years, it looks well placed to take full advantage as it continues to develop its system to meet the demands and requirements of modern construction.


Norman Hinckes, Managing Director

The post Masonry Frame Systems – Meeting the challenges of the pandemic appeared first on Construction Industry News.

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