J & A Growers

J & A Growers

  • CLIENT; J & A Growers (suppliers of trees and shrubs to the private and public sector)
  • STATUS; Completed – June 2017
  • SIZE; 228sqm
  • ARCHITECT; Richard Walker, Walker Graham Architects
  • STRUCTURAL ENGINEERS; Ian Harban Consulting Engineers


Accommodation is key to contented staff and seasonal workers are becoming far more selective in choosing employers and accommodation. After wages this is their second greatest driver and there is now a direct correlation in the way that workers are attracted to certain employer sites and the accommodation available for them.

This, combined with the UK leaving the EU, means that employers now have to compete hard to get the best people. Recognising both of these issues J&A Growers wanted to provide their staff with warm, quality accommodation as well as save on the running costs of temporary buildings they used to hire in each year and approached us to build one.

The Building

The J&A Growers building was manufactured, delivered and installed for £923/m2 (including groundworks, utilities drainage etc). It significantly exceeds required thermal efficiencies and complies fully with all Building and Fire Regulations.

The m2 cost compares favourably to that of new 35m2, 3 bed static caravans which the company had also considered. However statics are about £25,000 each from the manufacturer and also also need groundworks, utilities and drainage etc, as well as Building Regs inspections. With these additions, the total cost becomes £30,000 or £857/m2.

Whilst the m2 figure is marginally less for the statics, after maintenance, running costs, fuel and eventual resale values are considered the modular building wins on all counts.

For these reasons and the fact that the modular accommodation is of higher quality, more durable (longer life span) and aesthetically pleasing, the company opted for the modular solution and with the build time being only a matter of weeks, it’s an ideal solution.

Benefits for workers

  • More space per person – assuming 15 people are housed in the new building compared against 4 people housed in a static, the employees in the J&A growers accommodation enjoy  = 15m2 of space per person as against 8.7/m2 per person had they been accommodated in a static caravan.
  • Workers feel that they are being valued, are happier and prepared to go the extra mile.
  • The accommodation provides better facilities.

Benefits to the employer

  • Decent, well thought out and above average accommodation attracts better quality employees.
  • Better accommodation generates improved employer/employee relations resulting in improved staff retention and improved rates of returning employees. This saves on training and recruitment costs and ensures workers are up and running in the fastest possible time all of which leads to increased productivity and profitability.
  • Well rested employees will work more safely.
  • Reduced maintenance and running costs improves profitability.
  • Higher potential resale value compared to redundant touring or static caravans.
  • Significant opportunities to repurpose the building for other uses if required.


Timberworks Europe were supplied with planning drawings and asked to interpret these into working drawings for a contract with contractor’s design. The building was primarily designed to operate as accommodation for seasonal workers and to replace temporary buildings at a high rental cost to the owner. The facilities include 7 bedrooms, separate male and female showers and w. c’s, a boot/drying room and a large open plan kitchen/ sitting area.


  • The Building exceeds all current thermal efficiency requirements
  • The 150mm external wall panels provide u-values of 0.25w/m2K (Building regs threshold is 0.35w/ m2K)
  • The 300mm thick roof delivers a u-value of 0.18w/m2K (Building regs require 0.25w/m2K)
  • 150mm thick floor delivers 0.22w/m2K
  • 175mm thick walls deliver 0.25w/m2K
  • The air permeability of the finished structure is estimated to be between 4 and 5 M3/m2/hr at 50pa. (Building regs need 10 m3/m2/hr)
  • The building has uPVC window frames which have argon filled double glazing throughout which deliver u-values of 1.4w/m2K.
  • The building only requires simple pier foundations thereby saving on concrete and less sustainable materials.


The groundworks and drainage took 2 weeks to complete and the building fabrication took 7. After a trial installation at the factory where the building was assembled and fully tested, it was dismantled and delivered to site on 8 rigid lorries. The modules were offloaded and installed in 2 days. Once delivery was complete internal finishes were made to the walls floors and ceilings, carpets laid and handover was 3 weeks after delivery. So 10 weeks from the ordering of the building to handover.

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