Award-winning research advances structural performance of efficient modular homes

Dr Ornella Iuorio’s work in developing innovative modular housing construction, in partnership with ilke Homes, has received the prestigious Institute of Civil Engineers Sir John Fowler Award 2021.

Dr Iuorio’s research has shown how incorporating advanced methodologies for the design of cold-formed steel systems can address challenges in the structural performance of Modular Building Systems. Her findings have improved the safety and sustainability of modular housing construction, while also reducing the cost of materials by 33%.

The research has advanced the UK’s industry agenda: it led to a reduced amount of steel used in construction of the modular houses by 10%, resulting in a £1m annual saving. It also achieved a 10% reduction in labour costs, making a saving of £100,000 per year.

The adoption of Modular Building Systems, also known as Modern Methods of Construction (MMC), is expected to exponentially grow in the construction sector. MMC can have improved energy efficiency, lower cost and relative ease of construction when compared with more traditional construction methods. It has been recognised as a technique that supports solutions to Britain’s housing crisis.

Dr Iuorio, who received with her team the Sir John Fowler Award at the Yorkshire and Humber Annual Awards last week, said:

“The research has massively accelerated the modular housing building process, giving us a structure that is stronger and lighter, and can be assembled much more quickly. This will reduce the carbon footprint of the UK’s modular homes, as well as the cost of materials.

The research... will reduce the carbon footprint of the UK’s modular homes, as well as the cost of materials.

Dr Ornella Iuorio, School of Civil Engineering

“This project developed an innovative, optimised structural system utilising novel design and manufacturing techniques to significantly improve structural performance, safety and sustainability.

“It delivers huge impacts on industrial capability in Yorkshire, and will result in houses which are sustainable and affordable in Yorkshire and throughout the UK.”

Further information

The ICE Yorkshire and Humber Awards, which takes place annually, showcases the collective and individual achievements of civil engineers.

Awards are made for civil engineering projects in the Yorkshire and Humber region in recognition of achievement, excellence or innovation in civil engineering, taking into account factors such as value and impact on society, sustainability, health safety and welfare, quality of design, innovation and best practice, difficulty and response, diversity and inclusion, and collaboration and excellence in delivery.

ilke Homes constructs efficient modular housing to tackle Britain’s housing crisis. Find out more.

Learn more about Dr Ornella Iuorio’s research.