Offsite construction - Terrapin Ltd.


Terrapin was founded just after the Second World War by Harry Bolt. In those days the business was primarily involved in the manufacture and marketing of relocatable housing, this was in great demand because of the housing shortage caused by the war. The early prefabricated houses were supplemented by portable buildings supplied to the civil and mechanical engineering sectors to support infra-structure building works. The product range was also augmented with ‘pack structures’ which provided the basis for roof, floor and side walls to be transported in a flat pack to building sites. Terrapin has been expanding the potential of modern methods of construction since 1949. It started with the development of the prefabricated, aluminium framed bungalows that solved the problems of post war housing. The 'folding' building unit concept was evolved along with the associated requirements to produce such units in the factory on a flow-line basis. In the 1950’s Terrapin developed the Mark 36, a factory manufactured structure that was a complete classroom building unit. This unit became the classroom of choice for schools during the ‘baby boom’ and at the height of construction; a Mark 36 unit was leaving the Terrapin factory every 20 minutes. In the 70’s the company combined the advantages of new construction technologies with the established strengths of traditional build by introducing a new steel framed, design and build technology.

Harry Bolt’s conviction was that the future of construction lay in the adoption of modern industrial techniques and a minimum of site work. In the 1960s the company started selling buildings to the education sector. In the 1970s the company began manufacturing steel frame buildings and in the 1980s it set up a Design and Build Division which primarily undertook work in the commercial building sector but also in the education and hotel sectors. Terrapin is situated in Bletchley, part of the city of Milton Keynes. Over the years the company has developed the 22-acre site on which it is located into an industrial estate using buildings that it has manufactured itself. The estate is called Auckland Park and offers industrial units for rent. The Terrapin group of companies, together, employ some 155 people. Terrapin is the first company to be accredited under Buildoffsite’s new supplier registration scheme operated by Lloyd’s Register. The scheme standardises all aspects of the offsite process and ensures best practice, offering client’s confidence in the assured levels of competence, methodology and safe working of the accredited supplier. With a 60 year track record, Terrapin is a dominant player in offsite building, specialising in solutions for projects such as hotels, prisons, schools, hospital, offices and apartments, where construction efficiency and low carbon considerations are already significant requirements.  As a company, Terrapin is taking quality assurance to new heights. Terrapin achieved Quality Assurance Standard ISO 9001:2000 and were the first company to be accredited the Buildoffsite Registration Scheme, a scheme operated by the Lloyd’s Register Group which sets standards for best practice across all aspects of the offsite process. Additionally, Terrapin holds ISO 14001:2004 for high standards of environmental performance.

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