LSI Architects visit the McAvoy Factory in Northern Ireland

Following a brief, pandemic- enforced hiatus, we were this year able to reinstate our annual study trip. Having packed our bags, we hopped over to Belfast, Northern Ireland, hometown of Director Peter Courtney.

“Our study trips provide everyone at LSI Architects with the opportunity to experience the architecture in another part of the world.  These trips have always been hugely valuable for us, in terms of providing our team with an opportunity to learn and gain inspiration for their own work.

It also means we get to spend time together as a team outside of the working environment, a wonderful opportunity for our teams to connect and build stronger relationships that we can carry through to our own project work.

We’ve always received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our teams that they find the study trips inspirational and valuable to their work.” – Director Peter Courtney

Every trip, we take an opportunity to visit an industry colleague and this year we were delighted to be able to visit a longstanding client, McAvoy, with whom we have successfully worked in collaboration to deliver a number of excellent education projects that utilise offsite modular construction.

LSI Architects at the McAvoy Factory

McAvoy hosted us at their head office in Lisburn, where they gave our team a tour of the factory floor. Our teams gained a first-hand view into the modular construction process and were able to learn more about the benefits that offsite modular solutions can bring to a project in relation to quality, reduced construction time, cost and waste.

LSI Architects at the McAvoy Factory

“The main factory part of the tour was particularly valuable. We were able to ask lots of questions of extremely knowledgeable people and spoke about standard education grid sizing, cassette construction and finishing that was really valuable.

Having not stood in a module before, just seeing it up close gave me a real appreciation for what can be achieved.” – Architect Douglas Craven

As well as a tour of the factory, the team were able to get ‘hands-on’ and work together to construct our own scale model of a typical McAvoy module. This practical exercise not only provided a deeper understanding of modular design and manufacturing, but also highlighted the complexities and challenges faced during the assembly of full-sized modules.

LSI Architects at the McAvoy Factory

The team also experienced McAvoy’s approach to using augmented reality and virtual reality to benefit design and co-ordination and to engage stakeholders in the design and delivery process. Individuals were able to explore a project we had previously collaborated on within a simulated environment.

The feedback we have received from our teams has been overwhelmingly positive. It is already clear that visit has been instrumental in bridging the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical application, and that the insights gained will enhance our longstanding relationship with McAvoy and enable us to collaborate even more effectively on future projects.

It was great to hear more about how the McAvoy system is developing. I was impressed with the collaborative approach that McAvoy take and left wondering how we as Architects could bring some creative thinking to the modular process to deliver outstanding buildings and realise the benefits that off-site modular construction techniques can deliver.” – Architect Matthew Reeve

LSI Architects at the McAvoy Factory

The series of activities that McAvoy had planned were excellent in helping us as designers to better understand their design and coordination processes, construction methodology and how they were evolving the business to meet future needs.

Seeing the modules in development gave us a clearer understanding of the construction and coordination needs of the McAvoy system, and how this was developing over time to improve efficiency and lower waste.  The VR experience demonstrated how our teams have been able to collaborate on projects to demonstrate spaces to our clients as well as perform clash detection.

 The mini module construction challenge was great, bringing the team together to puzzle over the sequencing and design constraints of fabricating the units, and their presentation of future developments really showed how the business continues to look to the future in partnership with its supply chain and designers.” – Associate Director Daniel Pedley