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Modular construction can save your building time up to 50%!

Jennie Morton, 2018-02-02

In the market for a new facility or addition but concerned about construction costs? Look for permanent modular construction (PMC) as a way to acquire a new building in a tough economy. This alternative construction technique yields faster completion times, improved efficiency, cleaner materials, and better quality control.

A Different Construction Process

PMC is a method of construction, not a building type. It greatly differs from temporary buildings, such as construction trailers or mobile homes.

“These are custom-designed commercial buildings just like their site-built counterparts,” explains Phil Slingerland, COO of Warrior Group, a firm specializing in modular construction. “Using PMC does not change the design, structural system, or finish materials options available to the owner and architect. The only difference is the method of construction.”

After the design is finalized with an architect, construction plans are sent to a factory where the majority of the building is erected. PMC uses prefabricated elements for as many building components as possible. Everything from walls and mechanical systems to painting and carpet can be completed on the assembly line.

“The difference is that 60% to 90% of modular buildings are completed offsite in a controlled production environment, including all MEP, fixtures, and interior finishes,” says Tom Hardiman, executive director of the Modular Building Institute (MBI).

While modules are assembled at the factory, site work can begin at the same time, such as laying the foundation or prepping utility connections. This greatly decreases the time needed for total construction. Modular buildings are often completed 30-50% faster than conventional structures.

Once the modules are ready, they are shipped to the site and fastened together. The final construction stage includes completing exterior systems such as cladding and roofing components and internal spaces like lobbies, stairwells, and elevator shafts.

The beauty of the finished building is that occupants will not be able to tell how the structure was built. “The art of PMC is to make the modularity disappear once you complete the building,” says Sue Johnson, chief development officer for Warrior Group.

Efficient Manufacturing and Onsite Assembly

Build times are a major consideration with any development but, with modular units being constructed remotely, many of the factors that can affect lead times on traditional builds can be negated – delivering a dramatically more efficient project overall.

For instance, modular manufacturing in a factory environment is unaffected by adverse weather conditions, allowing for better time management. Stringent manufacturing processes and the ability to build to precise specifications can also save significant time onsite, as issues are more quickly identified and more easily rectified throughout the manufacturing process.

Cost Reductions That Offer Affordable Housing

Modular construction also offers the opportunity to make significant reductions in operational and transportation-related costs. From the highly controlled production environment to a reduction in resources required for the installation, modular construction can have a decidedly positive impact on budget management – reducing overheads and saving time. This means savings can be passed through construction companies to potential homeowners, providing affordable accommodation that remains profitable for developers.

Utilising The Innovation in Modular Construction

One of the key parts of the modular design is utilizing the latest construction innovations, particularly in the form of lightweight materials – meaning remote construction and transportation can be executed without compromising the strength and integrity of the structure.

The introduction of lightweight building materials like light steel frames provides a sturdy, load-bearing structure for walls, floors, and ceilings that can be used on single and multi-story developments. These lightweight materials not only make construction more efficient, but they also make use of recyclable materials, too – reducing the environmental impact of developments that opt for this method of construction.

Come to the Modular Construction and Prefabrication Summit 2018 scheduled on May 3 - 4, in Prague, to learn more about Construction, BIM, Smart Home, Infrastructure, Material Suppliers, Prefabrication and many, many more.

Senior level attendees from companies such as Technip, RIB SAA, Vienna, Peab, AECOM, Elematic Oyj, Arabian Construction Co will share latest techniques, real case studies and need-to-know information to stay competitive in the industry.

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