Wednesday, July 30, 2014

10 Reasons Modular Construction is Looking Hot

Commercial modular construction is getting hotter. It’s being used for high-rise apartments in NYC, for dormitories at Yale, and for hotels, hospitals, and even homes around the world. And while modular used to suffer from a bit of an image problem, today 98 percent of contractors, 98 percent of architects, and 99 percent of engineers use prefabrication and modular building methods.

Why is modular construction surging in popularity?

1. A shorter build time – With modular construction, the foundation and the building can be built at the same time. Factory-based pre-fabrication also speeds up the process, giving modular construction an average 20 to 30 percent time savings over traditional construction.  That’s just the average.

2. A quicker return on investment – A tighter turn-around means more money, sooner. Because modular construction takes significantly less time, units can rent out and generate income much quicker, and the carrying costs are lower.

3. Increased cost-savings – Modular construction can cut costs by 20-30 percent. A shorter build time saves money on overall construction. Labor costs are less, as prefab construction uses more factory workers and less individual tradesmen like plumbers and electricians.

4. No weather-related construction issues – Construction crews work inside, enabling them to work year-round, no matter the weather. Building materials stay cleaner indoors, where they’re also protected from the elements.

5. A solution for difficult sites – Imagine building a hospital in Fairbanks—in the winter. A build using typical construction methods could span several seasons. Modular’s indoor construction and quick onsite erection make it a great choice for projects in harsh climates and hard-to-get-to sites.

6. Limited site disruption – The same factors that make modular work well for difficult environments can also be assets when constructing projects on sites where it’s important to keep business or activity flowing.

7. Less pollution – Since most materials are delivered to the factory, modular construction means fewer trucks at the project site. Fewer vehicles mean less air and noise pollution.

8. Less waste – Off-site modular manufacturing can reduce waste and make it simpler to use lean manufacturing methods and environmental principles during construction. Not only that, but prefab construction materials—all of them, from packaging to steel—are easier to recycle, since they haven’t been exposed to the elements.

9. Easier quality control – The modular method of “in-house” design and production helps designers, engineers, and builders spot problems early on.

10. Unique designs possible. If you can design it, it can probably be done in a modular factory. Great strides have been made in developing high rise modular buildings and custom designed modular homes over the past 20 years. No longer restricted to Lego-like boxes, modular is being used by Architects from around the world to help them turn some of their most radical designs into real buildings.

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