Saturday, February 7, 2015

NYC Reporter Gets the Advantages of Commercial Modular Construction

On Thursday I posted an article from Crain’s New York Business about NYC Architects “Slamming” Commercial modular factories. It talked about the industry needing to supply cheaper alternatives and looking overseas to get it.

Several questioned that logic of modular being a cheap alternative to real construction including Tom Hardiman, Executive Director of MBI, the largest commercial modular association in the United States. Here is excerpt from his comment to that article:
I'm growing very tired of the construction community as a whole simply assuming that modular is the "cheap" alternative. If you can get the same code compliant building, in half the time, why do you expect it to also be cheaper? The savings really is on the schedule.
As if to back up Hardiman’s statement, Tim Fleischer (no relation) wrote a story and produced a video for ABC TV 7 yesterday that tells of the successes NYC is having with conventional modular produced here in the US. Cheap imports VS American Made. America wins.


By Tim Fleischer, EYEWITNESS NEWS, ABC 7
Thursday, February 05, 2015 06:17PM

The Stack
It's amazing to watch: a new type of housing that goes up quickly and is affordable. This way of living is moving forward, and now a couple of buildings are up in New York City.

It could be a new home, where you just lost a home. It could be a home where there is a need for more moderate income housing.

Two new modular, prefabricated housing units.

"In the last two years in New York there has definitely been an upswing in development," said editor in chief Amanda Dameron of Dwell Magazine.

A new seven story apartment building called "The Stack" is the first multi-family modular building in the city, developers say, providing moderate income housing.

Built entirely at the Deluxe Building Systems factory in Pennsylvania, the 56 modules were constructed and outfitted in a controlled environment.

They were shipped to the site and after the foundation and first floor supports were constructed, the modules were hoisted into place in just 19 days.

"There was a demand for it, even though it didn't exist yet and so the modular played into that because it gave us the quality of construction and shorten the time frame," said architect Thomas Gluck.

Gluck's firm is the designer, one of the co-developers and construction manager on the project.

"This courtyard opens up into that courtyard and make it feel twice as big," said Gluck.

A two bedroom, two bath unit rents for about $2900 a month. Most of the units are rented and 20% of them are affordable.

"Actually eager now to take our experiences now and apply them again," said Gluck.

The prefab modular industry is being closely followed by Dwell Magazine.

"Now that it is built, how is it going to age? How is it going to work with the neighborhood context? But it's a great example of moving the ball forward," said Dameron.

Over in Brooklyn, a three-stor modular unit was built and is being evaluated by the New York City Office of Emergency Management as potential urban housing after a disaster with one goal:

"How to build the best quality housing, for the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time," said housing recovery manager Cynthia Barton.

Garrison Architects Design was selected and built, and the seven modules were assembled in just two days with emergency management employees like James McConnell living there for a week.

"They get the feeling of spaciousness, a lot of storage space, all the basics that you would ever need," said McConnell. And the one and three bedroom units could be used as permanent housing.

"If you can give people the chance to experience a well-designed environment, not elaborate, they immediately respond to it. That's something I'd like to live in," said architect James Garrison.

"It continues to offer a promise of living that we think is exciting, and we hope in an optimistic way is possible," said Dameron.

No comments: