Commercial modular construction
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Commercial Modular Buildings are code-compliant, non-residential structures 60% to 90% completed offsite in a factory-controlled environment then transported or shipped to a final destination where the modules are then placed on a concrete foundation to form a finished building. The word "modular" does not describe a building type or style, it simply describes a means of construction.
The commercial modular construction industry comprises two distinct divisions:
Permanent Modular Construction (PMC) – modular units built offsite and assembled onsite to create a permanent facility and not intended to be relocated. They are comparable to buildings built strictly onsite in terms of quality, life span, and materials used for construction.
Relocatable Buildings – modular units built offsite and assembled onsite that can be partially or completely reused and relocated at future building sites.
Accelerated Construction Process
A primary benefit of modular construction is its fast delivery. Due to the simultaneous process of creating modules in a factory at the same time site work is occurring, modular buildings can be constructed in up to half the time as buildings built completely onsite. This allows the buildings to be occupied sooner and allows owners to see a faster return on investment.
In order to save the most time and money and maximize the efficiency of the modular construction process, it is important to implement the modular construction at the beginning of the design-build process.
Modular buildings are built with all the same materials and to the same building codes and architectural specifications as onsite construction, just completed in an offsite, quality controlled environment. Modular buildings are also built to be able to withstand travel and installation requirements, creating a building that can be more durable than structures built onsite.
- Less Material Waste - Modular construction makes it possible to optimize construction materials purchases and usage while minimizing onsite waste and offering a higher quality product to the buyer.
- According to the UK group WRAP, up to a 90% reduction in materials can be achieved through the use of modular construction. Materials minimized include: wood pallets, shrink wrap, cardboard, plasterboard, timber, concrete, bricks, and cement.
- Less Site Disturbance - The modular structure is constructed off-site simultaneous to foundation and other site work, thereby reducing the time and impact on the surrounding site environment, as well as reducing the number of vehicles and equipment needed at the site.
- Greater Flexibility and Reuse - When the needs change, modular buildings can be disassembled and the modules relocated or refurbished for their next use reducing the demand for raw materials and minimizing the amount of energy expended to create a building to meet the new need. In some cases, the entire building can be recycled.
- Improved Air Quality - Many of the indoor air quality issues identified in new construction result from high moisture levels in the framing materials. Construction occurs primarily indoors away from harsh weather conditions preventing damage to building materials and eliminating the potential for high levels of moisture being trapped in the new construction.
Modular buildings can also contribute to LEED requirements in any category site-built construction can, and can even provide an advantage in the areas of Sustainable Sites, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Modular construction can also provide an advantage in similar categories in the International Green Construction Code.
Modular builders provide all types of building space, from small temporary units to complex, multi-story permanent buildings. The most commonly served markets are education, healthcare, general office, retail and commercial housing.
Some common industrial uses may include: Application Rooms, Laser Rooms, Equipment Enclosures, Environmental Rooms, Maintenance Rooms, or Storage and Security Rooms. Commercial applications may include Offices, Reception Areas, Conference and Meeting Rooms, Copy Centers and Mail Rooms, Shipping and Receiving Rooms, Lunch Rooms and Cafeterias, Break Rooms, Dark Rooms, Training Rooms, and Storage Rooms. In addition, there are many custom applications available that can make modular construction a viable and cost-effective solution for any business.
- "Commercial Modular Construction".
- "Current Practices and Future Potential in Modern Methods of Construction" (PDF).
- "Modular Building and the USGBC's LEED ™ Version 3.0 2009 Building Rating System" (PDF).
- "Modular Dormitory".