Exploiting Modular Construction

Exploiting Modular Construction Exploiting Modular Construction

Modular construction has been around for a while but are we really appreciating its benefits and exploring the opportunities? Depending on your position, as with any approach, there are pluses and minuses.  Some of the pros include:

Reduced Site Program and Lower Overall Costs

The same quality materials for finishes are used as with site-built construction, but since up to 80% of the building is built and inspected off-site, the amount of time required for completion is dramatically reduced.  Less construction site time reduces waste, the chance of weather delays, occupation of infrastructure/public space and material damage.  Fewer subcontractors on site reduce site supervision costs, as well as often overlooked costs, such as waste removal.  Reduction in construction time frames of 30% to 50% are easily achievable.

Reduced Risk

OHS issues are significantly minimised as the majority of the labour force works in a controlled environment more related to a factory production line, rather than on a continually changing traditional site.  Even if the end-product is a tall structure, labourers can work close to the ground and then crane the module once completed.  Beyond health and safety, security risks related to theft are also reduced, cost overrun risks are minimized, as are our insurance and other “hidden cost” liabilities.

Yet there are still questions raised by the industry.

Will modular construction lead to soulless, repetitive developments?  It is true that one of the benefits of volume-based construction is the ability to churn out buildings quickly without the need for redesign but there is still the ability to be creative and consider the final output as a customisable solution.  Some modular providers, for example, champion the flexibility of their modules to be utilised in “open plan” office spaces.

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May 2, 2012

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