Exploiting Modular Construction

Exploiting Modular Construction Exploiting Modular Construction


Façades can easily change the characteristic of a building through use of solar or coloured composite panels, for example.  Internally, finishes are easily tailored so specific tastes or uses.  Meanwhile, the spaces in between buildings can be altered in response to specific climatic and location conditions through intelligent planning and urban design or creative landscaping.

The spaces in between are also interesting when considering the impact on the surrounding community.  Since most of a modular building’s construction occurs off-site, there is less impact on the neighbourhood.  Traffic from trucks and cars, delivery materials and subcontractors is dramatically reduced, as is the noise pollution generated by site-built techniques.

Another question is how green is modular construction?  We certainly must be careful about making sweeping statements in this regard.  On the projects we are currently working on, for example, there is more steel content and transportation involved. That being said, through proven manufacturing processes, modular factories are able to construct tighter buildings with less air infiltration.  As a result, modular-built buildings will typically outperform similar buildings constructed with traditional techniques. In addition, there is also reduced wastage on-site.

The perceived downside of modular construction is that each module has to be highly-engineered for the same level of accommodation.  Modules need to be designed to withstand significant transportation forces but the pay-off is greater structural integrity in the end for the completed building, as well as higher inherent strength.

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May 2, 2012

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