Exploiting Modular Construction

Exploiting Modular Construction Exploiting Modular Construction

The building also has to be considered holistically from the outset and the structure has to work around materials and adjusted around the services.  This means collaboration is essential with suppliers, especially as regards fire ratings and the integration of various systems.  A level of professional involvement is required by all disciplines for both the design and assembly of the individual modules. And all of this costs.

But clients need to stop thinking as they would as if they were developing a traditional building.  Instead think of the engineer as design leader with offsets made against lower costs paid out to the contractor and sub-contractor usually responsible for the shop detailing, as well as the lower construction costs.

So where are some of the opportunities across Australia to utilise this method of design and construction?

The mining boom and energy and gas sectors are currently sucking dry resources both in terms of materials and manpower, leaving local trades in short supply.  With many mining facilities simple tin sheds with shared facilities, modular construction could deliver a quality product where materials are at a premium and provide workers with a much higher level of accommodation than they currently experience.

Other high-volume needs where building repetitiveness could be seen as acceptable while improving on current product quality and saving on cost and improving construction times could be social housing, holiday parks and aged care units.

There are a plethora of unused, restricted inner city sites in Australia’s big cities, which are seen by developers as hard to unlock but which could exploit the potential of modular buildings.  It is only the question of crane access, which could really challenge the simple vertical stacking of modules on these difficult sites.

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May 2, 2012

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