One option for modular construction is a complete modular design. In this video, Jim describes this total modular construction concept in which a building is designed to be modular from day one so that systems, components, and site development can all be tailored to facilitate the modular construction concept.
- Another thing I always like to consider when discussing new methods is limitations. There have to be some, right? If not, we would all just immediately switch. It's important to recognize and discuss limitations. Sometimes, this can include barriers to implementation. Sometimes it includes recognizing where the method doesn't work so well. And sometimes these limitations can completely exclude the new method, but sometimes they're just challenges that we can overcome if we understand them. The first limitation that always comes to my mind when I think about pre-building something offsite is the fact that I then have to transport whatever I build from the factory to the site. A simple example of this is pre-cast concrete. I used to be in the cast and place concrete business, and the age-old battle for us was cast in place concrete parking structures versus pre-cast concrete parking structures. Now on the surface, it would seem that one of the big limitations of pre-cast is that they have to put this big heavy concrete member on a truck and haul it out to the job site. That has to cost more than me just building everything directly on site, right? Well, that's, it's actually not quite that simple. The materials all still have to get to the site. They all have to be trucked out there to the job. The rebar, the pre-stressing steel, the concrete. It all comes from somewhere else and has to be hauled to the site. One method simply transports raw pieces, and the other transports a finished assembly. The question really becomes, can I transport the finished assembly as efficiently as I transport the raw pieces? Now for the type of modular construction we're discussing here, this translates into considerations like size and shapes, and weight. And proximity of the factory to the job site. And these are complex factors to consider. For example, if I assemble an entire room at the factory, then transport it to the site, I'm going to be transporting a lot of empty space, the space inside that room. I might have a difficult time maximizing my trucking costs. But if my manufacturing facility is close enough to the project, that might not make enough of a difference to matter. On the other hand, we see manufacturers like DBC who manufactures wall and floor panels who are able to efficiently transport their finished products across the country to job sites thousands of miles away. I think that one of the things that the construction managers needs to be aware of is that this places them squarely in a supply chain management role.
- What is modular construction?
- Advantages of modular construction
- Limitations of modular construction
- Combining on-site and premanufactured construction
- Benefits: Continuous improvement to sustainability