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Is modular construction really the future?

Building can be an expensive and time-consuming job. Delays in completion are almost more frequent than on-time construction and may be due to numerous policy requirements, unforeseen circumstances such as weather, insufficient planning, too few personnel or a range of other reasons. If the project is delayed or causes inconvenience to people living or working near the construction site, it may even have a negative impact on the public.


Fortunately, for those seeking to drastically reduce the cost of construction time, there is a solution: modular construction.





PART

01

What exactly does “Modular rocket” mean?




Modular architecture is not a new concept, it has been used and developed in foreign countries for nearly 20 years, it is a new building structure system, which can be roughly understood as, each room as a modular unit, are prefabricated in the factory, after completion of transport to the site and through reliable connection to assemble into the building as a whole.


Most of the construction production work from the traditional on-site operations to the production of manufacturing in other places, to achieve the initial integration of the construction and manufacturing industry, the development of future construction technology has brought new transformation opportunities and innovation space.


A Modular rocket is also a general term that includes several different types of structures, such as a volume module structure where the entire room or part of the room (including walls, floors, and ceilings) is built in a factory, the process of transporting to a final location for assembly. This type of building is used for permanent and movable modular projects.


A paneled building is the process of building an inner wall and/or an outer wall panel in a factory, then transporting it to a construction site where it is laid out, and the rest of the building is built on site.







Photo: France student Apartment


Each dormitory in this student apartment has its own bathroom, kitchen and study; all rooms are prefabricated in-plant, on-site interiors, quick installation and exterior wall finishes.




PART

02

Compared with traditional construction methods, is it really cost-effective?




The main benefits of Modular rocket are time savings, construction costs and faster returns on investment.


Since the Modular rocket allows for industrial assembly while on-site preparation, the total time required to build a structure can be significantly reduced. Factory-made modules are usually ready to be placed when the site is ready (foundations are leveled, pipes are in place, concrete is poured, etc.). In practice, modular hotels can open 30% to 50% earlier than conventionally built hotels and start generating revenue.





Picture: Balwyn Melbourne Villa


The project is a two-story building with 629.35 square meters of living space, in just six weeks, the main building of the house is almost completed.


Other benefits include greater worker safety (where workers work in a safe and controlled environment) , increased productivity, increased schedule certainty (which Modular rocket greatly reduced delayed change orders and weather delays) and increased cost predictability.




PART

03

Is modular architecture sustainable?




Modular buildings are considered a more sustainable option than traditional building methods for the following reasons:


Greater flexibility and reuse. Modular buildings can be dismantled, and modules can be repositioned or refurbished for new uses, reducing the need for raw materials and minimizing energy consumption to meet new demands.


Reduce material waste, more green environmental protection. Eliminate waste during plant construction by recycling materials, controlling inventory, and protecting construction materials.





Photo: Platinum Project Australia Kangaroo Island Resort Hotel


This is a standard hotel room for 1 or 2 people, about 30 square meters, with separate bathroom and open balcony.




PART

04

Does modular architecture apply to any type of building?




Almost any type of building can be modular. When time is of the essence or space is precious, modularity is often the choice. For example, in Europe, where urban areas are often restricted by roads and other buildings, traditional buildings (which bring materials and workers to the site for long periods of time) may be restricted, with modular buildings, you can do it in less time with a crane and fewer workers, and you can reduce noise pollution in crowded urban areas.






Photo: Platinum Yixing's Zero-carbon project


This zero-carbon module house becomes the landmark building of Zhongyi College Green Building, and also wins the favor of Chinese and foreign customers.




PART

05

What are the specific technical requirements for modular construction?




For example, are there security requirements or design constraints?


Traditional construction may be smoother and design changes can be introduced even after construction begins, whereas modular construction requires the cooperation of design professionals and the completion of work ahead of time. In this process, modular buildings (especially permanent modular buildings) often rely on advanced BIM to assess energy performance and determine the most cost-effective efficiencies, these designs are then handed over to manufacturers for industrial prefabrication and construction.




In terms of design limitations, modular buildings are built according to the same building codes and specifications as traditional buildings. Modular buildings can be used anywhere from single-family homes to multi-storey office buildings.


In the future, modular architecture will pay more attention to sustainability, adaptive, digital and multi-functional to meet people's needs for high-quality, flexible and intelligent construction.


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