What Do Architects Need to Know About Modular Building?
The past decade has seen a slow but steady increase in the use of modular building components and practices. The reasons for this range from the continued pressure to reduce the cost of construction to the modular building industry’s campaign to better educate practitioners to the benefits of modular building. The growing number of case studies attests to the increased use of modular building in a growing number of building types in the U.S. and in other countries.
“What do architects need to know about modular building?” resonates with “What do architects do?” in many ways. Some of the main things architects and other stakeholders in the design construction community need to know about modular building include:
Variety of Modular Building Types
Modular building is being applied to an increasing number of building types and attendant building challenges. These include multi-story, complex buildings such as wet labs, medical facilities, retail and a variety of K12 and higher education buildings, housing projects and many others. Clearly, many architects have embraced the potential of modular building to keep their firms current and competitive in their markets.
The days of modular buildings being limited to simple structures defined first by cost are over.
Modular building components and practices support the tenets of sustainable design and development, which is a global movement. The qualities and attributes inherent in modular building can benefit project teams pursuing certification using LEED, the Living Building Challenge, Green Globes and the Collaborative for High Performance Schools rating systems in a number of ways and credit categories.
The pending LEED Version 4 puts increased emphasis on material science and the connection between human ecology and the built environment. Savvy LEED teams can look to the resources and expertise of the modular building industry to help them meet those challenges.
Meeting the Challenges of Extreme Design
Modular building is uniquely suited to meeting some of the more extreme design and development challenges. These include severe climates and remote locations, compressed project schedules and site constraints. As the industry matures it is only logical the solutions that modular building affords these conditions will find their way into more conventional scenarios.
When you combine modular building’s ability to meet these challenges with those attendant to high-performance green building, it behooves A/E/C teams to explore the potential of modular building to provide cost-effective solutions to their clients.
These are only a few of the things we believe the design and construction industry needs to know about modular building. Let’s hear from you!
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