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The Many Faces of Modular

2013 January 3
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Thanks to the heightened demand for green building and increased use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the last few years, modular design and construction is now more prominent than ever. The abundance of benefits to modular construction make in an attractive option for a variety of purposes.

Here are some of the ways modular is being used today:

Healthcare- Hospitals are particularly well suited for modularization, as the interior layout makes for efficient modular construction, allowing for a significantly shorter construction schedule. In addition, when healthcare facilities find they need more space down the road, new modular structures can be added quickly and affordably.

Healthcare is modularization’s fastest growing market.

 

Military- The war on terrorism has driven the US Military to ramp up their defense mechanisms, creating a demand for accelerated construction methods. Modular’s rapid construction technique makes it ideal for suiting the military’s need for space quickly. Right now, the military is using modular in a variety of different ways. For example, the US Coast Guard is utilizing modular units for an air craft repair center, which will aid military aircrafts like the HC-130 Hercules (a long range surveillance aircraft) and the HH-60 Jayhawk (a recovery helicopter). A military base in Fort Dix, NJ is using modular to help create a military training city that simulates life in Iraq. Within the base, there is also a modular building set up as a computer lab, so that soldiers can email their families. (Bram, 2012).

Housing for the Homeless- More than 100 modular apartment units are being constructed on top of an abandoned parking lot in downtown Los Angeles’s Skid Row, a neighborhood with the highest population of homeless people in the nation. In addition to providing housing for many of the city’s chronically homeless population, this modular building will offer an array of services such as medical and psychiatric care, money management counseling, an exercise room, a basketball court, an art studio, and a library with internet access. The use of modular construction has made this project possible for a fraction of the cost and time of traditional construction.

 

Hurricane Resistance-In addition to a significantly shorter rebuilding time after a natural disaster, modular units have a much higher resistance to wind than stick built units. This is because they are designed to withstand 60 MPH winds on the highway during delivery, are constructed inside and protected from weather exposure, and are built strong enough to be lifted by a crane and set into a foundation. Traditional construction materials are not built to withstand this type of treatment.

Hurricane Resistance-In addition to a significantly shorter rebuilding time after a natural disaster, modular units have a much higher resistance to wind than stick built units. This is because they are designed to withstand 60 MPH winds on the highway during delivery, are constructed inside and protected from weather exposure, and are built strong enough to be lifted by a crane and set into a foundation. Traditional construction materials are not built to withstand this type of treatment.

The under construction 32-story residential building in Brooklyn, NY, called B2, is touted to be the tallest modular building in the world. It has already passed a real life test when it endured relatively little damage after Hurricane Sandy flooded the manufacturing site and battered it with high winds. B2 was designed to withstand high winds which sets a precedent for the fact that modular construction can be designed to meet and exceed code requirements, as previously imagined.  

Modular construction has many benefits and can be customized for almost any building type. Whether put to use for a hospital or a hurricane, modular construction is a sustainable and flexible building design that is LEED certified

 

 

Sources:
Bram, Sara. “Military Goes Modular.” Modular Building Institute . n. page. Web. 28 Dec. 2012. <http://www.modular.org/htmlPage.aspx?name=MILITARY>.

Modular Home Defies Hurricane Sandy .” Modular Home Building. n. page. Web. 28 Dec. 2012. <http://www.modularhomecoach.com/2012/10/modular-home-defies-hurricane-sandy.html>.

“Prefab Modular Building In Skid Row To Provide Homeless Housing.” CBS Los Angeles. n. page. Web. 28 Dec. 2012. <http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2012/12/12/prefab-modular-building-in-skid-row-to-provide-homeless-housing

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Janet Field

Communications Director at Triumph Modular
Janet Field, LEED Green Associate, has 20 years of leadership roles in companies focused on design, construction and modular building solutions. As an advocate for innovative products, she has had the opportunity to work with top 10 ENR construction firms. Introducing paradigm changing technology using technical sales consulting techniques and progressive marketing tools continues to be a rewarding and challenging career experience.
2 Responses leave one →
  1. avatar
    January 30, 2013

    Panelized buildings can offer some of the same benefits as modular construction: controlled construction costs and an accelerated timeline.

  2. avatar
    February 4, 2013

    Good point Cassie! Many methods of prefabrication, whether it be whole model volumetric modular construction or component prefab construction (for example panelized systems, MEP racks or modular bathrooms) share similar benefits.

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