How modular construction is proving a worthwhile investment
Greener. Faster. Smarter. Modular construction is the new norm. Creating and constructing parts of a building or the entire structure itself on the site can be muddy, cold, wasteful, and inconvenient, to name a few. However, taking this task indoors, in a controlled and spacious environment, provides not only a better experience for the worker but a better product in much less time. Doing so is known as modular construction. The Modular Building Institute created this graphic to show the time that is saved by this form of construction.
The Institute also expands on how modular construction can benefit the environment, the building process, and the quality of the result:
- Increased flexibility and reuse. The buildings can be disassembled and relocated to meet a different need for the company. This reduces the disposal of functioning materials and demands for new ones, as well as replaces the energy needed to construct an entirely new project.
- Reduced material waste. In a controlled facility, the inventory for construction materials is protected from weather elements and used more efficiently to distribute materials.
- Better air quality. Once again, being out of all uncontrollable weather elements ensures that the materials will be kept dry and free of trapped moisture.
- Reduced schedule. Since site and foundation development can occur at the same time as the building construction, projects can be completed between 30-50% quicker.
- ROI comes sooner. Weather delays many traditional construction projects, getting in the way of a company’s return-on-investment.
- Safer construction. Building projects in these controlled environments reduce the risks of accidents and liabilities for a company’s workers.
- Increased structural security. Generally, since modular construction projects have to withstand transportation, they are stronger and more structurally sound than traditional projects.
- Indistinguishable aesthetics. Even though construction takes place away from the construction site, it will still match the overall design of the project.
Going (and growing) modular
The popularity of modular construction is on the rise. The Modular Building Institute’s Permanent Modular Construction Annual Report revealed that it accounted for 3.18% of the value of new commercial construction in 2016. The goal of the overall industry is to reach 5% of the commercial construction market share by 2022. Additionally, contractors who use modular construction (which amounts to about 35% of contractors in the U.S. who implement these techniques) on more than half of their projects are more effective throughout the building process than those who aren’t.
Triax Technologies says, “Google, Starbucks, Marriott, and even tech companies like Autodesk, are betting big on offsite construction, investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the method,” regarding the nation’s overall investment in modular. Galbraith is also joining these efforts.
Our company has a history of pre-fabricating items in our shop or other indoor locations before taking these items to a job site. Some of these items include:
- concrete forms
- rebar mats and canes
- steel assemblies
- door assemblies
- ceiling panels
We are currently working on fabricating modular structures indoors for a highly-complex cold storage industrial project. In this case, weather delays, access, and safety were the main drivers in our decision to go modular. These, plus a forward-thinking and innovative customer/owner. It’s always satisfying to work for an owner who is a visionary.
Some progress photos of this project are below. Check back in the future for time-lapse photography and drone footage of this latest project!
As co-owner of Galbraith/Pre-Design, Inc., Mark Galbraith is responsible for the construction of commercial facilities in nine states. Continuing his family’s tradition of commercial and industrial construction in south central Pennsylvania and beyond, Mark’s experience includes site analysis and selection, pre-construction services, field engineering and project management.