Permanent Modular Construction Methods
Permanent modular construction (“PMC”) is an alternative method of construction simply doing more in advance of the building site. Sometimes referred to as “Off Site” construction, we build “Volumetric” building blocks that are near completion with flooring, walls, ceilings, lighting and systems built indoors under controlled conditions, then transported to site and erected. Modular buildings can be single or multi-story, steel and/or concrete structures and the design limitations have been grossly misunderstood.
Given site work and fabrication run concurrently, there is significant time savings in overall time to complete a “PMC” project as compared to other more traditional forms of construction.
Research points to a lack of efficiency and productivity gains in traditional site built construction: See “Improving Construction Efficiency & Productivity with Modular Construction” (downloadable from our Resources page) and McGraw-Hill Report “Prefabrication and Modularization Increase Productivity”. Most recently, the a study of “Permanent Modular Construction, Process, Practice, Performance” by The National Institute of Building Sciences and MBI Educational Foundations”, provides case studies and speaks to best practices, including the benefits of early team formation and collaboration. These resources provide facts about the sensibility and savings found with using “off site” construction and the trending enabling forces that are helping to make modular more viable.
The American Institute of Architects (AIA) have written about the efficiencies associated with modularization especially given advancements in design technology such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) which further enables early collaboration between designers, engineers, modular fabricators and building installers. Moreover, Design- Build “Forms of Project Delivery” and integrated approaches to construction, and Owner’s willingness to depart from traditional Design Bid Build has helped pave the way for more successful modular projects around the World.
In the How To section of our website, we explain why Teams who still utilize “Design –Bid – Build” (maximizing competition over collaboration) should not try modular. With modular, the people who design your new school or office space will need to consider information from downstream subcontractors who build and install your building. For example, even the crane size and reach will have a bearing on early design decisions. With that said, please visit the How To section of our site for information on how to get both free information and valuable advice.