Modular construction is undoubedtly the most efficient construction practice. Notably, it gives fastest construction time of the building with “just stack them up” method. According to the Modular Building Institute, the organization of the modular builders in US, explained the term of modular construction which is a process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities – but in about half the time. Buildings are produced in “modules” that when put together on site, reflect the identical design intent and specifications of the most sophisticated site-built facility – without compromise.
Yes, the modular practice can help you finish the building faster, better and also you still can design for best architecture “without compromise”. However, The modular practice needed the better planning and management in the different way.
Normally architects might think about get all the materials to the site and let the contractors perform their duties, and complete the building. But the modular construction is comprising of the finished products eg. the room, the floor also the toilets. It is pretty much like playing LEGO. The ‘Parts’ of the building will be produced at the off-site factory and then transported to the site and assempled into the building. The practice gives the architecture the industrial type of planning and production.
As the benefit from the practice is the ability to be controlled, the modular construction is definitely greener than conventional construction. Moreover, if you think of the green certified, this type of construction can help you achieve the sustainable building easier. The modular construction creates benefit to site management. It produces less waste at the site since the parts are produced from the factory, it also help On-site traffic which greatly minimized from workers, equipment and suppliers. The modular construction also helps reducing the air polution especially from the construction’s sand and soil and cement dusts.
The process of modular construction can be explained as the close-loop method which all the material, energy use and process are easy to be controlled and monitored since most of the parts are pre-assembled at the factory. The process can be tracked and also provide the transparent data for Life Cycle Analysis. Ultimately, when the building needed to be deteriorated or demolished. Instead of crush it into debris and waste, the modular parts are easily managed for reuse, recycle or even relocate.
However, the modular construction, as mention above, needed the different thinking of design development. The off-site construction needed to chosen early in the design development process to avoid redesigning and minimize the cost. The more you plan in the upstream, the less problem to the downstream. Next time when you need the fast and green building, the practice of modular construction might be your answer.