FAQ ABOUT MODULAR
What is Modular Construction?
Three-dimensional (3-D) volumetric construction is also known as modular construction or Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC). This construction method involves the stacking of rectangular factory-finished modular components on-site to form a complete building, similar to Lego® bricks.
What is a Module?
Module is a volumetric prefab element. Prefab modules are designed and manufactured ‘in-house’ and assembled (stacked) onsite complete with finishes for walls, floors and ceilings. The term ‘volumetric’ refers the efficiencies achieved in off-site modular construction.
What is Prefab?
Prefab is a general term used for a prefabricated building or building component (modules) that is manufactured in a factory prior to its final assembly at the construction site, whereas modular refers to something built or organized in self-contained units—like building blocks.
What is Volumetric Modular Construction?
Volumetric modular construction is an innovative, sustainable construction delivery method utilizing offsite, lean manufacturing techniques to prefabricate single or multi-story whole building solutions in deliverable module sections. Permanent modular construction (PMC) modules can be integrated into site-built projects or stand alone as a turn-key solution and can be delivered with MEP, fixtures and interior finishes in less time—with less waste, and higher quality control compared to projects utilizing only site-built construction.
What are Advantages of Modular Construction?
From factory precision to faster installation, modular construction offers an attractive range of advantages.
- Time Savings
- Other Advantages
One of the biggest benefits of modular construction is that it offers an accelerated schedule. While modules are built in controlled offsite location, site work can occur at the same time. As illustrated below, parallel construction work can be performed in the modular construction process. This modular process allows reduced construction times of about 30% – 50% that of conventional construction. In the process of modular construction, floors, walls, ceilings, rafters, and roofs can be constructed simultaneously. On the other hand, during conventional construction, walls cannot be set until floors are in position; additional floors, ceilings and rafters cannot be added until walls are erected.
Modular construction makes it possible to optimize construction materials purchasing and usage while minimizing onsite waste and offering a higher quality product to the buyer. According to the UK group WRAP, up to a 90% reduction in waste can be achieved through the use of modular construction. Materials waste minimized includes wood pallets, shrink wrap, cardboard, plasterboard, timber, concrete, bricks, and cement.
The modular structure is constructed off-site simultaneous to foundation and other site work, thereby reducing the time and impact on the surrounding site environment, as well as reducing the number of vehicles and equipment needed at the site.
When the owner’s needs change, some modular buildings can be disassembled and relocated or refurbished for their next use, thus reducing the demand for raw materials and minimizing the amount of energy expended to create a building to meet the new need.
Modular buildings can also contribute to LEED requirements in the same categories as traditional, site-built construction, and can even provide an advantage in the areas of sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Modular construction can also provide an advantage in similar categories in the International Green Construction Code.
Modular construction is process-oriented construction which lends itself to be more efficient. Modular buildings are built with all the same materials and to the same building codes and architectural specifications as traditional onsite construction, but in an indoor quality-controlled environment. Just like a car assembly line, a prefabricated building module has built-in quality checks. Modular building factories are dedicated to crafting highly efficient buildings with inspections at each station, eliminating variability in decisions or unexpected complications that can occur in the field.
Because modular units must be trucked long distances and then moved by crane or other method onto a foundation, they must also be extremely structurally sound. Hence, modular buildings can be more durable than structures built onsite.
Other advantages of volumetric modular construction include:
- More controlled conditions for weather, resulting in fewer delays
- Material quality maintained in a secure environment
- Permanent, skilled workforce with extensive training
- Improved supervision of labor
- Easier access to tools and fewer material deliveries
- Assembly of building components off-site while permits are being processed and site preparation is taking place
- Reduced on-site disruption – the last phase of the modular construction process is setting the modules on site, followed by the final finish-out of the interior and exterior of the building
Is modular cheaper to build with?
Modular construction offers a wide range of benefits including costs savings by:
Faster construction timelines
Modular construction can reduce timelines by up to 50% compared to traditional construction, tenants can move-in faster, reduced interest costs, and on-site running costs.
High quality construction
large sections of the building (modular units) are built offsite in a controlled factory environment, which results in higher level of accuracy and consistency. Further, each modular unit is built to CSA A277 requirements resulting in fewer quality control and on-site construction errors.
majority of project work is completed off-site reducing risk of accident and injuries, thereby costs.
What kind of projects can you do with modular?
Modular buildings are versatile and adapt creatively to requirements of clients and conditions for many types of projects. Due to their prefabrication process, it is possible to design and built them in different sizes and arrange them during their installation in different positions achieving great adaptability. Modular buildings are suitable for Residential, Commercial, Hotel, Affordable Housing, industrial facilities and many other sectors.
Do you deliver the modules and install them?
Yes. Once the fabrication is completed, the modules are packed and wrapped to preserve their condition until their installation date. According to a logistics and installation plan, previously agreed with the client, we make all the arrangements to load the modules on to flatbed trucks, transport them to the site indicated; then, we perform all the activities related to the installation, such as lifting, mounting, alignment, connection of modules, utilities connections, and more.
Are the modules finished or unfinished?
The modules can be fabricated and completely finished and fit out in the factory, or alternatively, shipped “white box” with just basic finishes done. It will depend on the client’s needs, the level and type of finishes specified. Whatever your needs, we will accommodate.
I’ve used a particular architecture firm for a couple projects. They do nice work. Can you work with them?
Absolutely. While we’re proud of our in-house multidisciplinary team comprised of highly skilled modular architects, engineers, technicians, and specialized labor, we’re happy to work with your existing team to adapt and integrate the design for modular fabrication.
Our team of professionals strive for continuous and effective communication with client’s team in order to manage the project with accuracy and dedication. Also, we can provide turnkey solutions in which we provide all the advising during the different phases from the requirements definition to design and later fabrication and installation.
Can modular look cool, architecturally?
Yes. We are proud to have a team of architects and engineers that are focused on providing our modular systems an elegant and practical design, always aligning to the client’s requirements and needs.
Do you handle all the site work or do I?
We offer solutions that adapt to our clients needs. We can execute the site works corresponding to the module’s installation.
Is the whole project “modular” or is some of it done conventionally?
Each project is different and has different proportions of modular fabrication and conventional construction. Ideally the conventional construction portion is only associated to the modular system’s installation works, which can comprise from civil works for ground conditioning and foundations, to electromechanical works for utilities installation and commissioning of the project.
How do inspections work?
The quality manager will supervise and coordinate the inspections during the entire fabrication process. We have developed checklists for each workstation of the modular fabrication process. The checklist shall not be signed, nor the product accepted until all non-conformities listed have been corrected. All checklists stay with the product through the production sequence and are filled by the quality program personnel upon final acceptance.
All inspection records shall be kept for a minimum period of 5 years. The records are referred to the quality program manager for evaluation and appropriate preventative action.
Do I get any warranty to pass on?
If agreed and according to the clients needs, upon completion of the project, we can provide to the owner of with the spare parts and materials listed and agreed, and arrangements will be made to transport them to their designated location.
How does financing or payment work?
We count with expert advisors that strive to offer the best solutions to our clients needs. Commercial terms and Payment conditions can be discussed and tailored to each project carefully watching for the best outcome for both client and company.
If modular is so great, why isn’t everybody doing it?
There are several reasons why:
High initial investment. BECC has invested 3 years of time and capital developing our light gauge steel frame technology and building methods, human resources, securing facilities, and building relationships with industrial designers and structural engineers.
Modular factories are required to be CSA A277 compliant, and each modular unit produced must be CSA A277 compliant.
Ongoing running costs of a modular factory vs ability of traditional construction to ramp-up and ramp-down workforce as projects start and complete.
Lack of awareness or understanding of modular construction among stakeholders in construction industry; architects, contractors, and even engineers.