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Modular construction notches up success after success

posted: 16th Oct 2019

JACKIE MAGINNIS, chief executive of the Modular and Portable Building Association, explains why modular buildings are at the forefront of the offsite revolution.

Having gained considerable momentum over the past few years, modular construction now makes up 60-70% of the offsite manufacturing sector and reduces build times by an impressive 50-60%. At the forefront of offsite approaches, volumetric modular methods have a remarkable impact on reducing costs while increasing quality and safety measures in the construction arena.

Modern methods of construction are making further headway following the announcement that the government would adopt a presumption in favour of offsite construction for all public sector building projects.

As offsite construction is rapidly becoming the preferred delivery model, it is important that volumetric modular building technology is considered for all areas of construction. Although housebuilding gains a lot of media and industry attention, modular solutions are also widely used in the healthcare and education sectors.

What are the benefits of modular construction?

Modular building is revolutionising the construction industry. While traditional build processes are laced with pitfalls and hidden costs, and are highly disruptive, volumetric modular buildings are easy to plan and budget, and are quick to erect – as most of the work takes place in factory-controlled conditions. Modular technology brings a host of benefits to the construction industry, contributing to healthier, safer and more cost-efficient environments.

Representing a step forward for productivity in construction, the prefabrication of units leads to shorter build times, which by extension leads to net savings of around 7%. In addition, each material is selected specifically for its performance characteristics, ensuring it is suited to its industry use in every way.

Modular constructions can have unlimited floor space and can be customised to blend in with any surrounding – they are designed to be adaptable and meet clients’ specific requirements. Components are available in a range of sizes to expand facilities whenever necessary, and interiors can be designed and refurbished to meet exacting requirements using internal and external finishes.

The pre-constructed, self-contained units can be easily transported to virtually any location, providing quick solutions for new buildings. These modules are designed to withstand long-distance transportation and craning onto foundations, meaning that they are stronger than traditionally constructed buildings.

The pre-engineered units are transported to construction sites in varying levels of completeness: from empty shells to complete rooms with facilities. All facilities can be supplied on a permanent or temporary hire basis. Rental units can also be provided as an interim measure while permanent units are procured.

Modular construction enables site work and building processes to be completed simultaneously, reducing labour costs. Plus, pre-fabrication relieves contractors of the constraints of weather dependence, meaning that materials remain in ultimate quality and efficiency is improved.

Significantly, the modular industry operates an environmental approach, using sustainable building materials and recycling waste for future projects where possible.

New trade show

As the recognised voice for promoting and marketing its members’ products and services, the Modular and Portable Building Association (MPBA) acted as a ‘silver sponsor’ for the inaugural Offsite Expo, which took place in September at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.

The exhibition included a Buyers and Specifiers Forum for over 100 VIP buyers, a summit representing 28 countries and 100 world-class exhibitions. Delegates also had access to over 40 masterclasses to learn from leading offsite specialists.

About MPBA

The MPBA plays a key role in the connecting of sectors in the modular and portable building industry. The association collaborates with specialist technical advisors to enhance innovation in the design and manufacture of modular buildings. They can be designed and manufactured from timber, steel or concrete, in any size and shape to meet individual client needs, while ensuring full compliance with building regulations.