What are the Advantages of Prefab Modular Construction?

#MagnificentMetalMonday looks into the advantages and benefits of prefab modular construction and why it will play a role in shaping the future of metal construction. According to the US Modular Construction Market report by Grand View Research, “Steel led the U.S. modular construction industry with the highest revenue share of 41.4% in 2022 and is expected to grow significantly over the coming years.”

What is Modular Construction?

According to the Modular Building Institute, “Modular construction 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.” There are two types of modular construction: permanent and relocatable.

According to the Grand View Research report, “In prefabricated building activities in the U.S., structural steel is used as a building material, which is available in different grades and can be welded into different shapes. It is used in the development of H-type beams, columns, angles, I-beams, and T-shaped structures. The material exhibits excellent mechanical and chemical properties such as high strength, durability, ductility, seismic resistance, and fast installation, along with offering ease of fabrication.”

Benefits of Prefab Modular Construction

Plain and simple — modular construction is greener, faster and smarter. The factory-controlled process generates less waste, creates fewer site disturbances and allows for tighter construction. Construction of modular buildings occurs simultaneously with site work, allowing projects to be completed in half the time of traditional construction. Modular buildings are built with the same materials and to the same building codes and architectural specifications  as traditional construction. Once assembled, they are virtually indistinguishable from their site-built counterparts.

Image Credit: Modular Building Institute

Why Prefab Modular Construction is Greener

According to BuildingGreen, “Proponents of modular construction believe it can deliver greater environmental and social sustainability benefits than conventional construction can.” Based on research conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction, the following common claims for the sustainability benefits of modular construction include:

  • reduced material waste
  • reduced disruption to the building site and surrounding community
  • safer working conditions
  • reduced operational energy

Why Prefab Modular Construction is Faster

In the same research conducted by McGraw-Hill Construction, modular construction has been shown, in a majority of cases, to result in a higher-quality building delivered in a shorter time frame with more predictable costs. Modular Building Institute cites why modular construction is faster: reduces the construction schedule because construction of modular buildings can occur simultaneously with the site and foundation work, elimination of weather delays because 60 – 90% of the construction is completed inside a factory, and it can be built to code with quality materials.

Peppers Kings Square Hotel designed by PTI Architecture: Photo by Hickory and Site Visuals

Take for example the Peppers Kings Square Hotel (PKS) in Perth, Australia. This 120-all suite hotel opened in 2017, having been completed in just 11 months, with the main building components being the main structural and façade elements and the bathrooms, installed in only 11 weeks. According to PTI Architecture, the designers for the PKS Hotel project, explains the savings in cost and time as being reasons for turning to prefabricated modular construction. They highlight the following two reasons:

  • The quality of the interior fitout is much higher than for a traditional project being so much of the works are made under controlled factory conditions and not on a busy building site.
  • Using prefabrication enables us to use far less carbon intensive materials, have far less waste and also use far less energy and water usage throughout the construction process.

To watch a video of the construction process, please see the following link.

Why Prefab Modular Construction is Smarter

In addition to being greener and faster, prefab modular construction is also a safer construction model, has limitless design opportunities and is ideal for the use of BIM technology, leading to better and smarter engineered buildings.

The PKS Hotel is also a case study in why prefab modular construction is a smarter model. METALCON’s recent keynote speaker, Christian “Boo” Boucousis, CEO of global organizational performance at Afterburner, comments on his team’s involvement with the project. “I can unequivocally say that this hotel will be a worldwide game-changer thanks to the incredible project team involved. The PKS project broke Australian construction records and challenged traditional industry cost structures like never before!” By utilizing prefabricated modular technology for the whole building, the unique features of this project include:

  1. The quickest and tallest 17 level high-rise construction in Australian history – 11 months
  2. Costs — 20% lower than the industry standard
  3. Waste — 90% less than the industry standard
  4. Fastest WiFi out of hotels in the country
  5. “Customer Experience” model delivered over “Customer Service” mode

According to Hickory Building Systems, the project’s contractor, they reduced the overall construction program by prefabricating the majority of the project structure, façade and bathrooms off-site. Their patented façade system enabled the building exterior to be completed prior to delivery, with the striking glass façade accentuated by perforated sun-shade screens spanning floors 2 – 17.

Overall, modular construction has gained popularity and a lot of attention in recent years due to its potential to accelerate construction timelines, reduce costs, use less carbon intensive materials, and provide flexibility in design. Prefab steel buildings are in demand because of their benefits. They’re strong and durable against the elements, versatile, customizable, and can save you time and money because they’re easy to build.

Share:

More Posts from the METALCON blog:

What is Metal Fabrication?

Metal Fabrication serves as the backbone for various sectors with the construction industry being one of the largest consumers of fabricated metal products. Learn more about this multi-billion dollar industry, the processes and latest advancements. Also learn how you can register for METALCON where dozens of metal fabricators will gather in late October.

Read More »

METALCON presentations focus on ‘building performance’

NEWTON, Mass., June 5, 2024 — For any construction project, the goal has always been using top quality building materials for the best price. It’s all about “building performance.” “Providing education on building performance at METALCON is essential,” says Judy Geller, Vice President, METALCON. “It will help building and design professionals address performance challenges, mitigate risks and enhance resilience leading to cost savings over the lifespan of the building. Standards and codes specific to the building site provide a helpful

Read More »

METALCON Announces Keynote and Special Session Speakers for Upcoming 2024 Conference

Attendees can look forward to being educated, informed, and inspired by the captivating keynote and special session speakers. Newton, MA: METALCON, the premier event for the metal construction industry, has announced the keynote and special session speakers for this year’s conference, which will be held from October 30th to November 1st in Atlanta, GA. Attendees can anticipate a series of compelling presentations designed to educate, inform, and inspire. Premier Keynote On Wednesday, October 30th, former NFL MVP Quarterback and Super

Read More »

Metal Construction Industry 101: Diving Into the Basics & Emerging Trends of 2024

Metal Construction Industry 101: Dive into the fundamentals of metal construction and get up to date on current and emerging trends is crucial for industry professionals. Explore these topics by watching the recent Metal Construction Industry 101 webinar with experts Todd Miller and Lauren Rubino. Learn why attending the METALCON trade show is essential, especially for future leaders in the industry.

Read More »

Honoring Those Who Have Served on Memorial Day: METALCON’s Commitment to Giving Back

On this Memorial Day, we take a moment to honor those who have laid down their lives in service to our nation, ensuring the freedoms we enjoy today. Over the years, METALCON has built a strong tradition of giving back, raising funds, and providing much-needed assistance to those who have served in the military. Join us once again in our annual fundraising efforts to benefit Semper Fi & America’s Fund. Donate online or in person at METALCON 2024.

Read More »

Why Metal for Low Slope Roofing

Learn the distinction between low slope and steep slope roofs and why metal is the most popular choice for low slope roofs. Dive into the specifics and also learn how you can receive a training certificate from one of the industry’s leading experts on the subject at METALCON 2024.

Read More »

Essential Metalworking Tools

At the heart of metalworking lies the essential tools that transform raw materials into amazing structures. Immerse yourself in the world of metalcraft as you explore these indispensable tools in this blog and by attending METALCON 2024, Some of these tools may even be celebrated as the Top Products of 2024!

Read More »

METALCON Newsletter May

EDUCATION PROGRAM ANNOUNCED FOR 2024Year after year, METALCON draws attendees hungry for more than just exhibits. They attend this annual event for an unmatched educational experience, leveling up their knowledge of products, systems, and the latest innovations. Led by industry titans in metal construction, architecture, engineering, and manufacturing, the workshops and educational sessions are meticulously crafted to cater to the unique needs of our diverse audience. Take your pick from a wealth of options: immerse yourself in intensive paid workshops,

Read More »

Trends in Architectural Metalwork

Architectural metalwork is where function and structure meet art and design, critical in today’s metal construction industry. Dive into the trends including metal ceilings, exterior metal finish, staircases and balustrades. Learn how The Architect’s Experience at METALCON can deepen your knowledge of architectural metalwork. Save $50 if you register TODAY!

Read More »

Barndominiums: Discover Benefits, Trends, & Unique Designs

“You’ll never look at a Metal Building the Same Way Again!®” says METALCON presenter, Stacee Lynn, also known as The Barndominium Lady®. In today’s #MagnificentMetalMonday, we discover the benefits, trends, and unique designs of this trending versatile, modern home known as a Barndominium. Also learn how you can see Stacee Lynn in person for her education session at METALCON 2024 in Atlanta, GA, October 30 – November 1.

Read More »