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Table of Contents

Foreword 4
Kullman History 5
Introduction 7

Part 1 Overview 9

Concepts 10
Advantages 12
Procurement 13
Design process 18
Lean fabrication 20
Craft 21
Time savings 23
Cost 24
Building performance 26
Sustainability 27

Part 2 Modular Design 33

Massing 34
Kullman Frame System (KFS) 36
Fire protection 38
Architectural design of modules 39
Bathroom pods 52
Codes and regulations 53

Part 3 Construction process 55

Factory 56
Setting 60
Finishing 70

Part 4 Examples in detail 75

Glossary 95
Acronyms and abbreviations 97
Bibliography 98


Industrialization of the building process has imagination. This may be due to our own industrialized construction can be seen as
remained the great unfulfilled promise of inherent conservatism, nostalgia, or the a process, that is, a particular way to build
our time. The waves of efficiency increases need for individual expression. But why rather than a predetermined product or set
that have transformed the production should our buildings be the only place of components. It is open to architectural
of nearly every other product of the last where these sentiments prevail? One could expression in the same way any other
century have had no corollary in the design argue that for the most part we express our building system is, and like other systems it
and construction industry. In fact, a study identities in our homes and buildings just has its own logic and potential.
comparing productivity (measured in as we do in the purchase of products – we
contract dollars per work hours) found that want choice, we appreciate options, and The emergence of the fully industrialized
since 1964 non-construction productivity we certainly want value, performance, and building at this moment is being
has more than doubled whereas the reliability. increasingly facilitated by computer-
construction industry has experienced a aided design. Like the contemporary
productivity decrease of more than 20% Compared to a well-run in-situ construction automobile, created and engineered as
(Khemlani, p4). effort, industrialized building offers two a virtual object before it is produced,
primary advantages: predictability and industrialized buildings profit tremendously
We now face a crisis of affordability in the time savings. These are so dramatic that from integrated computerized design. The
construction industry. As a culture we have they immediately translate into significant factory setting allows the optimization of
largely failed to deliver high-performance cost advantages. In an industrialized this technique as fabrication and assembly
and durable buildings at an affordable building project there are two construction are rationalized through time motion
cost. This has vast societal consequences sites: the field and the factory, operating studies. There is no doubt that the use
from homelessness to compromised simultaneously. An industrialized building of CNC fabrication and robotic assembly
living standards and the inefficient use of can be constructed in half the time of a will create ever greater advantages as
resources. conventional building. industrialized buildings continue to evolve
with the application of mass customization
To walk onto a construction site today is to Multiple advantages flow from this time techniques by architects.
be surrounded by disorder. To manage a savings; construction financing costs
contemporary construction project is to be and general conditions are halved, This book is a manual, describing the
overwhelmed by weather, uncooperative and quality control is much easier to procurement, processes, constraints,
or overly-scheduled subcontractors, lack maintain. Compared to a poorly-run in- and possibilities of industrialized modular
of accountability, and poor craftsmanship. situ construction effort, the advantages of building. The book defines processes,
Even the most experienced client industrialized building are compounded. details, structural concepts and case
understands that schedule and cost studies with enough specificity to act
projections are likely to be in continuous Modular buildings are conventionally as a planning guide. This manual can
flux. To a very real extent we build the same understood as an assembly of boxes. also be seen as a point of departure for
way today that we did thousands of years There is an inherent logic in this as large any number of as-of-yet unimagined
ago: by assembling materials and men at a modular components allow the greatest applications and techniques. This book
site and figuring things out as we proceed. degree of completion in the controlled was prepared at the request of the Kullman
factory environment. The module itself is, Building Corporation, whose dedication to
Over the course of the twentieth century however, infinitely variable. It can be formed both the potential of industrialized building
there have been many attempts to bring and combined into endless configurations. and the advancement of architecture is
industrialized building systems to market. Modules can be joined, bridged, stacked, exemplary.
Nearly all, with the exception of the and cantilevered. It can be a component of
mobile home, have failed. Le Corbusier’s a hybridized system, used in combination James Garrison
“Machine for Living” has not captured our with in-situ construction. For this reason New York City, 2007

History of the Kullman Building Corporation

In the same year Charles Lindbergh would Returning from service in World War II, Clearly, the company would need a new
make his solo crossing of the Atlantic and Sam’s son Harold Kullman joined the com- direction or face its own demise. “We were
Hollywood would introduce the “talking pic- pany after having earned his own degrees friendly with presidents of different banks,”
ture,” a quiet but determined Sam Kullman in finance and engineering. In a time when Harold recalls, “because we provided
started his own company building diners. the industry produced larger and more or- financing for some of their diner projects.”
Sam struck out on his own, leaving behind nate diners, Kullman advanced the design At the time, banks looked to expand their
a good job with an industry leader and now and construction standards of the industry. business by building more suburban
a major competitor. With the Great Depres- Sam’s direction would see Kullman build branches. Kullman developed some plans
sion looming, perhaps it wasn’t the best some of the roadside’s most streamlined up for branch banks, exploiting the advan-
time for start-ups, yet Sam’s business acu- and soaring restaurant designs. tages of prefabricated construction.
men and attention to quality and customer
loyalty allowed him to thrive. Six years later, Trends would prove fickle, however. By the The result was America’s first bank con-
his former employer faced bankruptcy mid-1960s, the spread of the “family res- structed in the modular process installed
while Sam’s new company began a legacy taurant” concept would induce Kullman’s in Marlboro, New Jersey and still in use.
of quality and innovation that now stretches designers to reverse course. Suddenly, the This milestone coincided with the entry into
75 years - and counting. diner experience would reflect a cozier set- the business of the Kullman family’s third
ting drawing from colonial America - then generation, Robert Kullman. Seeing a new
The diner industry provided turn-key, porta- all the rage in home decorating. direction for the family business, Robert set
ble restaurants that served a market seek- out to prove to the world of the benefits of
ing fast, low-cost, home-cooked meals. Still, the decade would not bode well for modular construction.
Kullman Diners during this period earned the industry. With the rise of the fast-
a reputation within its industry for innova- food industry encroaching on America’s Strip a diner of its stainless steel, its
tion and quality, placing it as a leader by roadsides, the demand for large, multi-sec- restaurant equipment, furnishings and
the onset of World War II. The company tioned diners had seriously contracted. The ornamentation, and what remains is a
consistently strove to introduce the latest spreading popularity of homey chains such highly durable steel and concrete build-
materials into its product line, which then as Howard Johnson’s and their meticu- ing module, that interconnects with other
featured the earliest uses of stylized, fabri- lous attention to operational consistency such modules to form a variety of building
cated stainless steel and Formica surface threatened the family-owned diner as never types. Kullman, with Robert’s urging, ag-
laminates - elements that still make the before. gressively pursued this new potential in the
diner so immediately recognizable today.

corrections, educational, institutional, and often plague on-site construction by local In 1995, Kullman moved to its new facility
broader food service markets. labor in foreign countries. in Lebanon, New Jersey, greatly expand-
ing the company’s capacity to produce an
The company coined the term “Acceler- With all those old stainless steel diners increasing variety of building types. In the
ated Construction” to describe a building disappearing off the landscape, the smart past decade, Kullman constructed hospi-
process free from the uncertainties of money betted on the diner’s extinction. Yet, tals and a college campus, while its food
weather, site conditions, and contractor some individuals took notice and worked to service division has branched out to build
relations. Accelerated or factory construc- elevate this unique architectural form into a double drive-thru hamburger restaurants
tion utilizes the same building materials new level of appreciation. In 1988, Jeffrey and stylish drive-up businesses for coffee
and labor found on any project site, but Gildenhorn’s new restaurant in Washing- vendors. In 2003, the company expanded
with an extra measure of quality control ton, D.C. drew its inspiration from the style its presence in the correctional facility
and predictability. of a classic 1950s vintage Kullman diner. market by acquiring the key assets of Mark
Gildenhorn asked the company to build Solutions, Inc., the leading manufacturer of
With the explosive growth of wireless the American City, a retro-styled diner that galvannealed steel jail and prison cells.
communications, equipment shelters complied with all modern building codes.
have also become a core part of the Kullman has since furthered this trend “The next time you talk on a cell phone,
company’s business. Kullman’s design- with new retro-styled diner construction leave your child at school, call a police
build capabilities and tight control over and renovations across the northeast and dispatch for emergency services or wonder
the manufacturing environment made it overseas. how Americans are being protected in
a logical candidate for mass-producing overseas embassies, think Kullman.”
diminutive but vital structures to protect
sensitive communications equipment
against extreme weather and vandalism.

If you don’t use a cell phone, you don’t

eat at diners, you or your child may have
attended one of the many school facili-
ties Kullman has constructed. Kullman
calculates over 60,000 students presently
attend the over 2,500 classrooms built by
the company in just the last 20 years.

In 1994, Kullman made history yet again

by building a United States embassy
building at its plant in Avenel, New Jersey
and shipping it to Bissau, Guinea-Bis-
sau. This development marked the first
construction of an American embassy in
America, and its success led to projects
for Ashgabat, Turkmenistan and Bishkek,
Kyrgyzstan. Built, shipped, and assem-
bled by American personnel with security
clearances, Kullman helped the State
Department avoid the security risks that


Structure of the book Part 1 - Overview Deciding to go modular

This book is intended to be a process This section introduces the topics, An increasing number of architects
and product desk reference manual for concepts, and advantages of modular and engineers today are discovering
architects and engineers considering or building. It examines both generalized the numerous benefits of modular
engaged in modular construction with advantages and the Kullman method of construction. The decision to build using
Kullman Buildings Corporation. This book construction. modular construction should be made after
compares and contrasts the Kullman careful consideration by both the architect
method of modular construction with any Part 2 - Modular design and the client. Modular construction is
of the various forms of in-situ construction not right for every project. Architects
and provides the technical information This section provides technical design must understand the specific implications
necessary for the architect to design a information, including discussions on and benefits of modular construction for
building which can be constructed by engineering, space planing, fire protection, each individual project. By describing
Kullman. architectural details, and codes and the process of modular design and
regulations. construction, this book can work as a
guide for deciding if modular is appropriate
Part 3 - Construction process for a given project.

This section is a sequential examination of

the building process. It follows the process
of modular construction from the factory to
the final application of finishes on site.

Part 4 - Examples in detail

This section gives examples of Kullman’s

work. It includes built work, competitions,
and prototypes.

Pierson College, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Part 1-Overview

Concepts 10

Advantages 12

Procurement 13

Design process 18

Lean fabrication 20

Craft 21

Time savings 23

Cost 24

Building performance 26

Sustainability 27



Definitions of “modular” the manufactured housing industry uses

the term “module” to describe individual
All uses of the term modular refer in some manufactured housing units.
way to a self-contained component of a
system which has a well-defined interface Modular and architecture
in relation to the other components. This
term, however, has been co-opted by Modular buildings designed by an architect
many disciplines, each giving it their own often blur the distinction between product
shade of meaning. Modular has discreet and a custom designed object. This is the
meanings in the disciplines of computer case because modular buildings generally
programming, music, philosophy, have their own systems and methods of
medicine, mathematics, and design. construction. When working with Kullman,
Further complicating matters, even within the system of construction relates only
the design discipline the terms modularity, to the structural frame allowing finishes,
Le Modular, modular design, modular configuration, etc., to be determined by
home, modular constructivism, modular the architect similar to any other custom
construction, and just plain modular designed building.
each have their own discreet meanings.
Finally, even when the term “modular The continuum of prefabrication
construction” is understood to have the
correct definition, it carries with it a wide The vast majority of buildings constructed
variety of connotations. Modular may be today use some prefabrication. Modular
ugly homogeny to some and contemporary construction lies at one end of a continuum
refinement to others. Modular buildings, of various types of prefabrication (see
simply stated, are volumetric components Figure 1.1.1 across). Modular construction
of a building which are manufactured in expands prefabrication as a viable and
a factory, and transported to the site on a beneficial option for an increasing number
flatbed trailer and erected into a finished of building project types.

Modular building v. manufactured housing

Kullman produces modular buildings

not manufactured housing. This is an
important distinction. A “modular building”
is composed of factory-built volumetric
units which are transported to a site on
a flatbed trailer. These modules must be
lifted into their final location. Conversely,
a “manufactured home” has an integrated
permanent chassis to which axles are
directly attached for transportation. These
buildings are typically of lower quality than
modular buildings. Much of the confusion
Figure 1.1.1: Continuum of prefabrication
between these two terms arises because


Open v. cellular plan Repetition v. customization Building projects particularly well-suited

to modular construction
In the past, only buildings which employed Although almost any building can now be
a repetitive cellular plan were built using divided into modules, certain project types Almost any type of building can be built
modular construction. However, this will receive the greatest economic benefit. either entirely or in part using modular
boundary has been pushed by advances in Today economies of scale can be achieved construction. Below is a list of project
the techniques of building and assembling through mass customization. The term types which are commonly built using
modules. Modules can come together in mass customization describes the ability of modular construction and which have
a number of ways to create an incredible certain products with pre-designed facets shown significant advantages using this
variety of spatial forms including large span to be customized. Until the very end of type of construction.
spaces. As well, open-sided modules the last century, exact repetition was the
can be combined to create buildings of only way to achieve economies of scale. Building types
near-infinite length. These capacities Modular construction, as compared to in-
expand the design possibilities for modular situ construction, can more readily utilize Single-family residences
construction. this type of economy. As a result, exact Multi-family residences
repetition dominated the modular industry Hotels
during this period, leading to buildings Dormitories
which were, in many cases, banal. Classroom buildings
Digital design, computer numeric control Correctional facilities
(CNC) fabrication technologies, and High-security government facilities
various systems approaches allow mass Hospital patient towers
customization to replace exact repetition Clinics
as a means of achieving economies of Offices
scale. Kullman is at the forefront of such Gas stations
advances and has invested in advanced
modeling software, and numerous CNC
fabrication technologies, in addition to Building types or building components
developing the Kullman Frame System
(KFS). Architects working with the Kullman Food service
system can now create custom designs Equipment enclosures
in which each module is different while Building additions
achieving an industrialized economy of Rooftop penthouses
scale. Physical plants

Building components

Elevator shafts
Mechanical plenums
Elevator shafts



The advantages of modular construction Procurement Site

are diverse. From a client’s perspective Increases the ability for collaboration and Eliminates various site constraints such as
the greatest benefits are reduced costs, single point of responsibility. staging, weather, transportation, etc.
consistent high quality, and a savings in
time. The advantages enumerated here Design process Security
should be understood as interrelated and Wide-ranging benefits of increased Reduces the possibility of job-site
overlapping topics rather than discrete or collaboration and flexibility. vandalism or theft.
autonomous issues.
Construction schedule Safety
Reduces construction time up to 50%. The factory environment improves
conditions for construction workers
Financial - cost control
Lowers hard costs, soft costs, financing Risk
costs, out-of-service costs, and provides a Increases in the predictability of quality,
faster return on investment. cost, and time reduces the risk assumed
by the client.
Craft - quality
The factory setting allows for the Relocatability
improvement of building craft. Creates the possibility of moving the
structure to a new location.
Factory efficiency
Methods of production reduce task time. Oversight
The client and architect can oversee and
Sustainability and energy efficiency preview parts of the structure in the factory.
Improves project sustainability and viability This enables conflicts to be identified and
of LEED® rating. resolved early, subverting the large costs
associated with discovery of such conflicts
Disturbance in the field.
Minimizes disruptions to adjacent buildings
and occupants and increases cleanliness.

Greater ability to manufacture components
with a high degree of technical complexity.



At the beginning of a project, architects

and clients must consider approaches to
procurement. The procurement process
for ready-made products is different
from that for custom-designed objects.
As modular construction is both ready-
made and custom-designed, some
slight adjustments must be made to the
typical process of building procurement
to account for these differences. There
are four standard types of construction
procurement which are relevant to modular
construction: design-bid-build, negotiated
bid, design-build, and strategic partnering.


Design-bid-build is the conventional

method in which a project is designed by
an architect and bid among competing
builders. In this method, an architect
produces bid documents which are then
bid by a qualified general contractor who
will select a subcontractor to provide the
modular components. The owner can
bid the site and modular components
separately. If this route is chosen,
construction management services are
recommended, and extra care must be
taken in definition of the separate scopes.

Figure 1.3.1: Flow chart of procurement process for design-bid-build


Although many architecture projects Design using a manufacturer’s standard Kullman (as well as most other modular
are procured by design-bid-build, this system: manufacturers) only provides bids on a
method has some distinct disadvantages lump sum basis. The alternatives to lump
in modular construction. Design-bid-build • Limits the competitive options for sum bids all require a type of accounting
does not take complete advantage of the bidding. which is difficult in the context of modular
potential collaboration benefits of modular • Expedites the design process. construction. Also, contractor overhead
construction including time savings. comprises a higher percentage of the total
Because most modular manufacturers Design using a performance-based or cost. This is difficult to account for on a
have their own systems for the design prototypical system: project specific basis.
and construction of modular frames, the
production of bid documents will require • Less architectural control of final AIA contract documents:
one of the following approaches: product. A141™, B141™, B151™
• Additional design work will be required
after the manufacturer is selected.
• Less certainty of cost early in the design

Design and engineer a custom

modular system:

• Severely limits the number of

manufacturers interested in bidding.
• Additional burden on the design
• Maximum design flexibility.
• Increased cost.


Negotiated bid:

With negotiated bid procurement, the

architect and client select either a modular
manufacturer or a general contractor who
is teamed with a modular manufacturer
at the beginning of the design process.
If only the modular manufacturer is
preselected, there are two arrangements
which can be made for providing general
contracting services:

• The modular manufacturer can provide

general contracting directly or through a
general contractor hired by the modular
manufacturer This provides single-point

• A general contractor can be selected

through design bid-build procurement.
The modular manufacturer or
manufacturers are specified as a pre-
condition of the contract. Specifying
the modular manufacturer is similar
to specifying a group of qualified
manufacturers for any other typical
Figure 1.3.2: Flow chart of the procurement process for negotiated bid building product.

Negotiated bid procurement allows for

the maximum collaboration between
the architect, client, and modular
manufacturer. Manufacturers’ capabilities
and standard systems can efficiently be
incorporated in design. (See “Benefits of
Collaboration” in the “Design Process”

AIA contract documents:

A101™, A111™, 143™



In design-build procurement, the client

enters into a single contract with Kullman
to provide partial or full design services
in addition to construction services. The
design-build contract can be signed at
various points in the process. There are
two permutations of design-build.

Traditional design-build

Kullman provides in-house design services

or retains an architect’s services directly.
Kullman has developed relationships with
various architects or can work with any firm
of a client’s choosing. The Architectural
& Engineering Services Department at
Kullman can provide final construction

Design-build with bridging documents

In design-build with bridging documents,

the architect produces bridging documents
which Kullman completes in-house. The
architectural drawing set can be used as
bridging documents when the drawing Figure 1.3.3: Flow chart of procurement process for traditional design build
set has reached a stage of completion
between final design development and
50% construction documents. This type
of procurement takes advantage of the
collaboration benefits described in the
following design process section.

This method provides all of the potential

benefits of the pre-selection process.
Also, this system is a single point of
procurement and responsibility for the

AIA document: A141™, A142™, A143™


Strategic partnering

The client employs the modular

manufacturer for an extended period
of time for multiple projects. This is the
method of procurement used by clients
to acquire communication shelters from
Kullman. This method requires a high
volume of repetitive work and is therefore
not typically used for architectural projects

Figure 1.3.4: Flow chart of procurement process for design build for bridging documents

Figure 1.3.5: Flow chart of procurement process for strategic partnering


Design process

The potential for expanded involvement of questions, provide additional resources There are three basic arrangements
Kullman in the design phase of the project or updates to the content of this book, which can be made for the preparation of
is of great benefit for architects, although and recommend contacts for outside construction documents:
the method of procurement will affect this consultant services.
collaboration. These benefits include: • The architect can produce 100%
Prototyping / mock-ups construction documents. Kullman will
Pricing produce shop drawings.
Kullman can provide up-front pricing Prototypes or mock-ups allow the client, • The architect can collaborate
guidance on an individual project basis; architect, and contractor to predict with Kullman on the production of
generate estimates early in the design the outcome of the project with a high construction documents. Kullman is
process; collaborate on value-engineering; degree of certainty. The ability to create ideally involved in a “review and advise”
and for negotiated bid procurement, can prototypes can be a significant benefit for capacity throughout the process and will
provide an accurate pricing guidance at projects such as hotels, plant rooms, etc. typically begin to provide drawings at a
an earlier stage of design than in typical Prototypes can be produced at a much point between final design development
bidding. lower cost for modular construction than documents and 50% construction
for in-situ construction. These prototypes documents.
Logistics or mock-ups can usually be completed • The architect can produce bridging
Modular solutions depend upon well in about a month. Modular prototypes documents which Kullman completes
coordinated logistics. Kullman is solely are built using the proposed methods of in house. This is only applicable when
responsible for means and methods of construction, whereas prototypes of in-situ using a design-build method of
construction; however, architects must construction cannot exactly replicate the procurement.
also consider these issues in the design process of construction.
process. When working with Kullman, Use of advanced digital analysis
architects are able to understand with Construction documents
greater transparency what the means Kullman collaborates with architects using
and methods of construction will be. This Collaboration on construction documents a wide range of advanced architectural
transparency improves design efficiency is one of the most significant benefits software.
because the design team can anticipate of working with Kullman. The benefits
and/or consult with Kullman on the include: Revit / BIM
manufacturing implications of design For many projects, Kullman uses the
decisions. This gives the architect a greater • The seamless integration of the Kullman software program Revit for Building
ability to predict and monitor work quality. Framing System into the design. Information Modeling (BIM). This program
• Streamlined specification process. expedites the drafting process, decreases
Resources & consultants • Kullman has the ability to produce document errors, delivers more information
It is important for consultants to be familiar appropriate systems drawings, thereby to team members, and improves the
with modular construction. Structural and eliminating some drawing redundancy. speed and accuracy of estimating. These
MEP engineering for modular construction • Construction documents are combined benefits result in reduced project duration
requires specialized knowledge. Although with shop drawings, thereby eliminating and cost. Perhaps the greatest advantage
architects can work with any consultant the need to produce the latter as a of this software program is the way in
of their choosing, Kullman’s Architectural separate process. which it facilitates collaboration between
& Engineering Services Department • BIM (Building Information Modeling) disciplines (including between the architect
can recommend consultants who are and other advanced software programs and Kullman). Collaboration is facilitated
familiar with modular construction. The have multiple benefits discussed in the through the method of generating
department can answer project specific following section. the model, the setup of the software


interface, and functions allowing real-time IntelliWall Catia or NavisWorks

collaboration with architects on the design For projects which are not designed using For more complex logistics simulations,
of a building through an internet capable Revit, Kullman uses the software program Kullman uses Catia or NavisWorks, 4D
server. IntelliWall to produce the shop drawings of modeling programs, to simulate the on-site
Shop drawing light-gauge steel framing. This program building process. These programs allow
automatically generates the most efficient for the animation of a building model to
The conventional shop drawing method layout of the steel studs. As well, it demonstrate the setting process including
uses the architectural drawings as basis for automatically generates a bill of materials, the movements of the crane and the
reinterpretation by tradespeople into their and includes this bill with the dimensioned delivery of the modules. This dynamic
own drawings which must be resubmitted drawings all on one sheet. modeling tool identifies any potential
to the architect. Kullman has developed conflicts in the setting process.
specialized functions within Revit to SolidWorks
facilitate the production of shop drawings. For projects involving custom metal
This process automatically generates fabrication Kullman uses the software
shop drawing packages from the overall program SolidWorks to provide parametric
BIM. These packages include the details design capabilities and seamless
for each part being produced and a bill of integration with CNC (Computer Numeric
materials. Control) milling.

Figure 1.4.1: Shop drawing created by IntelliWall Figure 1.4.2: Revit model Muhlenberg dormitory Figure 1.4.3: Screen shot of Catia 4D model


Lean fabrication

Kullman has adopted lean fabrication Input material flow Integrated subcontractors
practices. This refers to a method
of conceptualizing and performing Contractor-generated takeoffs have been In the Kullman factory, outside
industrial processes in a more efficient the standard means of estimating and subcontractors are hired on a project-
way. The lean paradigm began in auto- organizing material flow for a specific job. specific basis. These subcontractors
manufacturing by the Toyota Production With this conventional approach most of perform tasks which require very
System (TPS) and has metamorphosed the materials are purchased at one time specialized skills and are not common to
into the construction industry. “Lean and stockpiled on site, which risks damage all of the modules produced at the Kullman
construction” and “lean manufacturing” and misuse. In lean production practice, factory. The subcontractors work in the
are separate terms with overlapping the bill of materials generated by the BIM factory alongside Kullman constructors.
meanings and both are influential in the replaces the much more time-consuming, Typically fire protection, masonry, and
transformation of Kullman’s operation. inaccurate, and often wasteful method of the installation of some highly technical
The focus of “lean” is to reduce all of the performing takeoffs. Material is ordered specialized components are performed by
various types of waste and to improve using the Kanban Method which results subcontractors.
overall value for the customer. Kullman has in the elimination of inefficiencies related
implemented lean production practices in to material stockpiling. The material for
four areas: each workstation is delivered directly to
the station by the supplier. The material
Integration of BIM is scheduled to arrive only at the moment
that it is needed and it is delivered directly
See “Use of advanced digital analysis” to strategically located points to maximize
under the previous section on “Design worker efficiency. This practice reduces
process.” unnecessary human motion and material

“One-Piece Flow Manufacturing Method”

This method makes use of a production

line with multiple stations where the work
is performed. Each one of these stations
performs specific tasks so that when the
module has passed through all stations it
is complete and ready to ship.



Craft is defined as the construction of a Increased stability of the workforce holding work and for guiding a machine
building with skill and with careful attention The majority of Kullman’s workforce is tool to the work. The increased use of
to detail. The high level of craft in modular comprised of long-term employees. They jigs is the result of the repetition of factory
building is the result of: are dedicated craftsmen and have many work, even on customized projects. As
years of experience working together. With well, the increased ability for storage and
• Increased skill level and cooperation of in-situ construction, a subcontractor’s easy access of items in a factory relative to
constructors. workforce may or may not be comprised job site setting improves the viability using
• Repetition of work. of long-term employees. On the project jigs.
• Improved physical access to the work. site the various subcontractor work
• Improved working environment. forces often have little or no experience Improved physical access to the work
• Access to technology in the factory working together, and when working under
environment. separate contracts, have minimal incentive Increased proximity of the location of the
• Monitoring and quality control. for cooperation. work to the requisite tools and materials.
• Tolerances.
Repetition Improved exposure of the work
Increased skill level and cooperation of In-situ construction is characterized by
constructors Optimize the process of concealing previous works
The organization and layout of work on an or assemblies such as framing with
Union successive layers of material. Conversely,
in-situ construction site is temporary and
Kullman is a union workplace. The union therefore not worth the time investment modules expose more surfaces and
ensures that the workers are dedicated required in order to optimize as a work spaces throughout the construction
craftsmen and fosters a sense of environment. The Kullman factory process. This exposure allows better
collaboration between the workers. has invested in time-motion studies of access to a greater number of building
individual work stations to find ways of components after the finishes have been
A highly skilled, specialized workforce applied. Thus, work can be performed or
optimizing workflow.
A consistent flow of work is necessary to inspected from two sides of an assembly.
attract highly skilled production workers Intuit
to an area. This is the case for both the Improved ergonomics
For workers on an in-situ construction site
Kullman factory and urban areas. In the each job and each day yields a new work The placement of the work and the
latter, skilled workers are available some environment. Conversely, a factory worker arrangement of workstations allow
of the time but not on a consistent basis. knows exactly where the needed tool will the Kullman assembly to work without
In remote locations, generalization often be, and with experience this knowledge impediment or strain.
replaces specialization. becomes intuitive. Consistency allows
for uninterrupted concentration on the Fewer confinements, interferences, or
Continual training disruptions
task at hand and provides time savings.
Kullman organizes continual training Although it may seem like a minute point, Confinement is a difficulty for many
for its workforce. On a weekly basis studies and experience indicate that this construction activities. In modular
Kullman hosts either a “Tool Box Talk” has significant cumulative effects. construction, the work is surrounded by
for construction products and services, open factory space and not subject to
or a “Lunch and Learn” to learn about Jig many interior space constraints.
architectural products. The modular building construction process
provides increased opportunities for
jigging. A jig is any type of apparatus for


Improved working environment Increased security Proximity between the office and the work
A secure environment and the elimination For in-situ construction the tasks of
Indoor work environment of job-site theft allows for greater estimating, drafting, ordering, and
The factory environment eliminates outdoor investment in equipment and tools. management are performed in an office
conditions such as uncomfortably high or Additional security measures such as which is disconnected and often distant
low temperatures, precipitation, wind, and optical scan access doors are installed at from the job site. Conversely, all of
sun exposure allowing for a predictable the Kullman factory for use with specific Kullman’s staff is located directly adjacent
workflow and consistent quality of product. project types such as embassies and to the factory floor. This allows for quick
military facilities. resolution of any issue that may arise.
Increased control of pollutants and hazards. More importantly, it creates a feedback
The Kullman factory is monitored and Investment in technology loop between the planning of work and the
controlled for air quality and ventilation. As The high volume of buildings produced realities of the work being performed.
well, hazardous or noxious construction by Kullman provides a greater economic
activities have their own zones equipped incentive to invest in technology. This Tolerances
with specialized mitigation and safety allows high first costs to be offset by lower
equipment, such as spray booths, welding life-cycle costs. The primary factors in determining
shields, vent hoods, etc. tolerances are the inherent characteristics
Monitoring and quality control of the material or assembly and
Improved auxiliary services
craft. Because factory methods improve
The Kullman factory has improved auxiliary Accessibility and visibility of work the craft of construction, tighter tolerance
services such as bathrooms, a locker- The improved physical access to the work can typically be achieved in modular
room, and break-room with lunch facilities. allows for the inspection of any component relative to in-situ construction.
at any time during the construction In modular construction, tolerances fall into
Access to technology process. This is a benefit for owners, two categories: inner-module tolerances
architects, building inspectors, quality and assembly tolerances. Inner-module
Stationary technologies control staff, and Kullman. tolerance refers to the tolerance of the
Mobile on-site technologies are generally walls and finishes within a modular frame.
less efficient and accurate than stationary Quality control Assembly tolerance refers to the tolerance
shop technologies. Although many For in-situ construction, day-to-day of the module frame itself and the process
components of in-situ construction are quality control is typically a function of of placing modules on site.
fabricated in remote shops, these items the superintendent or general contractor
must be dimensionally coordinated, timed who is concerned with many aspects
for delivery, packaged, shipped, delivered of the construction process. Modular
to the site, and unpacked. This laborious construction allows for the ability to
process has the effect of increasing more closely monitor work and improve
cost and encourages the fabrication of quality. This is the case because in
components on-site. At the Kullman modular construction, quality control is a
factory the use of stationary technology very methodical and consistent process
and shop methods is maximized performed at each assembly station,
throughout construction. eliminating error and reducing the time
needed to perform the quality checks.


Time savings

Construction scheduling Factory time efficiency action of individual constructors and to find
numerous ways of maximizing the flow of
The ability to perform site work and Factory time efficiency refers to the work. Kullman estimates a 70% reduction
building construction simultaneously decreased time required to perform a in task time for work performed in their
is the greatest time benefit of modular given task in factory relative to in-situ factory compared with the same tasks
construction. For in-situ construction, most construction environments. performed in the field.
work must proceed sequentially where
each construction task is a point along The “Craft” and “Lean fabrication” sections The production of equipment enclosures at
the critical path. In modular construction of this book describe many of the factors Kullman exemplifies the potential of factory
the modules are fabricated within the time which contribute to factory time efficiency. time efficiency. Equipment enclosures
required to complete site work, which are manufactured by Kullman in 4.5
means that only the setting and finishing of Kullman has worked diligently to find and days, whereas a similar structure using
modules affect the critical path. capitalize on the diverse opportunities for in-situ methods might require 60 days.
efficiency. By investing in time-motion (See “Equipment enclosures” in “Part 4
studies of their factory work stations, Examples in Detail”)
Kullman has been able to analyze each

Small in-situ construction project

Weeks 0 5 10 15 20 25 Modular construction
Start-up Weeks
Interior work
Project Hand Over
In-situ construction
Small modular construction project Weeks
Weeks 0 5 10 15 20 25
Production planning
Manufacture modules
Module setting
Site finishing
Project Hand Over




Figure 1.7.1: Gantt chart comparison between Figure 1.7.2: Gantt chart comparison of construction
construction schedules for modular and in-situ schedules for modular and in-situ communication
construction shelters.



“Time is money.” Factory time efficiency storage, installation, or in the course of

subsequent construction activities, or
This saying is the key to understanding Efficiency helps to lower labor and stolen from the job site by workers or
how many of the previously discussed other costs. For most types of in-situ intruders.
advantages create cost savings in modular construction, the direct labor cost accounts
construction. for about 50% of the total hard cost. The Many contractors make some budget
labor savings for modular construction will allotment for these issues. Although
A concept which is useful in considering be proportional to the reduction of total problems may occur in any construction
cost is the value-to-volume ratio. This ratio man-hours required for construction. practice, the controlled environment of the
compares the total value of the finishes, Kullman factory makes these problems
equipment, etc. to the volume of the Lower labor rate much less common.
module. In general, modules which have
a high value-to-volume ratio will ensure The rate for labor in urban areas is Transportation
that there are sufficient opportunities for generally higher than at the Kullman
manufacturing cost savings to offset the factory. Kullman workers are paid well and Modular construction generally has a lower
relatively fixed cost of transportation and yet the cost of their employment is lower overall transportation demand.
setting. than workers performing similar work in Two studies which demonstrate this
many dense urban areas such as Boston principle are discussed in greater detail
or New York City. in the “Sustainability” section. For the
Hard cost purpose of this discussion; however, it is
Decreased general conditions sufficient to state that modular construction
The definition of hard cost will differ generally has about a 5% reduction in
depending on the role or point of view General conditions are typically 10 - 12% overall transportation demand.
of an individual in the project. This of total hard cost. Modular construction
discussion is framed from the client’s point allows for fewer components, shorter Redundancy and robustness
of view, which means that hard cost refers use, and even the elimination of many
to all construction costs which are paid to components of the general conditions. Redundancy and robustness requirements
the contractor. These items include: security service, lead to additional use of materials.
craning, parking, dumpsters including Modular construction often requires up
Hard cost savings include: carting and tipping, and temporary to 5% more overall structural material
installations such as portable restrooms, than similar in-situ construction. While
• Factory time efficiency. site-fence, unloading dock, contractor constituting a mild increase in material use,
• Lower labor rate. office/trailer, finished assembly protections, redundancy and robustness have several
• Decreased general conditions. and materials storage. advantages (see the “Robustness” and
• Fewer incidents of component damage “Redundancy” sections).
or errors. Fewer incidences of component damage,
• Fewer building risk claims.
error, or theft
• Transportation.
This refers to the costs accrued when any
Hard cost expenses include:
building component cannot be installed
as planned. This problem can occur
• Redundancy and robustness.
if building components are defective,
• Factory overhead.
incorrectly ordered, damaged during


Soft cost Less out-of-service time

Soft cost refers to other expenditures or For certain types of projects such
lost revenue associated with construction. Draw cycle (2 or 4 weeks) as building additions or building
This would include design fees and replacements, reducing out-of-service
Figure 1.8.1: In-situ construction: graph of construction
financing among other expenditures. The loan draws
time results in a very significant cost
soft cost savings of modular construction savings. Out-of-service time also includes
would be difficult to quantify in a alternative facilities costs. This is the case
construction value-engineering format for many college dormitory projects where
because these savings restructure the alternative housing will have to be found
entire project delivery and assumptions. if the project cannot be completed in a
Draw cycle (2 or 4 weeks) relatively short window of time.
The soft cost savings include: Faster return on initial investment
Figure 1.8.2: Modular construction: graph of
construction loan draws
• Reduced construction loan costs. For almost all income-producing projects a
• Less out-of-service time. Note: For clarity, the diagrams show the same total faster return on investment is a significant
• Faster return on initial investment. construction cost. financial benefit. This advantage of
• Reduced design costs. modular construction must be considered
and advantages of modular construction. within the context of the personal or
Financing institutional goals of the client.
Reduced construction loan costs
For some projects, lenders may be more Design process
willing to authorize a construction loan for Modular buildings can be built in less time
a project if it utilizes modular rather than than in-situ construction. This reduces There are many opportunities for savings
in-situ construction. This is the case for the period of the loan and therefore the related to the design process. The
speculative developments because the interest cost. Interest accrual is not, components of the process which may
risk in forecasting future market conditions however, based on the duration of the have a reduced cost are:
increases with time. As well, for modular overall project, but on the duration of each
construction there is a lower risk of individual draw. For estimating purposes, • Construction cost estimating.
contractor cost overruns or delays and a 50% reduction in construction duration • Engineering fees.
an increase in the reliability and quality of can be assumed. For many projects the • Construction documents.
project outcomes. Some lenders have greatest dollar amount savings will come
• Construction administration.
recognized these benefits. For lenders from reduced construction loan costs.
which have not recognized the effect of
The exact savings is determined by various
modular construction on risk, Kullman has
factors including the nature of the project
found it beneficial to bring the lenders to
and the method of procurement.
the factory to see firsthand the methods


Building performance

Acoustical Thermal and moisture Robustness

Multi-unit modular construction is inherently Attaching the insulation and vapor barrier The term robustness refers to the
insulating to sound. Module mate-lines in the factory is preferred because a additional structural capacities of modular
typically occur in between walls and floors. much higher quality installation can be buildings in order to withstand road
Because each module has its own framing, achieved in the factory environment. vibration, vehicle braking, and the craning
there can be no direct sound transfer All of the advantages discussed in the forces. Modular buildings are built to
through the light gauge steel framing into “Craft” section play a part in this; however, be stronger structurally than a similar in-
adjacent surfaces. Additional acoustic “Improved Access to the Work” is of situ building. The benefits of robustness
barriers such as acoustical quilts can be particular benefit in regard to insulation include increased strength and durability,
easily and efficiently integrated between installation. Ideally, cladding is attached in seismic resistance, and future additional
modules. the factory for various reasons, including loading capacity.
as a means of protecting the insulation
from damage during transport and placing.

Air infiltration is a greater component

of thermal performance than is often
recognized. Modular construction generally
achieves a lower rate of air infiltration,
which is the result of many of the issues
discussed in the “Craft” section.

In-situ construction Modular construction

Figure 1.9.1: Sound transfer through structures



Modular construction provides inherent categories used in the following section • The ESCP requires consideration of all
qualities and opportunities which can are: construction activity which produces
increase the sustainability of a building significant particulate matter, pollutants,
project. • SS (Sustainable Sites) and run-off, as well as the storage of all
• EA (Energy & Atmosphere) materials on site. Modular construction
There are many ways to gauge the • MR (Materials & Resources) eliminates the vast majority of on-site
environmental impact of a building. The • EQ (Indoor Environmental Quality), building activities considered in the
most comprehensive method is the life ESCP.
cycle assessment. There are, however, (Disclaimer: the USGBC does not endorse • Foundation work is a primary concern of
other metrics and tools used to gauge Kullman and does not ensure compliance the ESCP. For small modular projects,
performance which are more prescriptive with any of the credits discussed.) precast foundations may be an option
and broadly instrumentalized as a mandate which reduces foundation work.
or incentive. Some of the various metrics Modular construction in general facilitates
which are particularly applicable to achieving many LEED® credits. Kullman in Urban development
modular construction are: particular has gone further to incorporate
sustainability into its practices and will help SS Credit 2: Development Density and
• LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Community Connectivity
with the documentation of LEED® credits.
Environmental Design).
• CHPS (Collaborative for High This credit requires development in dense,
Technological investment
Performance Schools). typically urban areas.
• EnergyStar.
Many LEED® credits directly and/or
• Healthy Homes. Site selection is typically considered
indirectly encourage a greater level
of technological investment in the separately from construction type;
The list of clients requiring LEED® in some however, modular construction may
building. Modular construction facilitates
form has been growing exponentially. For increase the viability of building in urban
technological investment in various ways.
this reason the discussion of sustainability areas. Some benefits include increased
Compared with in-situ construction,
in this guide is organized around LEED- economic value due to inflated labor cost
modular construction can integrate
NC. There are, however, various aspects in urban areas, decreased disruption to
technological components into a building
of sustainability particularly relevant adjacent sites and to the public, and less
more economically. Thus technologically
to modular construction which are not roadway congestion.
complex buildings are among the best
recognized by the LEED® system.
suited for modular construction.
Site disturbance
Construction pollution
LEED SS Credit 5.1: Site Development: Protect or
SS Prerequisite 1: Construction Activity Restore Habitat
This section refers to the LEED-NC® Pollution Prevention
Green Building Rating System for New This credit requires that “greenfields:
Construction and Major Renovation, This credit requires the creation of an … [must] limit all site disturbance to 40’
Version 2.2, unless otherwise noted. In the “Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan” beyond the building perimeter.... [or for]
following section, the title of each credit is (ESCP) in compliance with the 2003 EPA previously developed or graded sites,
underlined and italicized. The two-letter General Construction General Permit. restore or protect a minimum of 50% of the
acronym at the beginning of each title site area (excluding the building footprint)
indicates the category under which that with native or adapted vegetation.”
Modular construction may help buildings to
credit is classified. The acronyms and
achieve this credit in two ways:


For greenfield development, modular Job-site recycling Recycled content

construction will significantly limit site
disturbance. Typically the crane can be MR: Credit 2.1: Construction Waste MR: Credit 4.1: Recycled Content: 10%
located on a roadway or parking lot which Management: Divert 50% from Disposal (post-consumer + ½ pre-consumer)
makes this credit easy to achieve. For MR: Credit 2.2: Construction Waste MR: Credit 4.2: Recycled Content: 20%
previously graded sites, replanting will Management: Divert 75% from Disposal (post-consumer + ½ pre-consumer)
require less effort if the soil has not been
compacted by construction activity or This credit requires recycling of The easiest way to achieve and
covered with construction debris. construction materials. document this credit is in cases where
primary structural material meets the
Building configuration Kullman meets the requirements of this recycled content benchmark. Although
credit on every building regardless of the the information shown below is based
SS Credit 5.2: Site Development: Maximize pursuit of LEED® certification. At Kullman on general 2006 data it demonstrates
Open Space all metal, paper, and plastic is recycled. the extent to which steel exceeds the
These materials are stored until the full requirements of this credit.
This credit has various options for container capacity is reached ensuring
compliance; however, building vertically is, transportation efficiency. At Kullman Steel stud framing:
in many cases, the best way to achieve this recycling is a means of saving money. For (24.6% post-consumer + ½ 6.6% pre-
credit. in-situ construction, even when this credit consumer) = 27.9% which is greater than
is achieved it typically comes at a cost 10% or 20%.
Modular construction has an increased to the building project. This is the case
potential for savings in vertical for various reasons: subcontractors are Wide flange structural steel framing:
applications, because a higher percentage not trained to separate recyclable items; (56.6% post-consumer + ½ 32.7% pre-
of the overall construction is composed of multiple types of material are swept up consumer) = 72.95% which is greater than
factory produced elements. together; there is little room to separate 10% or 20%.
and store various materials; and finally
Energy performance carting companies are less willing to pick-
up and transport relatively small quantities
EA: Prerequisite 2: Minimum Energy of materials.
EA: Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance

This credit requires specific benchmarks of

energy performance.

Air infiltration and the installation quality of

the insulation are the two main benefits of
modular construction in terms of improving
energy performance. (See “Building


Regional material sources Forestry practices Toxicity

MR: Credit 5.1: Regional Materials: 10% MR: Credit 7: Certified Wood “EQ: Credit 4.1: Low-emitting Materials:
Extracted, Processed, and Manufactured Adhesives and Sealants”
Regionally This credit requires the sourcing of wood “EQ: Credit 4.2: Low-emitting Materials:
MR: Credit 5.2: Regional Materials: 20% which is Forest Stewardship Council ® Paints and Coatings”
Extracted, Processed, and Manufactured (FSC) certified. EQ: Credit 4.4: Low Emitting Materials:
Regionally Composite Wood & Agrifiber Products
Kullman works with suppliers who stock
This credit defines “Regionally” as within a FSC-certified wood and can easily obtain it These credits have various requirements
500 mile radius. for any project seeking this credit. for materials which are “applied on site”

Kullman sources the majority of its Indoor air quality (IAQ) Kullman avoids the use of highly emitting
materials regionally. If the project site materials wherever possible and can
is located within the map shown (Figure EQ: Credit 3.1: Construction IAQ comply with the requirements prescribed
1.9.1) it will likely qualify for this credit. Management Plan: During Construction for achieving both of these credits.
Often design teams do not seek to earn EQ: Credit 3.2: Construction IAQ Technically, only job site applications are
this credit because of the extensive Management Plan: Before Occupancy considered by LEED®. If no portion of a
documentation requirements. Kullman will material is applied on-site, the credits are
provide the necessary documentation. This credit requires that an Indoor Air not available. However, if any portion of
Quality (IAQ) management plan be created the material is applied on site, the entire
and followed for the safety of construction application of the material (including the
workers. portion applied in the factory) must be
The Kullman factory is a very safe and well-
ventilated place. All noxious construction Acoustics
activities take place in the spray room or
using a vent hood. The Kullman factory EQ: Prerequisite 3: Minimal Acoustical
can easily comply with even the most Performance (LEED for Schools Only)
stringent IAQ management plan. Only EQ: Credit 9: Enhanced Acoustical
activities occurring on the job site would Performance (LEED for Schools Only)
have to be considered for LEED® reporting
purposes. This means that factory Mold prevention
construction is exempt from consideration
of this requirement. Rather than a possible EQ: Credit 10: Mold Prevention (LEED for
loop-hole allowing the intent of the credit to Schools Only)
be undermined, this should be understood
by the design team as a means of These credits only apply to LEED for
simplifying the submission requirements. Schools, but it is important to remember
that typical modular construction strategies
and materials lend themselves to increased
Figure 1.10.1: 500 mile radius from Kullman factory acoustical performance and resistance to
(the map will have to be re-centered to a project’s mold, independent of building typology.
specific location)


Innovation & design Design for end of life Waste

The nature of modular construction leaves This is a key concept of sustainability. In Although job-site recycling is considered
plenty of room to gain LEED points for order to design for end of life, a building by LEED®, Kullman exceeds the
Innovation & Design. Up to four points can must contain recyclable materials as well prescriptive requirements and, in fact,
be earned by far exceeding required goals as have the ability for these materials to reduces initial waste in various ways. Both
on established points in earlier sections be easily recovered. Steel construction the lean method of construction and the
or by proposing, accomplishing, and is inherently the most recyclable type of reduction of disposable items which are
documenting something truly innovative. construction; however, it is often difficult part of the general conditions contribute to
to recover steel from in-situ construction. initial waste reduction.
Modular buildings can be more easily
Principles not considered by deconstructed, removed from a site, and Disruption
recycled as raw material stock. Modular
LEED buildings also have the unique advantage Modular construction decreases
of being easily relocated and/or factory disruptions to adjacent or undisturbed
Factory time efficiency
refurbished. sites. LEED® does recognize impact to
greenfields; however, modular construction
The consumption of resources for day-
exceeds the prescriptive requirements.
to-day living comes at an environmental
Furthermore, modular construction reduces
cost. In this way, labor is an environmental
the quantity and duration of disruption to
resource which can be used in terms of
any type of site.
efficiency. The factory time efficiency of
modular construction means that this
most precious resource can be used with Transportation
the greatest possible efficiency. Kullman
estimates that the man-hours required to Modular construction generally reduces the
construct a modular building may be as overall amount of transportation of people
low as half those needed to construct an and materials required for construction.
in-situ building. The amount of transportation required
is variable for every project. As well,
Longevity variability exists in the identification of
correlative in-situ construction projects and
Longevity is an important and often the measurement of transportation.
overlooked component of sustainability.
One way of considering the environmental Studies performed by the Steel
impact of a building is by amortizing the Construction Institute in the UK found
inputs of its construction by the length a 40% reduction in transportation
of the building’s useful life. In this way, demand. As well, Michele Kaufman
longevity is a primary determinate of the Designs reported finding a decrease in
sustainability of a building. Structures transportation demand in the construction
built by Kullman are durable and of high of modular homes compared with
quality. Although the ultimate longevity of construction of the same home using in-
a building is rarely predeterminable, quality situ methods.
and durability are two of the primary factors
influencing longevity.

Part 2 - Modular design

Massing 34

Kullman Frame System (KFS) 36

Fire protection 38

Architectural design of modules 39

Bathroom pods 52

Codes and regulations 53

Modular Design


Types of assembly
Modular construction has evolved to
the point where architects can initially
conceptualize building form irrespective
of the modular unit. Form generation in
this manner may be applicable to certain
project types or architectural ideologies.
Other architects may choose to use
the tectonics of modular building in the
generation of form.

Figure 2.1.1: Module structural massing

Modular Design

The KFS system is flexible enough to
accommodate any conceived architectural
form as the perimeter of a module can
have any imaginable relationship to the
structural frame.

With some modification, almost any

architectural form can be modularized;
however, as stated earlier, best results
are achieved when designs are initially
conceived as modular.

Module Width:
13’ Common Maximum
16’ Oversized Maximum

Module Length:
52’ Common Maximum
60’ Oversized Maximum

Figure 2.1.2: Irregular modular floor plan Module Height:

12’ Maximum

Building Height:
12 Stories Maximum
Non-attached Semi-attached Attached *Some states may allow larger module sizes to be
transported overroad (see Transportation section).

The diagram at left shows a number of

possible combinations and orientations
Field joint Mate Stack of modules. An incredible diversity of
Field Pods within
other framework form can be derived from these very few
elemental types of interfacing modules.

Shift Turn Void Shift Turn

Figure 2.1.3: Elemental module relationships

Modular Design

Kullman Frame System (KFS)

Structure Since all loads are transferred exclusively

through the end columns, openings
and glazing can be configured without
The Kullman Frame System is the
consideration of shear forces.
product of 80 years of experience in
producing modular buildings. Kullman Interstitial truss module
has developed this frame system through
A compact version of the KFS can be
research and collaboration with architects
used between vertically stacked modules
and engineers.
to provide structural support for larger
clear spans and additional space to run
This system offers advantages of compact
member sizes, minimal welding, high
rigidity, and the fewest possible column Non-load-bearing pod
and connection points. The KFS is based
on a Vierendeel truss which spans to the Pods include bathrooms, plant rooms,
module ends so that the corner columns or other modules which do not comprise
carry vertical loads to the foundations. any part of the building super structure. KFS Building Module

Consequently the ends are the only These types of structures are typically
required connection points. built using light gauge steel (LGS) frames.

Figure 2.2.1: Distribution of forces (load path) in

stacked modules using conventional structure which KFS Interstitial Truss Module
bear directly at each column

Figure 2.2.2: Distribution of forces (load path) in Pod

stacked modules which bear through the four corner
columns Figure 2.2.3: Types of frames

Modular Design

Figure 2.2.4: Exploded axonometric of the

Kullman frame

Modular Design

Fire protection


Fire rating for the KFS is typically achieved

with a UL rated GWB enclosure. For a
two hour fire rating, walls and ceilings are
finished with two layers of GWB creating
a rated separation between the occupied
spaces and the structural steel frame. To
stop flame spread within the mate-line
cavity, mineral wool is packed between
steel members during the setting process.
Where openings are placed or systems
pass through the module wall the two
hour encasement of the structure must be

Thin-film intumescent coating

(intumescent paint)

The application of intumescent paint is

particularly useful because it requires Figure 2.3.1: Fire protection - 2 Layer GWB liner
virtually no building volume and can
be more efficiently applied in a factory
setting than in the field. This method
is expensive if it is used to cover large
areas of a structure; however, for selective
applications in modular construction it is
often viable. Bolted or riveted connections
cannot occur over intumescent coated
steel, because this breaks the required
fire protection. This necessitates that fire
rating be applied in the field. Intumescent
coatings are applied in the Kullman
factory and/or on site by a specially
licensed subcontractor. At connection
plate locations either sprayed fire resistant
material or GWB is installed after the
connection plates are installed.

Figure 2.3.2: 2 hr. fire-rated section detail

Modular Design

Architectural design of modules

Interior openings between

Typical: 8’-0”
Possible w/o modification: 9’-6”

Clear span openings are possible but will

Figure 2.4.1 Longitudinal section showing typical opening
require one of the following:

• Increased beam depth

• Incorporate interstitial truss module

• Weld frames across mate lines

Figure 2.4.2 Longitudinal section showing clear span

Figure 2.4.3 Longitudinal section showing clear span

Figure 2.4.4 Cross section showing clear span

Modular Design

Wall thickness
Wall thicknesses vary depending on fire
rating and location of the wall within the
module. These dimensions assume the
use of light gauge steel studs and 5/8”
gypsum wall board.

Interior Wall (unrated): 5 1/4”

Interior Wall (2 hr fire rated): 6 1/2”

Interior Wall on Mate-Line: 8 5/16”

Exterior Wall (w/o cladding): 9 3/4”

Exterior Wall (w/ masonry cladding): 1’-3 3/8”

Mate-line Gaps
The term mate-line refers to the gap
between structural members of adjacent

Plan: 1/2”
Elevation/Section: 3/4”

Figure 2.4.5 Plan section of typical mate line wall condition

Modular Design

Plan detail
(2 Hour Rated As Shown)

For 0 or 1 Hour rating remove one layer of


Figure 2.4.6 Typical plan detail

Modular Design

Exterior wall section detail

(2 Hr Rated As Shown)

For 0 or 1 Hour rating remove one layer of


Figure 2.4.7 Typical section detail

Modular Design

Mate-line section detail

(2 Hr Rated As Shown)

For 0 or 1 Hour rating remove one layer of


Figure 2.4.8 Typical Mate-line section detail

Modular Design

There are several options available for
roofing modular buildings.

1 Separate module: The roof can be

constructed of independent modules which
are set on the building on site.

2 Integrated: The roof can be integrated

into the construction of a module in the
1a 1b
factory (ideal for flat-roof and low-sloping

3 Hybrid: This option is a combination

of the separate module and integrated
approach. The overhang and a portion
of the roof are included in the occupiable
module and a separate roof module is set
on site. This method is useful for more
steeply pitched roofs.

4 In-situ: The roof can be constructed

using pre-fabricated trusses which are
placed on site. This works well for multi- 2
unit construction.

5 On site off building: The roof can be

constructed conventionally off the building
then lifted into place. This is ideal for multi-
unit construction with available site space.

4 5
Figure 2.4.9: Roof types

Modular Design

Foundations for modular construction will stipulate a

tolerance of ± 1/8” . This allows for a better
Typically, KFS modules place a point application of the finishes and minimizes
load rather than a distributed load on a the amount of shimming required.
foundation. Therefore, slab-on-grade
is not a typical solution for modular In most cases the major consideration
construction. Rather, perimeter and piloti is providing an accessible crawl space
foundation systems are the best solutions underneath the bottom module to allow for
for modular construction. service connections. The minimum crawl
space height is typically determined by
KFS modules are set onto 3/4” or 1” steel building code prohibitions on inaccessible
bearing plates which are embedded in crawl spaces. An inaccessible crawl space
is typically defined as any space with less
the concrete foundation. The leveling
than 18” between ground and bottom of
tolerance of the steel plates is ±1/16”.
joist. Ideally, crawl spaces should be no
Shims can be used to achieve this level. less than 3’ high if connection of the MEP
The specification of cast-in-place concrete services are to be made.

Figure 2.4.11: Piloti foundation

Figure 2.4.10: Foundation detail Figure 2.4.12: Perimeter basement foundation

Modular Design

Vertical circulation

Elevator shaft and stair modules can be

configured in a number of ways to suite
an individual project. The shaft modules
can be constructed by Kullman to suit any
standard type of elevator.

Figure 2.4.13: Possible elevator configuration

Modular Design

Figure 2.4.14: Possible stair configuration Figure 2.4.15: Typical stair detail
(facing wall removed for clarity) (steel with concrete treads)

Modular Design

Mechanical, electrical, and Hookups

For most in-situ construction types, MEP
plumbing systems installation occurs before finishes are
applied. Although this is also the case
Decentralized systems for modular construction, there is an
Factory installation of mechanical, additional step of connecting the services
electrical, and plumbing (MEP) is one of after a module has been placed. This
the most significant cost-time benefits step requires field access where systems
of modular construction; however, the are connected. Removable floor or wall
configuration of MEP systems requires panels allow connections to be made
some special consideration for modular between modules. The design of access
construction. Most in-situ construction points and chase enclosures can be
utilizes centralized distribution of services integrated with the building’s finishes.
whereas a common strategy in modular This is a useful feature of any building as Figure 2.4.16: Field connection shafts; remote fixtures
construction is to decentralize systems. it facilitates any needed maintenance and
There are various reasons for and benefits future systems replacement. In general,
of this approach. The vertical dimensions shafts and chases should be sized for tool
of modular building components are and assembly clearances and may serve
necessarily limited by over-the-road adjacent modules. See figures 2.4.16 and
clearances. A typical module maximum 2.4.17.
of 12’ will yield a clear interior dimension
of approximately 10’8”. This is too Interstitial module
little to allow a conventional three-foot- For buildings where high-volume, low-
deep ceiling plenum while maintaining velocity duct work and other space
adequate ceiling heights. Another reason intensive systems are required, the
for decentralizing MEP systems is that plenum area is typically constructed as an
when each modular unit is more or less independent and fully integrated module.
self-contained, it allows architects to This is ideal for laboratories and hospital
adopt more of a plug-and-play approach applications. See figure 2.4.19.
to design, construction, and addition.
Furthermore, decentralizing avoids some of
the complexities in the routing of systems
and making field connections. The final Figure 2.4.17: Field connection shafts; adjacent fixtures
benefit of the decentralization of systems
is improved environmental control. This is
the case because occupants are able to Module
avoid using mechanical HVAC unless it is Supply line
truly needed. End use
in module
Access panel

Service chase

Modular Design

Heating and cooling systems Electrical

Package wall units Electrical is the simplest service connection

Many modular buildings and especially in modular construction. Typically a
temporary modular buildings such as junction box is located on each module
classrooms use wall-mountTM units. In the which is connected to the main power
past these systems have been noisy and supply.
inefficient, and did not ventilate well. Today
these systems have been completely re- Plumbing
engineered and can provide quiet, highly
efficient HVAC. Assuming adequate access, plumbing
can be easily connected in modular
Terminal construction. See figure 2.4.16 and figure
Another strategy is to use terminal 2.4.17. Pipe “union” or torch sweating are
conditioner units. These systems use a commonly used.
centralized condenser unit which pipes
water to terminal conditioner units. The
general mechanical efficiency of these
units make this alternative a more
environmentally sustainable solution

High-velocity small duct

A third approach is to use high-velocity
Figure 2.4.18: Interstitial module between a group
of stacked modules and an in-situ constructed small duct systems. These systems have
volume a centralized conditioner unit and use
small flexible ducts to supply air to the
desired location. The size of the duct
reduces the need for large shaft spaces.

A fourth option is to increase the space
between modules to create a ventilation
plenum. This has great practical benefit
and can be utilized as a piping and conduit
chase as well. See figure 2.4.18.

Radiant heating and cooling systems
are effective because they use very
little vertical space, are best suited
to installation in a controlled factory
environment and have the additional
benefit of reduced energy use.
Figure 2.4.19: Interstitial module between each
occupied module

Modular Design

MEP chases
Vertically aligned chases can service
multiple units; chase size is dependent on
the number of utilities contained within.

Access panel (min. 20 in.) or door allows

connection of utilities between modules
after setting process.

Note: Depending on design, MEP services can

potentially be constructed within a typical 6” wall.

Figure 2.4.20: Plan section of service shaft

Modular Design

Hot Water
Cold Water
Waste Water
Toilet Vent
Air Vent
Connection Collars

Figure 2.4.21: MEP connections

Modular Design

Bathroom pods

Bathroom pods are designed and

customized to the users’ and architectural
needs. They are manufactured as
individual pods in Kullman’s controlled,
lean manufacturing facility. Depending
on the clients’ selection and application,
the structure is manufactured either out
of GRP (Glass Reinforced Plastic) or light
gauge steel frame with thin composite floor

The mechanical, electrical and HVAC

systems are pre-installed as well as all
finish materials including sinks, toilets,
tile, showers, tubs, shower curtains, towel
racks, and finished flooring. Once the
unit is manufactured to code, completed
and inspected, the door is locked and
it is packaged for delivery. The pods
are delivered to the site and only four
connections need to be made: hot and
cold water, electrical, wasteline and any
necessary venting.

Figure 2.5.1: Bathroom pod components

Modular Design

Codes and regulations

Code and administrative law Approval

All local building codes governing There are two methods of approval for
construction apply to modular buildings. modular projects: discrete model approval
and systems basis approval. The projects
Because modular buildings are described in this book use discrete model
constructed at a distance from municipal approval. This system of approval is
building inspectors, a third-party inspector relevant to most architecture projects
system has been established. The whereby construction documents and
administrative code of each state makes specifications are generated for a specific
Figure 2.6.2: Code plate
provisions for this method of inspection. building and approved on that basis. The
systems basis approval is used for pre-
In the permit drawing set, modular and in- designed systematized modules where the
situ components should be represented approval for each individual building would
together as a final whole. However the become redundant. This system is used
drawing should still clearly differentiate with high volume products such as the
site work components from modular equipment shelters built by Kullman.
components. Copies of these sets of
drawings must be sent to the local building Notes:
For modular buildings, an organization called The
department as would be the case for any Interstate Industrialized Buildings Commission (IBC)
building. An additional set of the same has sought to create modular code uniformity between
drawings should be sent to Kullman which states; however, currently only NJ, MN, RI, and ND are
will forward them to TRA, their third party members. For Manufactured Housing, on the other
hand, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
inspector, for review.
Development (HUD) has developed a national code,
(the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety
Inspection Standards) which supersedes all local or state codes.
It is important to remember that because residential
modular buildings do not have an integrated chassis,
At Kullman the independent third-party this code does not apply to their construction.
inspector is T.R. Arnold and Associates Inc.
(TRA). The Quality Assurance department
within KBC is inspected by TRA regularly.
TRA certifies the Quality Assurance
program which works with a level of
autonomy within the KBC factory. At the
Kullman factory various plates and insignia
are attached to each module. The required
plates are shown in Figures 2.6.1,2,3. The
local building inspector is responsible
for checking all in-situ construction and
verifying that the modules display the
requisite plates and insignia.

Figure 2.6.1: TRA insignia Figure 2.6.3: Data plate

Part 3 - Construction process

Factory 56

Setting 60

Finishing 70

Construction Process


1 Office
2 Diner
3 Locker room
4 Break room
5 Receiving area
6 Line 1 - Communications
7 Gantry
8 Loading jib crane
9 Track / wheel rail
10 Steel/welding
11 Line 3 - Component assembly
12 Line 2 - High bay
13 Secure area
14 CNC shop
15 Wood shop
16 Metal shop
17 Spray booth
18 Oven
19 Railroad
Figure 3.1.1: Kullman factory plan schematic 20 Command station

Construction Process

1 Site
2 Factory assembly line
3 Modular frame on jig
4 4 Track for modular buildings

Construction Process

5 Welding of an LGS frame

6 Poured concrete floor
7 Workstation
8 Command station
9 CNC shop
10 CNC metal fabrication machine 7

Construction Process


Construction Process


Responsibilities and

Kullman coordinates all of the complexities

discussed in this part of the book. It is
important, however, for architects and
clients to understand the building process.
In doing so, architects can more effectively
design for modular and clients can better
understand the cost and value of modular

Responsibility for the job site is typically

transferred from the general contractor
to Kullman from the setting process
onward. Kullman will then coordinate all
on-site finishing. This provides the most
clear division of responsibility for all of the
parties involved.

There are exceptions to this division of

responsibility for highly specialized on site
construction required after the setting of
the modules such as elevator instillation,
as well as pods delivered to in-situ
construction sites.

The architect is to provide Kullman with a

site plan showing enough context to locate
crane and 18-wheeler approach. The final
craning diagram will be developed by KBC
and the craning company. In the example
at right the architect’s site plan is in black
and white and Kullman’s contribution
is in red. For many projects a simple
spreadsheet or Gantt Chart and craning
site plan are sufficient for planning.

Figure 3.2.1: Craning site plan: Pierson College, New Haven, CT

Construction Process

4D modeling

More complex projects may require that

a digital model simulation be generated
which animates the setting process.
The images shown here were taken from
an animation produced for the Muhlenberg
dormitory project. In this case, the model
identified a conflict between the movement
of the crane’s boom and previously set
modules. The issue was easily corrected;
however, it would have been costly to
correct this conflict if it had not been
identified until the crane was on-site in its
originally planned location.

Figure 3.2.2: Stills from a Catia animation of the Muhlenberg setting sequence

Construction Process

The Transportation and Field Service
Department at Kullman coordinates the
shipping of modules. The maximum size
of modules is limited by individual state Double Drop Trailer
laws governing semi-trailer transportation.
As well, city and county governments
sometimes impose additional regulations.
These laws place various restrictions
on transportation such as permit
requirements, maximum dimensions, times
of day, roads, route reporting requirements,
and maximum weights. Modules can be
most economically transported if they do
not require a permit and/or escort. There
Single Drop Trailer
are differences between states in terms of
permit requirements.

Dimensions below are generalized. More

specific dimensions are listed by state on
the opposite page.

Max Module Weight: 44,000 lbs.

Double Drop Single Drop

A 40’-0” 50’-0”
B 13’-0” 12’-0”
C 2’-0” 3’-2”
D 15’-0” 15’-2”
E 13’-0” 13’0”

Figure 3.2.3: Truck and module dimensions

Construction Process

State Width Height Length State Width Height Length

Alabama 12' (16') * (16') 76' (150') Montana 12'-6" (18') * (17') * (120')
Alaska 10' (22') * 100' (*) Nebraska 12' (*) 14'-6" (*) 85' (*)
Arizona 11' (14') * (16') * (120') Nevada 8'-6" (17') * (16') 105' (*)
Arkansas 12' (20') 15' (17') 90' (*) New Hampshire 12' (16') 13'-6" (16') 80' (100')
Califonia 12' (16') * (17') 85' (135') New Jersey 14' (18') 14' (16') 100' (120')
Colorado 11' (17') 13' (16') 85' (130') New Mexico * (20') * (18') * (190')
Connecticut 12' (16') 14' (*) 80' (120') New York 12' (14') 14' (*) 80' (*)
Delaware 12' (15') 15' (17'-6") 85' (120') North Carolina 12' (15') 14'-5" (*) 100' (*)
District of Columbia 12' (*) 13'-6" (*) 80' (*) North Dakota 14'-6" (18') * (18') 75' (120')
Flordia 12' (18') 14'-6" (18') 95' (*) Ohio 14' (*) 14'-10" (*) 90' (*)
Georgia 12' (16') 15'-6" (*) 75' (*) Oklahoma 12' (16') * (17') 80' (*)
Idaho 12' (16') 14'-6" (16') 100' (120') Oregon 9' (16') * 95' (*)
Illinois * (18') * (18') * (175') Pennsylvania 13' (16') 14'-6" (*) 90' (160')
Indiana 12'-4" (16') 14'-6" (17') 90' (180') Rhode Island 12' (*) 14' (*) 80' (*)
Iowa 8' (16'-6") 14'-4" (20') 85' (120') South Carolina 12' (*) 13'-6" (16') (125')
Kansas * (16'-6") * (17') * (126') South Dakota 10' (*) 14'-6" (*) *
Kentucky 10'-6" (16') 14' (*) 75' (125') Tennessee 10' (16') 15' (*) 75' (120')
Louisana 10' (18') * (16-'5") 75' (125') Texas 14' (20') 17' (18'-11") 110' (125')
Maine 8'-6" (18') 8'-6" (*) 80' (125') Utah 10' (17') 16' (17'-6") 105' (120')
Maryland 13' (16') 14'-6" (16') 85' (120') Vermont 15' (*) 14' (*) 100' (*)
Massachuetts 12' (14') 13'-9" (15') 80' (130') Virginia 10' (*) 15' (*) 75' (150')
Michigan 12' (16') 14'-6" (15') 90' (150') Washington 12' (16') 14' (16') *
Minnesota 12'-6" (16') * 95' (*) West Virgina 10'-6" (16') 15' (*) 75' (*)
Mississippi 12' (16'-6") * (17') 53' (*) Wisconsin 14' (16') * 80' (110')
Missouri 12'-4" (16') 15'-6" (17'-6") 90' (150') Wyoming * (18') * (17') * (110')

* Determined entirely by route travelled

( ) Indicates maximum possible dimension which requires permits and/or escorts

Figure 3.2.4: State overroad dimensional transportation limitations

Construction Process

Temporary weatherproofing
Any section of a module which would be
exposed during transport is covered by a
custom made polyethylene sheet or tarp.
These covers require some engineering,
namely the quantity and placement of
air vents and the method and spacing of
attachment points.

Figure 3.2.5: Tarped module ready for transport

Construction Process

Rigging and craning

The selection of the type of crane is
based on weight and reach. The craning
of modules requires a crane of greater
capacity than those commonly kept on-site
during in-situ construction projects. Site
cranes often have a capacity of less than
5 tons whereas the cranes used for lifting
modules often have a capacity in the range
of 40 - 75 tons.

Various types of rigs or spreader bars

can be used to lift modules. The various
types of rigs each have their own
advantages. Although direct lifting is an
option for smaller modules, spreader bars
are used for most projects in order to
keep forces perpendicular to the module
and reduce the possibility of introducing
unwanted bending forces within the

Figure 3.2.7: 75 ton luffing jib crane, commonly used in

Figure 3.2.6: Module craning with spreader bar modular construction.

Construction Process

For most modular buildings, modules will
be lifted directly from the flatbed trailer
into their final location. Often a scissor lift
or boom lift is used to access the module
interfaces. Kullman’s on-site crew will
guide the modules into place and make
the connection. Ideally, the on-site work
process does not impede the maximum
workflow of the crane. As stated before,
“time is money” but especially so when
renting a large mobile crane.

Once the riggings are in place, the

maneuvering of modules “on-hook” is
typically performed by one or two guide-
ropes. Weather conditions will prevent
the placing of modules when wind speeds
exceed 10 mph. The 1/2” space between
the module frames allows the placing Figure 3.2.8: Setting of a module
process to occur with greater speed.
Finally, any joints or openings which remain
exposed at the end of the day are covered
with a tarp to protect against possible rain

Various arrangements can be made for

placing non-structural pods. Typically
this process is coordinated entirely by
the general contractor. Dimensional
coordination is triple-checked. As well, the
movement of a pod through the site must
be well planned. Where the pod must
move across a floor plate, the weight of the
pods must be calculated as a live load.

Construction Process


Until recently Kullman used bolt-on lifting

lugs which were removed before the
placement of adjacent modules; however,
the time required to remove the lugs
slowed the workflow and caused waste.

The new lifting procedure uses a pin and

loop system (patent pending) that is faster
and easier to manage. The top faces
of the corner columns are drilled in the
factory to receive a lifting pin. A looped
cable is lowered inside the column, the pin
is inserted through the loop, rotated and
secured. After the module is set, the pin is
removed and reused for the next lift.

Figure 3.2.9: Lifting pin and loop disengaged

Figure 3.2.10: Lifting pin and loop engaged

Construction Process


KFS modules use a tool-and-die based

interlocking system (patent pending) that
greatly increases accuracy and reduces
setting time. A circular pin welded to the
base of each corner column fits into the
columns of the module below it. The
tapered pin locates the module below, the
diamond pin registers alignment in one
direction, and the two floating pins allow
for error.

Figure 3.2.12: Setting pin identification, underside of module

Figure 3.2.11: Setting pin section Figure 3.2.13: Blind rivet section

Construction Process


Modules are fastened to a 3/8” steel

plate with a 1-1/2” stiffening lip at top
and bottom using 5/8” blind rivets (patent
pending). These rivets have a sheer
strength of 15,950 lbs and tensile strength
of 10,250 lbs.

Figure 3.2.14: Stacking of modules

Figure 3.2.15: Fastening of modules

Construction Process

Fireproofing of fastening plate

Fireproofing of the connection plate can

be achieved in a number of ways. If the
module wall build-up is sufficiently deep,
a piece of the same fireproofing board as
used in the module can be placed over
the plate. Alternatively, the plate can be
sprayed or trowelled with fireproofing

Figure 3.2.16: Connection plate fireproofing option

Module fastening end-to-end

Modules can also be fastened together

end-to-end, using 5/8” bolts and a 1/2”
steel connection plate. This method
requires slightly more time and labor, as
bolts need to be hand-tightened.

Figure 3.2.17: End-to-end fastening option

Construction Process


Ideally, only minimum field finishing will be

required. Applying the maximum number of
finishes in the factory ensures a high value-
to-volume ratio and results in the maximum
financial benefits of using modular
construction; however some field work is
required in order to cover the interfaces
and mate-lines. All of the material
required for field finishing is included in the
shipment of the modules as ship-loose.
Typically, Kullman performs the finishing
because it simplifies the construction
process and the coordination, as well
as consolidating responsibility. When
the general contractor is involved in the
finishing process, Kullman prefers to use
a closed-door installation, which means
that the modular units will not require any
finishing after the placing process.

Figures 3.3.1: Masonry facade before site finishing Cladding

Installation of the cladding can either occur
in the factory, on site, or a combination
of the two. It is generally not possible
to install all of the cladding in the factory
because of the typical riveting and other
setting requirements. On the other hand,
the cladding can be installed entirely in-
situ using conventional techniques. This
allows for a seamless application of the
cladding and eliminates any mate-line
constraints of the cladding system. The
modular unit will, however, require more
protection during transit and will have a
lower value-to-volume ratio. Most projects
use a combination of the two approaches
whereby portions of the cladding are
installed in the factory and infill pieces
can be placed in situ. This approach will
require some coordination and should be
considered during the design process.
Figures 3.3.2: Masonry facade after site finishing

Construction Process

Materials systems do not require any modification

or special consideration for modular
construction. These systems facilitate
placing some panels on the building in the
Masonry facades can be constructed in the
factory and then placing infill panels on
factory on the module. Precast elements
can be inserted on site in much the same
manner. The advantage of some precast
For progressive systems the installation
elements is that their profile may allow
must occur in sequence typically from
additional room for tolerance. Designing a
the base of the building moving upward.
reveal between integrated masonry panels
A number of clip systems fall into this
is perhaps the simplest way of designing
category. If these systems are to be
an interface. For masonry constructed
applied in the factory and on site, special
entirely on site, a clipping vertical track
provisions must be made to provide
is typically installed in the factory which
construction access to the mate-line. The
allows the masonry ties to be placed by the
options include:
mason on site.
• Finishing the bottommost module in the
factory and applying the cladding to
Wet mixes upper floors on-site.
Stucco and EIFS are well-suited for • Designing a reveal of sufficient height
modular construction because factory to allow a field-installed panel to be
processes ensure the high quality dropped in.
Figures 3.3.3: Masonry facade before site finishing
application which is critical to this type of • Designing a special detail to allow field
finish. Using wet mixes requires that a installed panels to be directly attached.
small expansion joint be placed between Gluing is often a viable option.
modules. Both stucco and EIFS can
be used and field finished in modular

Panels (includes siding)

There are an increasing number of panel
products available on the market. In terms
of relevance to modular construction,
these panel systems fall into two broad
categories: progressive systems and open

For open systems the installation of panels

can occur in any order. A common type of
open system is a cassette panel. These
are typically sheet metal or polymer
products which have an inward folded
edge around the panel. These types of

Figures 3.3.4: Masonry facade after site finishing

Construction Process


The mate-lines can be concealed or

revealed as part of the tectonic of the
For walls and ceilings, GWB is the most
common material requiring mate-line
finishing. These joints can be field-finished
using standard GWB finishing techniques.

Flooring can be applied on site, in the

factory, or a combination of the two. For
floors finished entirely in the factory,
standard flooring transitions can simply be
applied on site. A combination of factory
and site finishing is the most common:

• Carpet - Typically the tack board is

installed in the factory and the carpet is
sent as ship-loose.

• Ceramic tile - Tile can be set in the

factory, allowing one tile to be set on-site
over the mate-line. It is generally best to
perform grouting as a single process on

• VCT is set in the factory such that the tile

which will cover the mate-line will be cut
about 1/4” narrower, allowing a precise
fit to be made on site.

• Concrete - Grout or self-leveling

compounds can be placed in the mate-
line joint on site.

• GWB - One full sheet of GWB is left off

of the factory finish and applied on-site.

Figure 3.3.5: Interior mate-line finishing

Muhlenberg Dormitory
Part 4 - Examples in detail

Muhlenberg Dormitory 76

Yale College Dormitory 78

SIMPLE Dormitory 80

Pratt Institute Dormitory 82


Koby Cottage 88

Bathroom pods 92

Clove Lake Center 93

MRI Building

Equipment enclosure 94

Examples in Detail

Muhlenberg College Dormitory:

Allentown, PA 2007

Spillman Farmer Architects
Bethlehem, PA
• If project had used in-situ construction,
the out-of-service cost to the college
would have been $750,000.
• Set in 10 days.
• Total construction in 12 weeks.
• 41,000 square feet.
• 600-ton crane.
Note: See excerpts from the animation of the setting
Figure 4.1.2: Typical upper floor plan: 1:250
process in responsibilities and planning section.

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.1.1: Module breakdown

Examples in Detail

2 3

5 1 Joining plate.
2 Factory set masonry.
3 In-situ set masonry.
4 Concrete on steel deck.
5 Cast in place concrete foundation.
6 Bearing plate with shims.

Figure 4.1.3: Wall section: 1:250

1 Placing of-site assembled roof.

2 Module frames on assembly line in Kullman factory.
3 Masonry applied in factory.
4 Module set on crawl space foundation.
5 Complex on day 1.
6 Complex on day 3.
Examples in Detail

Yale Dormitory

New Haven, CT 2005.

Kieran Timberlake Associates LLP.

7,732 square feet

34 modules

• Vertical masonry mate-line expresses

the modular tectonic.
• Set over spring break.

Note: See site craning plan in planning and responsi-

bilities section

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.2.1:Module breakdown


Examples in Detail

1 Finished photo.
2 Frames are pre-assembled in factory.
3 Setting process.
4 Module on-hook
5 Module on-hook
4 6 Finished interior
4 6

Examples in Detail

SIMPLE Dormitory

Garrison Architects

• Simple is a prototype dormitory

produced for Kullman. Product can be
reconfigured for specific sites.
• 6 months from call to delivery.
• Passive heating and cooling
• Rainscreen

Figure 4.3.2: Exterior rendering

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.3.1: Module Breakdown

Examples in Detail

Figure 4.3.5: Spring / Fall - air flow and sun angles Figure 4.3.6: Summer / Winter - air flow and sun angles

Figure 4.3.7: Building section - air flow

Examples in Detail

Figure 4.3.8: Floor plans in different configurations.

Examples in Detail



1 Finish floor (varies)

2 Insulation
3 2.5” Concrete fill on metal decking
4 5/8” reinforced cement board
5 Exterior cladding (varies)
6 Formed S.H. wall system (beyond cladding)
7 Wide flange steel section
8 Flashing 10
9 Suspended ceiling
10 Sun shading system
11 Operable windows
Figure 4.3.9: Section detail perspective

Examples in Detail

Marble Fairbanks’ Kullman Pratt Institute

Competition Entry

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.4.1: Module Breakdown

Figure 4.4.2: Plans of 4 unit types

Examples in Detail

Narofsky Architecture’s Kullman Pratt

Institute Competition Entry

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.5.1: Module Breakdown

Figure 4.5.2: Modular building system

Peter Gluck & Partners’ Kullman Pratt
Institute Competition Entry

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.6.1: Module breakdown

Figure 4.6.2: Section

Examples in Detail

Garrison Architects’ Kullman Pratt

Institute Competition Entry

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.7.1: Module breakdown

Figure 4.7.2: Unit floor plans.

Figure 4.7.3 : Building upper floor plan.

Examples in Detail

Examples in Detail

Koby Cottage

Montcalm Lake, MI 2007

Garrison Architects
New York City, NY

Paulus Sokolowski & Sartor Figure 4.1.5
Warren, NJ A
Figure 4.8.3: Section 1:10
• Two modules.
• 1,200 square feet.
• First application of the Kullman Frame
System (KFS).
• Field joined with glass.
• Site disturbance and remote location
were significant factors in decision to
use modular construction. A A
• Currently under construction.

Figure 4.8.4: Plan: 1:250

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.8.1: Module Breakdown

Figure 4.8.2: Site plan: 1:3000

Examples in Detail

Figure 4.8.5: Axonometric

Examples in Detail

Figure 4.8.6: Wall section detail: 1:10

1 Special form 14 ga. COR-TEN® steel plank.

2 Cast-in-place concrete foundation wall.
3 Custom form cont s.s. joint closer with backer rod.
4 TradeReady steel floor joist.
5 6” fiberglass batt insulation.
6 Structural steel member.
7 1” Rigid insulation.
8 Steel bearing plates with shims.
9 Waterproofing and vapor barrier layer.
10 Continuous brake form COR-TEN drip cap.
11 Window unit.
12 3’x5” COR-TEN steel angle as coping face anchor with EPDM washer.
13 S.M. flashing elastic caulk weld to coping.
14 3 layer modified bituminous roofing membrane.
15 Tapered roof insulation.
16 3/4” substrate.
17 Shading system fabric.
18 Wd. finish floor.

Examples in Detail

Examples in Detail

Bathroom pods

Factory Built
Site Built

Figure 4.9.1: Module Breakdown

Figure 4.9.2: Common bathroom pod plans with integrated mechanical shafts.

Examples in Detail

Clove Lake Center MRI Building

Staten Island, New York 2007

Victor Famulari Architect P.C.

Structural Workshop LLC.

Factory Built
Site Built 7

Figure 4.10.1: Module Breakdown


1 Equipment room.
2 Waiting room.
3 Reception.
4 Toilet
5 MRI scan room
6 Control/viewing room

Figure 4.10.2: Common bathroom pod plans with

integrated mechanical shafts. 9

Examples in Detail

Equipment enclosure

Factory Built
Site Built
Figure 4.11.1: Module Breakdown

1 Kullman equipment shelters on ship.

2 Kullman equipment shelter unloaded in Afghanistan.
3 Kullman equipment shelter craned into place.
4 Interior of equipment enclosure.
5 Axonometric of a typical equipment enclosure. 4


Glossary a higher risk than a mortgage for various Factory time efficiency: Refers to the
reasons including the lack of collateral increased efficiency of factory conditions
and the inherent risks of the process of when compared to in-situ construction.
Bridging documents: Documents
construction. These loans typically have a
(drawings and specifications) which are
higher interest rate than a mortgage. Feedback loop: The aspect of system
created by an architect and are passed-
off to a third-party for completion. In which identifies the differences between
Construction scheduling efficiency: the actual output and the desired output
the context of modular building, these
Refers to the time saves gained by which allows for self correction.
documents are typically at a level of
the ability to do site preparation and
completion similar to 50% construction
foundation work simultaneously with the Floating pin: A type of setting pin that is
construction of the building because the designed to be smaller than the connection
latter is occurring offsite in the factory. point as to allow for error.
Belly band: The portion of exterior
cladding that is left absent to allow for the
connection of modules and then applied Construction-to-permanent loan: Gantt Chart: A chart that depicts progress
on site. Construction Loan and Mortgage in relation to time, often used in planning
combined into one package which and tracking a project.
reduces closing costs.
Building information modeling (BIM):
Garrison Architects: A an architecture
“an object-oriented building development
Craft: The act and quality of construction. firm in New York City which was founded
tool that utilizes 5-D modeling concepts,
in 1991 by James Garrison. The firm is
information technology and software
Critical-path: A scheduling concept studio-based and works on a broad scale
inter-operability to design, construct
that calculates the least amount of time of projects. Some of the key emphases
and operate a building project, as well
required to complete a project, using a list of the firm are modern architecture,
as communicate its details” (definition
of activities and their relationships to each sustainable design, and modular building.
provided by: Associated General
Contractors) other in terms of time and dependency.
Huck bom: A blind rivet that is used to
Design-Bid-Build: A type of procurement rivet the connection plate to the modules.
Clear span: Refers to the length of
in which the architect and client bid The major benefits of the huck bom over
uninterrupted space that can be left
the construction contracts to modular traditional bolting are its increased strength
when designing intermodule connection,
manufactures after the design has been and ease and speed of application.
passage or space.
In-situ: Construction which is carried out
Construction loan: line of credit used to
Design build: A type of procurement that on the building site using raw materials
pay the costs of the construction process.
charges the module manufacturer with the
The individual dispersals of funds by this
task of design as well as construction. Interface: The location of any portion of
type of loan are called “draws”. Interest
an individual module which must be or
on the loan is calculated based on the
Diamond pin: A type of setting pin that is has been brought into a relationship with
individual draws rather than the entire line
designed to contact the connection point another component or module on site.
of credit. The borrower typically only pays
on only one axis as to disallow rotation.
the interest on the loan. The principal
Interstitial Module: A small uninhabitable
of the loan is typically paid-off by the
Draw cycle: The regular time period module placed between two inhabitable
mortgage when the building receives a
between disbursements from a modules to proved space for MEP
certificate of occupancy. These loans are
construction loan or other funding systems, ducting, or structural support.
considered by the lending institution to be


Intumescent paint: A Fire retardant coating Mate-line: The interface between modules. the structure. This method is often used
that expands in the presence of heat instead of the more traditional method of
to form a tough char barrier fire cannot Mass customization: The use of computer first transporting the mass of materials to
penetrate. technology in order to produce individually the site, and then assembling them on-site.
customized products while retaining the
Jig: Any of a large class of tools in benefits of mass production. Procurement: The act of obtaining a
woodworking, metalworking, and some service agreement. There are different
other crafts that help to control the location Modularization: The act of converting types of procurement and each implies
or motion (or both) of a tool. a traditionally designed building into a a different working relationship and
modular design. delegation of responsibilities.
Kullman Buildings Corporation:
A modular building fabricator based Modular construction: Primary structural Redundancy: Refers to the duplication of
in Lebanon, NJ which was founded in volumetric components of a building which structural elements in order to achieve the
1928 by Sam Kullman. The company have been built in a factory setting. needed robustness.
specializes in modular steel construction
for multi-family residential, institutional, Mock up: A prototype or example module Robustness: A structure’s ability to
commercial, and industrial projects. unit that is constructed in order to test and withstand a variety of forces including
demonstrate design decisions, and expose forces exerted during the transportation
Lean fabrication: An operational strategy construction issues. process.
oriented toward achieving the shortest
possible cycle time by eliminating waste. Modular components: The individual units Setting: The placing of modules on site.
that make up a modular building.
Kanban method This is a visual signal Ship-loose: Materials that are shipped to
Negotiated bid: A type of procurement the site as separate yet to be constructed
system, typically a card, (used how and by
that involves the selection of the module or applied items.
whom) which contains all of the information
manufacturer and/or general contractor
necessary to order a given material.
and the beginning of the design process. Shimming: The act of applying a shim. A
shim is a thin and often tapered or wedged
Life cycle assessment: an objective One-piece flow manufacturing method: piece of material, used to fill small gaps
process to evaluate the environmental A type of manufacturing method that or spaces between objects. Shims are
burdens associated with a product, is akin to the assembly line where the typically used in order to support, adjust for
process, or activity by identifying energy manufactured item stops at a succession better fit, or provide a level surface.
and materials used and wastes released of stations where a single part of the
to the environment, also used to evaluate construction process occurs. Soft cost: Construction industry term
and implement opportunities to affect
for expense item that is not considered
environmental improvements. Piloti: Type of basement consisting of piers direct construction cost. Soft costs include
or supports such as columns, pillars, stilts, architectural, engineering, financing,
Lifting lug: A fabricated steel component by which a building is lifted above what is and legal fees, and other pre- and post-
which is attached directly to a module and underneath. construction expenses.
used for lifting the module by crane.
Prefabrication: A method of construction Spreader bar: A device designed to allow
Luffing jib crane: A crane with an where various elements of a structure are lifting cables to be perpendicular to the
additional movable boom attached to the pre-assembled in a manufacturing facility, object rather than at an angle, eliminating
end of the primary boom. and are then transported to the site of internal tensions within the lifted object.


Strategic partnering: A form of services Acronyms and

procurement that implies a long lasting
relationship that will span over several Abbreviations
A/C: Air conditioning
Sustainability: Varying degrees of positive BIM: Building information modeling
environmental impact on earth. CHPS: Collaborative for high
performance Schools
Systems basis: A type of industrialized CNC: Computer numeric control
construction which pre-defines a portion Db: Decibel
of the design (especially detailing) and Docs.: Documents
methods of construction. EA: Energy and atmosphere
EIFS: Exterior insulation and finish
Tapered pin: One of the type of setting system
pins. The tapered pin is designed to fit EPA: Environmental Protection Agency
snugly in the module below and act as the ESCP: Erosion and sedimentation
main locating pin. control plan
EQ: Indoor environmental quality
Time and Motion Study: A study which is FSC: Forest Stewardship Council
usually conducted in order to decrease the GC: General contractor
amount of time and the number of steps it GWB: Gypsum wallboard
takes to complete a task, while increasing HVAC: Heating, ventilation, and
productivity. air conditioning
HUD: Department of Housing and
Value engineering: Value engineering Urban Development
is a systematic method to improve the IAQ: Indoor air quality
“value” of goods and services by using an IIBC: Interstate Industrialized Buildings
examination of function. commission
KFS: Kullman Frame System
LEED: Leadership in energy and
environmental design
LGS: Light gauge steel
M: Module
MEP: Mechanical, electrical, plumbing
Mfg: Manufacturer
MR: Materials and resources
PS&S: Paulus Soloski and Sartor
SS: Sustainable sites
TPS: Toyota Production System
TRA: T.R. Arnold and Associates (3rd
party inspector)
UL: Underwriters laboratory
USGBC: United States Green Building
VCT: Vinyl composition tile


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Steel Takes LEED with Recycled Content.

Steel Recycling Institute. Pittsburgh, PA