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Modular Construction what is it?

Factory production of a fitted out


Pre-engineered building units.

Delivered to site as modular

units and assembled on site to
form a building.

It may comprise highly serviced

rooms such as plant, bathrooms
lounges, stairwells.

It is a self supporting structure


Modular Construction - why use

Benefits include:

Short construction time/programme

High early return on capital investment
Significant cash flow advantages over
traditional build
Reduced need for skilled workforce on
Less waste
High quality control
Reliable delivery timescale
Price certainty
Sustainable - can be relocated or recycled
Light weight gives foundation savings

The factory-controlled process generates less waste, creates fewer site
disturbances and allows for tighter construction.
Less Site Disturbance
On-site traffic is greatly minimized from workers, equipment and suppliers.
Greater Flexibility and Reuse
Modular buildings can be disassembled and the modules relocated or
refurbished for new use, reducing the demand for raw materials and
minimizing the amount of energy expended to create a building to meet the
new need.
Less Material Waste
When building in a factory, waste is eliminated by recycling materials,
controlling inventory and protecting building materials.
Improved Air Quality
Because the modular structure is substantially completed in a factorycontrolled setting using dry materials, the potential for high levels of
moisture being trapped in the new construction is eliminated.

O Construction of modular buildings occurs simultaneously with site

work, allowing projects to be completed in half the timeof traditional

O Reduced Construction Schedule
Because construction of modular buildings can occur simultaneously
with the siteand foundation work, projects can be completed 30% to
50% sooner than traditional construction.
O Elimination ofWeather Delays
60 - 90% of the construction is completed inside a factory, which
mitigates the risk of weather delays. Buildings are occupied sooner,
creating a faster return on investment.
O Built to Code with Quality Materials
Modular buildings are built to meet or exceed the same building codes
and standards as site-built structures, and the same architect-specified
materials used in conventionally constructed buildings are used in
modular construction projects wood, concrete and steel.

O Modular buildings are built with the

same materials and to the same building codes and architectural

as traditional construction. Once assembled, they are virtually
indistinguishable from their site-built counterparts.
O Safer Construction
The indoor construction environment reduces the risks of accidents and
related liabilities for workers.
O Better Engineered Building &BIM
PMC relies on advanced BIM for visualization to assess the energy
performance and identify the most cost-effective efficiency measures. PMC is
ideal for the use of this technology where the construction process is already a
collaboration of systems, materials and peoplemuch like the software itself.
O Limitless Design Opportunities
Modular units may be designed to fit in with external aesthetics of any existing
building and modular units, once assembled, are virtually indistinguishable
from their site-built counterparts.

O Building strength
O Modular homes are designed to be stronger than traditional

homes by, for example, replacing nails with screws, adding

glue to joints, and using 10-20% more lumber than
conventional housing.This is to help the modules maintain
their structural integrity as they are transported on trucks to
the construction site; however, it is difficult to predict the
final building strength since the modules need to endure
transportation stresses that traditional homes never
O When FEMA studied the destruction wrought by Hurricane
Andrew in Dade County Florida, they concluded that modular
andmasonry homes fared best compared to other

The benefits of using the modular system for overseas construction

The ability to template all designs and specifications for generic
types of buildings
Fast-track set-up and operation of assembly plants.
Consistency of quality and build
Cost benefits of design and specification consistency
Reduction in design cost
Plants can be utilised for other purposes

Modular construction - when to use


Short programming required

Repetitive building type

Skill shortage on site

Certainty of delivery

High quality

Future relocation

Weather conditions have limited effect

Security issues

Price certainty

Construction of walls and floors in modular units



Walls of modules compriseC sectionsof

75 to 150 mm depth.

Floors of modules compriseC sectionsof

150 to 250 mm depth.

Longitudinal walls are usually loadbearing and the end walls provide for

Ceiling is manufactured as a wall panel.

Open-sided modules can be created by

longitudinal floor and ceiling joists end
walls become load bearing.

Open-sided modules use deeper floor

joists or lattice joists of 250 to 400 mm

Stability provided by cross-flats or

diaphragm action of boarding.

Corridor zone can be used to provide inplane bracing in long buildings.

Double skin walls provide excellent

acoustic insulation.

Double skin floor and ceiling provides

excellent acoustic insulation. Mineral
wool may be required between the joists.

Architectural aspects

Rectangular or A high degree of

repetition is required
High quality factory finished
Fully serviced rooms "ready to
plug in" via risers and corridor
distribution routes
90 minutes fire rating available
with double boards
Outstanding sound attenuation
Low rise or high rise projects
Thermal insulation easily
Maximum standard room width is
Cladding choices
Variety of building shapes usually rectilinear but could be
jutted out or with balconies
Roofing Variety of methods and

Logistical requirements

Rooms must have repetition and

preferably be rectangular
For transportation, room sizes are
Rooms wider than 5m may need to
be subdivided into smaller width
Modules are lifted into place via a
4 or 6 point lifting frame
Sequence of design, fit out and
delivery to site to suit installation
sequence to avoid double

Durability and design life of

Modular units

Hot dip galvanised coated G275

g/m steel

Minimum 100 year design life

expected for most buildings

A design life over 200 years can

be achieved with additional

In all cases normal building

maintenance is required to fabric
and cladding

Acoustic performance

This Modular building system can be

super insulated with higher than usual
building regulation requirements for both
thermal and acoustic insulation.
incorporates a method of separating each
individual module acoustically which
means that noise cannot be transmitted
easily through the structure.

Types Of Modules
O 4-sided modules
O Partially open-sided module
O Open-sided (corner-supported) modules
O Modules supported by a primary

structural frame
O Non-load bearing modules
O Mixed modules and planar floor

4-sided modules
O In this form of construction, modules are

manufactured with four closed sides to create

cellular type spaces designed to transfer the
combined vertical load of the modules above
and in-plane loads (due towind action) through
their longitudinal walls. The cellular space
provided is limited by the transportation and
installation requirements. Depending on
location and exposure towind action, the
height of buildings in fully modular
construction is in the range of 6 to 10 storeys.

Partially open-sided modules

O 4 sided modules can be designed with partially open

sides by the introduction of corner and intermediate

posts and by using a stiff continuous edge beam in the
floor cassette. The maximum width of opening is limited
by the bending resistance and stiffness of the edge
member in the floor cassette. Additional intermediate
posts are usuallysquare hollow sections(SHS), so that
they can fit within the wall width.
O Two modules can be placed together to create wider
spaces. The compression resistance of the corner or
internal posts controls the maximum height of the
building, but 6 to 10 storeys can be achieved, as for
fully modular construction.

Open sided (corner-supported) modules

O Modules may be designed to provide

fully open sides by transfer of loads

through the longitudinal edge beams to
the corner posts. The framework of the
module is often in the form of hot rolled
steel members, such asSquare Hollow
Section(SHS) columns andParallel
Flange Channel(PFC) edge beams, that
are bolted together.

Mixed modules and floor cassettes

O In this hybrid or mixed form of construction, long modules

may be stacked to form a load-bearing serviced core and floor

cassettes span between the modules and load-bearing walls.
O The modules are constructed in a similar way to that described
foropen-sided modules, but the loading applied to the side of
the modules is significantly higher.
O this mixed modular and panel form of construction is limited to
buildings of 4 to 6 storey height.
O It is typically used inresidentialbuildings, particularly of
terraced form, comprising modular cores forstairs, and highly
serviced areas.
O The modules are arranged in a spine through the building and
the floors are attached to it. An example of this hybrid form of
construction is shown.

Modules supported by a primary structure

O Modular units may be designed to be supported by a primary

structure at a podium or platform level. In this case, the

supportingcolumns are positioned at a multiple of the width of
the modules (normally 2 or 3 modules).
O Thebeamsare designed to support the combined loads from
the modules above (normally a maximum of 4 6 storeys).
O The supporting structure is designed conventionally as a steel
framework withbeams and columnsthat align with multiples
of the module width, and provides open plan space at ground
floor and below ground levels.
O This form of construction is very suitable for
especially forresidentiAlunits abovecommercialareas orcar
parking, etc, particularly in urban projects.

Following the
building design
freeze the modules
are fabricated in
jigs made from
galvanised LGS

They have a
design life in
excess of 100

Module fit out

Following delivery
of the modules to
the fit-out plant
assembly is

The modules are

fitted out in
accordance with
the building system
standard processes

Kitchens and
bathrooms are
installed along with
plumbing and
electrical systems

Doors, windows and

flooring are also
installed to clients

Module fit out

Module placement

Following assembly,
the modules are
delivered to site

Modules are lifted into

position and
connected together

All modules are

waterproof and

System design
satisfies Building
progressive collapse

Module services connection

Once installed, the

modules are plugged and
plumbed in

Module cladding and roofing

Following placement of the modules:

The cladding and roofing go on


Cladding could also be fitted in the

factory reducing on site programme.

Balconies can be fitted

External works are completed

Services are commissioned

Modular construction - summary

Volumetric systems

Standard size units

Load bearing three dimensional frames
Prefabricated and fitted out under factory conditions
Each module self-contained
Ideal for re-locatable applications
Identical units, e.g. Villas, apartment units or hotel rooms
Room sized units may serve as main structural components of an entire building

Modular construction - summary

Light gauge steel frames provide:

Inherent rigidity
Can be built to strict tolerances
Advantages over timber frame systems
Dimensional stability
Modular systems are super-insulated
Walls and floors typically give 53dB reduction for sound
Typical u-values achieved for external walls are 0.21 W/m2k

Chaucer Street
Building type: Modular student
Located in the heart of Nottingham, this
modular project consists of a 6-storey, 300
bedroom, student accommodation
building, and the smaller 70 flats 4-storey
Belgrave Suite.

Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

Student accommodation
Located on the tight site in central
Manchester is the 600 bedroom a hall
of residence for the Royal Northern
College of Music, comprising single and
double bedrooms with en-suite
bathrooms and kitchens for each flat
and common rooms.
The nine-storey block was totally
prefabricated off-site using the light
gauge modular system.

North Pole Road, London

This site was extremely confined, with the
proposed construction filling the entire 12m
wide by 100m long

North Pole Road, London - key worker housing

Rodney Road, Twickenham - social & private

This site lies directly between a mainline railway and a busy
road and thus required high levels of sound insulation, this was
easily provided with the modular framing solution. Offering very
good acoustic performance both against external noise and
also the transmittal of sound between units internally.

Rodney Road, Twickenham - social & private


Rodney Road, Twickenham - social & private


RNCM, Manchester

Wilmslow, Manchester

Wilmslow, Manchester

South Chase, Harlow - social & private housing

South Chase, Harlow - social & private housing

Traditionally clad to resembles traditional housing