Why invest in modular construction?

Modular technologies are used in the construction of a variety of buildings, from office and retail facilities to educational and medical institutions. While a few years ago modular buildings were associated with light pre-fabricated structures that can be easily dismantled and transferred to a different site, today they are full-fledged architectural structures. Demid Kosterev explains why modular construction technology is so relevant for the modern construction market.

Competitive advantages

There are about 70 companies around the world that specialize in the narrow segment of modular bathroom stalls. As for the companies involved in the modular construction of residential buildings, hotels, schools, and medical facilities, they are even difficult to count – they are the future of building technologies. All these companies produce modules of varying degrees of quality and implement projects of varying complexity. Existing building codes and standards regulate the quality and safety of modular buildings, which helps raise the quality of such structures to the same level as conventionally built facilities. On top of that, there are a number of undeniable advantages of modular construction.

Greener and cheaper

Each manufacturer seeks to simultaneously reduce costs and improve product quality. They also focus on improving energy efficiency, mainly through the reuse of raw materials. For example, a building can use a geothermal heating system, literally getting heat from the air. Modular construction also saves human resources due to its relative simplicity; it does not require a large number of workers on the construction site. Furthermore, a modular project does not leave a mountain of construction waste: the building materials arrive on the site as neat prefabricated modules, making the work more structured and streamlined.

Modular construction also considerable reduces duration of work. Constructing modular structures is often dozens of times faster than traditional construction. Such facilities do not require standard type of foundation due to their low weight and rigid structure. Here screw piles cat serve as the foundation; their parameters depend on the number of the building height and configuration. They are normally used for constructing one or two-storey buildings.

All these factors ultimately result in reducing construction work costs by 20-30%.

Market development prospects

The hotel industry was among the first to realize the advantages of modular buildings and is now extensively using this technology to design recreation centers. Marriott International company is a pioneer in using this technology. In May 2017, the company announced it was commissioning hotel rooms that had bathrooms built with the use of modular technologies in 50 hotel facilities in North America (over 10% of the total number in this region). In Russia, construction of modular building is only at its initial stage. Today we see construction companies show increased interest in modular technologies. A glaring example is the Modulbau company, Russia’s first manufacturer of modular bathrooms that has the production capacity of over 15,000 facilities per year. The technology allows reducing bathroom construction costs by 30% and work duration by 10%.

According to Q1 Commercial Construction Index, a research by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US construction company USG Corporation, 9 out of 10 contractors link the increased construction efficiency and labor productivity to the use of modular bathrooms. 41% of construction projects involving modular technologies accrue to  hotels and other public facilities.

The modular construction technology, including plumbing module construction, can be used at all-purpose facilities, ranging from economy-class housing to educational and healthcare buildings. It is already obvious now that the Russian market will soon catch the wave.

By Demid Kosterev, founder, Modulbau

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