As our first use of the modular construction method is in place and work has began in the factory for our second project we believe we are in a good place to make comment.
Made from Structural Insulated Panels (SIP’s) the material benefits compared with traditional methods are the same as described in the SIP article. The cost is comparable to a normal SIP system built in situ, the big advantage comes in the construction time. Depending on the size of the structure and crane accessibility, the construction time can range from a number of hours to days. The building is divided into a number of lorry sized pods with holes for doors and windows, floors, walls and roofs in place, built in a factory ready to be craned into position on site. Please enjoy the video below of a first floor, one bedroom flat installed to the rear of a Listed Building on Brighton’s Lewes Crescent.
Video courtesy of Modular Air-Space Systems (MAS)
Once in place the structure is weather resistant for approximately 6 weeks while your Contractor fits the windows and doors (windows and doors can be installed in the factory, although due to potential disruption through transporting the pods in to position most window and door manufacturers won’t guarantee their products) and applies the external finish to the walls and roof, leaving you with a sealed unit ready to be fitted out with services and finishes as in a normal building project.
+ve Speed – time on site is greatly reduced, with additional benefits as associative costs can be reduced (labour, plant hire, security, scaffolding etc.)
+ve Lightweight – where there are structural constraints, such as building on top of existing structures, the relatively small mass of the pod allows for reduced amount of additional structure and the resultant disruption to the existing building.
-ve Limited Alteration – due to the number of modules involved any changes to one unit can often cause changes in others, so the further down the line you go the more difficult it is to make alterations. Once construction has begun in the factory the design is set, so when on site there is no option for tweaks or alteration. A thorough and accurate survey is essential in tight spots.