Why modular design is increasing in popularity

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With clients, developers, engineers and architects always looking for sound ways to improve commercial viability on projects, there is a steadily increasing trend towards modular solutions across a range of Australian developments and sectors.

Requirement for turn-key solutions 

When the modules are prefabricated they are transported to site ready to ‘plug and play’ onto site or integrated into the main building. Either way, this leaves only localised finishes and vertical and horizontal service connections to complete, simplifying the need for on-site trades and significantly shortening construction time.

The trend of turn-key solutions is increasing in the residential, student accommodation and hospitality sectors, particularly where a high repetition of rooms and layouts is prevalent.

Tight construction timeframes 

Projects on confined sites with restricted access are increasingly turning to modular solutions to ease site construction constraints and tight time frames. Time dedicated to ‘wet’ trades including cement and plaster can be reduced, as well as decreased requirements for other in-situ trades such as form and reinforcement workers.

Reduced construction and labour costs, even in remote locations 

Constructing a development in a regional or remote location often means increased labour charges, material supply elongation and sometimes quality issues. However prefabrication significantly reduces this cost and risk as modular solutions are transported directly to site and are complete. Australia’s mining boom in recent years has seen increased requirements for mining accommodation in remote locations, which are prime candidates for modular building solutions.

Construction quality control 

Offshore factory prefabrication is extremely cost effective due to lower labour and material costs and is becoming increasingly prevalent with Australian developers. Australian engineers still oversee the quality structural fabrication overseas and the Building Council of Australia now regulates these facilities to ensure quality products.

Prefabrication of modular solutions in a controlled factory environment exercises a great degree of control over construction quality compared to on-site workmanship, thereby reducing risk. The increasing trend towards modular design is based on compelling benefits for developers and architects.