The modular construction industry has a better track record of innovating than the traditional construction industry. The whole industry itself is relatively new and they are making huge strides to make every process more efficient. This includes the planning, designing, manufacturing and installing phases of projects. The innovations in the industry make a modular structure a cost effective and higher quality alternative in many cases. This article will examine some of the ways in which innovations have brought a better product to customers of modular construction companies.
3D Laser Scanning
3D laser scanning allows designers to scan the site or an existing structure that is to be added to. The output is an accurate representation of the appearance and shape of the site which can be used to model and design the prefabricated structure accurately. This process allows for waste to be almost eradicated and material costs are therefore reduced significantly. However, 3D laser scanning machines are expensive at the moment but the cost savings seem to indicate that they pay themselves off within 2 to 3 projects.
Energy Performance modeling
Energy performance modeling involves examining the way the building uses energy through lighting, cooling, heating etc. and creating a model that best expresses this. Using this model, the designers can look at where energy is being wasted and how to implement solutions that will reduce costs when it comes to energy bills. While this concept has been around for a while, new software allows designers to understand the effects of their changes instantly. This means that they can keep tweaking their designs and observing the changes in real time until they hit upon the optimal configuration.
Improvement in design elements
Modular construction had a reputation in the past of only being able to assemble dreary, blocky buildings. This is not the case anymore. With new software and the willingness to experiment and research new manufacturing techniques, companies can create more details and textures. This also allows technology to be built into the manufactured elements right from the facility. For example, healthcare buildings can have panel and post construction done before the walls are up. The MEP equipment can be built in before the walls were even constructed. This saves a lot of time and money as there is no need to have to guide the infrastructure through mazy walls now.
More manufacturing is being computerized
Firms are investing huge amounts of money to make the manufacturing process more efficient. One of the ways they are doing so is by computerizing as much of the manufacturing process as possible. From computer aided design to manufacturing, the cost benefits are enormous. For a start, material waste has been minimized to negligible levels. Quality is also on the rise as evident by large modular buildings being built in New York City where are 32 storeys modular building is on the horizon and in China where a 45 storey modular building will soon be erected.
The advances in modular building technology will make these structures cheaper and more durable in the future. The willingness of the industry to invest in research and technology shows that they believe that modular construction is the wave of the future.