Modular buildings and modular homes are sectional prefabricated buildings, or houses, that consist of multiple sections called modules. "Modular" is a method of construction differing from other methods of building. The module sections are constructed at an off site (sometimes, remote) facility, then delivered to the intended site of use. Complete construction of the prefabricated sections are completed on site. The prefabricated sections are sometimes lifted and placed on basement walls using a crane, the module prefabricated sections are set onto the building's foundation and joined together to make a single building. The modules can be placed side-by-side, end-to-end, or stacked, allowing a wide variety of configurations and styles in the building layout.
Modular buildings, also called prefabricated homes or precision built homes, are built to the same or higher building standards as complete on site stick built homes. Modular homes are built the same and considered the same as a stick built home. Material for stick built and modular homes are exactly the same. Modular homes are not doublewides or mobile homes, which are also called manufactured homes. First, modular homes do not have axles or a frame, meaning that they are typically transported to their site by means of flat-bed trucks. Secondly, modular buildings must conform to all local building codes for their proposed use, while doublewides and mobile homes have metal framing and are not built with same material as a prefabricated modular home. Doublewides and mobile homes made in the United States, are required to conform to federal codes governed by HUD.
Modular buildings may be used for long-term, temporary or permanent facilities, such as construction camps, schools and classrooms, civilian and military housing, and industrial facilities.Modular buildings are used in remote and rural areas where conventional construction may not be reasonable or possible, for example, the Halley VI accommodation pods used for a BAS Antarctic expedition.Other uses have included churches, health care facilities, sales and retail offices, fast food restaurants and cruise ship construction. They can also be used in areas that have weather concerns, such as hurricanes.
Modular components are typically constructed indoors on assembly lines. Modules' construction may take as little as ten days but more often one to three months. Completed modules are transported to the building site and assembled by a crane.Placement of the modules may take from several hours to several days.
The entire process of modular construction places significance on the design stage. This is where practices such as Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA)are used to ensure that assembly tolerances are controlled throughout manufacture and assembly on site. It is vital that there is enough allowance in the design to allow the assembly to take up any "slack" or misalignment of components. The use of advanced CAD systems, 3D printing and manufacturing control systems are important for modular construction to be successful.This is quite unlike on-site construction where the tradesman can often make the part to suit any particular installation.
Modular buildings are argued to have advantages over conventional buildings, for a variety of reasons.
1)Speed of construction/faster return on investment. Modular construction allows for the building and the site work to be completed simultaneously. According to some materials, this can reduce the overall completion schedule by as much as 50%.
2)Indoor construction. Assembly is independent of weather, which can increase work efficiency and avoids damaged building material.
3)Ability to service remote locations. Particularly in countries in which potential markets may be located far from industrial centers, such as Australia, there can be much higher costs to build a site-built house in a remote area or an area experiencing a construction boom such as mining towns.
Low waste. With the same plans being constantly built, the manufacturer has records of exactly what quantity of materials are needed for a given job. While waste from a site-built dwelling may typically fill several large dumpsters, construction of a modular dwelling generates much less waste.
4)Environmentally friendly construction process. Modular construction reduces waste and site disturbance compared to site-built structures.
5)Flexibility. One can continually add to a modular building, including creating high rises.
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