The presence of technological advancements is leading to changes in different sector. New methods of carrying out activities are being invented and the construction industry is going g through the same revolution. Many of the challenges, which are being experienced in the traditional construction methods, are nowadays being solved through the acquisition of the modular construction methods. By definition, modular construction methods are which uses modules to complete the construction of structures (Moeller, 2015).
These modules are constructed and manufactured off-site and then delivered on site to complete the assembling. The modular construction is a small part of prefabricated building methods, which felt on factories for the manufacturing of the key construction parts. Different materials have been accepted in Australia and worldwide market in the aim of enhancing the modular construction technology. Permanent modular construction is one of the key method, which is being used to enhance the technology. This paper will be able to look at different modular construction methods and analyze their pro and cons and the technological advancements, which are happening concerning the methods. Modular construction methods are able to conform to available codes and building techniques, which are available in the industry.
The methods are able to differ in terms of the overall cost and different aspects during the construction process (Amine, 2017). This paper will be able to analyze the methods on such aspects. Lastly, the paper will make a viable conclusion on the beat method, which can be adopted on different projects. Additionally, the paper will analyze the environmental performance of the materials and techniques in the technological advancement.
This will focus on the comparison of the use of these materials in modular construction and the traditional materials used in construction. Different modular construction methods are differentiated from the different modules, which are used during the construction period. Full modular construction method can be adopted or mixed forms of steel construction are the main differences, which arise when different modules are, adopted (Moeller, 2015). This paper will analyze three different modules methods, which can be adopted in the modular construction. These will include 4-sided modules, open sided modules and modules supported by a primary structure.
1. 4-sided module method
Using this method, the modules are manufactured when all the four sides are closed. The load transfer is the main aim, which is achieved by the closed sides, which are able to transfer the vertical loads to the modules (Elizabeth & Adams, 2005). The construction of the house parts is done in a different place and then transported to the site for placement. Box-like modules are secured together through this method to form the whole structure module. Backs of trucks are then used to transport the modules through highways (Miller, M. Miller, R., & Baker, 2004).
The design and manufacturing of the components are able to take care of the different aspects considering that the whole module will be delivered on site for installation. Factors such as wind effects are analyzed before and then details are delivered to the factories to enhance the proper construction of the modules. From the floor cassette, the four sides and the ceiling panel are generally attached using screws (Jackson, 2008).
The walls are designed to carry the loading and therefore when structures have more than one storey, the longitudinal walls of the upper module are designed to sit right below the lower module wall (Beall, 2001). The market in Australia and worldwide is seen to be highly adapting and using this method in the modular construction. This marks a wide acceptance of the technology and method in the industry.
There are number of benefits, which are achieved through the adoption of this method in modular construction. First, time saving is a key pro, which is achieved when this method is adopted. Since all the sides will be delivered ready mean that much time will be saved (United States, 2016). Much less time usually spend on site as much of activities are done on factories. Additional cladding can also be done to the modules and therefore increase the changes to customer preferences. These can be done on site to enhance the aesthetic factors of the structures. Moreover, all the walls are insulated and boarded externally.
This ensures that the modules are weather and environmentally friendly (Chudley & Greeno, 2013). This is a key consideration considering the environmental damage, which the traditional method is able to bring considering high wastage ration. Time in construction is a key factor, which is able to lead to additional cost and making projects much expensive. Reducing the timeline of construction is therefore able to reduce the operational cost of the projects, which enhance the use of the 4-sided modules. Additionally, the materials used in the manufacturing of the modules are cheap and therefore reduce the cost of the project (Staib, Do?Rrho?Fer & Rosenthal, 2008). It is estimated that implementing this method is able to reduce the cost of project by 30-50% compared to the use of traditional methods.
Nevertheless, this method has some cons, which are able to arise. Since the entire module has to be transported by the road, a limit on the tracks, which can transport the modules, is able to exist. Most of the trucks are 16' wide and this places the design limitation on the size of modules, which can be manufactured on factories (Chudley & Greeno, 2013). Moreover, this method has limit on the amount of additional structures, which can be added and in cooperated in the initial design. This becomes a limiting factor when clients need to add other structures such as garages and porches.
2. Open sided modules
On this method, the modules are designed to provide open sides. A framework of the module is used for the loading transfer from the top to the foundation section. Hot rolls steel section, which may include Square Hollow Section (SHS) columns and Parallel Flange Channel (PFC) edge beams are down to provide the open section of the model (Elizabeth & Adams, 2005). All these sections are then bolted together to enhance the load transfer. The cover modules are then delivered later and complete the structures. Additional stability to the system can be provided through additional bracing system. Resistance to the compression is addressed through the corner posts, which are typically SHS members of 100 x 100 (Wang, & Pei, 2012).
This method is limited to low rise buildings and only extent to three storey structures. On addition, in order to enhance the stability, vertical and horizontal bracings are usually introduced. The loadings are transferred to the conner supports through the connections from the modules. Generally, an open sided module is simply a 4-sided module which is an open rigid frame welded or connected with Rectangular Hollow Sections (RHS) (Gesimondo & Postell, 2011). The open module is manufactures according to the design specification and final assembling is done on site. Additionally, the use of the hot rolled steel gives room for the use and support of concrete floors.
One of the key advantage of using the open module sections is that they give room for support of structure and therefore enhance uses where vibrations are available (Moghadam, 2014). In cooperating the concrete slabs supported by the hot rolled steel means that the structures can be widely used for different purposes. Unlike the 4-sided modules, the use of open sided modules gives room of in cooperating other structures such as garages.
It is a matter of providing additional framework and the new structures will be set up. In terms of stability, this method is able to provide more stable structure than the 4-sided module (Gesimondo & Postell, 2011). The columns and beams are able to increase the stability of the structures. The setting out of the rooms is easy since infill walls are non-loading bearing and are only used for partitioning. This means that the clients can easy change the arrangement and provide other rooms and quit others to change the sizes.
The cost of this method compared to the 4-sided module is high. The framework and additional bracings, which are, requires increases the cost of construction of the modular structure. The volumetric carriage of the different parts to the site is another key disadvantage of engaging this method. The use of this method requires the partitioning of the structure (Moghadam, 2014). Many of the clients may feel like the traditional method being applied and there resist the application of this method (Asadi, 2016). This method is limiting in terms of the storey, which can be created. It is clear that structure can only be done for a maximum of 3 storeys.
3. Modules supported by a primary structure
Through this method, a primary structure is usually put in place and then the modules are fed unto them. The structure, which is placed at the podium or the platform level, is used to support the modules. Columns are positions such that they will be the main carriers of the design load. The spacing of the column is able to conform to the width of the modules, which will be used (Elizabeth & Adams, 2005). Additionally, through this method beams are designed in order to support the combined load from the modules and transfer it to the columns.
When using this method, the supporting structure is designed conventionally as a steel framework having columns and beams. These structures are meant to align with module width as stated earlier and are able to provide open space for ground floor and levels below (Georgia Institute of Technology, & United States, 2017). This method is usually suitable when the construction of retail area, commercial and residential areas is taking place. The column spacing is able to depend with the structure use. The modules will then be placed once the structure is complete. Concrete of steel structure can either be used in this method without limitation. This method also allows the use of load bearing modules, which can be supported but the primary frame which is placed.
One of the key advantage is this method is that the modules can be disassembled in future and leave the floor supported by the columns and beams. This creates and environment where the client can change the building use with ease. The wide chances of the use of the structure make the clients more comfortable when adopting this method (Rausch, Haas & West, 2016). In addition, with the initial structure in place, the whole structure is much more stable. The columns and beams are able to offer a much more stable structure.
In terms of the modular construction methods, this one is able to offer a more stable structure. In addition, comparing with the traditional methods, the time of construction using this method is much lesser. About 30% of time is saved when this method is adopted for the construction. Comparing with the traditional method again, the coat of the project is much less when this method is adopted.
When comparing with other modular construction methods, this one is able to take much time. The structure must be placed in place first and then modules are placed (Mitchell, 1997). This requires time and professionals to ensure that the structure will conform to the modules.
4. Environmental performance
Over the traditional method, modular construction methods are able to offer better environmental advantages on different sections. First, the energy use during manufacturing is saved since the modules are manufactured under controlled environment (Je, Nguyen & Lee, 2015). Modules are easily usable and this enhances the reduction of wastage and environmental pollution during relocation. Additionally, most environmental benefits are achieved during construction period. Reduced construction period is able to lessen the negative impact to the environment. Noisy pollution is reduced during the site installation since modular units are rapid and quiet when being installed. Wastage is largely reduced and therefore reducing dumping.
In conclusion, modular construction methods have been able to transformed the construction industry. The methods are able to offer cheap building methods and at a reduced rate of construction process. Additionally, the different modular constructions are able to enhance the aesthetic factors and improved the environmental management. The different methods are able to attribute different costs in terms of their implementation.
Additionally, the modular construction methods are able to enjoy different and high benefits in comparison with the traditional methods. This is the main reasons why the modular construction is gaining more acknowledgement in Australia and worldwide. The methods additionally compare differently when used implementation of projects.
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