As Oregon demolition contractors, we like to stay informed on eco-friendly construction innovations. In our work, we see first-hand how green residential and commercial demolition methods, such as deconstruction, scrap metal recycling, and on-site concrete crushing, can greatly reduce the amount of construction and demolition (C&D) debris sent to landfills. In the past, we have written about how contractors can prioritize cradle-to-cradle approaches, in which the building’s end state factors into construction choices. Today we’re taking a look at modular construction, which could represent the next great step forward in environmentally responsible real estate development.
Modular construction involves building with prefabricated, three-dimensional “modules,” building parts that are constructed off-site in a quality-controlled setting. These modules are delivered to the construction site, where they can be erected in a fraction of the time—and at a fraction of the cost—of traditional construction methods. Oftentimes, the building’s foundation is constructed on-site while the modular building parts are constructed off-site. This simultaneous scheduling greatly accelerates construction schedules, slashing labor costs.
Environmental advantages of modular construction include reduced transportation energy usage, a reduction in material waste during construction, and, most importantly, the high recoverability of modular designs. Modular buildings can be easily moved and reused in new projects, which makes them ideal for LEED-certified buildings of all types, from assisted-living facilities to schools, as well as for disaster relief and much more.
With that background information in mind, let’s take a look at a few reasons why modular construction is destined for wider adoption in the future.
Green Demolition Contractors on the Top 5 Reasons Modular Construction Will Last
- Improvements in modular building material quality, prefabrication methods, and modular manufacturing facilities. Say “prefab” and chances are you’ll get a skeptical look or two. However, modern modular construction uses high-quality, reliable, attractive materials built in cutting-edge facilities with highly advanced methods. As these factors continues to improve, expect modular construction to continue building in popularity.
- Project and Labor Savings are especially critical to modular’s future growth. Construction productivity concerns are creating new converts to modular approaches, which can provide serious savings. The reduced costs stem from the fact that fewer construction steps and materials are required during modular construction.
- Fewer Project Safety Threats. Because modular units are constructed in controlled factory environments, there are fewer job-site safety incidents, and less liability for the contractor. Moreover, the decreased need for scaffolding to raise modular units equates to a reduced chance of falling injuries.
- Shorter Project Timelines are another byproduct of modular construction, as the amount of time needed to erect a building is seriously reduced when modular elements arrive pre-built.
- Industry adoption of BIM (Building Information Modeling) is making modular construction more and more appealing. BIM is a digital approach used to represent dimensions and locations. As BIM becomes more popular, so does modular construction, which is highly BIM-compatible.
Considering that, according to the EPA, this country produces 136 million tons of C&D debris annually, changing our habitation habits can make a big difference. Each building and demolition contractor can make choices to minimize debris, whether by selecting a modular design that will be easy to re-purpose, or by recycling as much as possible from each demolition site through demolition asset management.