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While the foundations are being prepared and under factory conditions, the modules are manufactured and finished (or partially finished) off-site, under factory conditions, then transported to the building site and assembled and connected to the foundations, then added the exterior cladding and the roof.
Modular construction is more sustainable than traditional techniques because of the minimum foundations that required and because it is built under factory conditions, the modules are in better quality and defects are minimized.
Modular construction uses the same techniques from the industrial sector but the result does not look like "mass production product". Sophisticated modules and panels can be produced and can be easily customised by the client's requirements, and with new advanced techniques finishes: cladding and roofing, give the building its natural skin that suites the surrounding.
Steel works in off-site construction are taking the most important part of the factory controlled construction due to the ability of the steel itself to be shaped and molded in any form; the result is light strong steel modules structures.
'The UK construction market is one of the most steel intensive in the world, with steel proving to be the material of choice for UK architects and structural engineers in the multi-storey building market. The 2007 Market Shares Survey figures show steel construction consistently takes in excess of 70 per cent over double the market share compared to when the survey was first carried out in the early 1980s'.
Housebuilder & Developer. 2008. Is the Time Right to Build Off-site? [Online] Available at: http://www.hbdonline.eu/pressrelease/pressrelease.aspx?companyname=Corus&title=Is%2Bthe%2BTime%2BRight%2Bto%2BBuild%2BOff-site%3F [Accessed 05 April 2010]
The Steel Construction Institute has carried out a study of different construction projects using various levels of off-site steel construction technologies in busy urban sites. The goal of the study was to recognize the benefits of off-site construction relating to the reduction of the disruption caused to local residents by the construction operations. The study also aimed to quantify these benefits in terms of the reduction in dust, noise, vehicle circulation and the impact of site-generated waste on the environment.
The Steel Construction Institute (SCI) Study, which was funded by The Department of Trade and Industries (DTI) with support from Corus Strip Products (UK), is started by visits to six construction sites where oft-site construction technologies were being used for data-gathering. A comparative study had been made and followed by the visits to compare the traditional way of construction to off-site construction methods for a 2-storey school where light steel infill panels were used in off-site method against the traditional method, and a 4-storey light steel residential building where off-site modular construction were used against traditional masonry way. The study results showed that off-site construction is by far reducing the disruption to the local residents
The growing demand for residential housing in cities, towns, and villages of the UK and the scarcity of so-called 'green field' sites, is forcing developers to build on small plots of land within existing residential developments. As housing is built, so the demand for schools, shops, hospitals and leisure also increases.
Construction on confined urban sites presents developers with various challenges including:
The construction of urban sites contained presents developers with a number of challenges, such as; the lack of working and storage space, the absolute necessary to minimize the impact of all aspects of construction on local residents, and the scarcity of skilled labour working in construction sites.
Last Recent experience with modern construction methods showed that these challenges can be met by changing some of the activities of site-intensive products with components manufactured off-site. For example, panels of three two-dimensional and three dimensional modules are supplied in very short time to local conditions and require no storage space on site.
Regarding urban disruption, there is some non official evidence to suggest that the disruption to the local residents and inconvenience caused by construction can be greatly reduced by the use of prefabricated lightweight steel and modular solutions. Such methods do not only transfer much of the construction processes off site, but They also significantly reduces the construction time, thereby limiting the inconvenience Caused by site traffic, deliveries, waste clearance and general construction activities.
One of the greatest opportunities and challenges for the steel sector is the residential market due to the increase awareness of the physical benefits of steel. As often, home builders and developers are looking at things more closely as the project predictability and speed of construction, and areas that can generate financial returns earlier. Construction in steel, which has always been a technique of off-site construction is the solution.
'The performance of steel in the construction market has been one of the greatest industrial success stories of the post war period in the UK. It is no surprise that the 2007 survey confirms that the continuing competitive advantage of steel is appreciated by designers, clients and specifiers alike' (Alan Todd, Corus General Manager)
With its speed of construction, cost-effectiveness, outstanding performance, and unparalleled sustainable qualities, steels off-site construction techniques provides a genuine opportunity for the construction industry to meet growing, and sometimes conflicting demands, in providing affordable housing in today's difficult housing market
By its very nature, steel based off-site construction gives rise to more predictable construction programmes, along with predictable cost, construction quality, programme timing and project handover with faster lead in and onsite project commencement, allowing earlier use and business income return. Ultimately, this can result in the overall construction programme being reduced by up to 60 per cent compared with conventionally constructed buildings.
Plant room is a room or space in a building dedicated to the mechanical and electrical equipments and then they need an intensive labour. If plant rooms built off-site where there is cheaper labour, this can be more economically. Other advantage of plant rooms built in factory is if a project in time difficulties, always the installation of the services is squeezed, so using modular plant rooms certainly will help to avoid this problem.
Using system-engineering principles, the resulting prototype has been developed principally for use in the construction of two and seven storey residential developments. It is a hybrid of frame and infill panels, the prototype enables construction in stick form, panels or 3D volumetric units, and works on the principle of a frame and infill system. The mainframe is hot-rolled steel and typically uses regular or square hollow sections with a width of 100mm for both columns and beams to provide a standard interface that can be in filled with floor and non-load bearing wall panels to complete the building.
The prototype is based on currently available main components, which can be connected in a variety of ways to suit the individual project to allow flexibility in the level of work carried out off-site. Connections include innovative bolt connections to allow complete demountability, location systems and welded connections, all of which can be used in isolation or as part of a combined system. (RT098, 2006)
Bathroom construction process can use Off-site construction technology, which in compare to the traditional way, would normally be carried out on-site. If we remove the construction process of the bathrooms to a controlled factory environment, bathrooms will become more ecological, functional, and with lower building costs. Bathrooms that we call them 'smart' will also become more common with highly environmentally toilets and showers systems and with more advanced technology like tapes with sensors. The quality of bathrooms pods is far superior to the traditional on-site construction, more stylish, with high quality materials, and better for the environment in terms of a lower carbon footprint, lower levels of waste and reduced transportation of components.
Bathroom pods are a very economically solution when it integrate with the whole construction process in large quantities such as; student accommodations, hotels, hostels, hospitals, and prisons.