Modular construction is gaining momentum and helping to accelerate construction across the country. There are a number of recurring modular building design mistakes for contractors and developers. Fortunately, you can avoid these challenges through better planning, education and working with WEIZHENGHENG, an expert in the field.
Modular container housing is the practice of building parts of a structure in an off-site facility and then assembling them into modules in a larger structure. You can think of these modules as LEGOTM building blocks stacked by crane into a larger structure. Modular construction is ideal for buildings with repetitive units. The market share of modular construction has been growing steadily over the past decade.
Modular building design challenges.
In traditional buildings, it is not uncommon to slightly adjust the design during an expansion or to plan a rectification period to correct mistakes. However, with modular construction, there is much less room for improvisation. Once the modules are in production, changing the final design of the building can be very difficult because the changes may affect the way the modules fit together.
To work with experts.
Your team should understand the ultimate certainty of the building's design. You can prevent change orders by encouraging collaboration between architects, module manufacturers, and local code officials before any modules go into production.
Often, local building officials will send inspectors to the building site several times to check each phase of the building. If fully completed modules arrive in the back of the truck, they may not be sure how to assess the safety of the building. Instead, communicate with the authority having jurisdiction prior to the build.
Work with experts.
Solutions vary depending on the location of the building site. Research any existing modular building plans and contact building officials during the design phase. Having engineer-approved designs ready to go can help you solve problems.
One developer lamented that transporting their modular container house from the manufacturing facility to the job site was a major additional cost, in part because of the oversized loads allowed.
Work with the experts.
We recommend hiring a local manufacturer to design modules that fit within trucking constraints. One advantage of choosing container-based modules is that they can be mounted on a truck chassis. If the modifications do not increase their width or height, container modules will not require a permit to transport oversized.
One may encounter unexpected costs when modular container houses arrive before they receive an oversize loading permit from the city. Storing modules while waiting for permits can be a huge and unexpected expense.
Working with experts.
The best solution is to avoid this situation altogether. As mentioned earlier, communicate with building officials prior to fabrication. Determine which shipping permits you need and find out how many modules you can store in the staging area. If space is limited, you may want the manufacturer to send the modules in stages, rather than all at once.
Liability can be a challenge for any project involving multiple players and pieces. For example, if a modular container room is damaged during shipping, who is responsible? The module manufacturer? The freight service? The building owner? It is best to establish terms and conditions prior to manufacturing.
Work with experts.
Include an insured product warranty stating who is responsible for damage and other defects during shipment. Like others on your construction team, let your attorney know the terms and conditions as early as possible.
You may have noticed a recurring theme in our solutions. The success of a modular container house means putting a lot of thought and planning into the design phase. If you would like to learn more about the role of retrofit containers in modular construction, please contact us for advice.