Modular Building Institute

Modular Delivers More
than Speed to Completion

Commercial modular buildings are cutting-edge facilities of the highest quality, efficiency, endurance, and design: cost-effective permanent and temporary buildings that respond to ever-changing demands. Virtually indistinguishable from site-built construction and meeting the toughest national, state, and local codes in addition to sometimes stringent aesthetic specifications, costs of a modular building are typically competitive with conventional construction. Click here to read an architect's perspective on the process.

Today, multi-story, multi-unit buildings can be constructed in a factory from steel and concrete. The units, shipped to the site either on a flatbed trailer or on their own axles and tires, are craned into place and joined on site. Once completed, these high-end, factory-built buildings are indistinguishable from site-built construction. There generally are no visual or structural differences whatsoever. Unless you witnessed the construction project, you would never know the building was manufactured in a factory. Thus, at the high end, the method of construction is not readily evident.

The advantages of modular construction remain the same, however. Commercial modular structures are built in a climate- and quality-controlled environment, where savings of as much as 50% in overall construction time are not uncommon. Below are three case studies that show just how much building you can get in a very short time-frame:

Yale University Dormitory Set in 4 Days

Four Story, Steel Charter School Built in 183 Days

Three Story, 10-Ft Ceiling Headquarers Built in 188 Days


University Dormitory Set in Four Days Over Spring Break


Case Study: Yale University Dormitory, New Haven, CT
Days to Complete: 231
Size:
7,732 sq.ft.
Modules: 28
Manufacturer: Kullman Industries, Lebanon, NJ
Design Firm: Kieran Timberlake, Philadelphia, PA


This three-story dormitory is located on the Yale University campus in New Haven, CT. The exterior is designed to blend into the landscape of historic buildings steeped in tradition. Custom brickwork in turn-of-the-century style, stone copings at the stair tower parapets, a pitched slate roof, antiqued Yorkshire glass windows with concrete lintels, and teak wood storefront entranceways complete the look. Interior features such as custom hardwood floors, hardwood window seats, raised six-panel solid core wood doors, quarry tile corridors, ornamental ceiling moldings, veneer wood drop soffits and custom extruded aluminum chair rails make the interior of this dormitory unique. Marble showers and terrazzo shower basins complete the custom baths. top

Technical Innovation
From the aspect of building in the elegant Ivy League style, this entire project can be called innovative in the modular industry. Four-inch brick facing on multi-story half-octagonal wall sections was done in the factory. Specifications called for a three-process wall finish: sheetrock, topped by blue board, finished with a veneer plaster. Because this request was a first, just one dorm room's triple-processed finish was done in the factory as a "test run." The remaining interior walls were plastered in the field, insuring a quality finish. The test run proved successful. Kullman will factory-install the finish in future projects with confidence. Access to the mid-block site, surrounded by historic, stately and occupied buildings, is through a narrow alley. Therefore, in addition to accommodating seismic load to endure road travel, the modules were designed to undergo the stresses of being craned 145 degrees at 70 feet to clear surrounding buildings. top

Cost Effectiveness & Energy Efficiency
Close partnering with architect and owner is key to delivering such a unique project on a most demanding timeline. Yale, committed to an atmosphere conducive to learning, tasked Kullman with setting the three-story dorm unit in four days over spring break. The dedication that architect Kieran Timberlake and Yale showed to communication was vital in Kullman's ability to deliver the project on time and on budget, yielding cost-effectiveness for the owner. A hydronic heating system was installed for its efficiency and for safety considerations. Custom hardwood window seating conceals piping, adds character and dimension to the dorm rooms, and heats the dorms economically and safely. The college determined, through life cycle cost calculations, that the plaster veneer over blueboard three-process wall finish is cost effective. The finish provides a student-friendly finish for decorating walls and virtually eliminates the repair and maintenance costs inherent to sheetrocked walls.

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Four Story, Steel Charter School Built in 183 Days


Case Study: Charter School, Philadelphia, PA
Days to Complete: 183
Size: 12,420 sq.ft.
Modules: 25
Manufacturer: NRB, Inc, Grimsby, ON, Canada


From single classrooms to complete campuses, permanent modular construction offers public, private, and charter schools what other construction methods cannot: accelerated project timelines, more economical pricing, and less disruption. Permanent modular schools are indistinguishable from other schools and can be constructed to any architectural and customer specifications. MBI members design and build schools of all types and sizes using traditional building materials. Virtually any size permanent school can be built, installed, and ready for occupancy in as little as 90 days. Perhaps most importantly, eliminating open construction sites means less disruption. top

Architectural Excellence
When Veronica Joyner, founder of the Philidelphia Charter School, wanted to add space and update the image of her "converted warehouse" school in this busy downtown urban area, she considered her location, needs and image and chose modular construction. The 25 module, 4-story addition includes science laboratories, classrooms, offices and bathrooms. The new main floor easily transitions to the current facility with open walls at the reception area. The interior is designed with ceramic and vinyl tile floor finishes, drywall painted warm colors and suspended ceilings throughout. The addition is the new "face" for the school, and shows beautifully with finishes of pre-finished stucco type panels and clear anodized architectural aluminum panels, chosen to give the school a whole new hi-tech/hi-rise "downtown" look. Two stair towers and an elevator provide easy vertical access, and the fully glazed exterior includes spandrel panels where stairs and columns exist so they are not seen from the street. top

Technical Innovation
The school is engineered structural steel post and beam construction with pre-poured concrete floors for the permanence and performance of conventionally built facilities. Stair towers with stairs and elevator shaft were installed prior to shipping. The vertical support posts at the exterior walls of the modules are located inside of the glass, covered on the interior, so the entire building appears to be wrapped continuously with glazing, panels and spandrel panels and modular joints are virtually invisible. top

Cost Effectiveness & Energy Efficiency
The site for this school is in a busy section of downtown Philadelphia. The slice of land available between the front of the existing converted warehouse and the existing sidewalk and trees was extremely limited. Careful coordination between plant and site personnel ensured the delivery of the building modules were choreographed, because escorts were required and some streets had to be shut down. The entire building was erected within a 14 day timeframe, although only seven actual set days were required. To construct a four-story school addition conventionally in that location would have required construction financing for a significant number of months more than the modular methods required.

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Three Story Corporate Headquarters with State-of-the-art Gym and 10-ft Ceilings Built in 122 Days


Case Study: Corporate Headquarters
Days to Complete: 122
Size: 25,344 sq.ft.
Modules: 18
Manufacturer: Kent Homes, Bouctouche, NB, Canada

Permanent modular buildings serve as corporate headquarters, satellite bureaus, institutional and administrative buildings, and offices for small businesses. Modern single- and multi-story buildings can be configured in a number of ways to include independent offices, conference rooms, elegant lobbies, kitchens, restrooms, and large open spaces for cubicles or other partition systems. MBI members have architectural and engineering designs for workspace planning, storm water management, landscaping, parking, and zoned heating and air conditioning. If it is time to capitalize on company growth, modular buildings are a fast, economical approach. top

Architectural Excellence
This 25,344 sq.ft. office building occupies three floors. The use of open spaces was critical to eliminate the appearance of the modules. A full foundation creates the walk-out basement where a lunchroom and outdoor eating area can be found. Access to our state-of-the-art gym with washroom and shower facilities and a large 150 person meeting room is also through this entrance. The first floor of the building is for operations with direct access to the manufacturing facility. Ten foot ceilings and proper lighting systems ensure that space does not feel small and cramped once occupied by work stations. The second floor is for the sales group. A prominent display of a home setting, documentation, and available selling tools are displayed. A large boardroom fully equipped with the latest technology is located on this floor. A two story open vestibule area gives an appearance of space before entering the reception area and allows visibility of the vestibule from the second floor. top

Technical Innovation
The use of a laminated veneer lumber skeleton supported by a steel grid allows the flexibility of open spaces throughout our office building. A steel grid is set in the basement to support the modules on both floors. The LVL structures lay over the steel grid in all floor and roof elements. Steel columns in the modules transfer the loads from the ceiling to floor down to the steel grid. Twelve foot ceilings allow for a two foot chase where all ventilation, sprinkler, plumbing, and electrical are hidden from the finished office spaces. Self supporting steel stairways make their way from floor to floor without putting additional strain on the wooden structure and leaving the stairways open from floor to floor. To gain exterior appeal the use of large glazing was required. LVL beams were used once again to reach the spans required on the headers. top

Cost Effectiveness & Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiencies were created by using fully reflective glazing to minimize cooling requirements during the summer months. Radiant panels were strategically placed on the outer edges of the building to help minimize the effects of cold areas around the glazing. Energy efficient light fixtures were chosen with secondary purpose of minimizing the amount of glare created on the computer screens.

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To learn more about commercial modular construction and its applications, visit Modular Building Institute: The Voice Of Commercial Modular ConstructionTM.

(c) 2006. Modular Building Institute. All rights reserved

Dec. 19, 2006 - United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Award-Winning Portable Placed in MA

Carroll School Goes Green


2006 Best In Show:
MBI Awards of Distinction


Each Year, the Modular Building Institute holds its Awards of Distinction Contest. As the only industry contest of its kind, MBI's Awards of Distinction reviews commercial modular building entries submitted by MBI member companies. Entries are judged in the areas of architectural excellence, technical innovation, efficiency and length of project. This year's contest garnered 112 unique entries with modular buildings as diverse as a convenience mart to an upscale condominium sales office. The highlight of the contest is the Best in Show category, where awards are conferred by industry peers for what they collectively recognize as the best modular structures in the business.

Bed and Breakfast
Centex Destinations
Sanders Construction Office

Bed and Breakfast


Britco Structures
Start Date:
11-04-04
Finish Date: 4-22-05
Days to Complete: 169
Size: 4,032 sq. ft.
Modules: 6

Architectural Excellence
Britco's design team worked in collaboration with the inn's architect who designed the building in Pueblo Mission style architecture reminiscent of old California and Mexico. This two-story, stand-alone building was designed with great attention to detail to complement the Ojai Valley environment and its artistic community. The exterior features solid timber post and beam roof trellis, terra cotta curved roofing and rugged outpost railings. The interior of the inn projects a warm, old-world charm with arched entrances, vaulted ceilings and solid timber exposed ceiling beams. Traditional finishes were meticulously chosen to enhance the inn's ambience and include solid hardwood and European tiled flooring, extensive millwork and tiled kitchen and vanity counters in each suite. top

Technical Innovation
The inn was designed for use as six separate suites or inter-connecting units in various configurations depending on the guests' space requirements and was pre-wired for telephone/data/cable accordingly. The top floor structure was constructed to accommodate a hot tub and deck and the exterior timber features were constructed in the factory for attachment to the building on site. top

Cost Effectiveness
Off-site modular construction system allowed for the efficient construction of this high-end building in a region that is otherwise very expensive to build in. The building has a hot water on-demand boiler with recirculation system and the rooms include gas-fired stoves and individually controlled HVAC systems for maximum efficiency.
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Centex Destinations


Pac-Van, Inc.
Start Date: 11-19-04
Finish Date: 2-5-05
Days to Complete: 78
Size: 4,320 sq. ft.
Modules: 6

Architectural Excellence
The unique and luxurious sales pavilion has (2) modules offset in the center. Tiered landscaping and pavers enhanced the recessed entry. The exterior is stuccoed with a skip trowel and custom color faux finish. A coat of arms, crown molding, and trim around the arched windows was custom molded in concrete. The interior is designed with a Galilean theme. Quatrefoil coffers in the ceiling enhance the custom chandelier light fixtures. Large columns lead to the butt-glazed wall of glass that looks out onto Lake Las Vegas. The interior walls are plastered and faux finished. Arched doorways lead the eye of the visitor to a combination of Arizona tiled and custom carpeted floors. This modular is located in an elite lake front community and was required to meet strict guidelines for design and appearance. Several levels of parapets and trusses allowed interesting elevations that were completed with tile roofing. top

Technological Innovation
Since ceiling height was a huge consideration for our customer, we decided to heighten the ceiling in certain areas by using coffers between the trusses. The building has three ceiling heights ranging from 9' to 11'. A series of soffits add further interest to the architecture. Approximately 1000 square feet of 6" Arizona tile accent the sales area and includes a custom carpet inset. Interesting columns create a seating area that looks out onto the lake and the elite surrounding of Lake Las Vegas. Roof mounted HVAC equipment is concealed by a series of parapets. Trusses were added so that our building would blend with local architecture. Clay tile tops off the interesting elevation. Arched windows and doorways capture the eye and imagination.
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Cost Effectiveness
The most cost effective method of installation was utilized in the pad and pier set-up of this building. The entry was created with tiered landscaping and a broad staircase. Brick pavers complete the terrace at the front doors. The use of the building is very temporary, therefore modline separation was a key element in the design. The first relocation is currently underway at this time. The resort developer who owns the building plans on using this modular for many venues in the future. The surface design will change with each project, but the base building's versatility will meet the challenge.
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Sanders Construction Office


Pac-Van
Affiliate: Modtech
Start Date: 1-30-05
End Date: 4-15-05
Size: 9,360 Sq ft
Modules: 13

Architectural Excellence
The interior of this expansive modular building has a center area that houses corporate executive offices. Two wings that are 36X60 each support the accounting & administration staff and the estimating department. Ten-foot ceilings and taped, textured and painted interior walls create a comfortable and pleasant work environment. A very large conference room is brighter due to a 5'x12' glass block interior window. top

Technical Innovation
The quality construction of this modular allows permanent use and a long life for the structure. High ceilings, perimeter frames and heavy floor decking are features that allowed the permanent placement of this modular on a concrete stem wall. Roof mounted HVAC equipment which is screened by parapet walls defies the typical modular image. Structures built on the roof topped with trusses and roof tile allow an architecturally excellent elevation. An entry tower completes the entry visual experience at the front of the building. A training room opposite the conference room allows for large groups to gather at one time. Custom cabinets are found throughout the building and further enhance the custom atmosphere. A granite counter that looks out on a large lobby area completes the reception area. Inverted domes grace the lobby ceiling and compliment the giant chandeliers. top

Cost Effectiveness
The modular building was permanently set on a concrete stem wall. It has a sprinkler system and cardlock alarm system. While the intent of the owner is for this modular to remain on the current site permanently, it can be dismantled and relocated with relative ease. The EFS stucco on the exterior allows for vibrant coloration in different segments of the structure. A polyurethane foam roof was added upon set-up as an upgrade to traditional roofing. The interior climate is controlled by (9) roof mount heat pumps. The system offers a cost efficient alternative to other means of air conditioning. top

History
The original use of this modular was a community center at an age-restricted housing community. Its term of use was 3 years for that purpose. Upon completion of the permanent facility this modular was sold to a construction company and became destined to become the permanent home of the numerous employees who work for Sanders Blasting. The floor plan was radically changed with the addition of seven offices, an executive restroom, custom lighting, a sprinkler and alarm system, and re-configuration of hallways. The exterior of the modular was completely demolished at the previous site and was re-constructed at its new location. Architecturally on the exterior, it is very similar to its original elevation. The buyer loved the design and wanted to duplicate it. The advantage to the buyer is a cost effective solution to permanently needed space in a short time frame. Permitting, inspections and fees are much less costly than traditional construction.
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