355 Sango Court Case Study
Sango Court is an affordable apartment rental development in Milpitas, CA. The 102-unit, transit-friendly location is about a half mile from the nearest BART station, and close to parks, shopping, schools, dining, and numerous employers. This made it a potential gem in a high-rent area where affordable housing is desperately needed.
Sango Court, designed by David Baker Architects, brings a very open and livable design to its Bay Area residents.
Autovol, considered by many to be America’s most technologically advanced multifamily modular operation, was still fairly new on the scene. Up to this point, the unique human-robot team of the three-years-young operation had built projects for just one customer. Autovol’s heavily automated approach had been quickly proven by successfully completing 6 multifamily projects for TPC in just two years. Now the factory would be put to the test with its second-ever customer, one who was new to modular construction, with an already designed project, on a tight timeframe.
Mission Critical Preconstruction
Autovol had pioneered the use of automation and robotics to enhance modular construction by doing the heavy lifting and adding machine-level precision to repetitive framing tasks. The logic-intensive preconstruction method demanded of automated modular brought extra benefits to the Sango Court project. Autovol had worked side by side with preconstruction innovator Prefab Logic to create a digital twin modeling approach and a sprint process as advanced as the Autovol factory. The Prefab Logic approach is to build a project down to the finest detail as a digital twin, involving all stakeholders upfront. The data built into the digital twin drives everything in execution: robotic instruction code, clash detection programs, VR and AR 3D models for approvals and to guide tradespeople, as well as material procurement and takeoff lists. The sprint model was designed to force collaborative decision making upfront, when changes can be made digitally. This prevents changes later that can cause orders of magnitude more cost impacts and schedule delays once the physical building is being executed. Tim Mathson, Prefab Logic Operations Manager during preconstruction, said the team really leaned into this approach to solve a variety of unique aspects of the building design.
“To make sure the things being built in the factory and onsite aligned, everything had to be spot on, down to about a quarter inch,” Mathson says. “A lot of things had to be coordinated very quickly on a design that had been years in the making, with a factory that had very specific requirements for robotic framing, but also very standardized design and materials approaches that optimize cost and efficiency.”
Some of the inventive features designed to make Sango Court unique and livable for residents posed challenges: A large laundry room requiring special venting. Large fresh air ducts in rooms. Open sloping corridors. Lack of a chase compartment for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing through corridors. An exterior facade featuring “sawtooth windows” (a feature that was removed through design revisions). These and other design elements required modeling not only for the factory build, but to guide subcontractors onsite.
Total time online in the factory, aside from prototyping, was about 9 weeks. During that time, all 102 units were framed, wired, plumbed, floored, insulated, and inspected. All appliances and interior finishes were completed. The project included studios, as well as 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units. Each module was carefully planned to be pieced together in a precise sequence onsite.
Go Inside 355 Sango Court
More from Modular Advantage
For this project, Forta PRO delivered 72 buildings, 144 modules, with 5,200 m2 of gross modular area. With final onsite completion in June 2023, it provides exceptional long-stay accommodation in a stunning and serene environment.
With about 100,000 square feet of space on four levels, MODLOGIQ is producing 100% of the hospital’s space off-site in their factory. That includes everything from mechanical, electrical, and plumbing to interior finishes and casework to about an 85% level of completion.
ReMo Homes founder Vamsi Kumar Kotla has an ambitious goal: assemble a net zero, single-family home with a minimized carbon footprint in just one hour. Surprisingly, his team is close to making his goal a reality. They recently assembled a 400 square foot net zero model home on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Assembly took ten days.
FullStack Modular’s dedication to sustainability and process yielded their
latest project for its new Portland, OR, factory: a sustainable Treehouse Hotel for Starwood Capital Group in Sunnyvale, California. The six-story Treehouse Hotel features 200 modules and 143 rooms.
House of Design, located in Nampa, Idaho, provides a unique solution to building trusses, walls, and other building assemblies: they call it dynamic automation. Shane Dittrich, CEO, explained the term as “the robots have no idea what they’re building today.”
Matt Mitchell and Scott Bridger took note of the cribbing other people were using. “We said, it doesn’t seem like anybody’s really working on a better solution to try to fix this,” Bridger said. Then, about four years ago, they decided to see what they could come up with. “That’s when we really in earnest decided to see if we can design and manufacture something that’s just better,” Mitchell said.
Former Modular Owner, Now Principal Insurance Executive, Helps Modular Company Owners Navigate Insurance
Ververis doesn’t just work for anybody in the modular industry. “I need to know that they’re fully committed and willing to use best practices. I can assist with putting together a great risk management program and make them close to bulletproof, but they have to be willing to implement and manage the procedures.”
A recently developed product promises to provide homeowners with major savings in both energy and water. It’s called RainStick, and one of its founders says users can reduce their water consumption by almost a swimming pool’s worth over the course of a year. With a payback period of just over five years, modular builders focused on sustainability are taking note.
Anirban Basu, Chairman & CEO of Sage Policy Group and Chief Economist of the Modular Building Institute, looks back at the financial trends of 2023 and forward to 2024
Nadler Modular discusses the loyalty and value/service to their employees and customers, that has led to their continued growth and success.