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By Louise Morrisey
November 28, 2017
Prefab and modular homes are set to appear more and more as residential homes and businesses in the coming years. What is so special about them? They can be moved directly to site after being built and assembled in a factory.
The many benefits of modular homes–innovative design, sustainability, and fast construction time–are quickly changing the preconceived notions of what buildings can be.
In Europe and Asia, the modular home industry is booming–particularly in Sweden, where prefabricated homes represent around 70% of the entire construction industry. Australia isn’t close to that number, but it is growing, as booming population rates in metropolitan areas are seeing people turn to more cost-effective, well-designed housing in inner cities.
Modspace is a Melbourne-based modular design and modular building company that completes models in its factory and transports them to their location. Jobsite spoke to Jan Gyrn, Managing Director of Modspace, to find out more about why modular homes are becoming so popular.
According to Gyrn, one of the largest benefits of a modular home is the timing of the building cycle. The typical timeframe for building a modular home is 12 weeks, and it can be installed in just one day – a drastic cut from the 12-18 months conventional construction methods take.
“For us to build that rapidly means we have a high quality of design and documentation. By the time we are negotiating a contract, we know exactly what we’re going to build. This eliminates any risks for the client,” says Gyrn.
“Traditional construction sites tend to blow out on time and cost. With modular homes, we can stay on budget without jeopardising the integrity of the materials.”
And it’s not just residential, either. Gyrn estimates that around 30-40% of Modspace’s work is residential. The rest, actually, spread across commercial projects, including health services and schools.
Amongst the primary changes Gyrn has noticed in the past few years is a shift in preferred building location for modular homes.
“When we started, we had a focus on rural and coastal properties. Now, a majority of our work is urban, elected as an alternative to conventional construction, rather than driven out of a necessity of location.”
A New Opportunity for Jobs
Due to the added elements of an assembly and manufacturing process, modular homes create great opportunities for new sorts of jobs within the construction sector. Gyrn notes this extends to both skilled and unskilled labour.
“More employees with a skill set out of the car industry, for example, from both a factory and office perspective, can bring new technical skills to the assembly process,” he says. “We’re also seeing drawing-based technology in robots and 3D printing technology, which will continue to fundamentally shift the way we build.”
With new technologies comes a fresh need for people to monitor and implement the technology, leading to increased efficiencies for the business overall, whilst still maintaining an engaged workplace.
Prefabricated and Modular Construction are Making a Big Comeback
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