The recent advantages of modular fabrication.
Modular buildings - also known as pre-fabricated buildings, even though a prefabricated building do not need to be modular - are buildings made up of repetitive components manufactured in factories on assembly lines, assembled remotely before being installed on-site usually by the units lifted in place.
Modular building reached the peak of popularity in the United States after the second world - circa 1945 - at the time when there was a drastic need for the rapid construction of buildings to accommodate thousands of returning troops. Initially, pre-fab buildings were well-received and for several years, it was believed that pre-fab was going to overtake the entire building industry and replace the traditional building process for good.
However, because of its inflexibility in design options along with perception of lower quality applications, it fell out of favor for owners and became a very niche market for only devoted enthusiasts. Since the demand became less and less, pre-fab became undesirable and its lack of scalability made it very costly.
Why Now in 2016 ?
With the advent of a more integrated process such as BIM and VDC, design and engineer of modular units have become more flexible by allowing designers to create multiple options and variations virtually before building costly actual mock-ups. With BIM, projects are getting more intelligent while VDC’s integrated planning has proven to be much more effective and allow for the control of the entire building process.
Additionally, communication and collaboration between stakeholders are now easier making transportation and logistics simpler. Lastly, in order to meet the much needed demand, modular buildings has the ability to fulfill the speed to market requirements.