A very positive review of the current state of the modular construction industry and the future outlook for it was recently published in The Architect’s Newspaper. The article quotes the The National Real Estate Investor which showed that in the last five years the modular construction industry has doubled in size to over $8 billion. The increased productivity and lower overall design and construction costs were indicated as the most significant factors in the choice of using modular construction for commercial projects. The article also references the 2018 Commercial Construction Index economic indicator, a report jointly published by USG Corporation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that tracks trends in commercial construction. It showed that more than 70 percent of surveyed contractors see eight distinct benefits in using modular construction including increases in efficiency, productivity, safety, and quality, while reducing risk, costs, material waste, and construction times. The reduction in the overall project timeline also leads to an increase in the opportunity costs by allowing revenue-earning buildings to begin doing so faster than facilities built using other construction methods. The whole article can be viewed here.
The materials used in permanent modular construction are no different than site built structures. This includes critical features like roofing applications. For large or small parapet wall facilities with low slope roofs, Ramtech prefers to use and install TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) roofing material because of its durability and flexibility. This type of roofing material will adapt to a building’s movement and setting while still remaining resistant to impact damage, tears, or punctures.
TPO roofs are resistant to dirt, algae buildup, and debris and will improve a building’s energy efficiency because of it’s substantial heat-reflective properties and the able to minimize the urban heat island effect. They’re also environmentally friendly with ability to be 100% recycled at the end of their lifespan. Ramtech applies the TPO material during the construction phase in our manufacturing plant, then seams the roof at the mate lines it the jobsite. This can be done quickly by nailing in both the plywood sheathing and DensDeck prime roof board before overlaying the TPO to complete the assembly.
Whether it’s a pier and beam or a slab-on-grade building, both of Ramtech’s permanent modular construction approaches can be installed quickly in a matter of days, eliminating the weather delays that frequently plague site construction projects. Our pier and beam type permanent modular buildings can be installed either by using a crane, or by rolling them into place if the area has adequate space for maneuvering the individual modular sections. The accompanying images show how the rolling process works once the foundation has been completed and is ready to support the modular sections.
The modules are moved onto the grade beams, aligned with its adjacent section, lowered onto CMU blocks, then anchored and lagged together to form a complete building. Once an individual section is put into place it can be quickly weathered in at the seams to keep out the elements so the interior and exterior finish-out process can begin.
The extension and connection of utilities requires the same site work elements for relocatable and permanent modular buildings as it does for site built structures. As a design-build construction company, Ramtech can manage every aspect of the site development and improvements for all project sizes and sophistication levels. These images show the preparation for the electrical service being brought to the main distribution panel for the 10,624 square foot adult education building for First Baptist Carrollton Church.
One of the benefits of modular construction is the inherent ability to minimize weather delays on the job site. Since the structure is being produced offsite, the ability to quickly set the modules on the foundation and weather them in speeds up the entire construction timeline. This means there’s no waiting for the framing or erection and other onsite construction activities to take place – the typical site-built work elements that are subject to weather related delays. With modular construction, once you install it you can immediately begin performing the interior finish-out with no delays. This also keeps any weather related materials damage to a minimum.
The Pier and Beam Permanent Modular Buildings that Ramtech is currently building for First Baptist Carrollton is a good case in point. Although the rainy spring made getting the foundations in place a challenge, once the first one was poured we were able to quickly get one of the two modular buildings placed on it. Then, as the pictures show, while the foundation for the second building was being developed we were already performing the interior work on the first building. With J&P Contractors Inc.
Last month, McKinsey & Company published a comprehensive study of the growing impact of modular construction in the U.S and Europe. Titled, ‘Modular Construction: From projects to products‘, the study puts into focus what the commercial modular industry has long held to be the case. Namely, that modular can deliver projects 20% to 50% faster than site construction methods while also reducing project costs up to 20%. The report cites the technological improvements, economic demands, and the changing mind-sets that is drawing significant interest and investment which has the potential to vastly change the way projects are built today. The study goes on to show how a shift to modular construction could have a significant positive impact on global productivity by accelerating and compressing the project timeline while alleviating the impact of labor shortages in many areas.. The full report is available for download here.
As a vertically integrated design-build construction company, Ramtech has been at the forefront in developing a beneficial and cost-effective D-B delivery model for commercial modular construction projects. Ever since design-build became available to use for public projects in Texas in the 1990’s, Ramtech has been able to show end-users that D-B can save them money, and is a faster process than design-bid-build or construction manager at risk. There’s a good synopsis on the three methods in this article from buildingindiana.com.
Ramtech Begins Manufacturing of Modular Office Building for Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Academy
Ramtech has begun the manufacturing phase on the 25,243 square foot modular office building we are constructing for the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department Academy. Designed and developed using our slab-on-grade permanent modular construction process, the building will allow the Sheriff’s department to consolidate their training program for new recruits into one facility located 12 miles South of downtown Dallas in an unincorporated area of Dallas County.
The new modular office building will provide for two large basic training rooms, three large in-service training rooms, five offices for the senior staff, and a clerical area. There are also separate rooms for driving and shooting simulation, a library, and multiple storage areas. Ramtech will be responsible for the concrete foundation and providing one point of connection for all the utilities at the building line. The exterior incorporates a parapet wall design with a combination of 26 gauge steel siding and brick. The interior of the building was designed to accommodate a nine foot ceiling height throughout facility. The walls will be textured coated and painted, while the floors in designated areas will utilize sealed concrete, epoxy, vinyl composition tile, and carpet tiles. The heating and cooling of the building will be accommodated with zoned rooftop HVAC units.
The Dallas Sheriff’s Department Training Section is a licensed academy with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE). The new training center will be in the same area as the Dallas Transitional Center, a residential reintegration facility for Lifestyle Management Inc. that was built using the same slab on grade permanent modular construction process. We expect to have the project completed prior to the end of August.
Good article by Angelo Verzoni in the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) Journal on how the commercial modular industry is experiencing an increased level of acceptance and cooperation from the building codes and standards agencies. This is due in large part to the efforts of the Modular Building Institute, the international trade association for the commercial modular industry. As the MBI’s executive director Tom Hardiman points out in the piece, “we were successful in the 2018 [International Building Code] in getting standard language included for the approval process for modular ‘relocatable buildings,’” he said. “We want to expand upon that effort and create a standard process for approval of all modular buildings. That’s a bit of a longer-term project but we plan on working with ICC this year to get it off the ground.”
Read how modular construction is rapidly becoming a primary building option for designers, builders, and owners here.
Ramtech has announced the purchase of four modular buildings by Humble Independent School District. The district purchased two of Ramtech’s industry standard portable double classrooms, a multiuse building with two classrooms and two offices, and a 576 square foot boys and girls restroom facility. As a long-time customer of Ramtech, beginning in 2005 Humble ISD has purchased 35 buildings which are currently in use at eleven of its 43 campuses. The facilities include portable classrooms, restroom facilities, combination classroom and office buildings, and a life skills facility for their innovative MOSAIC transition program. Designed for students who received special education services through a modified high school curriculum and are ready to actively transition into young adult life, the building features instructional space for eight classrooms, two fully-simulated apartments with kitchens and showers, and a retail store for the sale of student manufactured items.