As Ramtech begins to see more and more projects that are requiring LEED certification and sophisticated sustainability requirements, we have begun the process of developing an informational guide around sustainable construction alternatives that can aid public school districts in their decision-making process when planning for permanent school expansions. Planned during the first quarter of 2014, Ramtech’s Green Benefits guide will help educate schools on the efficiencies of using sustainable construction techniques that can be realized through the use of permanent modular construction like Ramtech’s highly adaptable Accelerated Building System process. Recognized by the Modular Building Institute, the trade association that represents the commercial modular building industry in promoting permanent modular construction across a wide variety of industries for public, private, and institutional applications, the Green Benefits advantages provide for sustainability through:
- Less material waste using pre-fabrication in order to make it possible to optimize construction material purchases while minimizing the on-site waste caused by weather related damages.
- Less site disturbances since the modular structure is constructed simultaneously off-site while the foundation and other site work takes place, thereby reducing the time and impact on the surrounding site environment including reducing the number of vehicles and equipment needed.
- The off-site construction which helps eliminate the hazards associated with materials, equipment and incomplete construction processes that are typical of construction sites that can attract curious and unwelcome “visitors” (i.e. students on a school expansion project).
- An adaptability inherent in modular buildings which are frequently designed to quickly add or remove one or more “modules” minimizing the disruptions to adjacent buildings and surroundings.
The faster expansion in the job market in Texas versus the rest of the country creates the population growth that continues to place a strain on the financial resources of public school districts. To accommodate this growth, school districts most often look to pass bond packages for adding new facilities which requires increasing the local property tax rates, a process which can be difficult in today’s economic climate. While most schools may want to build LEED certified green buildings, sustainable construction in Texas is more costly than traditional alternatives that meet only the minimum building codes. That’s why school districts should work with a design and construction firm that has the knowledge and commitment to develop an affordable sustainable construction approach for school additions and expansions, a process that can be met through the use of permanent modular construction like Ramtech’s Accelerated Building System.
With the Accelerated Building System permanent modular construction method, it is not uncommon for the cost of design and construction to be reduced by 20 to 40% and for the overall timeframe to be shortened by as much as 40 to 50%. Ramtech accomplishes this using the best of off-site prefabrication and on-site construction techniques including setting factory assembled modular sections complete with attached ceilings and walls – but no floors – directly onto a conventional concrete slab foundation. This allows the concrete slab to become the floor of the structure just like a site-built building. They then site-apply all of the exterior and interior finishes providing the client with a faster and less costly facility but identical in the look, functionality and life expectancy of a completely site-built structure. While this modular building approach by itself makes the construction process greener, the benefits multiply quickly when you add in the use of specialty materials and mechanical systems like heat resistant roofs, reduced use water fixtures, optimized HVAC systems, and shaded energy efficient windows.