In 2008, 65% of Texas public school districts utilized either a competitive bid or competitive sealed proposal delivery system when contracting for new school construction. Four years later, with the rapid growth of permanent modular construction, other delivery systems are rapidly gaining popularity with public school districts. By utilizing permanent modular construction and the Design-Build or Construction Manager At-Risk (CMR) delivery systems, projects are being completed faster and for less money.
The challenge in using permanent modular buildings is that most architects are not experienced in the use of this type of building system; therefore, for the project to be successful, it is important that school districts utilize a delivery system in which the modular manufacturing or construction company is responsible for the design, or that the delivery system allows the modular company to act in a design assist role. CMR works very well when the modular company is either the construction manager or is a key subcontractor with a design assist role.
Ramtech Building Systems has been providing both temporary and permanent modular buildings to school districts for over 30 years. Ramtech employs its own design, manufacturing, and construction personnel with an average tenure of more than 15 years. Over the years, Ramtech has developed a proprietary permanent modular building system called the Accelerated Building System (ABS) that combines the best of onsite and offsite construction. Using the ABS concurrent construction method, Ramtech installs a traditional concrete slab foundation with site utilities while simultaneously fabricating the modular building sections in our manufacturing plant.
Upon the completion of the foundation, the modular sections (which include the wall and roof framing, as well as rough mechanical and electrical) are shipped to the site and installed onto the concrete slab. A 50,000 square foot modular addition to a school can be installed onsite and weather proof in just 5-10 days with full completion in 90-120 days. Depending on the time necessary for permitting, the entire process including design and construction is usually completed in less than six months at an average cost savings of greater than 20%.
Should a school district want one company to do 100% of the project, Ramtech and its ABS process together with the design-build delivery system is the perfect choice. If the school has an architect and construction manager that it likes working with, then CMR is a great approach, especially if Ramtech is brought into the process early, serving as a key subcontractor and providing pre-construction services such as design-assist to the A/E of record. Ramtech has worked with large school districts like Alief ISD in the Houston area and the Arlington ISD in the DFW Metroplex, and small districts like Blue Ridge ISD and Mexia ISD. In every case, the key was bringing Ramtech into the picture early so the design and construction addressed the district’s goals and budget.