Modular Advantage: The innovation edition

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This edition of Modular Advantage puts the spotlight on innovation and the seismic changes being brought about in modular construction as the industry adopts ground-breaking hardware, software and building techniques

Modular Building Institute executive director Tom Hardiman says innovation represents the intersection of the necessary and the impossible, with many in construction adopting new technologies and ways of working to get jobs done in the midst of a global pandemic.

But, he argues, this must not be the end of the innovation story – if this year has taught us anything, it’s that companies must continue to push forward in order to grow.

There are a host of features highlighting innovation, from volumetric modular construction and 3D printing to a new framing system and modular “wellness pods” designed for workers on high-rise developments.

Lowney Architecture’s Nick Gomez looks at how to optimise offsite construction and avoid potential pitfalls, looking at site selection and zoning designation through to understanding the limits of factory production and building layout in order to maximise the time and cost benefits on offer.

John McCabe of Branch Technology discusses the company’s offsite 3D printing, which can produce complex lattice structures that are both light and strong – and have even won first place in Nasa’s Martian Habitat Challenge to explore the possibilities of off-world construction.

Elsewhere, Christian Lawrence, founder and CEO of Rise Modular, writes about launching what is the first large-scale commercial modular manufacturer in the Upper Midwest of the US.

After opening its factory in April 2020, the company has already completed the first modular multifamily development in Minneapolis and is now working on the first such building to be built in Minnesota’s state capital, St Paul.

Blair Davies of VECTORMINIMA recounts the development of METALOQ, an innovative modular framing system that combines simple design and ease of assembly with greater creative freedom for architects.

In addition, Cliff Hokanson of HHI Corporation discusses its work to design and fabricate a state-of-the-art Mobile Triage Unit, which has been donated to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida to support the treatment of Covid-19 patients, with more nearing completion.

Glenn Cort of Triumph Modular and Dr Sarah Cherry Rice, founder of Year 13, discuss their work to provide modern youth apprenticeships in modular construction, offering a mixture of college classes and hands-on work experience.

There is also an article looking a partnership between Lendlease and B&T Manufacturing to create innovative H3 wellness pods as a more convenient, pleasant and hygienic alternative to porta-johns for workers on high-rise developments.

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