Recap: Off-site Expo in Vancouver

Undoubtedly, there is an energy that is building toward the potential for off-site construction solutions in the housing industry. Drivers highlighted at the Offsite Expo in Vancouver – hosted by the Modular Building Institute and a number of off-site solution providers – behind why companies are starting to embrace modular technology include: quality, schedule and labor challenges. Developers and general contractors are looking for a better way to build and the general awareness and acceptance of modular technology seems to be growing.

At this, the second of three 2017 events in North America, experts advised that great success comes from having an openness to change and outside-the-box thinking; a team-based design-build approach; and integrated project delivery.

Schedule Reduction/Productivity gain was the major driver and motivating factor that was emphasized, claiming 30-50% shorter onsite construction schedules. Two other areas were also highlighted:

Risk Management Benefits:

  • Budget certainty
  • Sooner to cash flow
  • Decreased loan schedule
  • Reduced market exposure
  • Decreased site disturbance
  • Fewer trade contracts

Consistent Quality & Safety Benefits:

  • Rigorous QA-QC with enhanced construction supervision
  • Multi-story product fully constructed on ‘one story’ assembly line
  • Climate controlled building environment
  • Improved safety, working conditions and equipment
  • Exacting brand standards
  • Reduced trade damage
  • Decreased material waste

Descriptions and examples of offsite fabrication included:

  • Volumetric, three-dimensional cubes
  • Assemblies: Flat pack walls, floor systems, roof or ceiling systems; Mechanicals and electrical modules; Complete bathrooms or kitchen components
  • SIPs, Precast, CLT (cross-laminated timber)
  • Light gauge steel assemblies
  • Pre-fabrication on site

Expert-speakers emphasized the need for modular products that compliment conventional construction, not compete with it. They also shared how offsite modular construction can deliver positive social and environmental impact, offer potentially easier access to LEED points, and have 46% less carbon footprint in comparison to site built.