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SHARDA SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE & PLANNING


SHARDA UNIVERSITY
UTTAR PRADESH

DISSERTATION ON
MODULAR CONSTRUCTION

SUBMITTED BY
PRANAV NANDA
COURSE B.ARCH
6TH SEMISTER : 3RD YEAR
ENROLLMENT NO. 2012011804

SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT FOR THE


DEGREE OF BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE
BATCH : 2012 2017

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

After the successful completion of dissertation schedule, it is the


time to acknowledge various people and their unconditional
support during this time period.
First and farmost I wish to thank Prof. Rakesh Sapra, HOD of
Sharda School of Architecture & Planning for his concern, I am
grateful to my internal guide Ar. Vineet Garg, Asstt. Prof. for his
valuable advices and busy time, for helping me in shaping my
project in an effective manner and providing me constructive
suggestions to improve the quality of the work.
I also take this opportunity to thank all those people who helped
me tirelessly during the case studies.
The overall staff at SAP, Sharda University, Greater Noida.
My Senior batches (2011 2016)
And last but not the least, I appreciate all the physical, moral and
financial support that has been provided by my family members
all throughout this time.

(Students Signature)
Date :

INDEX

Prof. Rakesh Sapra


Head of the Dept.
School of Architecture & Planning
Sharda University

INTERNAL GUIDE : Ar. Vineet Garg

(Assiatant Prof.)

CHAPTER 1 - PREAMBLE
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5

INTRODUCTION
HISTORY
AMIS AND OBJECTIVES
FUTURISTIC SCOPE
METHODOLOGY

Pg 4-5
Pg 6-11
Pg 11
Pg 12-14
Pg 15-16

CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE STUDY


2.1 SECTORS OF APPLICATION
2.2 ATTRIBUTES OF MODULAR CONSTRUCTION
- Advantages
- Features of cellular type building
- Structural elements used
- Types of Module
2.3 KEY TECHNICAL ISSUES
2.4 DIMENTIONAL PLANNING
2.5 DISADVANTAGES
2.6 SUSTAINABILITY
2.7 TYPICAL DETAILS
2.8 FACADES AND INTERFACES

Pg 17
Pg 17-37

Pg 38
Pg 39-47
Pg 48
Pg 48-50
Pg 50-52
Pg 52-54

CHAPTER 3 CASE STUDIES


3.1 NAKAGIN CAPSULE TOWER
3.2 JAPAN MODULAR HOTEL

Pg 55-58
Pg 59-62

CHAPTER 4 CONCLUSIONS

Pg 63

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pg 64

PREAMBLE

INTRODUCTION
Modular construction is a process in which a building is constructed
off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and
designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built
facilities but in about half the time. Buildings are produced in
modules that when put together on site, reflect the identical design
intent and specifications of the most sophisticated site-built facility
without compromise.
Structurally, modular buildings are generally stronger than conventional
construction because each module is engineered to independently
withstand the rigors of transportation and craning onto
foundations. Once together and sealed, the modules become one
integrated wall, floor and roof assembly.
Building off site ensures better construction quality management.
Materials that are delivered to the plant location are safely and securely
stored in the manufacturers warehouse to prevent damage or
deterioration from moisture and the elements. Manufacturing plants
have stringent QA/QC programs with independent inspection and
testing protocols that promote superior quality of construction every
step of the way.
Beyond quality management and improved completion time, modular
construction offers numerous other benefits to owners. Removing
approximately 80% of the building construction activity from the site
location significantly reduces site disruption, vehicular traffic
and improves overall safety and security. So, for schools, hospitals,
or other active businesses, reducing on-site activity and thereby
eliminating a large part of the ongoing construction hazards, is a
tremendous advantage.
For architects and owners alike, modular construction companies today
can work with levels of design and construction sophistication that
will exceed all expectations, rivaling their conventional counterparts.
It is beneficial that when exploring the various project delivery

methods, off-site construction is chosen early in the design


development process, and the project built around that methodology,
to avoid redesigning. Most modular companies, however, can take a
stick built design and create a modular version when required, so its
never too late to explore the possibilities!
As owners and designers look for more sustainable designs for
improved environmental impact, modular construction is inherently a
natural fit. Building in a controlled environment reduces wastethrough
avoidance upstream rather than diversion downstream. This, along with
improved quality management throughout the construction process and
significantly less on-site activity and disturbance, inherently promotes
sustainability.

HISTORY
Colonialism through the 19th Century

Prefabricated construction stretches back to 1624 when a disassembled


house was shipped from England to Cape Ann, Massachusetts to house
a fishing fleet using readymade and trusted English building
techniques, familiar to settlers who had just arrived in America in 1620.
Twenty-five years later, in about 1650, the domestic shipment of precut wood for a house from Plymouth Colony to southern Connecticut
eased the settlement of new land by providing immediate shelter and
negating the need to gather and fit lumber onsite.
Though neither of these examples conforms to the current view of a
modern, industrial solution to building, it is clear that a sense of the
convenience of assembling building materials offsite predates many of
the technologies and much of the development with which these
techniques have become synonymous.
In 1833, Chicago saw the first balloon frame building, St. Marys
Church, erected on Lake Street. Credited to, alternately, a man named
George W. Snow and a carpenter named Augustine Deodat Taylor, the
innovation of the balloon frame involved using uniform, slender wood
studs held together with newly mass-produced nails, rather than with
more complex joinery. The technique, so called due to its lightness and
precarious appearance, proved to be an expedient way of creating
much-needed housing in burgeoning urban centers.
By 1834, a simple balloon frame shack would take no more than a
week to construct. Within a decade, the new mode of construction had
spread from the Midwest throughout the nation.
By 1849 railroads carried prefabricated housing kits to California to
provide expedient shelter for prospectors during the gold rush. The
Industrial Revolution and World War I Englands industrial revolution,
beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, also expanded to America,
ushering in factory production powered by new machines. Companies
subsequently began offering homes through catalogs to be assembled
by the client onsite.
While Aladdin Readi-Cut Houses was the first company to offer
prefabricated houses on the market in 1906, Sears, Roebuck & Co.s

mail-order houses proved the best-known example. The companys


designs, sold between 1908 and 1940, offered designs to suit nearly all
aesthetic sensibilities, and the homes came complete with all necessary
materials including nails and house paint.
The cost of assembling ones home from a box was significantly lower
than the custom-built alternative, and there was little need to fear ones
neighbor might end up with the same house; nearly 450 different Sears
home types have been identified. Sears houses were particularly
popular due to their lack of iconography though many of the houses
floor plans are the same, there was little to betray the origins of the
factory made house to the untrained eye. Many of the designs evoked
classic
Americana and would not be out of place on any suburban street. In the
early twentieth century, both domestically and abroad, architects and
engineers were grappling with the question of how to efficiently and
simply house a rapidly growing population. At the onset of World War
I, well-known modernist Le Corbusiers Dom-ino House of 1914
proposed a simple reinforced concrete structure supported by slender
beams. Cheaply and easily reproducible, the project explored simple
housing concepts, though it was never built.

World War II and Postwar Housing


During World War II, prefabricated sheet-metal construction achieved
widespread use in the form of military barracks and mobile trailers. In
The Science Newsletter, an anonymous author lauded the mobility of
trailer housing and the usefulness of temporary housing: No ghost
town will be left after the war, states the author, for the entire
community can be folded up and moved elsewhere. Cornell University
professor
Svend Riemer wrote in 1945 that on the basis of mass production and
backed up by experiences with large scale industrial conversions during
the war, the fateful dilemma of modern residential housing may finally
come to a solution. Referring to trailer homes, he spoke conservatively
regarding the future of American housing: These family homeswill

be of extremely limited size. This differs from our expectations


Today, we
know that (trailers) are here to stay, whether we like it or not. By the
end of the war, Sears, Roebuck & Co. had ceased production on homes
and the notion of prefabrication had lost its charm. By 1946, a Fortune
magazine survey indicated a sharp turn against prefabricated houses,
with only 16% of respondents saying they would choose to live in one.
With the subsequent postwar housing shortage, the use of prefabricated
materials was necessary to shelter a severely underhoused population.
Modularity and prefabrication were not wholly ignored or criticized
after the war; the suburban boom relied heavily on precut, standardized
housing designs and economies of scale. Levittown, perhaps the bestknown example of the American postwar suburb, thrived on the
replicability of house after house. William J. Levitt, the towns
namesake, even graced the cover of Time Magazine on June 3, 1950.15
The production was so streamlined that Time reported a house rose
from the ground every fifteen minutes: Every 100 feet, (the) trucks
stopped and dumped identical bundles of lumber, pipes, bricks, shingles
and copper tubing Near the bundles, giant machines with an endless
chain of buckets ate into the earth, taking just 13 minutes to dig a
narrow, four-foot trench around a 25-by-32 ft. rectangle. Then came
more trucks, loaded with cement, and laid a four-inch foundation for a
house Moving from site to site, a team of two or three workers
would then quickly assemble the house from its component parts. The
developmentsthree Levittowns in allare still inhabited today.
But suburban tract homes, though often relying on prefabricated
techniques, did not become emblematic of the concept of modular or
manufactured housing. During the 1950s and 1960s, a public pushback
against the aesthetics of trailers along with the complex legislative
practices barring the housing type from certain areas, spoke to a narrow
view of manufactured housing. Perhaps as a holdover from earlier war
efforts, when soldiers lived in mobile homes as emergency shelters, the
concept of modularity seemed to evoke inexpensive, shoddy, and most
importantly, impermanent housing.

1960-1990

By 1967, modularity was once again thrust into public consciousness


with Moshe Safdies Habitat 67, constructed for the Montreal Worlds
Fair. The large apartment building consisted of individual modules
made from precast concrete and fitted together like a puzzle.
The fully-assembled structure was well-received critically, and is
considered a Canadian landmark. Safdies Habitat design was meant to
be easily duplicated as the modules could be assembled anywhere,
regardless of location. In spite of the architects plans for additional
such structures, the project was never built elsewhere, but
prefabrication and modularity were garnering renewed interestand a
new found association with high artafter images of the war had
faded.
The 1960s also brought a growing trend of mobile home purchases as
well as advocacy for modular housing to accommodate the needs of
lower-income families.
In 1970, economist Daniel A. Hodes noted that There (is) a large
number of people now occupying mobile homes on a temporary basis,
even though they could afford more costly housing, simply because
they can't find suitable shelter in their price range. Very little
conventionally-built housing is being produced today in the $12.000 to
$25,000 price range. This segment of the market is, essentially, wide
open to the modular housing industry. Hodes also, however, noted the
lingering bias against modular design: For years, the greatest barrier to
the growth of modular housing has been a negative attitude on the part
of the consumer toward prefabrication and factory-assembly of
housing.
While modularity touched both ends of the housing spectrumthat of
high design and that of low-income necessitythe general pushback
against it, the 1980s brought a
renewed interest in urban applications for modular and prefabricated
building practices. One of the greatest obstacles to widespread modular
design, though, was the challenge of disassociating it with the
unappealing image of the trailer, and instead expanding the concept to
include large, well-constructed, and attractive spaces.

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By 1985, modular housing became an attractive option for rebuilding


much of the blighted urban areas that had been abandoned in the 1960s
and 1970s. Even New York City embraced modular construction for
low-income, single family structures in Brooklyn and the Bronx, in
some cases mimicking the suburban tract home aesthetic rather than an
urban one. Writing for the New York Times in 1986, Betsy Brown
discussed the need for affordable housing and the surprise of New York
State legislators who visited a manufactured housing factory; Sandra
R. Galef, Democratic legislator from Ossining and New Castle, said
that people
think of trailers when they think of modular, and these aren't that - these
are attractive, made well, and fairly large. Robert Sawyer, director of
housing for Mount Vernon, said modular housing had a sort of stigma,
as something that wasn't permanent, and he added that the visit had
changed his outlook.
By the late 1980s, modular homes were modifying their designs to
enable spatial configurations untethered to the width and length
restrictions on modules in order to allow for highway transport; the
single-story structures associated with manufactured housing were no
longer the only option. As builders became more creative, design
options followed, allowing for large, even sprawling, structures on
multiple levels.

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In the 1990s, consumers and even developers began to take to modular


construction for its convenience, low cost, and efficiency. In 1999, Lisa
Prevost wrote about a modular Georgian-style mansion in Greenwich,
Connecticut that sprawled to 8,900 square feet. The house used

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES


modular components for the exterior framing while adding custom,
opulent detail to the interior. Seemingly at odds with the concept,
modular companies were now offering the option of customization:
traditional stick-built home design could now be mimicked using
modules. Still, modular and prefabricated housing struggled with the
image of the mobile home and trailer and of assumed inferior
construction; though modular housing companies could build mansions
and large single family split-levels, the same factories also continued to
produce mobile homes, thus making conflation nearly inevitable.

TO CHANGE THE WAY THE WORLD BUILDS -

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FUTURISTIC SCOPE IN INDIA


India has the second fastest growing economy in the world and a lot of
it, is attributed to its construction industry which figures just next to
agriculture in its economic contribution to the nation. In its steadfast
development, the construction industry has discovered, invented and
developed a number of technologies, systems and products; one of
them being the concept of Pre-engineered Buildings (PEBs). As
opposed to being on-site fabricated, PEBs are delivered as a complete
finished product to the site from a single supplier with a basic structural
steel framework with attached factory finished cladding and roofing
components. The structure is erected on the site by bolting the various
building components together as per specifications. PEBs are
developed using potential design software. The onset of technological
advancement enabling 3d modelling and detailing of the proposed
structure and coordination has revolutionised conventional building
construction.
PEBs have hit the construction market in a major way owing to the
many benefits they possess. They exemplify the rising global
construction, technology and while they oppose the practice of
conventional building construction they simultaneously have taken it to
a higher level too. Worldwide, they are a much used concept with
studies revealing that 60% of the non-residential low-rise building in
USA are pre-engineered; for India the concept has been gaining
momentum and the scope of growth is guaranteed looking at India's
huge infrastructural requirements. Studies already validate that India
has the fastest growing market in the PEB construction segment. The
scope of using PEBs ranges from showrooms, low height commercial

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complexes, industrial building and workshops, stadiums, schools,


bridges, fuel stations to aircraft hangers, exhibition centres, railway
stations and metro applications. While we are still to see PEBs being
used in residences in India, one can see their optimal use in
warehouses, industrial sheds, sports facilities etc. The Delhi Airport and
the metro projects of Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai are also examples
of PEB applications.
Pune based Tata BlueScope Building Solutions: a division of Tata
BlueScope Steel Limited (an equal joint-venture between Tata Steel and
BlueScope Steel (Australia) supplies PEB solutions and takes single
source responsibility for their design, manufacture, shipment and
erection. With developing structures conforming to AISC, MBMA or IS
standards, Mr Rohit Ranjan, General Manager, Marketing adds, "Steel
construction is evolving from boxlike steel structures to aesthetically
pleasing designs. Initial acceptance of metal building systems has been
high in industrial applications, followed by infrastructure and
commercial structures. However as awareness is growing, metal
buildings are being considered for residential applications as well."
Interarch Building Products Pvt Ltd with headquarter in Noida is
India's leading turnkey pre-engineered metal building company
and has myriad construction solutions including advanced Preengineered Steel Buildings. Specialising in airport roofing and
ceilings for over two decades, one of their coveted projects is DIAL
Terminal 3 (Terminal 3, IGI Airport at Delhi) with a seven-layer roof
installed over 2,00,000sqm roof area covering the entire airport. On
the absence of PEB's in the residential sector in India, Mr Gautam
Suri, the firm's CTO & Founder Director notes, "In India, modular
construction is still the preferred choice over PEB systems for the
residential sector which is mostly due to lack of awareness about the
benefits of PEB with the general perception being that they are
expensive. Having said that, I would also like to mention that the
PEB industry is slowly and steadily gaining its hold in the
commercial /residential sector and will certainly see widespread
application soon."

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METHODOLOGY
How Are Modular Units Constructed ?

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LITERATURE STUDY
Main Sectors of Applications of Modular Constructon :
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.

Private housing
Social housing
Apartments and mixed use buildings
Educational sector and student residences
Key worker accommodation and sheltered housing
Public sector buildings, such as prisons and MoD buildings
Health sector buildings
Hotels.

ATTRIBUTES OF MODULAR CONSTRUCTION

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Advantages :
1. Economy of scale through repetitive manufacture
2. Rapid installation on site (6-8 units per day)
3. High level of quality control in factory production
4. Low selfweight leading to foundation savings
5. Suitable for projects with site constraints and where methods of
working require more off-site manufacture
6. Limited disruption in the vicinity of the construction site
7. Useful in building renovation projects, such as roof top extensions
8. Excellent acoustic insulation due to double layer construction
9. Adaptable for future extensions, and ability to be dismantled
easily and moved if required
10. Robustness can be achieved by attaching the units together at
their corners
11. Stability of tall buildings can be provided by a braced steel core.

Features of cellular type building such as student


residences and key worker accommodation :
1. Suitable for buildings with multiple repeated units
2. Size of units is limited by transport (3.6m x 8m is typical)
3. Open sided units can be created (by changing the floor orientation)
4. Modules are stacked with usually no independent structure
5. Self weight of 1.5 to 2 kN/m2
6. 4 to 10 storeys (6 is usually the optimum)
7. Fire resistance of 30 to 60 minutes provided
8. Acoustic insulation is provided through double layer walls and
floors.

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Structural elements used in walls and floors of modular


modules :

TYPES OF MODULES
The following types of modules may be used in the design of buildings
using either fully modular construction or mixed forms of steel
construction :
1. 4-sided modules
2. Partially open-sided modules
3. Open-sided (corner-supported) modules
4. Modules supported by a primary structural frame
5. Non-load bearing modules

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6. Mixed modules and planar floor cassettes


7. Special stair or lift modules.

1. 4 SIDED MODULES
In this form of construction, modules are manufactured with four closed
sides to create cellular type spaces designed to transfer the combined
vertical load of the modules above and in-plane loads (due to wind action)
through their longitudinal walls.
The cellular space provided is limited by the transportation and
installation requirements. Depending on location and exposure to wind
action, the height of buildings in fully modular construction is in the range
of 6 to 10 storeys.
Modules are manufactured from a series of 2D panels, beginning with the
floor cassette, to which the four wall panels and ceiling panel are attached
generally by screws. The walls transfer vertical loads and therefore the
longitudinal walls of the upper module are designed to sit on the walls of
the module below.
Additional steel angles may be introduced in the recessed corners of the
modules for lifting and for improved stability. Module to-module
connections are usually in the form of plates that are bolted on site.
Special lifting frames are used that allow the modules to be unhooked
safely at height.

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Details of 4 sided modules showing recessed corners with


additional angle sections

Module being lifted in


the factory

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Modules can be manufactured with integral balconies and a range of


cladding materials can be pre attached or installed on site. All walls
are insulated, and are usually boarded externally for weather
protection. Additional external insulation can be attached on site.
For low rise buildings, in plane bracing or diaphragm action of the
board materials within the modules provides shear resistance, assisted
by the module to module connections, which transfer the
applied wind forces to the group of modules.
For buildings of 6 to 10 storeys height, a vertical bracing system is
often located around an access core, and assisted by horizontal
bracing in the corridor floor between the modules.
For taller buildings, a steel podium frame may be provided on which
the modules are stacked and supplemented by a concrete or steel core.
The maximum height of a group of modules is dependent on the
stability provided under wind action. Various cases are presented in
the table for scheme design (based on wind loading in the Midlands
of England).

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2. PARTIALLY OPEN SIDED MODULES


4 sided modules can be designed with partially open sides by the
introduction of corner and intermediate posts and by using a stiff
continuous edge beam in the floor cassette. The maximum width of
opening is limited by the bending resistance and stiffness of the edge
member in the floor cassette. Additional intermediate posts are
usually square hollow sections (SHS), so that they can fit within the wall
width.
Two modules can be placed together to create wider spaces. The
compression resistance of the corner or internal posts controls the
maximum height of the building, but 6 to 10 storeys can be achieved, as
for fully modular construction.
Long modules can also be designed to include an integral corridor, as
shown below. The length of the module may be limited by transport and
site access but a length of up to 12m is normally practical.
Use of modules with integral corridors can improve the speed of
construction by avoiding weather tightness problems during installation
and finishing work.

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25

The form of construction is similar to that of 4 sided modules, except


for the use of additional posts, generally in the form of 70 x 70 to 100 x
100 SHS members. Balconies or other components can be attached to
the corner or internal posts. Overall stability is provided by additional
bracing located in the walls of the modules.

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Stability of the modules is affected by their partially open sides;


additional temporary bracing during lifting and installation may be
necessary. A separate bracing system may also be required, as the
partially open-sided modules may not possess sufficient shear resistance
in certain applications. A typical building form in which larger
apartments are created using partially open sided units is shown right.

3. OPEN SIDED (CORNER SUPPORTED)


MODULE

Modules may be designed to provide fully open sides by transfer of


loads through the longitudinal edge beams to the corner posts. The

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framework of the module is often in the form of hot rolled steel


members, such as Square Hollow Section (SHS) columns and
Parallel Flange Channel (PFC) edge beams, that are bolted together.
A shallower parallel flange channel (PFC) section may be used to
support the ceiling, but in all cases, the combined depth of the edge
beams is greater than for 4 sided modules. Modules can be placed
side by side to create larger open plan spaces, as required
inhospitals and schools, etc.
The stability of the building generally relies on a
separate bracing system in the form of X bracing in the separating
walls. For this reason, fully open ended modules are not often used
for buildings more than three storeys high. Where used, infill
walls and partitions within the modules are non load bearing, except
where walls connected to the columnsprovide in plane bracing.
The corner posts provide the compression resistance and are typically
100 x 100 SHS members. The edge beams may be connected to these
posts by fin plates, which provide nominal bending resistance. End
plates and Hollo-bolts to the SHS members may also be used. The
corner posts possess sufficient compression resistance for use in
buildings at least up to 10 storeys.
As open sided modules are only stable on their own for one or two
storeys, additional vertical and horizontal bracing is usually
introduced. In plane forces can be transferred by
suitable connections at the corners of the modules.
An open ended module is a variant of a 4 sided module in which a
rigid end frame is provided, usually consisting of welded or rigidly
connected Rectangular Hollow Sections (RHS). The rigid end frames
are manufactured as part of the module or can be assembled as
separate components.

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A steel external framework comprising walkways or balconies may be


also designed to provide stability. Modules using hot rolled

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steelframework can be designed to support concrete floors for use


in medical and other applications, where strict control of vibrations is
required.

4. MIXED MODULE AND FLOOR CASSETTES


In this hybrid or mixed form of construction, long modules may be
stacked to form a load-bearing serviced core and floor cassettes span
between the modules and load-bearing walls.
The modules are constructed in a similar way to that described for opensided modules, but the loading applied to the side of the modules is
significantly higher.
Therefore, this mixed modular and panel form of construction is limited to
buildings of 4 to 6 storey height. It is typically used
in residential buildings, particularly of terraced form, comprising modular
cores for stairs, and highly serviced areas.
The modules are arranged in a spine through the building and the floors
are attached to it. An example of this hybrid form of construction is shown
on the next page.

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5. MODULES SUPPORTED BY A PRIMARY


STRUCTURE
Modular units may be designed to be supported by a primary structure at a
podium or platform level. In this case, the supporting columns are
positioned at a multiple of the width of the modules (normally 2 or 3
modules). The beams are designed to support the combined loads from the
modules above (normally a maximum of 4 6 storeys).
The supporting structure is designed conventionally as a steel framework
withbeams and columns that align with multiples of the module width,
and provides open plan space at ground floor and below ground levels.
This form of construction is very suitable for
mixed retail, commercial and residentialdevelopments, especially
for residential units above commercial areas or car parking, etc,
particularly in urban projects.
Modules can be set back from the faade line. An example of a mixed
development in Manchester is shown. The ground floor and belowground car parking is a conventional composite structure.

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Where the 4 sided modules are designed to be supported by steel


or composite beams and the typical line load per supported floor is
15kN/m,columns are placed at 6 to 8m spacing. A column spacing of
7.2m is suitable for below ground car parking.
The depth of the podium type structure is 800 to 1000mm, and spans of
10 to 18m can be created below the podium, which are suitable
for commercial applications and car parking.
The podium structure is generally braced to resist wind loads and a
separate braced core is often used to stabilise the group of modules above
the podium level. The module design is similar to that described for 4
sided modules. Wind loads can be transferred horizontally through the
corridor floors.

33

Alternatively, non load bearing modules can be supported by a primary


frame, and are installed as the construction proceeds. Modules can be
disassembled in the future to leave the floor cassette supported by
the beams. An example of the mixed use of modules and primary steel
frame is shown below. The modules are shown shaded and floor spans
indicated.
An external steel structure, consisting of a faade structure that acts to
stabilise the building, may also be used. Modules are placed internally
within the braced steel frame, as shown in the MoHo project in
Manchester (below).

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6. OTHER TYPES OF MODULES


STAIR MODULE
Modular stairs may be designed as fully modular units and generally
comprise landings and half landings with two flights of stairs. The
landings and half landings are supported by longitudinal walls with
additional angles or SHS members to provide local strengthening, if
necessary. The stair modules rely for their stability on a base and top,
which leads to use of a false landing. The open top and base of the wall
may be strengthened by a T, L or similar members to transfer out of
plane loads to the landing. SHS posts and bracing can be introduced in
the walls to provide for overall stability.

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NON LOAD BEARING MODULES


Non load bearing modules are of similar form to fully modular units,
but are not designed to resist external loads, other than their own weight
and the forces during lifting. They are used as toilet/bathroom units,
plant rooms or other serviced units and are supported directly on a floor
or by a separate structure. The walls and floor of these pods are
relatively thin (typically <100mm). The units are designed to be
installed either as the construction proceeds or slid into place on the
completed floor.
Compatibility of the floor depth in the module and in the floor
elsewhere is achieved by one of four methods:
Designing the depth of the floor of the module to be the same as
the raised floor or acoustic layer elsewhere.

Placing the module in a recess in the floor of the main structure.

Designing the module without a floor (possible in small


modules in which fitments are attached to the walls).

Designing the modules to be supported on the bottom flange of


Slim floor beams.

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BALCONIES AND ATRIA


Balconies may be attached to modules in various ways:
Balconies supported by a self standing steel structure that is
ground supported

Balconies attached between adjacent modules

Balconies that are attached to corner posts in the modules

Integrated balconies within an open sided module.

Atria may be created by attaching a lightweight steel roof to the upper


modules or by by spanning the roof between the modules as shown on
the next page.

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KEY TECHNICAL ISSUES


The following general design issues are reviewed below:
Dimensional planning
Stability and structural integrity
Service interfaces
Acoustic performance
Fire safety.

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DIMENSIONAL PLANNING
The factors that influence the dimensional planning of modular
systems in general building design may be summarised as:
Cladding requirements, including alignment with external
dimensions of cladding.
Planning grid for internal fit out, such as kitchens
Transportation requirements, including access to the site
Building form, as influenced by its functionality
Repeatability in modular manufacture.

CLADDING
Brickwork design is based on a standard unit of 225mm width and
75mm depth. Therefore, it may be important to design a floor depth
to a multiple of 75mm in order to avoid non standard coursing of
bricks.

Other types of cladding, such as clay tiles or metallic finishes, have


their own dimensional requirements, but generally they can be
designed and manufactured to fit with window dimensions etc.

Many types of lightweight cladding can be pre attached to the


modules, but it is generally necessary to install a cover piece over the
joints between the modules on site, to cater for geometrical tolerances
and misalignments.

STANDARDISATION OF PLANNING GRID

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Standardisation of the planning grid is important at the scheme design


stage, as the planning grid will be controlled by other building
components and fitments. A dimensional unit of 300mm may be
adopted as standard for vertical and horizontal dimensions, reducing
to 150mm as a second level for vertical dimensions. External walls
are detailed according to the type of cladding, but a 300mm total wall
width may be adopted as a guide for most cladding materials. The
actual width will vary between 200mm for insulated render and board
materials to 320mm for brickwork.

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TRANSPORTATION
Guidance on transportation on major roads is given by the Road
Haulage Association, based on the Road Vehicles (Construction and
Use) Regulations.
The following basic requirements for transportation should be
considered when designing the sizes of modular units:

Modules exceeding 2.9m external width require 2 days notice to


the police

Modules exceeding 3.5m width require a drivers mate and 2


days police notice

Modules exceeding 4.3m width require additional speed


restrictions and may require police escort.
Stricter limits may be required for local roads, particularly in urban
areas. In all cases, the maximum height of the load is 4.95m for
motorway bridges. Standard container vehicles can deliver one large
or two smaller units.

INTERNAL WALLS

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Internal walls comprising the walls of adjacent modules may be


designed for a standard 300mm face face overall width, incorporating
the sheathing boards, internal plasterboards and insulation between
the C sections. The gap between the walls is a variable, depending on
the number and thickness of boards and size of the wall studs.

FLOOR ZONE
Floors and ceilings in modular construction are deeper than in more
traditional construction. The three structural cases of side supported
(4-sided modules), corner supported (open sided) and frame
supported modules require different overall ceiling floor dimensions
for planning purposes, as follows:

Continuously supported or 4-sided modules: 300 or 450mm


Corner supported or open-sided modules: 450 to 600mm
Frame supported modules: 750 to 900mm.

In most cases, 450mm may be adopted as a standard for the floor-toceiling dimension, although many systems provide shallower depths.
Forcorner supported modules, a standard overall floor and ceiling
depth of 600mm may be used. The gap between the floor and ceiling
is a variable depending on the number of boards and the joist size.

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STABILITY AND STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY


Overall stability is provided by the modules themselves, or by an
external structure. The load path is through the walls of the 3-D units,
and so removal of this load path means that the walls should be
designed to either:
Span horizontally over a damaged area by acting as a deep
beam or

Be supported by tie forces to the adjacent units.

The latter means that the units should be tied both horizontally and
vertically. Robustness is provided by the ties between the modules
with a normally assumed minimum tying force equivalent to half the
loaded weight of the module (minimum value of 30kN).

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SERVICE INTERFACES
The installation of electrical, plumbing and heating services in
modular buildings can be largely carried out in the factory with final
connections made on-site. In traditional construction, such activities
are labour intensive on-site and are often on the critical path, so that

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any difficulties can cause delays. Service strategies that have been
used in modular buildings include:
Use of communal spaces for distribution of services
Use of the floor or ceiling zone within each module for service
distribution

Installation of services within each module in the factory with


site work involving only connection of modules

Drainage connections of modules connected to vertical risers in


the corner of the modules

Wet areas are connected back to back to


concentrate service zones.

A vertical service duct is usually incorporated in the corner of each


unit to accommodate the vertical drainage and pipework.
The services in each module are installed in the factory and terminate
in the vertical duct. Access to the service duct is generally only
possible from circulation areas outside the modular unit.
The horizontal distribution of services between modules varies,
depending on the building type. For most types
of residential buildings and hotels, the corridor ceiling and floor
voids act as service zones.
Vertical drainage stacks are also installed in the factory and a
removable floor panel is provided to allow the final connection to the
drains installed in the ground on-site. This requires a high degree of
accuracy in setting out service inlets on-site.

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ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCE
Modular construction provides a high level of acoustic separation
because each module has separate floor, ceiling and wall elements,
which prevents direct transfer of sound along the members.

Modular unit manufacturers use various methods to further improve


sound reduction between units two overlapping layers of
plasterboard fixed inside each module, oriented strand board (OSB)
or plasterboard fixed as external sheeting or quilt insulation between
steel members.

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Special care needs to be taken around openings for service pipes or


other penetrations, because sound attenuation is particularly affected
by air pathways between spaces. Electrical sockets penetrate the
plasterboard layer, so they should be carefully insulated using quilt at
their rear.

FIRE SAFETY

Fire safety is related to provision of adequate means of escape, to


ensuring structural integrity, and controlling spread of fire across
compartment boundaries. In England, minimum periods of fire
resistance are given in Approved Document B.
Modular construction generally achieves these requirements by the
use of fire resistant plasterboard conforming to BS EN 520, Type F.
Alternative materials, such as cement particle board and gypsum fibre
board may also be used in combination with plasterboard as the
facing layer.

Each module is lined internally with one or two layers of fire resistant
plasterboard as follows:
For walls: 30 minutes fire resistance is achieved by a single
layer of 12.5mm fire resistant plasterboard on each face of a steel
stud wall

For walls: 60 minutes fire resistance is achieved by one layer of


12.5mm fire resistant plasterboard on a layer of 12.5 mm
wallboard with staggered joints on each face of a steel stud wall

For floors: 30 minutes fire resistance is achieved with 18mm


tongue and groove boarding on light steel joists and 12.5mm fire
resistant plasterboard beneath with joints taped and filled

For floors: 60 minutes fire resistance is achieved with at least


18mm T&G board floor finish and one layer of 12.5mm fire

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resistant plasterboard on a layer of 12.5mm wallboard with


staggered joints beneath the steel joists.

In residential construction, each dwelling usually forms a separate


fire compartment. All walls and floors that provide a separating
function between compartments require 60 minutes fire resistance.
In hotels and other residential buildings, each bedroom may form its
own compartment.

In general, a compartment floor will also act as a separating floor


for acoustic purposes, as the same measures will also achieve
excellent acoustic insulation between rooms.

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Disadvantages :
Volumetric
Transporting the completed modular building sections take up a lot of
space. This is balanced with the speed of construction once arrived on
site.

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Flexibility
Due to transport and sometimes manufacturing restrictions, module size
can be limited, affecting room sizes. Panelized forms and flat pack
versions can provide easier shipment, and most manufacturers have
flexibility in their processes to cope with the majority of size
requirements.

SUSTAINABILITY
The concept of using sustainability indicators is becoming accepted as
part of the environmental assessment of building construction. For
modular construction, it is appropriate to include whole life measures,
such as potential re-use, or re-location which are not properly reflected
in conventional measures of sustainability.

The sustainability indicators relevant to modular construction are listed


below. Comments on how modular construction contributes to these
indicators are given against each indicator.

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52

TYPICAL DETAILS
CONNECTIONS :
Guidance on the design and detailing of the most common connection
types is given in BS EN 1993-1-8. Manufacturers use the method which
best suits their manufacturing process and for which appropriate test data
are available.

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Structural connections between modules are required for integrity and


robustness but details vary depending on the form of the module and the
particular application. Floor boarding, plasterboard and sheathing boards
are attached using self drilling, self-tapping screws. Manufacturers
of light steel framed modules have prepared their own details of
horizontal attachments that satisfy robustness requirements.

ATTACHMENT POINTS

Attachments between modules are made in both horizontal and vertical


directions, primarily to transfer in plane forces, but also for structured
integrity.

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SHS provide the highest compressive resistance and may be used as the
corner posts for open sided modules. However, although these sections are
compact, their connections can be more complex. A welded fin plate to
which the edge beams are bolted is shown. Access holes in the SHS allow
bolts to be inserted through end plates to provide for vertical and
horizontal attachments.

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FACADES AND INTERFACES


Various interfaces between modular units and other components in the
building may not be under the control of the modular manufacturer. The
responsibility for design and coordination usually lies with the building
designer.

FOUNDATION INTERFACES
A variety of foundations can be used, including strip, trench-fill, pad and
piled foundations. Further information on pile foundations is given in
SCI P299. Strip or trench-fill foundations are most common.

Modular units are lightweight and therefore foundations may be smaller


than in traditional construction. Nevertheless, the cladding options and
building height may dictate the foundation design. With strips, rafts or
ground beams, the modular units can be designed to be continuously
supported around the perimeter of each unit.

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The levelling of the foundations or ground beams is crucial to the


subsequent installation and alignment of the modular units. The modular
manufacturers have developed their own proprietary locating and fixing
mechanisms to aid the positioning of units on the foundations

WALL CLADDING INTERFACES

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Claddings for modular buildings can be self supporting vertically and


only supported laterally by the units. Alternatively, they can be
supported entirely by the modular structure.
Two generic systems of facade construction may be considered:
Cladding that is placed entirely on-site using conventional
techniques.

Cladding that is completely or partially attached in the factory;


infill pieces or secondary cladding may be fixed on-site.

Cavity barriers must also be incorporated into any cavity that occurs
between the external cladding and the modular structure. These must
resist the spread of smoke and flame and are required between all
separate dwellings or fire compartments. Mineral wool is generally
used.

ROOFING INTERFACES
Roofing materials for modular buildings generally comprise tiles
supported on battens, or roof sheeting on purlins. Modern roofs may
comprise tiles supported on roof sheeting or structural liner trays.
Flat roofs can also be constructed with a variety of weatherproof
finishes. Insulation in the line of the roof pitch is used where a warm
roof is created. However, in most cases, the roof space is cold, and
insulation is placed directly on the upper surface of the modular units.

Roofs are generally designed as separate structures that are supported


either continuously by the internal walls of the modular units, or as
free spanning roofs between the outer walls. Roofs may also be
designed as modular units for habitable space, and ease of
installation, especially in taller buildings. However, conventional
trussed rafter or purlin roofs are mostly used.

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Roofs are designed to support the weight of the roof covering, snow
loads, services and tanks stored on the roof space, and occupancy
loads from habitable use. The interface between the roof and the
modular units is designed to resist both compression and tension due
to wind uplift. In some cases, the roof can be designed to be
detachable so that the building can be extended later. Shallow pitch
roofs can be designed to be supported directly by the modular units
and are easily dismantled.

CASE STUDIES

1.) NAKAGIN CAPSULE TOWER

LOCATION - TOKYO, JAPAN

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ARCHITECT KISHO KUROKAWA ARCHITECT & ASSOCIATES


CONSTRUCTION STARTED 1970
CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED 1972
NO. OF FLOORS 13
PROGRAM RESIDENCIAL/OFFICE TOWER OF 140 CAPSULE
UNITS
AREA 3,091 SQ M
SIZE OF SINGLE UNIT 2.3 m X 3.8 m X 2.1 m

The building is a rare remaining example of Japanese


Metabolism, an architectural movement emblematic of Japan's
postwar cultural resurgence.

The building was the world's first example of capsule


architecture built for permanent and practical use.

The building still exists but has fallen into disrepair. As of


October 2012, around thirty of the 140 capsules remained in use
as apartments, while others were used for storage or office
space, or simply abandoned and
allowed to deteriorate.

The building is actually composed of two interconnected


concrete towers, respectively eleven and thirteen floors, which
house 140 prefabricated modules (or "capsules") which are each
self-contained units.
Each capsule measures 2.3 m (7.5 ft) 3.8 m (12 ft) 2.1 m
(6.9 ft) and functions as a small living or office space.

Capsules can be connected and combined to create larger


spaces.

Each capsule is connected to one of the two main shafts only by


four high-tension bolts and is designed to be replaceable.

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No units have been replaced since the original construction.

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PLAN

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2.) JAPAN
MODULAR HOTEL

ELEVATION

ARCHITECT : YASUTAKA YOSHIMURA

63

The group of Japanese architects YASUTAKA YOSHIMURA


ARCHITECTS has designed and implemented a modular apartment
complex on the coast of Yokohama.
The last winners of the architectural competitions, Mr. Tom Henel
and Mr. Ondej Fiala, have independly designed a similar apartment
complex. This shows the creativity of young Czech and Slovak
architects and the using of modular construction in practise. We
believe that we will see the similar designes in the 5th annual of
architectural competition that will end on February 28, 2011.
The apartment complex on the coast of Yokohama was built up from
modules that were produced in Thailand, transported to Japan and
than assembled there.
The each dwelling unit is made up of two modules that are placed
upon themself.
There are a kitchen and a living room on the ground floor. These two
modules are connected with minimalist interior stairs.

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On the first floor there is a bedroom with ceiling-window to the living


room. A large bathroom is located on the ground floor under the
bedroom.
The natural lighting in each module is ensured by windows placed
across the front side of each module.

INTERIORS

VIEW FROM OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD

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SECTION

66

SITE PLAN

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CONCLUSIONS
PEBs have a lot of advantages and some challenges that are being
confronted successfully. It is important to realise that in their case
whatever can be done in advance should be done in advance. Efforts
should be made to reduce the number of parts and material and use
light weight elements to save on the transportations costs. However,
the most important step is to increase the awareness amongst people
so that there can be a shift from conventional structures to PEBs.
Firms like Tata BlueScope Building Solutions are focusing on
training and development of their partners and vendors as well the
industry is hoping to see a wider application of PEBs.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY
www.nbmcw.com
www.modular.org
www.nyc.gov
www.steelconstruction.info
www.architonic.com
www.koma-modular.cz
www.wikipedia.org
www.designboom.com