The second article in the series: Why Prefab Modular Construction is a Smarter Fit for Schools
In a busy school environment, where safety is paramount and learning programs are precious, no one looks forward to a building project! The lengthy disruption caused by loss of space, access issues, noise, dirt and site hazards is detrimental to school life and dreaded by students, staff and parents! Prefabricated, modular building techniques significantly reduce construction timelines, saving schools much of the interference caused by a traditional build.
This time saving is a recognised factor in the Victorian School Building Authority’s Permanent Modular Replacement Program (1). “Offering the latest in construction technology, taking less time in planning and on-site construction, being sustainable and innovatively designed, these buildings have a comparable lifespan to traditional in-situ construction (2).”
As most of a modular construction is completed off-site, in a factory, the site preparation and services installation can occur simultaneously. Working concurrently significantly reduces project time, by as much as half that compared with traditional construction. Being built in a factory, away from the school, eliminates delays due to: adverse weather, sub-contractors’ schedules, supply chain, site theft or vandalism.
Schools don’t need to relinquish site space during the whole of the build time, nor endure the inconvenience of materials delivery, site management problems, work force issues and the inevitable interruption to learning programs. This control over so many of the variables which plague traditional construction methods, gives certainty around the completion date and pricing.
In-factory manufacturing processes simplify making variations whilst under construction as prefabrication requires far greater planning detail and specification than traditional techniques. Instead of leaving final details “to be resolved onsite”, work continues in the factory whilst the variation is made, without time loss and at very little extra cost.
The modules are delivered and assembled onsite at a time and in a manner convenient for the school. The building is immediately at “lock-up” stage, is weather tight and secure, requiring only the final finishing, landscaping and fit out to be done onsite. Again, because the initial construction has already occurred elsewhere, these finishing trades can be scheduled concurrently, in a considerably shorter timeframe.
About the Author: An experienced educator and school leader, Justin worked in Victorian metro, regional, government and private schools for over three decades. As Principal, he oversaw numerous school building programs and is now an Education Construction specialist with Pretect Commercial Modular Buildings.
(1) Victorian School Building Authority; Permanent Modular Replacement Program: https://www.schoolbuildings.vic.gov.au/Pages/Permanent-Modular-School-Buildings-Program.aspx
(2) Court Heath Consulting; Changing how Victoria Builds Schools: http://www.courtheath.com.au/changing-how-victoria-builds-schools/