The sixth article in the series: Why Prefab Modular Construction is a Smarter Fit for Schools.
Following from the renewed focus on climate and associated environmental awareness, it is incumbent on schools to model best practice for our future generations. Prefabricated modular construction certainly exemplifies more environmentally friendly and sustainable building options along with a range of effective, long-term environmental benefits.
The in-factory manufacturing processes make prefab building a more sustainable option. Use of sustainable materials, in-house recycling and just-in-time supply chain management significantly reduces the wastage associated with insitu building. Off-site construction reduces the environmental impact on the delivery site. There are fewer workers required on site, there are fewer site disturbances and the reduction in workers’ travel reduces vehicle emissions along with the CO2 savings gained through equipment and material suppliers delivering to the factory.
Prefab building methodologies combined with quality controlled factory manufacturing produces more accurate construction with air-tight joints, improved insulation and better energy efficiency for the life of the building. Crucially, the cost efficiencies of a modular build can offset the often times higher cost of more sustainable inclusions such as reconstituted materials, solar panels, heat pumps, LED lighting and double glazing; which are usually the first items discarded when budgeting for the build!
A critical element in current school construction is the need to utilise in-fill sites or build in restricted footprints. Prefab modular building methods enable schools to make the most effective use of their site, build in previously inaccessible or constrained spaces and efficiently deliver multi-storey buildings in minimal timeframes. Recent examples of prefab school construction in inner Melbourne demonstrate successful solutions to: reducing urban sprawl, enhancing liveability, retaining plantings and play space by accessing existing services and infrastructure – outcomes unattainable via traditional building methods.
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.