Modular construction

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Modular construction is a form of offsite production of building structural units which are then assembled onsite to complete the construction of a building: the modular units form the structure of the building as well as enclosing usable space. Modular construction is particularly popular for hotels, educational facilities such as classrooms and student residences, and healthcare facilities. This is due to the economies of scale available from many similar sized modules and the particular benefit of reduced on-site construction time.[1]


In a 2018 Practice Note, the NEC states that the benefits obtained from offsite construction mainly relate to the creation of components in a factory setting, protected from the weather and using manufacturing techniques such as assembly lines with dedicated and specialist equipment. Through the use of appropriate technology, modular construction can

  • increase the speed of construction by increasing the speed of manufacture of the component parts,
  • reduce waste,
  • increase economies of scale,
  • improve quality leading to reduction in the whole life costs of assets,
  • reduce environmental impact such as dust and noise and
  • reduce accidents and ill health by reducing the amount of construction work taking place at site.[2]

Safety advantagesEdit

Modular construction can help eliminate or reduce many hazards associated with traditional construction, and they can be avoided including:

  • Falling from heights, such as roofs. A common method used now is to construct the roof on the ground and lift it into position with a crane later[3]
  • Dropping objects. When construction necessitates working on a building in its finished position, work is often performed at different elevations. This leads to the possibility of objects falling onto other workers.[3]
  • Ergonomic strains. Workers can perform their tasks on smaller pieces of the project in easy to access areas to eliminate the need to reach and stretch.[3]
  • Environmental hazards. As with ergonomic hazards, employees can work on the project in a protected environment instead of in the elements, only needing to be on-site for final assembly.[3]

The use of modular construction methods is encouraged by proponents of Prevention through Design techniques in construction. It is included as a recommended hazard control for construction projects in the "PtD - Architectural Design and Construction Education Module" published by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.[3]

Modular construction systemsEdit

Open-source and commercial hardware components used in modular construction include: Open beam, Bit beam, Maker beam, Grid beam, Contraptor, OpenStructures components, ...[4][5][6] Space frame systems (such as Mero, Unistrut, Delta Structures, ...) also tend to be modular in design.[7] Other materials used in construction which are interlocking and thus reusable/modular in nature include interlocking bricks.[8][9][10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Offsite architecture : constructing the future. Smith, Ryan E.,, Quale, John D. London. 2017. ISBN 9781138821378. OCLC 951742611.CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ NEC, Offsite modular construction, Practice Note 4, published September 2018, accessed 15 November 2020
  3. ^ a b c d e "CDC - NIOSH Publications and Products - PtD - Architectural Design and Construction - Instructor's Manual (2013-133)". 2013. doi:10.26616/NIOSHPUB2013133. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  4. ^ How to Make Everything Ourselves: Open Modular Hardware
  5. ^ MakerBeam description
  6. ^ After more than 30 years, Grid Beam modular construction system comes to market
  7. ^ Analysis, Design and Construction of Steel Space Frames
  8. ^ Interlocking bricks used in Nepal
  9. ^ Bricks that interlock
  10. ^ Conceptos Plasticos interlocking bricks (i.e. made from plastic waste)