Modular Design Article

September, 2014

As commentary on BEE Consult’s white paper on modular design (http://bee-consult.webs.com/Modularity.pdf) James Warne provided an article:

“Summary on Modular Design”

In 1851, Paxton’s Crystal Palace demonstrated that outstanding design and innovation could be achieved through modular construction.

Since then modular design has sought to improve construction through a variety of key performance indicators, including speed of construction, cost of construction, improved quality, improved health & safety and minimising waste (amongst others).The opportunity for better performing buildings through modularisation is as pregnant now as it has been for the last 160 years.

The challenges lie in a number of artificial barriers as well as one or two real-world ones. These are:

  1. Designers need to better integrate with the supply chain to create opportunities for modular design.
  2. Early procurement of offsite fabrication needs designers to release information earlier, increasing pressure on interdisciplinary coordination.
  3. Savings in use need to be better recognised to allow better investment in quality for longevity and low carbon construction, with higher CapEx paid for through whole life savings.

Once these issues can be overcome, better coherence between modular design and execution can be achieved.

“My personal experience of modular design has included cladding systems, primary plant such as boilers, chillers and air handling units, and also natural ventilation solutions, noise attenuation details, MEP services and more.  In each case they have led to shorter construction periods, reduced congestion on site, improved quality or better overall performance.

Based on this experience, Modularity as a concept of scalable data centre modules can provide greater assurance on delivery, reliable performance, quality control and cost. The added advantages of a pre-conceived set of building blocks on which to base the design requirements must make the solution easier at each stage of the project, design, construction and into operation.  It stands to reasons therefore that this must be more appealing to a client base and their team than traditional offers for the role out of data centres.”

 

James Warne – Boom Collective.