There are some basic differences between good and profitable modular construction and the traditional full-time on-site construction. Modular construction has a particular process and, therefore, single challenges emerge. Check out Troy Eiken expert’s list of the 3 main challenges that do arise for the field.
A completely different construction process! This is a short definition for a good and profitable modular construction, which produces the different parts of the building in different locations and puts them together on-site. However simple it seems, given this particular process, unique challenges emerge. To have a better understanding of this scenario, we asked Troy Eiken, the Director of MMC Consulting, with over 15 years in the industry, a couple of questions:
1) What are the challenges of modular construction for you? Why?
2) What solutions do you think can solve these?
He ranked the 3 main challenges for his company and for the modular construction market alongside their possible solutions based on his experience and expertise. Here is what he told us:
Early Engagement in Projects
“It is vitally important to have a specialist from the conceptual stage and to have projects designed for an off-site construction system. With a quick project review, we are able to identify what systems would best suit the project - be it volumetric, panelised, CLT, bathroom pods, etc. From there, we are able to help the client appoint a suitable architect and/or engineer for the work to ensure that the design is fit for manufacturing. After that, we can move onto appointing a suitable manufacturer that has suitable experience in that field”.
Financing and Red Tape
“Being a global consultancy, we have had the pleasure of working in a lot of countries around the world. This given, one thing we consistently find is that our clients always struggle with standard construction financing of a project and red tape. The problem is that the local state government and the banking systems are not up to date with the off-site construction methodologies and how it all works. We are usually able to counter this by taking the said party on the journey of understanding modern methods of construction, supplying case studies, and showing them previously completed projects. While this slows down our projects and this is frustrating, these people often become the biggest supporters”.
Complex Documentation and Project Management
“We often work with large tier-one multinational construction companies with big budgets that believe modern methods of construction are simple. However, the truth is it is not simple as they first believe. Often we are usually called in after the project has finished in a loss or it is already running off the rails. This is caused simply because they do not embrace the design for manufacturing and assembly (DFMA) or lean manufacturing principles and a fit software to manage the project correctly. They usually simply put their build conventionally in a shed and ship to the site, only incurring these extra costs and reaping no actual benefits of modular construction. Again, early engagement of a specialist in the field and an openness to embracing new ideas and systems is critical to the success of any project in the market”.
To truly be able to make the best of the advantages of modular construction, companies and professionals need to embrace the distinctive process. Doing things the same way as in traditional construction will only lead projects to a financial loss and a delay in delivery, which is never positive for the company nor for the client. In modular construction the logistics will contrast with the standard model, and will need to be approached with dynamism - here a flexible construction management software can help. Moreover, a project manager specialized in this field may lead third parties on how to deal with these challenges and overcome them.
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