Technical Details of more than 300 Unibuild Off-Site Modular Buildings Now Available For Technology Transfer
When buildings are prefabricated away from the site where they are supposed to be placed, this process is called “off-site” modular construction, and it is quickly gaining popularity.
There are numerous benefits to constructing any type of building- residence, office, warehouse, etc.- away from the site. This allows for stricter control over working conditions, ensures safety codes can be easily practiced and provides the same opportunity for high quality work as any other form of building construction.
Variety in Modular Buildings
Most modular buildings are created in factories. Once they are completed, they are hauled to their intended sites to be put together. When modular construction first became a viable construction method, it was only used to create temporary buildings, but as technology has improved over time, more complex and permanent structures are able to be built using this process. Current constructs made with this method include houses, hospitals, office buildings and apartments.
Contractors are becoming more interested in this construction method all the time, as evidenced by the Modular Construction and Prefabrication Summit that is hosted annually. This summit brings in businesses from all around the world to Australia to keep top contractors and businesses up to date on changes in the industry.
What benefits do modular buildings offer?
There are several benefits that modular buildings offer over more conventional building methods. Here are some of the foremost benefits as compiled by the Modular Building Institute:
Increased Building Speed– Most of the time, modular buildings are completed 30-50% faster than comparable buildings crafted through traditional construction methods. By creating the building inside a warehouse or factory, the weather conditions can be less of a problem and the building site can be prepped while the building is being put together.
Cost-Effective– Modular buildings also cost less than traditionally built constructs. No concessions have to be made in order to save money, and buyers get to choose their modular building from a variety of available models in order to suit their budget.
On-the-Fly Changes– Because modular building are assembled off site, it is easier to add extensions and make changes to them while they are still being constructed. They are incredibly adaptable and easily customizable. Building off site makes it simpler to modify parts that are in hard-to-reach areas.
Integrity– Modular buildings are made of the same materials as conventional constructs, but they can be stronger because each piece is strengthened on its own, creating a more durable whole.
Quality Is Easier to Maintain– The controlled environment of the factory means that every aspect of the building is easy to control, with little effort needed to be expended to protect the building from the elements while it is in the delicate stages of development.
Fewer Construction Hazards– About four fifths of the works will be completed away from the intended site, which means that workers can be kept safe in a controlled environment and there are fewer safety and traffic problems to contend with.
Sustainable– By building constructs modularly, the environmental impact of construction is decreased, allowing for more sustainable work and the reuse of more recycled materials.
The first Unibuild off-site modular home was built in Canberra in 1968. In 1969 we relocated to Perth, Western Australia, and designed and constructed many Unibuild modular masonry buildings requiring the labour of bricklayers. In the early 70’s Western Australia was booming and bricklayers were in short supply. They would quote a job, lay a couple of hundred blocks then demand a review of rates upwards.
Unibuild decided to eliminate the masonry trade in favour of its modular, insulated precast concrete walling components. In a public demonstration we commenced construction of two projects of identical design on the same day. One was the usual Unibuild modular masonry construction, the second was Unibuild’s first precast off-site modular construction. The following photographs show the advantages of Unibuild off-site prefabrication.
1410_050 Unibuild’s first truck load of insulated wall panels leaving for the site.
1410_034 Construction progress of the off-site modular house after seven days.
1410_067 Construction progress of the conventional masonry house after seven days.
UNIBUILD HAS NOT DESIGNED AND BUILT A CONVENTIONAL HOUSE SINCE.
- Takes only a few weeks to complete the entire project on site, depending on size.
- In the planning stage, off-site components are fully detailed to fit the specific needs of the customer’ project. (Each trade his its own detailed plan).
- Off-site factory space is used to manufactures all the structural components
- The only site work carried out are footing pads, sewerage and drainage works completed before the structural components arrive at the site.
- A crane erects the prefabricated components in 1-2 days. Add doors and windows and lock up after 4-5 days. The job is now weather proof.
- The interior trades, electrician, plumber and painter can all work together to complete the project.
- Nil or only minimum scaffolding is required
- Landscaping, driveways and paving can follow but are not critical trades.
- Construction takes about 6-12 months or longer.
- At the planning stage, architects and engineers draw up one overall plan to be sorted out by all the trades. Usually no detailed co-ordination planning.
- All trades must follow in trade sequence. Drainage lines, ground slab, masonry construction, roof structure, roof tiling, etc. Cost of detailed supervision is high due to chasing up the various trade workers for scheduling.
- Wet weather can delay the project by months.
- The building need to be scaffold out around the perimiter, a very costly exercise.
- More internal trades required, eg. framers and plasterers needing to work in sequence.
- Landscaping, driveways and paving common to both methods of construction.
Read Peter Smith’s address to the Modular and Offsite Building Conference, Perth, on Unibuild’s fire, flood, cyclone and other hazard proof “off site” modular building technology.
Photographs, (Unibuild_photographic Slides)
Remote Area Mobile Unibuild Precasting Plant.
Unibuild established a modular off-site precast plant in Far North Queensland, for the training of local Indigenous community unemployed workers wanting to design and build their own hazard proof housing and other buildings without having to rely on expensive and confusing “Consultant” documentation unsuited to FNQ climatic and indigenous living conditions.
RECENT REMOTE AREA PROJECTS.
9288 –Rain Forest Cabin (9288-plan)
9290 – Holiday Park Cabin (9290-plan)
9291 – Cabin and Caravan Storage Unit (9291-plan)
9300 – Granny Flat Shell (9300-plan)
9310 – Backpacker Accommodation (9310-plan)
9316 – 4 Bedroom House, (9316-plan)
Unibuild – Proven Sustainability
Unibuild’s first modular, semi prefabricated, passive solar energy project was built in Canberra, ACT, in 1968. After 48 years of occupancy this house was recently sold for an exceptionally high price. It is good for another 48 years, and longer.
Flood Proof Building Technology
If all the houses and low rises buildings damaged and destroyed during the recent Australian floods had been built using The Unibuild flood proof technology they would have remained undamaged and habitable.
Fire Proof Building Technology
The loss of human life and property caused by the recent fires in Australia is regretable. Had the properties been built using The Unibuild Technology most likely all structures would have remained habitable.
To those wishing to rebuild, or build for the first time to prevent fire loss in a future similar event, we offer our fireproof building technology for consideration.
Unibuild fireproof structures comprise the floors, walls and roofs, all components having a minimum 2 hour fire rating to withstand the hottest bush fire as it sweeps through.
Please refer to photos then contact Unibuild for further information.
5726plan Shows a plan of a small rural bushfire proof cabin.
Australian Institute of Building (NSW Chapter) Professional Excellence Awards
The Unibuild Technology wins the Presidents Citation for Research. (Photo)
Low Cost Housing, Chennai, India
Multi Level affordable housing structures. 40-50% lighter than traditional construction, fast building, high thermal insulation built-in, low maintenance. (Photo 9250).
Don’t Waste Your Money Re-inventing The Wheel
License the proven UNIBUILD modular prefabricated design and construct technology. Over 350 projects, applicable to any country, now available on DVD for easy technology transfer. Download latest schedule. PDF.
Commenced operations with the successful display of a model low cost modular house at the Bangkok BITEC exhibition. and a full size Unibuild shell house at Bangkok Architect 05. (arch05). National Housing Authority approved for low rise and high rise low cost housing projects. Withdrew following the GFC.
Tsunami and Cyclone Damage reconstruction
Unibuild Thailand is well placed to assist with the reconstruction process. Reconstruction technology has been completed for Thailand, Sri Lanka, Maldives, India, Bangladesh and Burma. (Tsunami A).
Unibuild Thailand, drawing upon Unibuild’s extensive earthquake and cyclone resistant modular building R & D in Australia and California, has developed low cost tsunami and cyclone resistant structural shells, for immediate occupancy, and later 2 story extension.