- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 09 Mar 2018
The process of modular construction from design to completion
Even though off-site construction is generally a more simple process than traditional building, there can still be advantages to using a company which can support every step of the process. Turnkey services offer expert guidance from the first meeting to the last coat of paint.
 Devising the concept and design
The first step in any project is determining what the customer wants. When choosing off-site construction, several factors can influence this decision. How many rooms are required? How high will the structure go – single storey or multiple floors? Where will the building be located?
Time should be taken to discuss these questions with customers and run through the options in initial meetings so that they can be certain that they have covered all the angles. From there, the plans can be put together and a quotation provided.
Customers should be kept informed throughout the process, and the use of building information modelling (BIM) allows customers to see what the finished product will look like before manufacturing begins.
The added advantage of this approach is that the final cost should not differ from the initial quote, helping customers to plan and control their expenditure.
 Managing the planning process
The first step is to liaise with the council’s planning officer and manage the full process, including submitting the plans in the correct format and ensuring they are complete.
From there, the next step is the building regulations application, which covers the functionality and structural performance of the building to ensure that it complies fully with requirements. The regulations look at the robustness and safety of the finished building as well as taking account of fire safety, drainage, potential for contamination, ventilation and so on.
 Construction and installation run concurrently
Once planning permission is secured from the local authority, groundworks can begin on-site. Skilled tradespeople will dig foundations and liaise with utilities providers to ensure that all services connections are in place so that the final structure can be easily dropped into place.
The construction works begin at the same time in a specialist factory, where the building is assembled ready to be installed on-site. The final step in the process is dropping the finished building into place and connecting the utilities. Exterior cladding (which starts in the factory) is finished off on-site, as is plastering and painting.
 How long is the modular construction process?
Using a company that can manage the design and construction process from start to finish is the most efficient way to ensure that a project is completed in a timely manner.
After the initial discussion, the quick generation of plans and a quotation puts the customer in position to start the planning process. This is where delays can occur: securing planning permission and building regulations approval can take anything from six weeks to three months depending on the local authority, so taking advantage of an experienced team which is well-versed in the process can be worthwhile.
The rest of the process can be relatively simple: the groundworks will run alongside the factory build, so within four to six weeks the structure will be ready to installed. As the time on site should take just a couple of weeks, the whole process can take no more than three or four months.
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