The world’s tallest modular building, Park Place at 461 Dean in Brooklyn, New York recently installed its final modular unit, marking the completion of the first phase of what will eventually be a major complex having more that 2,200 affordable housing units. A project of this magnitude can soon become more prevalent in urban development as more construction companies and developers look towards modular construction as another option for their housing development projects.
While megaprojects like Park Place make waves in the construction industry, modular construction currently makes up only 3% of new commercial construction in North America according to the Modular Building Institute. However, that figure is expected to rise to 5% over the next five years. While modular construction offers the same end product as traditional on-site construction, getting companies to the same conclusion has proven difficult. However, as more projects such as Park Place make news, the advantages of modular construction are being seen by more and more potential customers.
Perhaps one of the most important advantages of modular building construction is improved safety conditions for workers. High rise building projects such as apartment complexes or office towers take employees several stories above ground where fall risks are high. Modular construction keeps workers always on ground level as they build each module one at a time on a factory floor. Also, by utilizing repeatable processes such as the construction of large housing complexes, modular construction is faster, wastes less material and is built to higher standards than traditional onsite construction as the units are inspected at each stage of the building process.
So why aren’t there more large-scale modular housing projects like Park Place? One answer is that developers and housing groups simply don’t know of the capabilities of modular construction. With the strict guidelines and parameters that come with affordable housing, the rigorous inspection processes and factory-controlled settings that make up modular construction could very well what gives it an edge in affordable housing construction. According to a recent survey, a third of residents plan on leaving the San Francisco Bay Area due to the cost of housing. Wherever these residents decide to move next, Teton Buildings hopes to provide them with the high-quality affordable housing they seek.