Modular construction

Modular construction is a fast-growing new construction method that is gaining ground in construction. What is it and why is this sustainable construction method so suitable for housing ambitions? Read everything you need to know about modular construction in this knowledge article.

What is modular construction?

Modular construction is building with standardized, prefabricated modules that are assembled and connected together on site. The goal of modular construction is to reduce construction time, lower costs and improve quality control. Modular construction is thus a good alternative to traditional construction methods.

Meaning of modular construction

The term “modular construction” refers to a construction method in which the components and modules of a structure are built in a factory and then transported and assembled at the construction site.

History of modular construction in the Netherlands

After World War II, more and more prefabricated elements were used in construction, which is considered the beginning of modular construction in the Netherlands. The Portakabin company was the first company to start modular construction in the Netherlands in the 1980s. That started with container modules for temporary accommodation. Meanwhile, technological development allows us to make all types of elements and modules.

Difference from traditional construction methods

The big difference is that in traditional construction methods, almost everything is made on site. With modular construction, almost everything is made in the workshop / factory. It is still sometimes said that the quality of traditional construction methods is better. This is thought because modular construction was first used to quickly build temporary accommodations. This is outdated. Modular construction has taken a bird’s eye view of quality and now has more advantages over traditional construction methods.

Getting started in modular construction? View training workshop carpenter

Modulair bouwen

The benefits of modular construction

Since there are many homes to be added in the coming years, this is a great advantage. Modular construction is between 30% and 50% faster than traditional construction methods. This is due in part to standardized processes and being less dependent on available personnel or weather conditions at the construction site.

Lower costs
Standardized processes and better quality controls reduce failure costs. Less material is wasted and much less transportation is needed.

Less nuisance
Up to 90% less transportation movements and shorter construction time results in less inconvenience to the neighborhood.

Better for the environment and sustainable
Less transportation is also less pollution, in addition, up to 90% less waste is produced during construction and less energy is required during the construction process. Modules are reusable and even recyclable, making this the solution for sustainable construction.

A modular building can be easily modified, reduced or enlarged by adjusting the modules. So you can modify a building if there are different needs.

The disadvantages of modular construction

There are few drawbacks to modular construction, which is why this method of construction is becoming more widely used. It does still suffer from the image that this type of housing would not be of good quality, and that affects the resale value of a building. That image is unjustified and is increasingly changing in the right direction.

How does modular construction work?

It starts with a design by an architect or engineer after which the various elements for the module are made at the factory. The same materials are used for this as in traditional construction methods, think concrete, steel and wood. Before these elements are transported to the construction site, everything is tested. The chance of errors is minimal due to the standardization of the process, often robotization is part of this. When everything is ready, the elements are transported to the construction site in order and at the right time so that everything can be assembled properly and quickly. This creates the modules that are assembled into one building.

What does modular construction cost?

The cost of modular construction varies depending on a number of factors, including design and use of materials. Modular construction is 10% to 20% cheaper than traditional construction methods. Modular housing units cost about €60,000 for 40m2.

Working in modular construction

For carpenters, there is a lot of work in modular construction where you will work in the workshop assembling and making elements. There is also work to do outside, such as assembling and finishing modules at the construction site. You work a lot with top power tools so you can work well and quickly. Often everyone has their own task and responsibility in the process and together you make the modules into one.

Modular construction training

At Jobxion, you can train to get started as a workplace carpenter in modular construction. In our training center in Geldermalsen, we have a large modular unit where you will learn all about modular construction. Consider the use of the specific power tools used, sizing, assembly and general skills you need as a carpenter. This course is coordinated with a leading modular builder in the region, after which you can start working as an apprentice modular builder upon successful completion of the course. There you will continue to learn and help build a sustainable future. 


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