A recent study of 17 permanent modular construction projects found that, on average, schedules can be slashed 45% and costs cut 16% over onsite construction.  Of the completed projects reviewed, there were on average 0.25 safety incidents.

Modular buildings, such as the Millmont Elementary School, can be more than ugly boxes, say supporters. (Courtesy of NRB Inc.)

“These are incredible results,” said Ryan E. Smith, associate dean of research and engagement at the University of Utah and the principal researcher for the study, Permanent Modular Construction: Process, Practice, Performance.

The study is a step toward creating a model to collect data on off-site construction, defined by the Off-Site Construction Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) as any component of a building that is assembled away from its final location on a site. Permanent modular construction (PMC), also known as volumetric modular, is a subset of off-site construction. “To date, there is no uniform standard to collect data,” said Smith, at the first Off-Site Construction Expo, Sept. 23-24, in Washington, D.C. Smith is also the chair of the NIBS OSCC.

The study also looked at return on investment, based on comparisons to three conventionally built jobs…

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