What is Volumetric Construction?

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    January 1, 2019

    What is Volumetric Construction?

    Do you remember the joy of playing with a Lego building set? The satisfaction of constructing buildings that conveniently snapped into place was unbeatable. The majority of the blocks were uniform in size and shape. You could choose your favorite colors or customize the floor plan layouts.

    What if there were a prefabricated building process that allowed you to do just that? There is. It’s called volumetric construction.

    What Is Volumetric Construction?

    What is volumetric modular construction? Volumetric modular construction is the process of assembling fully enclosed, six-sided building modules in an offsite factory setting and then joining them together to construct one large building.

    The video below is a perfect example of how convenient volumetric construction is once your modules arrive on the site location.

    Curious to know more about modular construction methods? Read our Ultimate Guide to Modular Construction.

    Is Volumetric Construction The Same Thing As Modular Construction?

    Volumetric construction, also called volumetric modular construction, is one type of modular construction. Another way to think about this is that all volumetric construction is modular construction, but not all modular construction is volumetric. 

    A volumetric building module is different from other modular construction modules in that it is completely enclosed. This means that all six sides of the module are accounted for — one floor, four walls, and one ceiling. 

    Did you know modular and prefab buildings can sometimes differ? Read Modular Buildings vs. Prefabricated Buildings to learn more.

    Other modular construction types undergo the same construction process, but the factory may build modules that are open on one side or multiple, depending on what the project calls for.

    Types Of Modules In Modular Construction:

    • Fully enclosed volumetric modules
    • Partially open-sided modules
    • Open-sided modules
    • Stair modules
    • Mixed module and prefab panels

    5 Volumetric Construction Advantages

    Below, we discuss the three most notable advantages of the modular building process.

    Advantage 1. More Materials Make For A Stronger Building

    Volumetric construction often uses more materials in the assembly of each module. Each building module needs to be properly framed in order to fully and safely support itself. As a result, once the entire volumetric offsite construction project is stacked and connected together, you have the structural strength of the overall frame of the building and of each individual module that is in place.

    While all construction is permitted and certified under the same codes and regulations, some severe weather data have shown that modular construction is stronger than traditional, onsite construction buildings and two-dimensional prefabricated buildings.

    Curious about modular construction’s lifespan? Read How Long Will Your Modular Building Last? to learn more.

    Advantage 2. Organized And Efficient Delivery Of The Final Construction Project

    Volumetric construction is going to deliver you a project on budget, as scheduled, and in less time than the other construction types your competitors are using.

    The major benefits of modular construction are a result of a smoothly executed design build construction process.

    For example, when Mobile Modular acts as your commercial construction contractor, the design and discovery process is thorough and comprehensive. We begin by connecting our team with yours to completely understand what your needs and expectations are for the volumetric project. Our architects, engineers, and the rest of the design team will have a complete and thorough understanding of exactly what your commercial building will look like as we head into the construction process.

    As design finalizes, onsite foundation preparation and offsite module construction begin simultaneously. This is a big reason why we can beat the timelines of traditional, onsite builders while still exceeding your quality expectations. 

    Because design is thorough, construction is completed in a controlled environment, and we oversee every part of the construction process from design to building installation, volumetric modular construction provides you with the most accurate initial quote and timeline expectations.

    Advantage 3. It’s Customizable

    Don’t get hung up on the words like “factory” and “volumetric” and think that what you’re investing in will be repetitive or that each layout will be the same. Modular construction companies who work with skilled manufacturers and tradesmen can make the inside of those modules as unique and customized as you prefer.

    From layouts to materials, each module can be designed to work for you and your company. Add bathrooms, walls, high ceilings, offices, and warehouse space wherever you need.

    Advantage 4. Volumetric Modular Construction Is Better For Budgets

    The weather is the most difficult member of any construction crew. Even a light rain can delay projects for days and result in increased costs. For the most part, this isn’t an issue in volumetric modular construction. That’s because so much of the work is done in a controlled, factory-style environment. In other words, it’s done indoors, so the weather doesn’t matter so much. 

    The other budget-boosting benefit of volumetric offsite construction? The making of each unit is a repeatable process. That means you pay less for machine retooling and other design and build factors that can shoot costs through the roof.

    Advantage 5. Volumetric Construction Produces Less Waste

    Vandalism, theft, over-buying materials, spoilage, weather damage — these are all wasteful byproducts of the traditional construction process that you simply don’t have with volumetric modular construction. That means volumetric construction projects produce less waste.

    Adding to that bonus is the fact that many volumetric modular buildings are highly efficient, meaning they use less energy. That cuts down on both utility costs and costs to the environment.

    Industries That Benefit From Volumetric Modular Construction

    Any industry that can utilize a commercial or public building space can take advantage of the benefits of volumetric offsite construction.

    But from our experience, here are some of the most common industries that take advantage of this type of building process:

    Discover the many building options available in our Commercial Building Types guide.

    Volumetric Construction Examples

    In theory, volumetric modular construction is great, but what about in practice? It’s great in practice, too. Not convinced? Have a look at these volumetric construction examples.

    A Volumetric Modular Hotel On A Manmade Island

    Mobile Modular was tasked with building apartments on a manmade island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The idea was that the island would serve as a pit stop for a cruise line, and passengers could enjoy the island and stay in the apartments.

    In under 90 days, Mobile Modular designed and delivered 80 volumetric modules. The result was three apartment buildings of three stories each for 132 units in total, as well as a two-story executive townhome.

    See the Ocean Cay Project here.

    Arctic Worker Housing Made With Modular

    The remote arctic town of Deadhorse, Alaska, is now the site of a three-story facility that houses 452 private rooms thanks to Mobile Modular’s volumetric modular construction expertise. Privacy, soundproofing, and premium insulation were key to the successful completion of this project. This project won the Modular Building Institute’s Award of Distinction.

    See the Arctic hotel project here.

    Find Out How The Volumetric Construction Process Can Deliver Your Next Building Project

    At Mobile Modular, we deliver award-winning customized permanent construction projects that our customers love. Whether you’re a commercial business or public works organization, our experienced modular experts would be happy to deliver your next custom building.

    Contact us today to get started and one of our representatives will be in touch with you soon.

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