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What Is Volumetric Modular Construction?

Volumetric modular construction is a branch of offsite construction in which six-sided modular units, as opposed to two-dimensional components, are assembled in a factory and installed on-sit

September 4, 2019

Modular construction is not a single method of building a structure, but a broad category including a number of different techniques, each with distinct characteristics and applications. Among these is volumetric modular construction.

Volumetric modular construction is a branch of modular construction representing a higher level of sophistication via factory-made, six-sided units. This contrasts with panelization, which produces two-dimensional components requiring more onsite assembly.

These two methods, while very different, share a similar characteristic in that they both require the production of two-dimensional pieces. Where they diverge is how these components ultimately become a finished building. In panelization, pieces are fastened together once they arrive on the job site. In volumetric modular construction, these are affixed to a structural frame built in the factory. This six-sided unit is then shipped to the site and combined with others to form the completed building.

Given the assembly line nature of its construction, volumetric modularization is best suited for building projects requiring many similar units, such as student residence halls, hotels, office buildings, apartments and condos.

Buildings comprised of volumetric modular units have superior strength compared to those comprised of its two-dimensional counterparts.

Much of this added strength is due to its three-dimensional construction, as each module is supported by its own structural frame. This characteristic is necessary to ensure the survival of the module during transportation and installation at the job site. It also carries the additional benefit of creating a building of greater stability than those traditionally constructed, or through panelization.

iBUILT is one of the few modular construction firms in the United States capable of fabricating units of structural steel, giving us the ability to design and construct stronger and larger buildings than our competitors.

Volumetric modular construction can have varying levels of completion in the factory.

Though volumetric modules refer to the completion of a three-dimensional unit, the level of completion can vary greatly. All reputable modular manufacturers will outfit volumetric units with the necessary plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. What is added beyond these is determined by the developer’s needs and manufacturer’s offerings. On the low end is a unit free of finishes and fixtures. On the opposite is a completely outfitted unit with virtually everything it needs.


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