Kevin Flaherty knows modular building can speed up delivery on a development, saving both time and money, but he also believes it can help save the environment.
While modular building can help on expediting a project's delivery deadline, it also helps the environment without changing any of the construction process.
Champion Commercial Structures is one of the companies helping to lead the modular multifamily revolution with 17 factories in the United States, five in Canada and two in the United Kingdom.
Flaherty, the company's vice president of marketing, said the assembly process of modular buildings is more green than conventional site construction processes. Modular assembly cuts down on waste by recycling and scrapping excess materials that may fall to a manufacturing facility’s floor as opposed to trashing most of what would fall to the ground at a conventional job site.
“It’s not something we are doing because we want to save the world, which we do," he said. "But, (additionally) we have to be ultra conservative in our material usage to be a profitable business.”
Some materials that could be considered waste are cut and reused to fit elsewhere in a brace or different part of the project.
“To a site builder, it’s not economically viable to pick up that six inches of copper that has fallen to the floor,” he said. “But (for us,) it’s part of our business model and the way we build our buildings.”
Modular building can reduce construction waste by more than 70 percent, said Cara Houser, director of development at Panoramic Interests.
Weather also plays a major factor in making modular building a green process because assembly takes place in a controlled environment cutting down on the risk of theft, vandalism and on-site problems.
The factory also shields materials from the elements, such as rain, which could cause wood to expand, she said.
Adding points to a green certification is also a bonus feature to modular, Flaherty said.
The National Green Building Standards program awards 13 points in the resource efficiency chapter to modular construction while other programs vary on how much of a boost the process will help toward green certification.
“It’s so easy for us to get those points without doing anything differently,” Flaherty said.
Lindsay Machak is an Assistant Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.