There are multiple modular and prefab applications for which Nichiha products are approved.
Volumetric modular construction is most often used in hospitality, multi-family commercial and residential design. Volumetric modules are enclosed, modules or “boxes” that are craned into place and connected on the job site. Generally, volumetric module designers and manufacturers target 90%+ combined completion of the finishes and even furnishings to reduce the number of labor hours on site. This kind of construction is trending, accounting for 4% of the market and about $7 billion worth of construction activity in 2017, according to Modular Building Institute research. “There's potential for about 10% around the corner, some experts say,” writes Joe Beeton for Construction Dive.
Non-volumetric modular construction refers to the panelization of a building’s design. These don’t individually enclose a space from the factory but act as components of the shell and exterior that are flat stacked, delivered to the site and assembled. Designers and manufacturers look to achieve 20%+ completion with this method and most panelized construction is structural framing only.
Non-volumetric panelization can be introduced later in the project than volumetric modules but either way, additional planning and collaboration are crucial. When a prefab building enclosure is considering exterior panels or cladding, it is imperative to work with a manufacturer experienced with a system-built componentized construction.
Nichiha Architectural Wall Panels have been increasingly featured on both modular commercial buildings and residential construction in North America: But Nichiha cladding has been the cladding of choice for decades outside the U.S. where modular construction has been popular for some time. Why? The rainscreen and simple clip installation already streamline the traditional site-built construction process — those efficiency benefits are even more profound in the modular context.
Nichiha fiber cement cladding is trusted for its high-performing durability, and its dependable, flexible design allows architects to enhance the exterior of their modular designs according to their own unique vision.
Modular prefab construction saves the industry quite a bit of money. It has the potential to revolutionize how the future building climate looks, and “deliver annual savings of up to $22 billion” according to research from McKinsey. Offsite and onsite prefabrication both help achieve that kind of savings.
Making any part of the process factory-controlled (like offsite prefabrication) helps building crews create less waste and allows for tighter construction timelines. Modular construction requires everyone in the design process to find more efficient strategies and building products in general, though.
A prefabricated component provides certainty about cost since the design is already set, and having control over the construction environment helps guarantee project efficiency. “In that vein, change orders are nearly unthinkable, which greatly reduces costs,” says Beeton.
Offsite and onsite prefabrication are both a part of modular design, but every project has specific needs with a different approach and timing to introduce cladding design. The chart below depicts a few possibilities for construction with Nichiha panels.
Deciding on your approach to modular design comes with challenges, but there are some standards in construction lending to systemization. “Structural systems, plumbing, wet walls and other underpinnings are relatively identical, and can be codified for maximum efficiency,” writes Joe Beeton for Construction Dive.
Modular design has already been a big player in the construction industry around the world, in countries like Japan and Sweden. Residential and commercial projects around the globe feature modular components that help building professionals guarantee design success.
For modern appeal and stunning style, residential architects select Nichiha panels to give homeowners a totally unique design and an exterior that offers weather protection.
The concept of prefabrication and modular design isn’t new. But modern developments in construction, the adoption of new technologies and more sustainable materials make today’s modular building designs a testament to construction innovation in the U.S.