One of the hot topics in the construction industry today is modular construction. This topic gets branded using several different descriptors: Modular, Off-site, Prefab, Industrialized, and probably a few more. Within the topic, there tends to be two different camps; the camp pushing modular prefabricated “panels”, and the camp pushing modular prefabricated rooms, which is often referred to as “volumetric”.
What both of these methods have in common is that they encompass a process by which facilities, or pieces of facilities, are constructed off-site, in an industrialized factory setting. What they also both have in common is that the resulting finished facility meets the same building code requirements as any other structure in the same area. For this conversation, I am not discussing what some people also call manufactured housing, or relocatable buildings, or any other facility that is manufactured to meet the requirements of some alternative code, such as the HUD Code in the U.S. This conversation centers around the concept of taking the same permanent facility design, and moving a portion of its construction off-site, into a factory setting. The plans and specifications are still reviewed by the local Jurisdiction Having Authority (JHA), the construction is still permitted by that authority, and the progress is still subject to inspection and approval by that authority.