Modern methods of construction require redesign of the way homes are put together. This means that many of the traditional skills have been replaced by engineered materials, processes and structures. New production lines, new ways of joining materials, new types of structures which reduce weight and increase strength. New ways of making installed floors, new systems for cladding buildings. We also need to test and predict the way these new structures will behave as multistorey developments under fire and wind-loading. Material scientists, production and structural engineers are the unsung heroes of the new homes revolution alongside the developers and architects.
If We Don’t Keep Investigating Prefab, We Risk Squandering a Lot of Resources and Not Delivering Enough Housing
Volumetric construction (often referred to as modular construction) involves the production of three-dimensional units in controlled factory conditions, prior to transportation to site.
MoVoCoSy – Modular Volumetric Construction System designed by Arup aims to deliver high quality homes at costs significantly lower than those of conventional construction methods. Reinforced concrete modules were fitted out in a factory before being transported to site for assembly into a building of between three and twelve storeys. This rigorous design-for- manufacture (DFM) approach and use of prefabrication technologies ensures major cost and time savings and eliminates the materials wastage that can occur with site-based construction, while the use of concrete ensures good accoustic and thermal performance in addition to its structural qualities. Within the system, a wide range of design permutations is available to adapt to context and occupants’ needs. make used the system to devise a scheme of interlocking modules which can be articulated to create 1, 2 or 3 bedroom apartments.
Modules project at an angle from a central circulation spine, placing the entrance to each apartment in the centre of the volume and thereby minimising internal circulation space. Each apartment has a central service zone with a full width bedroom to the rear, while a full width living space with external balcony at the front offers unobstructed views from the resulting building.