Construction Today 2018 - Volume 16, Issue 3 - 149
IN THIS SECTION
where a 27-step construction process modeled on the assembly line
could create an entire house in a single day, complete with a picket
fence and appliances in the kitchen. The houses were simple but, for
families that had lived through the struggles of the Great Depression,
largely in cramped urban areas, these homes were a dream come true.
During the early years of the suburbs, modular homes were primarily
built using old-growth timber. Once that supply of old-growth wood
was exhausted, new-growth wood has been required as a substitute
for smaller projects while concrete and steel were primarily used for
larger construction projects.
Both substitutes, as currently used, have serious limitations. With
concrete and steel, costs are dramatically higher, for the materials
themselves, time and labor, as well as for transporting the components.
Tariffs on imported steel also make these models more expensive.
Plaza Construction is
focused on its clients and
their building needs.
Carrier Johnson +
Carrier Johnson + Culture offers more than
When building with more environmentally friendly new-growth
wood (wood that can be grown and harvested in a five-year span),
the threat of three major items - fire, mold, and termites - has led to
restrictions on the size of timber buildings in local building codes.
But lumber technology has improved dramatically in recent years.
CLT and NLT, in which panels of new growth wood are glued or nailed
together, offers the strength and durability of old growth wood or
even steel, along with increased resistance to fire, mold and termites.
Combined with treatments that improve fire resistance even more
by reducing the flammability of wood and the smoke generated by
fire, these technologies will supercharge modular construction with
wood quickly, providing more of the affordable housing that our
nation desperately needs.
Just in the past few years, developers in Newark, N.J., Portland, Ore.,
Vancouver, and other cities are already constructing or attempting
to build mass timber structures with CLT and NLT. Timber offers the
modular industry and builders a renewable resource at a fraction of
the prices of concrete and steel and often results in lower construction costs by allowing builders to complete projects more quickly. An
18-story mass timber student residence at the University of British
Columbia in Canada was recently completed a remarkable four
months ahead of schedule.
With modular construction, such projects have the potential to
transform the already-critical role of modular homebuilders and the
market for affordable housing. Beyond the speed of construction, there
are other reasons more and more builders are turning to modular construction. By assembling components indoors, high-density modular
construction planning avoids the delays presented by bad weather and
the disruption of completing a lengthy project on a busy street.
Combining these benefits of modular construction with mass
timber can reduce the amount of time required for an architect's blue-
John Moriarty & Associates
HBD Construction Inc.
Carrier Johnson + Culture
prints to evolve into a completed structure for
families to call home.
This change will not occur by itself. Beyond
the construction industry, we need more
modern policies that support mass timber
building by replacing yesterday's building
codes and allowing for higher-density construction in urban and suburban areas.
Where the enormous need for affordable
housing exists, pioneers in the design and
construction industries will lead this fight
to create new opportunities in housing
through the modular construction of mass
Plan for the future with projects capable of
going taller and wider and providing greater
density and efficiency.
Steve Conboy is the chairman and general manager of M-Fire Suppression Inc.
He has been involved in the lumber & building industry for more than 40 years,
starting at a union carpenter in New York. Today, he provides clean fire inhibitor
protection to defend all types of wood-framed projects for the building industry.
VOLUME 16, ISSUE 3 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM