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Modular Construction Code Handbook

October 22, 2017 0 Comments

Monash University partnered with the Victorian Government and Engineers Australia to publish the Victorian Modular Code of Construction Handbook. Excitingly, it is the first comprehensive publication of its type in the world – and highlights the best practices in the building industry.

Building construction uses about one third of the world’s resources and 40% of global energy, while emitting 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions. 🙁  The great news is that factory innovation in modular construction is proving that it can dramatically reduce these issues. 🙂  The use of off-site manufacturing techniques for building projects has great potential to improve economic and social outcomes through efficient use of already available resources, use of sustainable manufacturing processes, and delivery of well-designed and well-executed construction projects.

However… the construction sector has been hesitant in adopting and applying these processes due to limited industry guidelines.

Modular House being Built

Modular Construction might just be what is needed to bring affordable housing to Australia

So this is where the Modular Construction Handbook steps in and was put together to serve as a guide for architects, contractors, developers, financiers, lifters and riggers, materials manufacturers, module manufacturers, services engineers, structural engineers, tradies, and even transportation companies.

The Modular Construction Handbook covers a range of topics including:

  • Structural Design – all about the design of modular structures (including wind and earthquake design), the elements of the individual parts, information on the manufacture, testing, structural analysis, storage, transport and assembly.
  • Facades and Materials – this section is about integrating facades with modular components. It also includes practical guidance on assembly, material manufacturing, tolerances, quality and certification.
  • Durability – guidance on ensuring longevity of structures. This includes information on corrosion and material fatigue and what is needed to enable modular components to survive the wide variety of environments they are exposed to.
  • Architecture – covers the relationship between architecture and modular construction processes. This part of the handbook highlights the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders involved with a construction project.
  • Transportation, Erection and Temporary Works – this covers the practical aspects of modular components use, including transportation and lifting of the modules.
  • Compliance, Inspection and Verification – no code would be complete without covering vital procedural steps such as compliance, inspection of, and documentation relating to these procedures. These steps are ever more important in Modular Construction due to the emphasis on off-site manufacture. As a builder / building contractor it is vital that you dot all of your ‘i’s and cross all of your ‘t’s along the path of procurement. Have documentation that all inspections have been performed and compliancy standards met along the way… from the elements used, the design, the manufacturing, the transport, right through to the system used for the erection of the modular system. Quality, performance and longevity of the completed building or structure depends heavily on these areas.
  • Disassembly, Reuse and Recyclability – an aspect of modular construction that needs to be taken into account. Repurposing structures and materials to better serve our environment is an attractive aspect of the modular construction industry.

During the launch of the Modular Construction Code Handbook at a “prefabAUS” Conference, the Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas, mentioned that the project represents the potential of the construction industry to collaborate and innovate in order to deliver world-class results.

The construction industry is rapidly changing and it is important that builders, building contractors, and tradespeople adapt accordingly. Prefab construction will quite likely be a major player in creating affordable housing in the future. It is up to all parties involved to use it correctly, safely and with much respect, so we can support this new technology and use it to benefit the building and construction industry.

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