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"FAQ's Modular Construction Method"
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Modular Construction Methods

 What are the advantages of modular construction methods?

Relocate and reuse the modular room - 100% reusable components. The number one reason for buying modular systems is the ability to take the building down and relocate it. This feature benefits the small firm that leases because the modular rooms always remain their asset, when it is time to move, the modular rooms can go with them. This feature also benefits the larger company. Should their needs change and the modular room would be better suited elsewhere then it can be moved and they never lose their original investment.

Redesign - adapt to new requirements. Companies grow, needs change and so can the modular room. Whether you need more space or need to change your current modular room configuration your not locked into your original design. All panels are interchangeable and can be assembled to fit any current need. The non-progressive post design provides the ability to swap or replace individual panels without disturbing adjacent panels. For example, if a solid wall panel now requires a door it can be switched out for a door panel in a matter of minutes.

Stronger construction - suited for commercial and  industrial environments. Many rooms today are built using drywall and studs, leaving unsupported cavities that can be punctured easily. Modular systems use much stronger materials and utilize an important design feature, fully supported wall substrates using either insulated polystyrene or honeycomb cores, this gives the walls true impact resistance for long useful life. In addition the availability of steel facings adds even more strength.

Better sound deadening than conventional rooms - Modular systems create a comfortable work area even in the loudest manufacturing plants. Installing an industrial modular room is more than just putting up walls, it involves utilizing a system that will meet the specific requirements of the plant. One of the most important requirements is sound control, without the proper sound control a room could be rendered useless. Modular systems utilize  sound controlled construction that is acoustically designed to out perform any typical conventional construction. The more extreme the noise the more modular systems are better qualified. Florida Modular Office & Partition Systems can design a structure for any sound problem.

Abbreviated construction scheduling -  So you can get back to business. Installs up to 75% faster than stick-built. Depending on building size weeks of sub contractors and inspections can put any company behind schedule and this can translate directly into money lost. The faster you are back to normal the faster you get back to business.

Reduces Labor Costs by up to 50% -  This could be a very conservative figure... considering the installation speed of modular systems and the reduction in trades necessary to build, you could find this savings tremendous. It takes only one crew to assemble a modular system, and several trades like glazers, painters, carpenters etc. to build conventionally... the larger the project, the more the savings.

Fewer plant disruptions - minimize productivity loss that can cause expensive loss of productivity. All construction even modular causes plant disruption, however the longer it takes to complete a project the more disruption you get. A serious evaluation of costs would include this often over looked expense, most people are amazed how fast these costs add up. For an estimate, multiply the number of people in the area of construction by just 10 minutes of distractions, then multiply that by the number of days it takes to complete the project, from this you can determine the number of hours lost, now multiply this by the average cost per labor hour. The loss of productivity is real and expensive.

Less dust and debris to contend with - lower cost sealing off areas, and detailed cleaning of equipment all can be expensive for the average industry, but if a company is involved in food processing or clean environments the costs to shut down and handle this are enormous.

Quality -  Modular systems are quality inspected before they ship and are manufactured to exact standards. The finished product is never questionable, a clear point that conventional construction can not make. How good is conventional construction? It depends on the work crew. The truth is that most construction, if not closely watched can turn into a disaster. A buyer must always be on the watch for shortcuts and sub standard work, this is never the case with modular systems and the proof of the quality is in the warranty. Reputable manufacturers typically warranty their modular systems for 5 - 10 years.

Costs less than conventional -  Compare any project fairly, each room is to have identical specifications and each is to perform to the same requirements and modular systems will always cost less. Add to this the other benefits previously listed and the much faster depreciation allowed for modular construction and you will see why the popularity of modular systems has grown tremendously and why many companies are so convinced that they no longer consider conventional construction for their construction requirements.

Lower lease termination cost - With many leasing companies now requiring the leased space to be returned to original condition upon termination of the lease agreement modular systems that can be sold used or relocated can substantially reduce the lease termination fees associated with leased facilities. 

Are permits required for modular systems?

Permit requirements for modular systems construction vary from state to state and city to city. You should always consult with your local building department when proceeding with commercial construction projects as to the specific requirements for permits and code compliance in your area.  This should not be left to third party advice for interpretation of local building code requirements. Most reputable modular building systems manufacturers will have third party testing and certification of their specific systems by certified testing agents, U.L., FM Global, or ASTM to assure all components are safe and code compliant for construction. Final code compliance and  acceptance before ordering any modular system should be by local building department officials to assure a code compliant installation.

Who installs modular construction systems?

Modular systems installations offered by third party installation companies are typically a non-turnkey installation of the modular buildings systems components only. Code compliance, unloading and staging, final electrical, mechanical, plumbing, cleaning, and finish flooring is typically left to the owner. Full turnkey modular systems installations should be by licensed and insured general contractors experienced in the local code compliance and permitting requirements for your local municipality. At minimum all installation companies should be able to furnish local licensing, liability  insurance, workman compensation insurance, and knowledge of the modular systems they are installing.

Are all modular building systems pre-engineered?

Reputable modular systems manufacturers work with pre-engineered components and assemblies on specific size buildings. They are supplied with a assembly or shop drawings that is only pertinent  to the modular systems assembly. Additional engineering in the form of engineered drawings, signed and sealed by an engineer licensed in your specific state,  are typically required by local building department regulations. Other additional drawings for electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural, or fire suppression may be required by local building department code  requirements.        

Are all modular systems fire rated?

Modular systems are typically available in Class "A" , Class "C" or 1 Hour fire rated assemblies. The availability in different fire ratings is to be code compliant with local fire code regulations. If unsure of the fire rating code requirement for your particular installation it would be best to consult with your local fire code compliance building department officials. All claims to fire ratings should be substantiated by test results from a certified third party testing agency.

Can modular systems be load bearing?

Stand alone modular systems can be load bearing for second story or roof storage loads. All modular systems purchased as load bearing assemblies should be accompanied with structurally engineered signed and sealed drawings. Stairways must be OSHA approved assemblies with proper thread spacing and rail heights. Additional structural engineering should be completed on the existing flooring system to determine the need or requirement for additional footings, piers, or structural reinforcement to carry the loads placed on them by the modular systems. Depending on the size and intended use of the second story, the American Disability Act(ADA) may require the installation of a ADA approved wheelchair lift system or elevator.

What are the advantages of modular electrical wiring systems?

Modular systems are fully relocatable and reconfigurable to meet the ever changing environment of modern manufacturing and office facilities. Limiting the use of hardwire type systems for electrical, fire sprinklers telecommunications, and control systems further enhances the relocation of modular systems by allowing the utility systems to be relocated with the same ease. Modular electrical systems are available in low voltage, 120 volt and 240 volt  capacities and allow for relocation without the need for costly re-piping  of utility systems. They also further reduce the primary installation cost with the speed and flexibility of their installation. All systems should be U.L. rated and reviewed, signed and sealed by a local electrical engineer to meet most local code compliance regulations.

Are modular systems more sustainable then conventionally constructed systems?

Modular systems construction with its relocatable, reusable, and higher recycling advantages results in greener construction benefiting owners and occupants.  

Better building performanceQuality controlled off-site production means modular systems are manufactured to more consistently rigorous tolerances than conventional site-based building methods.

Reduced energy consumption - Up to 67 per cent less energy is required to produce a modular building compared to an equivalent traditionally built project.

Enhanced thermal efficiency - A composite panel construction ensures continuity of insulation across the building envelope, ensuring there are no cavities associated with loose-fill insulation. This design feature reduces the risk of condensation, which can significantly reduce the thermal effectiveness of a building.

Reduced noise and pollution - There are up to 90 per cent fewer vehicle movements with modular systems which mean less environmental pollution because of reduced vehicle mileage. Noise and dust levels on site are also minimized.

Less waste -  Material usage in the factory is reduced by up to 90 per cent  by the careful design and procurement of materials, reducing the amount of waste generated both on and off site.

Greater recyclability -  All  waste generated in the off-site manufacturing process is recycled. 

Construction predictability - Research has shown that only 63 per cent of traditional building projects are completed on time and only 49 per cent to the agreed contract sum. Costly time and budget overruns are a major concern among construction clients and when it comes to meeting those tight deadlines you need a supplier that can deliver every time.

Speed of construction - Build times can be reduced by up to 50 per cent using modular building methods, leading to proportionate savings in site costs and an earlier return on investment.

Social benefits improved health and safety - Factory-based construction offers an intrinsically safer working environment than a conventional  construction site.

   

"FAQ's Modular Cleanroom Construction"
Less Particulate Entrapment, Lower Microbial Limits, Less Maintenance Scheduling 

Industries in the biotechnology, medical device manufacturing, optics,  nanotechnology, semi-conductor, electronics, and other high quality manufacturing environments have benefited greatly from the design  advancements in modular cleanroom construction methods.

What are the advantages of modular cleanroom systems construction?

Clean build installation methods - with prefinished and prefabricated installations the release of particulates or violate organic compounds(VOC) into existing environments is non exsistant resulting in easier to achieve clean build construction.

Less particulate entrapment - with high gloss factory applied finishes of a less porous nature than conventional paints particulate entrapment on wall, ceiling, or door surfaces is minimized. VOC contamination of existing processes is negated and accomplished without costly construction protocols utilizing prefinished modular components.

Lower microbial limits - are generated by less porous final finishes and closer gap tolerances, and anti microbial finishes in modular systems assemblies.

Less maintenance requirements - with high gloss hardened finishes, higher impact resistant and higher resistance to cleanroom cleaning agents and UV lighting sources vinyl, steel and aluminum modular cleanroom systems maintenance requirements are greatly reduced resulting in lower operational cost and less downtime.

Flush surface designs - control the horizontal ledges and surfaces typical in conventional construction further reducing horizontal areas of particulate entrapment and microbial growth. This also reduces cleaning schedules resulting in further operational cost savings.

Panelized ceiling systems - further reduce gaps, connections, and uneven surfaces resulting in less particulate entrapment and less maintenance and cleaning scheduling.

Regulatory agency compliant - harder less porous surfaces and finishes assist in reducing and controlling particulate entrapment and microbial growth assisting in meeting limits established by USP 797, FDA, cGMP, USDA, and NSF regulations.

Easier renovations - to existing cleanrooms can be accomplished without disturbing existing process operations. Interchangeable components allow for changes to process flow and clean zones without disturbing adjacent clean zones.

What are the phases involved in designing and building a cleanroom?

Preconstruction - involves selection of the building or area of the existing facility the cleanroom will be constructed in. The available capacities of the existing electrical system, chilled water system, sanitary drains, or other utility support systems that the new cleanroom will require. This phase and final selection can significantly affect cleanroom construction cost.

Cleanroom basis of design - determines and list the requirements for ISO 14644 cleanliness classifications, regulatory agents(cGMP, FDA, USP 797) requirements,  required temperature and relative humidity tolerances, cleanroom process flow plan, cleanroom floor plan, cleanroom process equipment layout, cleanroom process equipment specifications, and preliminary design requirements.

Budgetary cost analysis - list preliminary cleanroom construction cost estimates to include architectural, engineering, structural, mechanical, electrical, process piping, flooring, certification, and validation of all systems.

Architectural engineering - develops final design and engineered drawings to meet cleanroom basis of design documentation specifications.

Final design build cost analysis - based on final architectural engineered drawings, building code compliance and regulatory agent standards.

Materials procurement - determines material and process equipment lead times and construction scheduling.

Clean build construction -  prepares and sanitizes cleanroom construction site, establishes air quality control of construction site, installation of structural, mechanical, electrical, process piping, flooring systems, control systems, monitoring systems, and process equipment under clean build construction protocols.

Certification and testing - certifies airflow, air velocities, particulate levels, HEPA filter installation, temperature and relative humidity tolerances, cleanroom zone pressurization, microbial counts, and lighting levels to ISO standards.

Equipment validation - provides installation qualification(IQ) and operational qualification(OQ) reports on cleanroom air handling systems, electrical systems, and process equipment systems to regulatory agent specifications.

Are cleanrooms considered equipment or capital improvement?

Many modular systems can be deprecated as equipment in 7 years as opposed to capital improvement depreciation at 32 years. Consult with your tax preparation accountant to determine your depreciation advantages.
Building department officials  typically see them as capital improvements governed by the same code compliance regulations as any commercial construction. 

How much will my energy cost be to operate my cleanroom?

Cleanrooms are high energy consumers because of the increased volume of air that must be treated by the air handling systems and the process equipment required by the cleanroom function. Designing and engineering cleanrooms with initial cost as the priority will not allow for advanced controls and air handling systems that will reduce energy consumption. The use of variable speed motors and controls that allow you to utilize night time set back, control power and operating times of air handling and process equipment, and allow areas not in use to operate at reduced levels can dramatically reduce energy consumption.

How often will I need to replace my HEPA filtration filters?

A HEPA filter can last three to five years or more in a standard cleanroom environment. Life of the HEPA also depends on ambient conditions and maintenance of the pre-filters. Since airflow capacity decreases and static pressure increases over time, HEPA filters actually become more efficient as the filter loads. The filter should be changed once it has reached its capacity. For example, if a HEPA unit is set to for 90 ft/min (0.45 m/sec) on the setting, but is only achieving 70 ft/min (0.35 m/sec) on , then the HEPA filter should be changed. In dirtier environments, the pre-filter may need to be changed as often as every one to three months. Frequency will depend on ambient conditions. Initial cost on HEPA filtration systems can vary greatly with advanced options to lower HEPA filter maintenance cost and extend the life of the HEPA filtration filters. Options for pre-filters with higher MERV ratings and options for room side replaceable HEPA filter media can further reduce filter maintenance and extend filter life spans.
 
       

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