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What is Modular Construction?
Modular Construction is a resource-efficient, off-site delivery method to construct code-compliant buildings in a quality-controlled factory setting.
Prefabricated buildings, prefab, factory-built, modular buildings: All these words refer to the same process of manufacturing a building off-site and installing it on-site. The prefabricated construction process offers design and planning flexibility: it can be either temporary or permanent, small or large, contemporary or traditional, single-story or multi-story, an individual building, or multiple buildings arranged in a complex or campus.
Modular construction creates a high-quality building project, built to all applicable codes in far less time than traditional site-built construction, with ‘green’ consideration in terms of sustainable building materials, labor efficiency, reduced waste, reduced site disruption, and reduced transportation emissions.
SKC’s modular construction process consists of 8 steps from concept to completion:
- DSA Approval
- Site Development
- Plant Fabrication
More detailed descriptions of each step are featured in the following step by step explanation below.
STEP 1 – Design
The design phase of the modular building process creates a description of the building, usually represented by detailed plans and specifications.
Our Design, Project Manager, Estimating and Sales team conduct a thorough customer consultation to gather the information required to develop the building plan. Some of the building parameter questions include:
- What is the project budget?
- Has land been acquired?
- Is the building intended for temporary or permanent occupation?
- How soon will the building be occupied?
- How many people will the structure house?
- How much square footage is required?
- How many modules will be required?
- How many bathrooms are required?
- Are fire suppression systems required?
- Does the building need to be Fire Rated?
- Does site have special wind speed zone?
- What direction will the building face?
- What exterior finish does the customer want?
- What interior finish does the customer want?
- What flooring does the customer want?
- What kind of foundation is appropriate?
- What kind of roof is appropriate?
This is where we identify what the customer is looking for whether it’s a cost-driven utilitarian building or a modern energy efficient modular building. Once this information has been gathered SKC’s design team will produce the ideal modular building design to fit the customer’s needs.
Step 2 – Engineering
Each building design goes through the SKC engineering department for an engineering review. Like site-built structures, modular buildings are subject to a series of national, state and local building codes that ensure the building meets a set of standards for safety and performance.
State-level building codes can be superseded or augmented by local building code requirements, such as the High-Speed Wind Zone code adopted by many coastal counties.
During the building review process, the SKC engineering department confirms the design proposal meets all applicable building codes. For example, in the State of California all industrialized modular components are required to comply with the following codes:
2016 California Administrative Code, Part 1, Title 24 C.C.R.
2016 California Building Code (CBC), Part 2, Title 24 C.C.R.
(2015 International Building Code Volumes 1-2 and 2016 California Amendments)
2016 California Electrical Code (CEC), Part 3, Title 24 C.C.R.
(2014 National Electrical Code and 2016 California Amendments)
2016 California Mechanical Code (CMC) Part 4, Title 24 C.C.R.
(2015 Uniform Mechanical Code and 2016 California Amendments)
2016 California Plumbing Code (CPC), Part 5, Title 24 C.C.R.
(2016 Uniform Plumbing Code and 2016 California Amendments)
2016 California Energy Code (CEC), Part 6, Title 24 C.C.R.
2016 California Fire Code, Part 9, Title 24 C.C.R.
(2016 International Fire Code and 2016 California Amendments)
2016 California Green Building Standards Code, Part 11, Title 24 C.C.R.
2016 California Referenced Standards, Part 12, Title 24 C.C.R.
Title 19 C.C.R., Public Safety, State Fire Marshal Regulations.
2013 ASME A17.1 Safety Code For Elevators And Escalators
NFPA 13 Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems 2016 Edition
NFPA 14 Standpipe and Hose Systems 2016 Edition
NFPA 17 Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems 2013 Edition
NFPA 17a Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems 2013 Edition
NFPA 20 Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection 2013 Edition
NFPA 22 Water Tanks for Private Fire Protection 2013 Edition
NFPA 24 Private Fire Mains & Their appurtenances 2016 Edition
NFPA 25 Standard for Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of 2013 Edition Water-Based Fire Protection Systems NFPA 72
National Fire Alarm & Signaling Code 2016 Edition
NFPA 80 Fire Doors and Other Opening Protectives 2016 Edition
NFPA 92 Standard for Smoke Control Systems 2015 Edition
NFPA 253 Critical Radiant Flux of Floor Covering Systems 2015Edition
NFPA 2001 Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing System 2015 Edition
ICC 300 ICC Standards on Bleachers, Folding and Telescoping 2012 Edition
Seating and Grand stands
UL 300 Fire Testing of Fire Extinguishing Systems for Protection 2005 Edition
Of Restaurant Cooking Areas
UL 464 Audible Signal Appliances 2003 Edition
UL 521 Heat Detectors for Fire Protective Signaling Systems 1999 Edition
Reference code section for NFPA Standards- 2016 CBC (SFM) Chapter 35. See Chapter 35 for State of California amendments to NFPA Standards.
After our engineering review has been completed the engineering documents are sent for approval from an independent third party engineering review.
Step 3 – DSA APPROVAL
The building owner is ultimately responsible for securing building permits and paying DSA fees for work on their property. In practice, most building owners appoint the general contractor as an authorized representative so the contractor can obtain the required permits. The building owner is advised to confirm that the general contractor has secured the proper building permits for their project. Failure to obtain the proper permits can result in significant fines, penalties, and even removal of unauthorized construction.
STEP 4 – Site Development
One of the advantages inherent in modular construction is that the site development and building foundation are prepared while the modules are being fabricated at the manufacturing facility and transported to the job site.
The site development and building construction processes happen concurrently instead of sequentially like site-built construction. Projects are developed in a variety of geographic settings and typical site development includes:
- Site drainage
- Foundation construction
- Utility installation
There are two primary modular building foundation classifications; on grade and raised concrete or wood foundation. An on-grade foundation is generally for permanent installations and is more expensive. A wood foundation can be used for temporary or permanent structures, it is less expensive to install, and it is more cost effective to relocate the building later while causing minimal site disturbance.
STEP 5 – Modular Fabrication
All of our modular buildings start with a welded steel frame forged in our SKC steel shop. The steel frame is then loaded on the main factory production line where the sub-floor is insulated and floor decking is assembled atop the steel frame.
As the module moves down the production line framed wall sections are fabricated, insulated and hoisted in place. The steel truss roof assembly is built in components at ground level before it is hoisted into place. The module proceeds down the line where mechanical, electrical and plumbing services are installed while the last of the insulation goes into place. Interior finishes like drywall, painting, and flooring are applied while doors and windows are installed.
On the last stop of the production line, the exterior finish and trim are applied before the module is prepared for transportation. During construction at the manufacturing facility a third party inspection agency is present to ensure the modules are built in compliance with building codes.
STEP 6 – Modular Transportation
The fabricated modules are shipped over the road by carriers that specialize in modular building transportation. In most U.S. jurisdictions building shipping limitations are 16’ in width and between 70’ & 90’ in length per module. SKC Standards are 12’width by 40’ length.
The scope of the project and the size of the modules determines how the project is transported to the job site. For large projects, like a man camp that consist of dozens of modules, the delivery is staged in phases so that our PM or Vendor can prepare coordination and install the modules in a logical sequence.
STEP 7 – Modular Installation
A general contractor, often one specializing in modular construction, will install the modules, complete any on-site finish out and make the final utility connections.
The choice of building foundation determines how the building will be installed. Permanent, semi-permanent and on grade foundations will require the modules to be set with a crane.
Raised wood foundations, typically used for temporary buildings, allow the modules to be set in place through simple mechanical methods.
With the modules in place final finish out of the interior and exterior proceeds. Finish out can include electrical and mechanical system connection between modules, stairs, wheelchair ramps, skirting, exterior siding, trim and utility connections.
STEP 8 – Closeout
Closeout specialist has overcome many challenges by establishing an aggressive documentation effort with all governing agencies and handles all manners of closeout issues and has solid procedures in place to monitor and accelerate the process for closeout certification.
The numbers speak for themselves
What the numbers have to say: we’re experienced in the field, committed to safety, and prioritize good customer service.
Our Clients Love Us
“M. Wilson Co. Contractors, Inc. would like to express our appreciation for the professionalism in the performance of removal and relocation of Modular Buildings located at Washington E.S., Roosevelt E.S., Emerson E.S., Jefferson £.S., Brett Harte E.S,., Stevenson E.S. with the Burbank Unified School District. The quality of workmanship and timeliness of your company and staff in performing difficult tasks for these contracts is commendable.
SKC COMPANY met the schedule, was responsive to our requests, dealt with all project related issues in a professional manner and delivered a high-quality product. We look forward to working with SKC on future projects.
If you have any questions and or need additional information, please feel free to contact our office. Thank you.”
Michael H. Wilson
“During the past several years, I have had the pleasure of working with Sean Khan with SKC COMPANY on numerous school construction projects in which they served as the general contractor. Most recently, SKC COMPANY is working with our firm on a multi-million- dollar Science Classroom Complex for the Mt. San Jacinto Community College District. I am impressed with the firm’s ability to understand the construction process especially as it relates to school projects. This is an especially challenging project due to having to meet a very stringent construction schedule. They have demonstrated their ability to work with architects, owners, inspectors and testing labs to assure timely completion of the projects they have supervised.”
I am writing this letter to recommend SKC Company as a modular classroom building contractor. While acting as a consultant to SKC Company since 2012, I have found Sean Khan to be very experienced and very knowledgeable in the modular classroom industry. It has been my experience that Sean Khan possess a sound understanding of the design, permitting, installation and inspection processes associated with this type of project. In summary, I heartily recommend SKC Company for any modular educational project.
“I wish to take this opportunity to commend SKC COMPANY on the quality services they have provided for Wiseburn Unified School District on various projects throughout the district. The district has been very pleased with the way SKC COMPANY has performed these services.
The staff consistently produced outstanding work and was responsive to the needs of our project team. We are pleased to recommend SKC COMPANY to others and look forward to working with them on future projects.”