Building Towards the Future: The Modular/Nomodic Advantage

Blog | September 21, 2020

We’re living in times of change, and the world is in desperate need of a more sustainable way to construct and maintain the buildings we all need to survive. Across North America, communities face housing shortages as traditional building methods fail to meet immediate needs in both the public and private sectors. Governments and communities need field hospitals, medical facilities, affordable housing, and senior care facilities. These are challenges that need to be solved quickly as the demand grows.

Many of the solutions to these challenges have been around for decades. The world, and the mainstream media, seem to be awakening to the idea of factory-built (modular) construction. In North America, its market share of new real-estate construction projects grew by 51% from 2015 to 2018. One report suggests that building modular can accelerate project timelines by 20% to 50% while saving developers 20% in construction costs.

Crane with modular homeLooking at past performance for future results

A recent CNBC news article suggests that modular construction could play a role in the cities of the future. This process can accelerate the delivery timelines of commercial projects while reducing construction time and costs. Moreover, the shorter project schedules also help minimize emissions from construction sites, and the airtight units go a long way in optimizing thermal performance and overall sustainability.  

The CNBC article also points out that factory-built is hardly a new concept. In the 1940s, the technology was used to address the housing shortage in post-war Britain. More than 150,000 units were constructed between 1945 and 1949. Several decades later, cities are again looking to modular to solve unprecedented building challenges. By employing a product-based approach, modular construction companies can offer standardized but customizable designs that are adjustable to clients’ needs.

Building better solutions

Like many communities across Canada, London, Ontario is considering this process as a solution to the housing shortage. The City of London is looking to modular options to advance two modular housing projects as soon as possible to address the needs of those who remain in temporary shelter accommodations. Innovative solutions to this issue have been successfully implemented in cities like Vancouver.

In the case of Nomodic-built Goodacre Place in Smithers, BC, end users and the building operator, Smithers Community Services Association, reported high satisfaction with their units and less dependency on emergency services. And in many cases, building modular provides communities with the flexibility of dismantling the units and safely moving them to another site in the future.

With the Government of Canada recently announcing a new Rapid Housing Initiative (RHI) to help address urgent housing needs of vulnerable Canadians, modular construction is poised to play a prominent role in rapidly creating new affordable housing going forward.

Trethewey Avenue Supportive Housing in Chilliwack, BC (left), and Goodacre Place Supportive Housing in Smithers, BC (right)

These examples all share a common theme: both historically and in the present, modular construction has proven to be an ideal solution in overcoming housing shortages and construction inefficiencies, for many reasons:

  • Building in a controlled, indoor environment minimizes schedule delays, lowering the project cost and timeline risks.
  • Site prep and construction can occur simultaneously, saving time and money without sacrificing quality.
  • With cost and schedule certainty, and greater overall efficiency, projects can be completed up to 50% faster than traditional ‘stick-built’ construction methods.
  • The industry is evolving rapidly, with emerging lighter-weight materials and advanced technology enhancing production efficiency and quality.
  • Modular construction leads to greater scalability and repeatability, where similar modules can be easily replicated in the factory, reducing costs and time.

For all of these reasons, volumetric modular construction is Nomodic’s preferred method of building, although we are capable of blending conventional or hybrid construction methods to fulfill any client vision.

How Nomodic is changing the game

Clients of Nomodic, and the world in general, are realizing the many benefits of modular construction. But the modular industry still isn’t perfect.

Generally, modular fabricators and other design-builders are still restricted by the locations, capacities, methodologies, and technologies of their own fabrication facilities, which limits their ability to find the perfect space solution to suit clients’ budgets and visions. And many modular projects still go through a segmented process, with multiple handovers from design, to fabrication, to site construction and installation increasing the chances of miscommunication and delay.

Enter the Nomodic Advantage.

1. Flexible construction model and factory network

At Nomodic, clients can depend on a flexible and integrated construction model to ensure their project isn’t limited to a single fabrication location, methodology, or framing system. By accessing an extensive network of trusted fabricators and suppliers across North America, we help clients ‘build without boundaries’, connecting them with the most appropriate production facility and project partners based on our in-depth knowledge of their ability to meet several criteria, including optimal location, construction methodology/technology, capacity, price, and experience/qualifications.

We firmly believe that each project’s unique requirements should influence the manufacturing process. Not the other way around!

2. Integrative project management and delivery

In addition to flexibility, Nomodic offers uncompromised integrative project management and delivery, engaging clients and connecting all project stakeholders throughout the process. Whether guiding projects from concept to completion or engaging at a single stage or combination of stages, we deliver critical continuity and seamless integration, improve communication and accountability, and ultimately de-risk projects.

Once fabrication begins, Nomodic schedules routine inspections for an additional yet critical layer of quality control. Client projects are given a thorough and independent review, as opposed to those conducted in a direct fabricator engagement structure.

Finally, Nomodic has the unique ability to self-perform high-risk elements such as site installation and component complexing, reducing any risks that would come with handing off a project to an entirely new team.

Leaving things better for clients

All of the above add up to a variety of benefits for our clients:

  • Faster completion/occupancy (for developers, quicker to revenue!)
  • Greater cost and schedule certainty
  • Reduced risk
  • Improved quality control throughout
  • Less community disruption and site activity
  • Increased labour force reliability through an established network of skilled constructors
  • Improved precision and safety
  • Greater construction material flexibility with wider range of product choice, including more environmentally-conscious options
  • Reduced construction site waste

And ultimately, clients are given peace of mind knowing that their visions are being built faithfully, by the most qualified team, using the best possible construction methods and processes.

Because that’s what leaving things better is all about.

To learn more about the Nomodic advantage, click here.


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