18 MARCH 2015 ◗ pharmpro.com
MODULAR CONSTRUCTION TECHNOLOGIES
construction. Where the structures of stick-built facilities are optimized
for the purpose of the facility, the structures of shipping container
modules must be optimized for two purposes: that of the facility, and
the requirements of shipping a large module intermodal. Modular projects require additional interface coordination. For example, it requires
oversight to ensure that all vendors meet local code requirements,
that construction materials used are consistent and compatible, and
that controls are integrated. It is important to identify any potential
maintenance or operational issues and to allow for future changes and
renovations. Even logistics can be challenging, as transportation and
rigging of these modules becomes a factor.
A more rational approach to modular construction will reduce waste
and cost, enhance quality and create a delivery system that meets
owner requirements, such as limiting the length of a shutdown. This
approach requires both insight and forethought. Rather than picking
an off-the-shelf clean room module, better results can be achieved by
engaging designers, contractors and vendors during the design process and leveraging their knowledge to engineer a solution that meets
the owner’s unique needs and goals. The result is a custom modular
approach that is sensitive to the unique requirements and environment of the specific project.
Modular project delivery requires a greater investment in upfront
design and construction planning. In traditional project delivery,
definition of physical details is deferred until late in the preliminary, or
schematic, design phase. In the custom modular delivery process, early
design must address target systems and layout constraints, structural
frame requirements, transportation and constructability constraints
and flexibility for future capacity and system expansion. At this point,
modularization opportunities can be identified and explored for implementation. Three-dimensional modeling is ideal for defining intent
and determining overall assembled dimensions and weight. Moving
even small portions of the construction off site can reduce on site craft
hours, thus reducing safety risks, while minimizing the impact on operations and improving the shutdown schedule.
Today’s modular wall systems, which evolved from prefabricated
PVC-sheathed aluminum frame wall and ceiling panels, offer a high
degree of flexibility. Options include “walkable” ceiling systems and
prefabricated return-air walls. Modular wall systems can incorporate
integrated electrical lighting and receptacles, HVAC ductwork, HEPA filters, sprinkler systems, and controls. Modular wall systems also provide
added benefit of vastly superior quality to any means and methods
available for constructing on site.
Just as a custom modular approach should be developed in parallel
with overall project design, skids can be sourced while the site, shell
and infrastructure “stick-built” construction takes place. Process and
facility skids can be designed and built off site. When it makes sense,
factory acceptance testing and pre-qualification can also be performed
prior to shipping the skids. Once on site, the integrated construction
and compliance team verifies receipt, reassembles the skids and performs final testing and qualification. One option that can be beneficial
for many projects is modularization of utility generation and distribution systems. Designed to meet the required performance specifications, they can be prefabricated on special structural support systems,
shipped just-in-time and assembled. The skidded modules generally
require a smaller footprint than conventional distribution systems.
These parallel activities can shave significant time from the schedule
compared to the end-to-end timelines required for completely stick-built projects, involving multiple trades. A construction management
partner that understands the entire plant lifecycle can help maximize
the benefits of utility and process skids.
In summary, modular lean project delivery approach that is customized to the specific needs of the project offers a number of significant
advantages for plant renovations and expansions. From a schedule
perspective, performing activities in parallel can reduce overall project
duration and make a very favorable impact on the critical “time from
decision to delivery.” Modular project delivery reduces disruption to the
site, as well as lay down and waste area. Fabrication in the shop rather
than the field results in higher quality work. By reducing labor hours
at the site, MPD improves project safety. Modular project delivery may
also reduce costs by transferring labor to lower cost centers, taking
advantage of higher productivity in the shop versus the field, and
generally reducing site requirements. Throughout the modular delivery
process, a team experienced in technical construction can maximize
the schedule, quality, safety, and cost benefits realized by the owner.
BENEFI TS OF MODULARIZATION
The benefits of modularization are many, and the quantitative evaluation of some of them is highly complex. Two of the most obvious
benefits are quality, because more craft labor hours are expended
under controlled shop conditions instead of uncontrolled field conditions, and safety, for the same reason. The cost of the project can
be reduced, depending on the relative cost of shop versus field labor.
If shop and field labor costs are equivalent, the cost increases due to
module disassembly for shipping must be offset by the savings from
productivity improvements in the shop.
The Modular Construction Tour at INTERPHEX 2015 will focus on a
slate of organizations that are on the cutting edge of the advances in
modularization. Attendees will be presented with modular solutions
spanning the range of modular wall panel systems, with and without
integrated MEP functions, through process modules, superskids, and
Shipping Container/Structural modules. This year’s event has been
designed to include Biologics Modular, AES Clean Technology, Inc., and
A&B Process Systems.
The Modular Construction Tour at INTERPHEX 2015 will be kicked-off by Dan Leorda, P.E., and John Costalas, LEED AP, Project Executives
at IPS. If one of your objectives at Interphex is to leave with an understanding of new ways to reduce project costs, timelines, and risks, this
tour will provide a solid return on your time invested.