Alot has been written about the ben- efits of using modular construction techniques in the Pharmaceutical industry. However, an area that is frequently not addressed is the identification and
analysis of the risks that are present when using
this approach. All of the risks can be effectively
mitigated but they cannot be overlooked if the
project is going to be successful in reducing the
cost and schedule of the overall project.
Most projects will incorporate some combination of modular and constructed-in-place elements. The interface between the two types of
elements must be coordinated very precisely in
advance to ensure everything aligns. Standard
facility designs do not always support the use of
modular construction. Depending on the type
of modules being used, the column and floor
spacing of the structure may need to be adjusted to provide opportunities to rig modules from
overhead and to connect the modules to the
stick built structure.
Temporary structures may also be required
adjacent to the building to facilitate movement
of modules and to provide temporary weather protection for the structure. If unexpected
rework of the designed and coordinated or
previously constructed elements is required
once the modules arrive on site, either to allow
installation of the modules or to bring the modular and constructed-in-place elements together, then there will be reduced cost and schedule
impacts from using a modular approach. Very
careful coordination with fierce attention to the
details can prevent this situation.
Modules must be constructed with the correct
tolerances to allow integration into the larger
project. Fractions of an inch do matter. Plumb,
square, and level are just as critical. Module
fabrication should be done by a company with a
proven track record and successful experience in
this area. Careful coordination of the interface
details will not matter if fabrication and construction tolerances are not followed.
Transportation of some modular elements
like walls and ceilings do not pose a major concern unlike super skids and modularized building sections that can potentially be challenging.
While the intent is to use modules that are as
large as possible, shipping dimensions for the
modules must be coordinated with the various
requirements of each jurisdiction the modules
will travel through. Module construction needs
to consider both the ultimate use of the modules as well as the conditions they will experience during shipping. Standard details used
for supporting pipes or conduits do not always
work in modular construction.
It is important to select connections for these
supporting details that can handle the stress and
vibration created during the shipping process.
Whether being shipped via road or over the ocean,
the modules need to be kept weather-tight through-
Risks to be Mitigated
◗ Don Hamme, Senior Project Manager - IPS