and compatible, and 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 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 design and construction planning. In traditional project delivery, definition
of physical details is deferred until late in the
preliminary, or schematic, 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 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 safety risk, minimize impact on operations and improve the shutdown schedule.
WORKING WITH FABRICATORS
When working with module fabricators, it is important to consider
whether they should receive a detailed layout versus performance specifications, and the manner in which interface coordination will take place in the
shop and the field. In any case, documentation must be thorough.
Just as a custom modular approach should be developed in parallel with
overall project design, modules can be sourced while the site, shell and
infrastructure construction takes place. Similarly, modules can be fabricated
and factory acceptance testing performed as the infrastructure undergoes
commissioning and qualification. These parallel activities can shave significant time from the schedule compared to the end-to-end timelines required
for completely stick-built projects. A construction management partner that
understands the entire plant lifecycle can help maximize the benefits.
Process and facility modules can be designed and built offsite. When it
makes sense, factory acceptance testing and pre-qualification can also be
performed prior to shipping them. Once on site, the integrated construction and compliance team verifies receipt, reassembles the modules and
performs final testing and qualification. One option that may make sense
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
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 and controls.
In summary, modular project delivery that is
customized to the specific needs of each 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 it all, a team experienced in technical construction can maximize the schedule, quality, safety and cost benefits realized by the owner
in the modular project delivery process.
The Modular Construction Technologies Tour at INTERPHEX 2013 will
survey a range of the modularization concepts that have been applied and
will continue to be developed for application in the delivery of facilities
for the Life Sciences industry. Spanning the range of modular wall panel
systems, with and without integrated MEP functions, through process
modules, superskids, and Shipping Container modules, the Modular
Construction Technologies Tour will introduce attendees to different
modularization approaches, their costs and benefits, and the vendor
expertise that is available to support their implementation.
Led by noted industry experts, the tour will make stops at selected
vendor exhibits and provide an ideal opportunity to obtain information
on the latest advances in these technologies and exchange information
with commonly-interested attendees. This event has been designed to
include the organizations currently making the greatest advances in
the enabling technologies that will drive the paradigms for construction of Life Sciences facilities of the future. These organizations include
Biologics Modular, AES Clean Technology, GE Healthcare, G-Con,
Cotter Brothers, and AWS BioPharma Technologies, and Portafab.