and qualification of facility elements in discrete units at a location distant from the ultimate facility, and the integration of
those elements, or modules, into the final facility at the site.
Modularization can be and has been applied in many ways.
Prefabrication of piping spools is a method that has been
applied in the process industries for many years and is one of
the earliest examples of modularization. For years, engineers
and constructors have organized process system designs to
allow for detailed design and fabrication off site. These process
modules can be partially tested and qualified, broken down if
required, shipped, and reassembled at the site.
Similarly, modular wall systems represent the outcome of a
process of design and construction of facility elements in discrete
units away from the ultimate facility. These systems have evolved
from prefabricated PVC sheathed aluminum frame wall and ceiling panels. They now include “walkable” ceiling systems, prefabricated airwalls, and even integrated electrical lighting and receptacles and HVAC ductwork, HEPA filters, and controls. Modular
wall systems also provide added benefit of vastly superior quality
to any means and methods available for constructing on site.
Also employed for many years like process and wall systems,
modular Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) sys-
tems have undergone an evolution recently.
Penthouse air handling units and modular
chilling and heating plants have been used in
many applications. However, modularization of
utility distribution systems is one of the latest
developments in the industry’s efforts to optimize capital deployment. Historically ductwork,
piping, and conduit systems were inexpensive
enough, and erected in the field easily enough,
that they were unattractive targets for modularization. The economic pressure on capital
projects in today’s Life Sciences industries has
shifted that balance. MEP distribution systems
are now organized into modules during design,
prefabricated on special structural support systems, shipped just-in-time to a waiting site, and
rapidly assembled. The application of modularization to these distribution systems requires
special design and constructability considerations, many of which are facilitated with BIM
and 4D design and construction techniques.
At the turn of the century, factory modularization was driven to the limit with the advent of
the Shipping Container Module (SCM) concept.
Every industry moves through a life cycle, starting with the seed of an idea, experiencing rapid growth peri- ods, and ultimately settling into a mature phase. The Pharmaceutical industry has reached maturity, and with this maturity has come aggressive competition, reducing
margins and ratcheting up pressure on cost and product development timelines. In addition to market share, Pharmaceutical
companies compete for investor capital, and this competition
drives industry leaders to demonstrate greater and greater control over their deployment of these scarce dollars.
OPTIMIZING CAPITAL DEPLOYMENT
There are numerous factors that must be controlled to optimize
capital deployment. Overall outlay must be controlled. Time from
decision to delivery must be minimized. And the quality of the
delivered asset must meet, but not exceed, all requirements.
To achieve these objectives for the Pharmaceutical industry, capital project delivery practitioners have developed and
refined numerous specialized techniques. One of the techniques
that has dramatically improved the capital deployment process in recent years is modularization. In the Pharmaceutical
Engineering context, modularization is the design, construction,