5 Emerging Trends In Modular Design

installing modules

Modular is one of the most influential movements in construction right now. At Modscape, we understand this better than anyone.

Established in 2006, Modscape has designed and constructed over 600 projects spanning single residential, multi–residential, education, health & aged care, commercial, community, hotels & accommodation, and infrastructure sectors.

With the upcoming launch of Modbotics and our new facilities in Helensvale (Queensland) and Essendon Fields (Victoria), we are constantly learning and evolving how we work.

While modular is now more than just a ‘trend’, there are plenty of burgeoning shifts within the industry itself, as builders prepare to face challenges associated with increased demand for efficient and sustainable construction. With innovation at our core, we are committed to meeting these challenges head on.

Here’s a look at five key trends that we’re seeing — and championing — within the modular construction industry.

render of factory building

Above: Modscape’s new office and factory in Essendon Fields (Victoria) will be home to Modbotics (mid 2024).

Left: Modscape factory and office in Helensvale (Queensland)

Factory from drone

References

1 Modbotics is 
Australia’s first robotic manufacturing line for panelised wall systems.

 

2 Modular Construction: From Projects To Products by McKinsey & Co (2019)

1. Robotics in Modular Construction

The integration of robotics in modular construction marks a significant leap towards efficiency and precision. Robots, as those utilised at Modbotics1, are increasingly used to speed up the production of building components like walls, floors and ceiling.

This kind of automation can bring costs down by 30%, quicken delivery times by 50%, and reduce waste by up to 70%2. As robotics technology continues to evolve, we can expect further improvements in modular construction capabilities, reducing human error and increasing safety on production lines.

robotics manufacturing line

References

1 World Economic Forum 2021 on homeless population.

 

2 South Korea’s affordable modular housing project in Sejong City.

 

3 QLD Government’s Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Program.

 

 

2. Social Housing Solutions

There’s an estimated 150 million homeless people worldwide1 – that’s 2% of the global population. It’s no wonder countries are turning to innovative building methods like modular to address the housing crisis.

This trend is gaining momentum as governments and non-profit organisations recognise the potential of offsite construction to meet urgent social needs without compromising on building quality or inhabitant comfort.

South Korea has just started building its most extensive affordable modular housing project2 in Sejong City’s 5-1 Living Area, with 450 houses and 1,327 units. The development is part of South Korea’s ambitious 2030 LH OSC (Offsite Construction) Housing Roadmap, designed to transform South Korea’s construction practices. The development aims to cut construction times by 50% by 2030, setting a new benchmark for affordable housing projects worldwide.

Closer to home, the Queensland government has established a Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) Program3 to support fast-tracked residential solutions as part of its $1.25 billion plan to build 53,500 social homes by 2046.

highway

Above: Sejong City, South Korea

Left: Perry House social housing project, in collaboration with Jesuit Social Services and SEMZ.

Below: QBuild Housing Program

render of house
render of house

References

Be sure to check out our residential projects like Bronte Beach, Kangaroobie and Phillip Island to see the potential of modular in high-end home design and construction.

 

3. High-End Design

Modular construction is shedding its reputation for being solely utilitarian and is making strides into the luxury market. High-end modular homes and buildings are now being designed with top-tier materials, bespoke features, and luxurious finishes that compete with traditional high-end constructions.

This shift is particularly noticeable in residential sectors, where buyers are seeking high quality, customisable solutions in half the time.

living room

Above/ below: Bronte Beach, 2022

Left: Barwon Heads, 2023

dining room with artwork
kitchen

4. Timber Framing Systems

Amid escalating material costs and project delays, timber1 is becoming the preferred choice for structural frames over steel. This cost-effective alternative has a faster installation process, provides superior insulation, and can be easily customised to suit a range of architectural styles.

While timber may present its own set of challenges — such as adhering to stringent fire safety standards —the environmental benefits and cost savings make it an appealing solution.

timber house with trees

Above: Barwon Heads, 2023

Left/ Below: NSW Regional Police Stations

References

1 The Fundamentals: Passivhaus Association

 

2 Bessancourt Passive House by Karawitz Architecture

 

3 Discover more about Modbotics, Modscape’s cutting-edge technology that manufactures building components at lightning speed.

5. Passive House Designs

Sustainability continues to be a driving force in all areas of construction, and modular design is no exception. Modular buildings are often more sustainable than their traditional counterparts, due to more controlled construction processes that reduces waste and energy use.

Advanced technology has enhanced the precision of modular construction, making it possible for more projects to achieve Passivehaus1 (or Passive House) standards. This design and performance certification guarantees exceptional energy efficiency in buildings. In France, Karawitz Architecture’s Bessancourt Passive House2 combines the rapid construction benefits of prefabricated modules with stringent energy efficiency standards of Passive Design, resulting in a dwelling that significantly reduces energy use for heating and cooling.

At Modscape, our Modbotics capabilities allow us to build panelised walls3 that meet Passive House standards. It’s an exciting step towards a greener future.

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