A team of researchers from the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology (KICT) created a new modular construction approach wherein structures can be built by assembling modular components rapidly — for instance, in the aftermath of emergencies or disasters.

According to the research team, this approach involves the fabrication of roughly 70% to 80% of the major structure components in factories ahead of being transported to the construction site. Once there, the structure can then reportedly be assembled and installed faster than conventional construction approaches. The team suggests that such an approach could reduce construction time frames and, consequently, reduce on-site accidents.

Source: Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building TechnologySource: Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology

Further, the new modular construction approach generates less noise, dust and waste than conventional construction approaches, while the modular components used in this method can later be recycled or repurposed.

The new KICT modular construction method will reportedly involve structures wherein the floor, inner walls and roof of a box-type infill module are prefabricated in a factory and subsequently placed in a U-shaped PC module featuring a wall-type load-bearing structure at the site of construction.

To erect the structures, the infill modules are lifted up and then placed down into the target U-shaped PC module via crane. The box-type infill modules are then inserted and followed by the roofing, stairs and corridors.

The KICT team suggests that potential uses for the modular structures possibly range from negative pressure hospital rooms for infectious disease prevention, military bases or barracks, or low-income housing.

The researchers explained: "The developed modular construction method will offer effective solutions for addressing environmental issues in the construction industry and housing shortages. Conventional methods using steel modules are deemed less cost-effective compared to concrete construction methods.

"In contrast, this technology significantly reduces construction costs and diminishes the need for a large portion of on-site operations, resulting in shorter construction periods compared to conventional concrete construction methods, all thanks to the mass production of repeated sets of necessary modules."

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