My Space Pod™ - custom built accommodation made from recycled shipping containers


Grant Smereczynsky
COO at Pro Homes America LLC.

WHY not considering modular for your next Student Housing project?

Often, the most significant barrier to developing new housing is cost. Many schools are struggling to make ends meet, and the idea of raising additional funds for new residence halls or student apartments is daunting. A second challenge is timing. No university administrator or planner wants the campus to be disrupted by construction during the school year. But it's unrealistic to try to confine housing projects to the summer months, when fewer students are on campus.

Long-term construction can undermine a school's goal of providing a comfortable and attractive campus experience. Construction sites can pose safety risks for students and staff who have to pass by heavy equipment and other construction elements on their way around campus. And safety is even more of a concern during weekends, when partying students may be less aware of potential hazards.
One potential solution to these challenges that university officials generally overlook is modular housing.
Modular Building Systems have been around for more than a century. With modular, individual modules are built off-campus in a factory to the specifications of campus planners or architects. When complete, the newly constructed residences are transported to campus and put in place.

The two primary advantages to this approach are cost and completion time. If properly designed and constructed, modular housing can be developed for less then to equal of the cost of traditional housing and still meet the highest quality standards. Because the residence halls or apartments are constructed off-campus, the majority of the development process has no physical impact on the campus. Once the completed product is transported to the university, the setup can be completed in a matter of weeks.
Completion speed also can have a huge effect on funding. If a building can be completed in a few months rather than in a year, financing costs can be reduced, and funding can be obtained more readily.
So if Modular Building Systems are so attractive, why don't more universities choose this approach? The primary reason is that the modular industry hasn’t done a good job of marketing it self in the past.
However, that doesn't have to be the case. We have many reputable modular companies operate throughout the United States that are capable of building high-quality manufactured housing for colleges and universities.

Although modular isn't the right choice for every campus, it can be an attractive option in the right circumstances. In fact, the very nature of modular construction ties in well to the typical campus housing approach. Generally, a residence hall or campus apartment building houses uniform populations with similar needs: a desk, closets, dressers and room for a bed, for instance. The uniformity of modular design is perfectly suited to the needs of most campus housing facilities.
Additionally, Modular Systems can be created from all of the other materials that are generally used for campus housing. Residence halls more than three or four stories can be constructed from steel frames, concrete, or a combination of the two. Similarly, student apartments and smaller residence halls can be constructed of virtually any building material, including wood.

BSN Builder /CEO Grant Smereczynsky 770-231-4462 or 770-888-2761

Comments (3)

Dan Meske
Vice President at Deluxe Building Systems, Inc.

Additionally, the typical college and university tend to be very environmentally conscious. The modular system lends itself extremely well to all green programs, including the LEED program. With very little or even no additional cost to the project, modular dormitories can easily contribute enough LEED points to accomplish LEED Certified at a minimum, with the correct project site features.

Shawn P. Mullins
Engineering Management - Manufactured Housing & Commercial/Residential Modular Buildings

This approach has already become popular with certain branches of the military for many of the same reasons already mentioned. The repetitive nature of their layouts, flexibility between in-factory and on-site construction needs, and consistent bid/scope process makes it suitable for modular manufacturers. Something else to consider is that a modular manufacturer often builds a prototype "unit" in these situations for the buyer to physically walk and inspect. This provides a great opportunity to get a feel for the repetitive living spaces before all of them are produced. If changes are deemed necessary from the prototype, it is a lot easier and cheaper to do it at that stage than after the rest of the building has been built. Try doing that with a site constructed complex!

It should be noted that the military and the GCs they use (modular manufactures are sub-contractors in this type of arrangement) had to be convinced this would work. Eventually that was accomplished and it continues to be a progression to "share" that knowledge and understanding. The product and overall system sells itself. Now that there are successful modular barracks and other military developments in use, it should be easier to demonstrate modular's superior effectiveness to the colleges. All it takes is someone to connect the dots for them and show them what is out there now. There are a lot of creative solutions already in use and likely many more to come.

Grant Smereczynsky
COO at Pro Homes America LLC.

Some additional thoughts are the client, or developer, must consider each project in terms of the amount of difficulty he is likely to encounter and the amount of time the difficulties are expected to consume building it traditional on site construction. These typical challenges are composed of numerous and divergent issues such as local agency approvals, projected costs, construction logistics and the likelihood of a healthy market for his project at the time of completion. All of these issues have a common denominator, uncertainty. We are not suggesting that every project can be adapted to our process. There are some structures that must be built on-site. But we do know that under the majority of normal conditions, the off-site construction method can reduce or eliminate many of the issues that plague site-built projects.


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The specialist company for custom built modular accommodation
My Space Pod™ - custom built accommodation made from recycled shipping containers