Build at the cutting edge. In other words, build modularly with ALUPROF solutions.

Fast, pro-ecological and the sky’s the limit; that is the future of the modern construction industry. Producing high-quality, fully furnished modules in factories brings no risk of going over budget, something which often happens with traditional technology. Moreover, modular building not only reduces the negative impact on the environment and the costs of the development, but also produces an astonishing seventy per cent drop in construction labour time. Schools and hospitals are already taking shape in this way, as are luxury hotels and single-family homes in North America.

Modular Technology

Modular building is busy attracting new advocates. It offers a range of benefits which are often unachievable using traditional construction methods. Key advantages here are timeliness, high performance quality control and comprehensiveness. Modules are produced in line with precise specifications developed on the basis of the developer’s requirements and this takes place in a factory, where delays on the construction site and unfavourable weather have no impact on the progress of the work. Elements such as walls, floors, windows, doors, utilities and even roofs, complete with cladding, are assembled at the factory and that is actually where most of the construction and finishing work is carried out. This provides control over the quality of the modules as they are being made and also makes it possible for work to be performed on the construction site at the same time. Prefabrication means that we obtain complete modules which are produced using the highest quality materials and are ready to be put together on site. In addition, depending on the standard selected, ‘turnkey’, fully furnished versions can be delivered.

Modular architectural gems

On the construction site, architects’ visions are made real in the course of just three to five months, as a fully fitted-out building is born. This also minimises interference with the surroundings and the negative impact on the natural environment. The positive aspects of modular technology also include far better materials management and reduced CO2 emissions. This is particularly important when it comes to developments in city and town centres, where construction work is often wearyingly bothersome for the residents and leaves it mark on the urban flora and fauna.

One excellent example of a demanding development is the Bowery Hotel in New York. Located in the Soho district, one of Manhatten’s most appealing neighbourhoods, it is just a stone’s throw from Little Italy, much loved by visitors and New Yorkers alike. The Bowery is a high-end, boutique establishment which was built in 2018 and was the highest modular building in the USA at the time. The production of the modules for the building, which has twenty-one storeys, took place in Poland and it was the work of Polcom Modular and ALUPROF S.A., manufacturer of aluminium architectural systems. Units measuring 15 x 2.5 x 3 square metres contain two hotel rooms and a section of corridor. Each module was assembled complete with a section of the façade, which would eventually be fitted on the side facing the street.

Transporting the two hundred and ten modules presented no small challenge. First, the entire cargo was taken to Gdańsk, on the Baltic coast. From there, it made its way by ship to the port in the Red Hook district of Brooklyn, where a convoy of HGVs took over and carried the modules via East River to the construction site. The height of the building meant that the engineers had to use special cantilevers in the form of concrete cores the height of the building, which were set into the foundations at the south-west corner and along the northern wall. They bear some of the load and ensure the building’s stability. On site, the modules were lifted into place by a crane and secured with screws. At the peak of the work, the contractors’ teams were erecting a storey per week.

One feature of buildings constructed in this way is the façade, which is built onto separate steel or wooden segments. This really does stiffen the structure of the elevation and that opens up a wide range of potential solutions in terms of mullion and transom systems and window and door joinery. The Bowery Hotel in New York was fitted with aluminium window and door systems by ALUPROF S.A.

Rafał Majze, Implementation Director at ALUPROF S.A. explains that:

A great many factors play a part when it comes to choosing a specific system. In this area, preserving the building’s structure is crucial. With modular construction, the designers have to tackle new problems connected with relocating the segments in relation to one another. Another vital matter is the right damp proofing, which ensures that the modules and the joins between them are fully watertight. Guaranteeing the proper thermal and acoustic conditions is also an essential matter. When we’re working on a building in North America, we quite often have to bear in mind particulars like seismic risk and the threat of hurricanes. ALUPROF’s architectural systems are very well suited to those requirements. For the Bowery Hotel, we took our MB-SR50N façade system as a starting point and created a bespoke mullion and transom system. The structures that were used were designed on the basis of that.

A new example of a development in a similar location is the 6th Avenue Hotel in New York. The modules have been produced and on-site installation is planned for the second half of 2020. For this building, the MB-SR50N mullion and transom façade system by ALUPROF has been used and the windows are based on the company’s MB-70 system.

For offices and homes

ALUPROF’s experts continually propose new solutions to companies in the property sector in Poland and internationally. One of the ways that this has borne fruit is the company’s ongoing collaboration with developer Vastint Hospitality, which is building for Marriot International Inc.’s Moxy Hotels brand. For the buildings constructed using modular technology with wooden segments, ALUPROF has provided custom-designed solutions based on its MB-70 and MB-86 systems.

Rafał Majza remarks that:

The organisation in the factory of the Dutch module manufacturer is well worth noting. It’s based on the automotive sector. Production is combined with the kind of technological process found in car factories, where individual modules are fitted with successive elements at separate, dedicated workstations. This is one of the factors that has an effect on optimising the production process, while the actual construction of buildings on the basis of prefabricated modules streamlines the installation work. It facilitates the reduction of the time that takes by as much as fifty per cent in comparison with buildings constructed the standard way. And that translates into real savings for the developer and a quicker return on their investment.

In collaboration with companies such as Ganther, ALUPROF has provided elements for those buildings in the form of mullion and transom façades from which the glazed entrance will be made.

In addition to the standard building types erected using modular technology, such as public buildings, hotels and large shops, the popularity enjoyed by single-family homes consisting of one segment or a number of segments joined together is steadily growing.