A detailed look at modular construction

The Kirkland Avenue Townhomes are on site and well under final construction in Renton.  To further describe modular construction in process, here are images from the Champion Home factory in Weiser, Idaho. The following photos and descriptions are describing the 1st seven stations in the manufacturing process. 

Station 1 | Framing

The floor is framed and the subfloor is glued and nailed into place.

The floor is framed and the subfloor is glued and nailed into place.


Station 2 | Rough Wiring and Plumbing in Floor

The floor is lifted and placed on jacks so workers can comfortably access the underside of the floor.  Electrical and plumbing runs are put into place to align with future walls.  This sequence of work is very different from standard site built construction and relies on well detailed shop drawings.  Typically a plumber would install all runs after the framing is in place, it takes a bit more planning to do the plumbing this way, but we’ll see why it is of benefit in the following stations.

The floor is lifted and placed on jacks so workers can comfortably access the underside of the floor.  Electrical and plumbing runs are put into place to align with future walls.  This sequence of work is very different from standard site built construction and relies on well detailed shop drawings.  Typically a plumber would install all runs after the framing is in place, it takes a bit more planning to do the plumbing this way, but we’ll see why it is of benefit in the following stations.

Station 3 | Flooring, Cabinets, and Shower Installation

The floor is taken off of the jacks and placed onto rollers, the floor from this point on will be slid along these rollers and pieces will be craned onto the platform.  The linoleum flooring is now placed first.  Since we’re in a factory environment there is no concern about installing the floor prior to the townhome being dried in.  Putting the floor down before the framing make it easier to install, minimizing cuts around walls and cabinetry.  Carpet will be installed near the very end since it’s more difficult to protect during construction.

The floor is taken off of the jacks and placed onto rollers, the floor from this point on will be slid along these rollers and pieces will be craned onto the platform.  The linoleum flooring is now placed first.  Since we’re in a factory environment there is no concern about installing the floor prior to the townhome being dried in.  Putting the floor down before the framing make it easier to install, minimizing cuts around walls and cabinetry.  Carpet will be installed near the very end since it’s more difficult to protect during construction.

After the floor is set cabinets are plumbed and the shower are installed.  This is another stage that a very different from standard construction; plumbing into the shower and cabinetry is made easier without walls in the way, so it’s done now, before we move on to vertical framing elements.

After the floor is set cabinets are plumbed and the shower are installed.  This is another stage that a very different from standard construction; plumbing into the shower and cabinetry is made easier without walls in the way, so it’s done now, before we move on to vertical framing elements.

Station 4 | Wall Framing

Walls are framed flat, with gypsum wall board (GWB) running continuous over all framing members.  The gyp is installed on one side only, to keep the other side exposed  for access.  The plant attempts to keep the side that will be the most accessible once set into place as the exposed side.  This simply makes it easier to install the remaining GWB and typically makes installation of electrical boxes, switches, and receptacles easier as well.  Once the walls are framed and gyped, they are stood into place between station 4 and five, vertically.  Batt insulation is installed and any penetrations through the sill plate are drilled here before they are craned into place in station 5.  

Walls are framed flat, with gypsum wall board (GWB) running continuous over all framing members.  The gyp is installed on one side only, to keep the other side exposed  for access.  The plant attempts to keep the side that will be the most accessible once set into place as the exposed side.  This simply makes it easier to install the remaining GWB and typically makes installation of electrical boxes, switches, and receptacles easier as well.  Once the walls are framed and gyped, they are stood into place between station 4 and five, vertically.  Batt insulation is installed and any penetrations through the sill plate are drilled here before they are craned into place in station 5.

 

Station 5 | Placement of walls and Electrical Runs 

The initial framed walls are craned into place with overhead rolling cranes.   While the remaining walls are framed in station 4; electrical work begins, bringing in wiring and junction boxes for fire control systems, and outlets.  Plumbing is routed vertically and other connections are made for sanitary wastewater lines.  Fire control boxes are installed an conduit pull runs are installed for routing of all conduit to be installed in the field.

The initial framed walls are craned into place with overhead rolling cranes.   While the remaining walls are framed in station 4; electrical work begins, bringing in wiring and junction boxes for fire control systems, and outlets.  Plumbing is routed vertically and other connections are made for sanitary wastewater lines.  Fire control boxes are installed an conduit pull runs are installed for routing of all conduit to be installed in the field.

Since the GWB is run continuous over the framing members in Station 4, conditions where framing and finish materials overlap are commonplace.  It’s simply easier to run the GWB continuous than try to cut back around corners.  In standard construction this simply could not happen.

Since the GWB is run continuous over the framing members in Station 4, conditions where framing and finish materials overlap are commonplace.  It’s simply easier to run the GWB continuous than try to cut back around corners.  In standard construction this simply could not happen.

Station 6 | Ceiling Framing

While the walls are just being framed in station 4, the roof is framed in a very similar manner to the walls, laid flat on a platform, with GWB installed prior to setting the onto the walls.  It remains in this station while fire suppression piping and electrical wiring is installed.

While the walls are just being framed in station 4, the roof is framed in a very similar manner to the walls, laid flat on a platform, with GWB installed prior to setting the onto the walls.  It remains in this station while fire suppression piping and electrical wiring is installed.

Station 7 | Ceiling Drywall

Just before the floor platform in station 4 is moved into its next position at station 8.  Electrical Junction Boxes and stubouts for fire suppression sprinkler heads are installed.  The drywall for the ceiling is also taped and mudded prior to the entire assembly being craned over the box in Station 8.

Just before the floor platform in station 4 is moved into its next position at station 8.  Electrical Junction Boxes and stubouts for fire suppression sprinkler heads are installed.  The drywall for the ceiling is also taped and mudded prior to the entire assembly being craned over the box in Station 8.