Open vs. Closed Modular Construction: Which Method is Best?

Your search for the highest quality, the shortest project timeline, and the best value has led you to select a modular wall system for your construction project. And you’re not alone! Pre-manufactured construction is exploding in popularity. In fact, almost 60% of all construction happens off-site! That means more and more general contractors are turning to the controlled conditions and the skilled labor found in construction facilities that develop wall systems and full room modules off-site today than ever before.

But did you know that there are different types of modular construction? And making the choice between the two can help you to save even more time and money? Regardless of which process is best for your project, both prefabricated methods are built under controlled factory conditions using some of the same materials and designed to meet or beat the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities.

What is Closed Modular Construction?

Companies that use “closed modular construction” design, develop, and construct entire rooms off-site; this includes all electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC runs. Large-scale projects like hospitals, apartments, and even houses benefit significantly from this type of efficient prefabrication process because there are no weather delays and teams that work in controlled conditions are much more productive under optimal conditions. Customers can expect exceptional quality, too!

When a completed module arrives on the job site, it is hoisted and placed on the foundation where the electrical, plumbing, and HVAC will be connected to the previous module. This process will continue until all modules are on-site and connected to the electrical panel, the water and sewer lines, and furnace and AC units.

This process is called closed construction because these integral components are installed and closed up at the manufacturing facility, prior to delivery at the job site.

In most states, a project that is considered “closed construction” must be inspected by local authorities to confirm that all construction meets local code requirements. These inspections typically take place at the manufacturing facility, rather than on the job site.

What is Open Modular Construction?

Companies, like Starrco, that engineer wall systems using open construction methods create another level of freedom and flexibility into our products that actually redefine the term ‘modular.’

As you just read, closed modular systems are designed and developed off-site. And once the prefabricated module is in place, it’s permanent. Starrco panelized wall systems are also designed and developed to your specifications offsite. But Starrco projects offer another level of versatility because they can be expanded, downsized, and even relocated without any loss of quality or engineering integrity.

The Starrco wall systems also deliver a simplified and more efficient method defined as “open construction” because wall panels are solid and are shipped knocked-down with edges exposed. Because the panels are solid, no plumbing or electrical components are installed within the walls.

Instead, open construction projects from Starrco mate the wall panels with weight-bearing studs. These studs run from floor to ceiling and have the ability to house electrical, data lines, and even water supply lines; all covered by a snap-off cover. The snap-off covers allow for the easy inspection of each component while blending seamlessly into the design of the rest of the structure.

With open modular construction, no special components of the build are hidden, which means building officials can visually inspect all the components and utilities at the jobsite with ease. When the inspection is complete, the covers are snapped back on the studs, and the project is complete.

Open vs. Closed Modular Construction: Which Method is Best?

Open and closed modular construction both deliver a highly functional and exceptional quality product, but Starrco proudly manufactures systems built with an open construction architecture because open construction makes the inspection process a bit simpler, and it allows us to deliver a more versatile product to our clients.

As more inspectors become familiar with open modular construction, they will learn the method can significantly reduce the time associated with inspection. What’s more, open construction offers a more efficient build and maintenance process. Should you need any electrical or plumbing service in the future, all points of the system are easily accessed by removing the snap-off cover. This ensures the longevity and serviceability of your new modular building or office, protecting your investment well into the future.

Open modular construction is a fast, intuitive, and safe method of construction for a range of building applications. If you’re considering a new project, but aren’t sure how to get started, contact the Starrco team at 800-325-4259 or contact us online today.

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