10 May Your Modular Office & Building Experts
Since I knew Mark needed to find space for 50 new employees and fast I focused first on how to transform the empty warehouse area in to office spaces. But how could I build a space like that in such a short time frame that could also house this many employees? The answer, modular. Modular construction refers to the use of factory produced pre-engineered building units. The components are designed to the same codes as conventionally built facilities but in a fraction of the time.
I called up my friends at Allied Modular and sent them my plans. Then I decided to fly out to their headquarters to see how it’s all made. I got the chance to meet with Fred Ketcho, President and CEO of Allied Modular. There is a real advantage to deciding to go with a modular building system versus typical construction. Typical construction takes so much time, there’s so many different people and moving parts and pieces involved and in order to go modular I was really interested in seeing their facility today because their lead time to get this project from design out the door, ready to ship and deliver and install is extremely short and I wanted to see how they were doing this.
When you’re dealing with permanent construction you typically have to tear down and start over and so there is a lot of waste, there’s a lot of extra cost. There’s a lot of extra time so a lot of the intrinsic benefits of modular come in not just with the design flexibility but also in I think the productivity and the effectiveness for the clients from a financial standpoint as well as schedule and productivity standpoint. Modular construction is not just quicker and more affordable than conventional construction, it’s also incredibly eco-friendly with little to no waste, it’s a smart, sustainable and stylish solution.
I would describe our company as a very progressive, modular building systems company and we are in a variety of different markets and industries. In terms of making a building green the pre-fabrication that occurs off site is very clean. It limits the amount of waste, which simplifies the process once you’re on the location. You know you can only visualize so much when you’re looking at a 2D plan but when it comes in to 3D you can really see where you want to make changes before the structure is actually built. Then, I met with Gabe and Khan who took me through a 3D model of my original design. So as you guys know I’ve had this challenge to convert this warehouse space in to an office to seat 50 people. I need a 3D model in order to show my clients so that they understand what this really looks like. You know I’ve toured your facility, I’m seeing how this sort of comes together and it’s important for me to be able to take this back and show my client what this thing is going to look like.
With the 3D model we can already visualize the final project and know what it’s going to look like. Awesome. If i’m standing on the first floor and I’m walking up this here? So those are the five upstairs, your 5 offices downstairs and then the open floor plan in front of the offices which is below the mezzanine. There’s a real benefit in being able to see a 3D model because I can only visualize so much of it in my mind looking at finishes and plans, but when I see it coming together in a 3D model it really allows me to make design decisions or changes or corrections to the actual structure before it’s fabricated and cost a lot of money to build. This looks awesome. And I really like the under side of the mezzanine. That looks really cool open like that.
You know this space is really for a creative team I think to make it not like the corporate head quarters for the creatives, right? To make it much more industrial and funky and cool and fun. I love the brushed aluminum, I like the powder coated steel. I think it looks really cool with the black. On this, we did it this way, but we can definitely add something else or add to the grid ceiling and go back to the original but we were always on the industrial theme. It’s very cool, this looks awesome guys.
Now that I’ve been able to see the 3D model I think it really captures the essence of my design intent. I was really looking forward to create a fun, funky, industrial space and I think it really does that. So a real benefit is that they fabricate everything in house and custom and they have all of the different components here. I mean everything happens under this roof so it really cuts down on your lead time and allows for the manufacturing process to be quick and then they actually even pack it here and get it ready to go on the trucks.
Next, Gabe walked me through their factory to show me step by step the modular manufacturing process. Being 100 percent custom anything that you can really dream of we can do here. After a design is created the aluminum that makes up the main portion of the modular structure is cut. The modular pieces are then painted, or powder coated, and placed in to a heater to dry. Windows and glass are created in house, as well as doors. This is our window department and here we make our own windows. Anything that our customers request we are able to do it. It is 100 percent done all here at the warehouse.
Electrical wiring in each unit is made to be hidden, out of site, inside the metal structure. So all of the electrical goes in. Our wall panels go in to this. Everything is hidden inside what we call a raceway. And it goes from here straight over to our laminating machine. When each order is completed it is wrapped, packed, and ready to ship to location for a quick installation! These are complete orders that have already been purchased and they are ready to be shipped out. After the factory walk through, I had all of the information I needed in order to make a decision. (music). They completed the manufacturing and then it was time for the Allied Team to install the modular unit.
We will start off with unloading the truck, staging our material, laying out the floor track and start putting up walls for our first floor and all of that should happen in day one. In this space we are putting in five offices downstairs, five offices upstairs and then an entire mezzanine will be used for cubicle workspace. So it gives you a second story that is built just like our modular offices in a matter of days instead of months like your conventional construction.
That’s the great thing about modular. You can always move it to your next facility or if you need to expand you just take down what was put up and it’s re-usable. So you don’t loose that asset. It’s not like your dry wall and stick built construction. It’s more than a one time use. We’ve been so conditioned around permanent construction that when they start to see the possibilities and the flexibility that this offers them it’s quite interesting to see how the light bulbs starts flickering with our clients and they start to see and they start to imagine what’s possible.