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modular construction
May 31, 2022

How the modular construction sector is putting the pieces together

Earlier this month, crews at a large construction site in Mississauga watched as the final building block of a long-delayed long-term care facility was lowered into place.

The 640-bed facility, financed by Infrastructure Ontario and completed for Trillium Health, represents one of the province’s largest “volumetric” modular construction projects to date – a building literally fitted together with rooms or suites pre-built in a 300,000 square-foot factory in Stoney Creek, Ont., established two years ago by EllisDon Modular.

The plant is just a few kilometres away from another large new modular factory, Grimsby-based NRB Modular Solutions, which is owned by infrastructure asset investor Dexterra Group and now operates three other modular factories in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.

Their products – pre-fabricated suites fitted out with plumbing, electrical fixtures, kitchens or bathrooms – are built in the controlled conditions of a factory, which means no weather interruptions, better quality control, more comfortable working conditions, less construction debris and significantly speedier assembly. Trucked to construction sites, the pre-fab units are craned into place onto a pre-built foundation and then fitted together.

“That’s why you choose modular,” says NRB president Dawn Nigro. “It is 50-per-cent faster, because you’re producing the units” while the site preparation is underway. She adds that they’re well suited for building projects on space-constrained urban sites, where land is expensive and there’s a lot of pressure to finish disruptive development projects.

Modular “is something that’s been around for many, many years,” says ED Modular senior vice-president Tom Howell, noting that Ellis Don’s Stoney Creek plant can turn out about a thousand 425 sq.-ft. units a year. “It’s just that there seems to be more of an appetite for now.” The demand, he adds, can no longer be ignored.

Keep reading in The Globe and Mail


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