Schnell, Peter

Modular and prefabricated construction is increasingly regarded as a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to traditional construction methods; and is more than just a trend of the last few years. It is often described with the characteristics “fast and cheap” which gives the appearance of standing in great contrast with sustainability. However, modular construction and sustainability are more strongly correlated than one might think. The notion of sustainability in the life cycle of modular construction will be elucidated in this article. First, it is necessary to recognise the fundamental changes and possibilities that arise through modular construction in every phase of the building life cycle. Key differences are both the increased emphasis on early project stages with the need for obligatory statements and changing parameters for maintenance, repair and renovation work. Likewise, there are differences between the possible types of modularisation, e. g. between MEP racks and ceiling panels. The more extensive and detailed the structure and degree of prefabrication of a module, the higher the potential of sustainable aspects. To evaluate the individual types of modularisation, categories and subject areas from the certification systems BREEAM, LEED and DGNB were used. The result is presented in a matrix that shows the potential of each modularisation type for the defined subject area of sustainability. Based on this, the matrix has been refined for each party involved in the building life cycle. The result illustrates the existing potential between modular construction and the various aspects of sustainability and provides an overview on how much influence can be exerted by every individual stakeholder in the life cycle phases of a building.