NYC's New Push for Modular Apartments

Like it or not pre-manufactured modular construction is coming to America.  It has been used in other countries as fast inexpensive housing, but that doesn't make it bad.  When most people think of modular housing they think of shipping containers, ugly squares and rectangles, trailer parks in the sky.  But that stigma is about to change.  New York, Boston, and Philadelphia all have modular apartment units on the way, and they are more than just boring vertical boxes. 

These 400 sq.ft. apartments come with everything you need to be a bachelor in the big city.  One of the great things about these projects is that the construction of the units is taking place off site in controlled environments that are set up like assembly lines.  The work is more productive and safer, and the quality is better. This allows for simultaneous construction.  While the buildings foundations are being excavated and poured the construction of the units can already be under way.  This drastically reduces the construction time in the field.

There are some downsides however to this construction.  For one since every unit has four walls, when you connect them side by side or on top of each other they now have effectively double walls.  This can take up valuable square-footage from the units as a whole. Also, once construction starts there is little to no time for the owner or architect to make a change to the units as they are already in production. 

These modular units are being looked at not only for permanent residential buildings but also for disaster relief. The units are able to be transported to the disaster and even stacked if there is limited area.