Special Issue "Modern Prefabricated Buildings"

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Tuan Ngo

The University of Melbourne, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: civil and structural engineering, disaster mitigation, security and protective engineering, sustainable buildings and infrastructure
Guest Editor
Dr. David Heath

The University of Melbourne, Australia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: prefabricated construction, advanced manufacturing, structural engineering, safety-critical fasteners
Guest Editor
Dr. Shanaka Baduge

The University of Melbourne, Australia
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Prefabricated construction is an industry experiencing rapid change the world over. While countries, such as Sweden and Japan, have very mature prefabricated construction industries, other countries have yet to catch up, in part due to prefabricated construction’s checkered history. Modern prefabricated buildings, however, are challenging these stereotypes. The benefits of prefabricated construction are many: Greater speed, reduced waste, improved safety, energy efficient, higher quality and improved productivity, among others. This new paradigm permits the delivery of smarter building solutions with better integration of products and processes at a lower cost and higher quality. In recognition of these credentials, governments throughout the world have begun adopting prefabricated construction in housing strategies to combat the growing shortage of affordable houses for a rapidly growing population. 

This Special Issue includes a selection of papers that present the latest innovative research from around the world that pushes the envelope of modern building technologies. The innovations span from the development of new light-weight, high strength and sustainable materials to modular systems that may be used in high-rise buildings. This research is imperative to not only meet the challenges of today, but also the needs of tomorrow’s building industry.

Prof. Tuan Ngo
Dr. David Heath
Dr. Shanaka Baduge
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • prefabricated construction
  • modular construction
  • buildings
  • housing
  • construction
  • material

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Strategies for Applying the Circular Economy to Prefabricated Buildings
Buildings 2018, 8(9), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8090125
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, a circular-economy framework is applied to the prefabricated building sector to explore the environmental advantages of prefabrication in terms of reduction, reusability, adaptability, and recyclability of its components. A qualitative approach is used to revisit the design, construction, and demolition
[...] Read more.
In this paper, a circular-economy framework is applied to the prefabricated building sector to explore the environmental advantages of prefabrication in terms of reduction, reusability, adaptability, and recyclability of its components. A qualitative approach is used to revisit the design, construction, and demolition stages of prefabricated buildings; in so doing, the circular-economy framework is applied to foster circular prefabricated modi operandi. Prefabrication of buildings can be divided into four entities: elements and components, panels (or non-volumetric elements), volumetric, and entire modules. Through an analysis of published research on how the circular economy can be applied to different industry sectors and production processes, seven strategies emerged, each of which revealed the potential of improving the circular economy of buildings. The first strategy is reduction of waste through a lean production chain. By reusing the waste, the second strategy investigates the use of by-products in the production of new components. The third strategy focuses on the reuse of replacement parts and components. The fourth strategy is based on design toward adaptability, respectively focusing on reusability of components and adapting components for a second use with a different purpose. Similarly, the fifth strategy considers the implications of designing for disassembly with Building Information Modeling so as to improve the end-of-life deconstruction phase. The sixth strategy focuses on design with attention to recyclability of used material. Finally, the seventh strategy considers the use of tracking technologies with embedded information on components’ geometric and mechanic characteristics as well as their location and life cycle to enable second use after deconstruction. It is demonstrated that prefabricated buildings are key to material savings, waste reduction, reuse of components, and various other forms of optimization for the construction sector. By adopting the identified strategies in prefabricated buildings, a circular economy could be implemented within the construction industry. Finally, seven guidelines were distilled from the review and linked to the identified strategies. Owing to their degree of adaptability and capacity of being disassembled, prefabricated buildings would allow waste reduction and facilitate a second life of components. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Prefabricated Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Manufacturing, Modeling, Implementation and Evaluation of a Weatherproof Seal for Prefabricated Construction
Buildings 2018, 8(9), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8090120
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 24 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
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Abstract
Prefabricated forms of construction have led to the rapid onsite assembly of buildings however there are still on-site tasks and processes which can be reevaluated and redone specifically in keeping with the principles of prefabrication instead being adapted to fit its purpose. One
[...] Read more.
Prefabricated forms of construction have led to the rapid onsite assembly of buildings however there are still on-site tasks and processes which can be reevaluated and redone specifically in keeping with the principles of prefabrication instead being adapted to fit its purpose. One such process is that of waterproofing between prefabricated panels and modules which come from the factory fully complete façade and all. Conventional means of waterproofing can be used however it results in more work done on site, potential delays and generally requires access from the external face of the building. This paper presents the Modelling, Implementation and Evaluation of purpose developed weatherproof seals specific for Prefabricated Construction. An overview is provided of the entire development process and specific focus is given to the modeling using finite element analysis (FEA) computer simulations, manufacturing and testing which then resulted in the implementation in a prefabricated panelised building which is used as a case study and the means of further evaluation. These strategies have enabled an efficient and robust prefabricated waterproofing solution specific for this form of construction to be understood and implemented. The resulting case study has successfully verified the time and cost savings when compared to conventional techniques whilst still providing a durable and effective weatherproof seal for prefabricated panelised and modular systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Prefabricated Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Design and Development of Weatherproof Seals for Prefabricated Construction: A Methodological Approach
Buildings 2018, 8(9), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings8090117
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 24 August 2018
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Abstract
Satisfactory weatherproofing of buildings is vital to maximise their design life and performance which requires the careful design of external sealing technologies. Systems commonly available have served well in conventional construction however with many prefabricated systems emerging in the building industry new and
[...] Read more.
Satisfactory weatherproofing of buildings is vital to maximise their design life and performance which requires the careful design of external sealing technologies. Systems commonly available have served well in conventional construction however with many prefabricated systems emerging in the building industry new and novel means of weatherproofing between panels and modules need to be developed purpose specific to this application. This paper presents a holistic and fundamental methodological approach to Design and Development of waterproof seals and has been applied specific for prefabricated panelised and modular systems. Two purpose specific weatherproof seals are finally presented. Flow charts of the overview of the suggested methodological approach and the processes within which include DfMA that have been incorporated into understanding and developing seals for this practical application. These strategies have enabled a resourceful and holistic set of processes that can be adapted and used for similar forms of product research in new and developing areas of construction such as prefabrication. The design and development process is thoroughly investigated and has resulted in an exploration of the technical challenges and potential solutions which take into consideration factors from installation limitations to building tolerances. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Prefabricated Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Development of an Innovative Modular Foam-Filled Panelized System for Rapidly Assembled Postdisaster Housing
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 16 July 2018 / Accepted: 28 July 2018 / Published: 30 July 2018
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Abstract
In this paper, the development process of a deployable modular sandwich panelized system for rapid-assembly building construction is presented, and its structural performance under some different action effects is investigated. This system, which includes an innovative sandwich panel and its integrated connections, can
[...] Read more.
In this paper, the development process of a deployable modular sandwich panelized system for rapid-assembly building construction is presented, and its structural performance under some different action effects is investigated. This system, which includes an innovative sandwich panel and its integrated connections, can be used as structural walls and floors in quickly-assembled postdisaster housing, as well as load-bearing panels for prefabricated modular construction and semipermanent buildings. Panels and connections are composed of a pneumatic fabric formwork, and two 3D high-density polyethylene (HDPE) sheets as the skins, filled with high-density rigid polyurethane (PU) foam as the core. HDPE sheets manufactured with a studded surface considerably enhance stress distribution, buckling performance, and delamination strength of the sandwich panel under various loading conditions. The load-carrying behavior of the system in accordance with some American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards is presented here. The results show the system satisfies the codes’ criteria regarding semipermanent housing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Prefabricated Buildings)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Plug n Play: Future Prefab for Smart Green Schools
Received: 31 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 5 July 2018
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Abstract
While relocatable, prefabricated learning environments have formed an important component of school infrastructure in Australia, prefabrication for permanent school buildings is a new and emerging field. This review of prefabrication for schools is timely. In 2017, Australia’s two largest state education departments committed
[...] Read more.
While relocatable, prefabricated learning environments have formed an important component of school infrastructure in Australia, prefabrication for permanent school buildings is a new and emerging field. This review of prefabrication for schools is timely. In 2017, Australia’s two largest state education departments committed to prefabrication programs for permanent school infrastructure. In this paper we examine the recent history of prefabrication for Australian school buildings in the context of prefabrication internationally. We explore the range of prefabrication methods used locally and internationally and introduce evaluation indicators for school infrastructure. Traditional post-occupancy evaluation (POE) tools measure indicators such as indoor environment quality (IEQ), cost benefit, life cycle performance, and speed of delivery. In response to a shift towards more student-centred learning in a digitally rich environment, recently developed POE tools now investigate the ability of new generation learning environments (NGLEs) to support optimum pedagogical encounters. We conclude with an argument for departments of education to consider how prefabrication provides opportunities for step changes in the delivery, life-cycle management and occupation of smart green schools rather than a program of simply building new schools quicker, better, and cheaper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modern Prefabricated Buildings)
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