By Linda Bee at Triumph Modular

The January/February 2017 issue of Facility Manager Magazine features an article titled “The Surprising Emergence of 10-Year Buildings for Long-Term Campus Planning.”  It’s written by Rusty Williams whose focus here at Triumph Modular is educational and special-use buildings.  The article explores how colleges and universities are turning to modular construction for much quicker time-to-occupancy, and to have the option to expand, relocate or remove buildings within 8 to 10 years.  Read the full article from APPA Facilities Manager Magazine.

How can you use modular buildings in long-term campus planning?

Here are a few excerpts from this timely article:  Conventional wisdom says that there are two kinds of buildings: permanent and temporary. Most construction is considered permanent – designed to last 100 years or more. Temporary structures have typically served a more tactical purpose such as “swingspace” used during construction or in the event of a flood, fire, or other unforeseen circumstance. But, increasingly, schools are seeking facilities that combine the aesthetic characteristics of permanent buildings with the option to expand, contract or remove the building entirely within a relatively short timeframe.

Choosing Modular Construction

For example, Harvard University recently opened
a new “Life Lab” in the innovation district of their Allston campus. The existing i-Lab has been used for five years as an incubator for dozens of startups and entrepreneurs. Harvard wanted to offer a similar facility with state-of-the-art wet lab space nearby to support research and development of new biotech, pharma, and other life-science technologies. Flexibility, along with speed-to-occupancy, were the primary reasons that Harvard chose modular construction.

A New Norm: An Adaptable, Configurable Campus

As surprising as that may sound, planning for reconfiguration or relocation after a relatively short period may become the norm for new buildings. Facilities need to support rapidly changing technology and encourage cross-department collaboration so it’s almost certain that modifications will be necessary within a decade.  Google presents a similar vision for the future of buildings in their planning for a new campus in Mountain View California. In the company’s overview video, David Radcliff, Google’s Director of Real Estate perfectly summarizes the challenge facilities planners face when noting Google’s approach to design a development – “How will we work 15 or 20 years from now? We don’t know exactly what it’s going to be, but we know that it needs to be incredibly flexible space.”

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