A new report on high-rise modular construction may help pave the way for new industry standards

Jackie Wei Green Jackie Wei Green Senior Communications Leader,Los Angeles
8 July 2020

Commissioned by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group), Arup has developed a report analyzing the high-rise modular construction industry. The report, entitled High Rise Modular Construction: A review of the regulatory landscape and considerations for growth, is now available.

Demand for modular construction is increasing in response to urbanization, housing affordability, construction labor shortages, rising labor costs and persistently stagnant construction productivity. Modular construction can also reduce construction waste, alleviate disruption to the community and can provide a safer environment for construction teams. 

Arup's project director John Barrot stated, “Modular construction contributes to a number of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and aligns with Arup’s commitment to sustainable development progress and to shaping a better world.”

In the last decade there have been several high-rise modular buildings constructed. Recent projects engineered by Arup include the 32-story tower at 461 Dean Street in Brooklyn, and 19-story Citizen M Bowery in Manhattan, New York. Arup provided a range of multidisciplinary services from structural, MEP (electrical, mechanical and public health), and fire engineering, to acoustics. 

“High-rise modular construction represents a significant opportunity to advance the construction sector in North America,” shared Dwayne Torrey, PEng, Director of Construction and Infrastructure for the CSA Group. “This CSA Standards Research report on high-rise modular construction not only looks at a number of opportunities existing in the sector, but also tackles the challenges faced by this fundamentally different method of construction." 

“We selected Arup to conduct this research based on their unique and considerable expertise in modular high-rise, and their understanding of the industry challenges in North America in particular. The breadth of complex topics addressed in this research report, and the clarity of recommended actions to support the modular industry, are a testament to Arup’s in-depth knowledge of this space,” added Dwayne Torrey, PEng, Director of Construction and Infrastructure for the CSA Group.

"This research takes a significant first step in identifying challenges, opportunities and critical needs for ongoing success, and addresses how standards can play an essential role in creating a framework for manufacturers, regulators and owners to work within,” added John Barrot, Arup's project director.  

This report will help anyone trying to better understand the various challenges in the modular industry based on deep insights from industry experts and stakeholders across the project ecosystem,” Arup’s project manager Kelly Finzel concluded.