It seems logical for architects to include a floor in their new building designs. I thought you might like to hear about a floorless approach that will cut your site impact and help you meet cost and time sensitivities. It’s a solution made possible through prefabricated construction.
The “floorless” concept is somewhat new in the construction industry, and clearly illustrates how quickly modular is evolving. In the “floorless” building process, the building is constructed either in one piece or in parts at the factory. The pieces are shipped to the site, where they are bolted together Lego-like at the desired location. Then the entire, completed building is lifted onto a concrete slab, which serves as the flooring.
A few advantages to the “floorless” design concept include:
- Cost Savings: By designing a floorless modular building, project managers typically save money as a result of less excavation, grading and fill disposal, in addition to eliminating all site steps, decks and ramps.
- Flexibility: Existing building floor lines can easily be matched in additions or renovation projects utilizing similar construction types and material.
- Monolithic Slab Foundation (slab on grade): Rather than taking the standard approach with concrete piers or “pit set” foundations, the floorless installation requires a monolithic slab, which, as its name suggests, is a single layer of concrete that is several inches thick and serves as both a floor and the support for the building. These types of foundations eliminate unnecessary foundation components like crawlspaces and the need for mechanical ventilation. It also provides superior support through load bearing capacities while creating an ideal base to lay a variety of flooring products and finishes.
- Structural Steel: Instead of utilizing a standard chassis framework, which typically supports wood construction projects, the floorless design eliminates this step by providing the superior strength of steel bar joists and columns within the building itself. As the infrastructure is built into the building, builders don’t need to erect a frame first, and then add on the additional supporting building materials.
We recently utilized this floorless design concept in the addition of four new classrooms at the Jesse Kaplan School in West Nyack, NY. We’re wrapping up this project now so check back soon as I share more information about the installation and some additional insights on how going floorless might be the key to your next project.
Until then, please share your thoughts on floorless modular construction. What’s the most important benefit to you and your customer? Cost, flexibility or something not listed here…