Answers about steel modular construction

How is the ALHO prefabricated construction method treated under building regulations?

People are often uncertain how a prefabricated construction method such as steel modular construction is treated under building regulations. Since these buildings made from steel modules, as ALHO builds them, are permanent structures, they are covered by the normal building laws and regulations that also apply for conventional building methods. The requirements are thus totally comparable with the requirements for solid structures. However, because of the type-tested static analyses, existing fire prevention reports and the many standard technical details that have been tried and tested over years, modular construction has the great advantage that the approval phase, and in particular the processing of the planning application, is considerably shorter for modular buildings.You will find answers to frequently asked questions about modular construction methods in the following.

What is the difference between a container and a module?

As solid as "brick by brick" building but much faster and more flexible – modular buildings are primarily intended as a permanent solution and thus as a sustainable, ingenious alternative to conventional building methods. Basically, modular construction is ideal for all types of new builds, for extensions or for adding more storeys. ALHO modular buildings are well engineered, architecturally appealing and offer excellent energy properties. They are indistinguishable externally from conventionally constructed buildings.

In contrast to permanent modular buildings, container structures made from system containers mainly solve a need for space temporarily. Here, standardised units are joined together into buildings. However – apart from their individual colouring – container buildings are restricted in terms of architectural design and always show their frame structure clearly, with metal facades and punched windows.

Is the quality of a modular building comparable with that of a conventional one?

It has been proved that rectifying defects is the number one factor in driving up project costs. With conventional building methods, these defects are caused mainly by poor coordination of trades on site and by lack of quality monitoring.

Modular buildings, on the other hand, are produced in consistently good conditions in industrial manufacturing sheds. All the trades can be ideally coordinated under one roof and harmonised with each other. In addition, continuous internal quality controls and external monitoring by independent test institutes are carried out. Proven detail solutions, standardised processes and consistent monitoring guarantee the high quality of the modular buildings, which are up to 90% prefabricated.

What is the advantage of industrial building?

The modular buildings are made in an industrial manufacturing process. This offers considerable advantages in comparison with traditional building methods. There are financial benefits from the shorter construction times thanks to parallel processes and production independent of weather, which in turn allows the building to be used sooner and speeds up refinancing.

The high product quality is guaranteed by the use of high-quality raw materials, standardised processes, manufacture independent of weather and regular external and in-house monitoring. In addition, modular construction is recognised as a sustainable building method. Because of the industrial production processes, no surplus materials are wasted in our factories. On site too, there is no additional waste, and environmental pollution from noise, dust, site waste and other factors affecting health are largely avoided.

What are the advantages of steel modular construction compared with timber?

Timber frame structures are generally two-dimensional, whereas steel modules are three-dimensional structures which are delivered with a much higher level of prefabrication. With timber frame constructions, all the interior fitting work is carried out on site, on the whole. Faster assembly and thus also faster rain-tightness are a major advantage of steel modular construction. Furthermore, steel modular construction only uses non-flammable materials. This means that there are no restrictions as regards fire prevention and the advantage of rigid constructions with slim profiles. Compared to prefabricated timber buildings, modular buildings are not bound to one location; they can be moved if necessary.

What aspects made a modular building sustainable?

The sustainability of a modular building can be documented through the entire lifecycle. The sustainability of a modular building can be documented through the entire lifecycle. Because the modular building is manufactured industrially, the precise material calculation and optimised use of materials protect resources sustainably. In addition, steel is a raw material that can be 100% recycled and is readily available, making it demonstrably one of the most sustainable materials anywhere.

When the modular buildings are fitted out on site, the high level of prefabrication of the modules means that that pollution of the environment by dirt, noise and building waste is reduced to a minimum. During operation of the building, optimised energy concepts and the use of renewable energies ensure low operating costs and protection of the environment. In addition, the lifecycle costs of the building can also be kept down.

Another important aspect of sustainability is the possibility of changing the use of buildings. Thanks to their self-supporting steel frame structure with non-loadbearing interior walls, modular buildings also excel here, since rooms can be flexibly redesigned, made larger or smaller or assigned to a different use. And if the modular building is no longer needed, it can be moved or completely dismantled; all the materials are almost 100% recyclable, so that they can easily be returned to the materials cycle.

How comfortable is the climate inside a modular building?

The moisture protection and the insulation, which has been optimised in terms of building physics, ensure a pleasant indoor atmosphere in both winter and summer. The excellent standard of insulation in modular buildings keeps the rooms cosy and warm in winter and protects against heat in summer. In addition, only quality-tested, healthy materials are used, creating a comfortable climate inside the rooms.

Are smaller extensions also possible using modular construction methods?

By definition, modular construction methods are perfect for extending existing buildings, and it does not matter whether these were originally built using conventional or modular building methods. Whether extending a building using modular construction is economically viable is determined by the size of the property, since series manufacture is only economical from modular building sizes of around 500 m2 floor area.

Are there reference projects for office buildings, children's day care centres or schools in the region?

Because ALHO Systembau GmbH has been operating throughout Germany for 50 years, we can provide a wide range of reference projects in all regions and for all types of buildings. You are welcome to arrange a reference inspection with your regional contact partner using our contact form.

Is the ALHO modular construction method pre-qualified for public construction projects?

ALHO Systembau GmbH is pre-qualified for public construction projects and is listed under registration number 010.012920 in the schedule of pre-qualified companies. Pre-qualification is the upstream, order-independent testing of suitability certificates according to the requirements defined in Section 6 VOB/A. ALHO is thus able to prove its suitability to clients who are public bodies.

Is ALHO certified?

ALHO Systembau GmbH is certified under DIN EN ISO 9001:2008. DIN EN ISO 9001 lays down the requirements for a quality management system (QM system) which an organisation has to satisfy to be able to provide products and services that meet customer expectations and all official requirements. At the same time, the management system must be subject to a constant improvement process. The decision to introduce a quality management system was part of ALHO's strategy to optimise all processes continuously in order to increase customer satisfaction even further.