There are a number of reasons why modular buildings are up to 20% less costly than conventionally built structures. In this installment we examine the third reason behind the cost savings associated with modular buildings: assembly lines + modular construction.
The assembly line concept found mass acceptance during the industrial revolution, an idea built upon a series of production advances dating back hundreds of years.
One hundred years ago, Henry Ford and his team at Highland Park assembly plant launched a great contribution to manufacturing – the first moving assembly line. The innovation simplified assembly of the Ford Model T’s 3,000 parts by breaking it into 84 distinct steps performed by groups of workers as the vehicle chassis moved down the line.
The new process revolutionized production and dropped the assembly time for a single vehicle from 12 hours to about 90 minutes. By reducing the money, time and manpower needed to build cars as he refined the assembly line over the years, Ford was able to drop the price of the Model T from $850 to less than $300. The price reduction Ford achieved is comparable to a reduction from $15,000 to $10,000 in dollar terms from the year 2000.
The modular construction process is built upon the same assembly line principles that revolutionized the automotive manufacturing industry. All of Palomar’s modular buildings start in the company’s steel fabrication department with a welded carbon steel chassis. The steel chassis is loaded onto the production line where it travels through the steps along the assembly line. At each stage skilled builders construct the various components of the building. Many building components, like walls and roofing, are built in specially staged areas before being mechanically lifted into place. This allows us to work on more components simultaneously and provides a safer, more ergonomic workflow for the company’s tradespeople. Efficiency gains the assembly line provides allows Palomar to produce more than 7,500 square feet of modular buildings a day; far more than we ever could ever hope to produce using stick built construction.