Monday, January 23, 2017

Modular Construction Delivering Great Results in Allston

Creating a new residential apartment community in a crowded section of Boston’s Allston neighborhood has presented a number of challenges.

Building apartments at the site – located between the Massachusetts Turnpike to the north and a crowded neighborhood to the south – has required a different approach to be more successful.

Many people think of modular construction and envision seeing single-family homes on double-wide tractor trailers. But with advances in technology and building process, modular has evolved over the past few decades to become an important technique for all types of construction – allowing for high quality design and terrific finishes. At the Allston construction site, our crew is busy setting 136 modular units in place to create 80 new apartments, which will feature studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Each unit arrives on site with many of the finishes already complete – cabinets and backsplashes set in the kitchen, pre-painted drywall and resilient flooring installed, and bathroom fixtures in place with tiling laid out but not yet grouted.

The units are staged offsite, individually trucked over to Braintree Street, lifted into place using a crane, and set by workers. After they’re placed, construction workers move through to complete corridors and common spaces and install HVAC, plumbing and electrical. The building has a concrete foundation and units are anchored in place with steel. With the right planning, our teams are able to place up to 20 units in a single day.

It’s the second modular project for CTA Construction. In 2010, we completed a 95-unit, four-story senior housing facility for the Somerville Housing Authority. At Capen Court, we installed 95 prefabricated one-bedroom apartments and support spaces, foundations, water and sewage systems, HVAC, fire protection, site utilities and improvements, and landscaping within the project site.

Modular construction provides a cost savings to developers – units are built offsite, providing for greater quality control because units are built in a factory environment. Projects can also save money by minimizing the amount of time spent on site.

All methods have their challenges and every site is different, but modular construction can be a useful tool for a number of buildings. Hotels, apartment buildings, college dormitories and school classrooms often use the exact same layouts and features for each unit.

At CTA Construction, we have enjoyed solving project challenges by using modular units as a solution. Modular construction requires planning and collaboration and a high level of execution to ensure a great project. We’re problem solvers and engineers at heart, so we look forward to new challenges in new methods of construction.