Modular construction has made a comeback in the construction world. In fact, just last year Forbes said, “The future of real estate is modular” If you are using modular construction for your next building project, you’ll need to consider the plumbing system. In this article, we will be discussing one material to use as plumbing in modular homes and discussing the future of prefabricated plumbing.
Using PEX Plumbing in Modular Construction
PEX is made of polyethylene and has a much thinner wall thickness than copper. This makes it easier to work with in tight spaces, and it also means that PEX plumbing can run cooler than copper plumbing.
PEX is a type of plumbing that is made from plastic pipes that are joined together using either silicone or metal fittings. This type of plumbing is different than other types of plumbing because it doesn’t require any internal support structures. This makes it a good choice for modular construction, as it can be installed without having to remove walls or ceilings.
Another advantage of PEX piping is that it is resistant to corrosion and weathering. This means that it will last longer than other types of plumbing, and it won’t require regular maintenance like copper piping does.
As an added bonus, PEX piping is cheaper to buy and install than copper piping.
In addition to being a good choice for modular construction, PEX pipes are also a good option for small businesses and homebuilders who want an affordable plumbing system that is easy to work with.
Prefabrication of Plumbing Systems
Some businesses have been investing in developing prefabricated plumbing and mechanical systems. Companies like TDIndustries, are already getting work to install these types of prefabricated systems. They are currently working on a system for the new Charles Schwab office in Texas.
The ideal project for this type of prefabricated plumbing system is currently one that is repeatable, like a hospital room or office building. They key is having the same plumbing system in most rooms. Buildings with unique plumbing in each building might not be the best application for prefabricated plumbing.
At the moment, prefabricated plumbing isn’t super common and can be complicated. Some researchers are looking for ways to optimize and simplify the modularity of prefabricated plumbing.
This recent study looked for ways to find the best prefabricated mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system in remote communities. The study authors developed an algorithm that combines several functions of modular construction and applies it to the remote community. The goal was also to find a solution that reduced cost and generated more local work.
The study authors concluded that using their algorithm, “it was possible to demonstrate a reduction in installation cost and an increase in local job creation compared to the current situation (i.e., without MEP prefabrication). In particular, for a case study with 40 components, the proposed framework found a solution that can reduce installation cost by 81.9% and generate 23.4 h of local employment”.