For years, the phrase “modular construction” carried a negative connotation. It conjured up images of jobsite trailers and simple, Lego box structures cheaply put together offsite with little thought to design or style. These days, prefab is shedding its stigma. And, bathroom pods are helping lead the renaissance. No longer considered a last resort, the unitized pods have evolved to the point where they are now a valid and desirable option for a variety of buildings. To see the progression, here’s a quick look at key changes that have taken place over at Oldcastle SurePods.
The basic process
Then: When we started out as the first bathroom pod company in North America in 2004, we were basically doing exactly the same process of field-built bathrooms, but with a roof over our heads. We call this “generation 1” prefab.
Now: We work natively in Revit for BIM, which allows us to provide pod models for the architect to drop directly into their entire building model. Our Revit models translate directly into machine code for our production robots to produce many of our production piece. This reduces labor and provides better overall tolerances and accuracy for the pods.
Then: From the get-go, wefocused on using quality materials in our bathroom pods. But like any new company, we were learning as we went. It takes time to hone in on proven solutions.
Now: With more than 15 years of experience under our belt, we’ve been able to fine tune our use of superior products within the bathroom. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, and have access to progressive materials that simply weren’t available back in 2004. We are now able to confidently stand behind the surety of our material quality. This shows in our ability to provide a better warranty for the end user, such as a patent-pending, fully waterproof and crack-proof ceiling, which we back with a five year no-crack warranty. Ask us why our floors, ceilings and wallboard are superior materials and mold/crack proof.
Then: Our modular bathrooms have always allowed for flexibility in interior finish materials. But due to the longstanding stigma that prefab was at odds with customization, few developers looked for anything more than basic bathroom units.
Now: Developers regularly use our prefab construction process to choose any quality of finish, and to specify details ranging from bathroom trim and fixtures to tile, wall coverings, art work, and more. From 5-star properties to senior living facilities with age-in-place design features, we’ve shown we can do it all. In fact, in many instances, you’d never know our bathrooms are prefabricated.
Then: At the beginning, clients weren’t comfortable considering standard design across multiple projects.
Now: We have an established track record, and clients are creating standard bathroom Revit files and using them across multiple projects in assisted living, multi-family and hospitality. They are not only speeding up construction cycles and eliminating risk with fixed pricing, but are actually accelerating their design cycles as well!
Then: When we started, we weren’t using Revit, so we couldn’t do native conflict analysis with the architects. Additionally, we didn’t have the technology or other subcontractor sophistication to make sure there weren’t any conflicts with either the MEP trades or the structural elements of the building.
Now: We natively talk to the architect in Revit, and typically give them the bathroom elements in Revit to populate their models in the precon process when we are brought on as a partner. This allows us to do big room conflict analysis with other subcontractors through Navisworks and work out sequencing ahead of time down to the hour.
For more information on how today’s prefab bathroom pods can meet your project needs, contact Bill Seery, Oldcastle SurePods vice president of business development at Bill.Seery@oldcastle.com