WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A local architect, construction company and manufacturer are using a unique and increasingly popular construction method--modular building--to construct the majority of a downtown Winston-Salem apartment complex in just 13 days.
Modular building consists of using appliance-ready apartment units that are manufactured in a climate-controlled factory and transported onto construction sites. The units are stacked, using a large crane, on top of one another. Because of the controlled environment in which they are built, proponents of modular building have said the method yields better-quality products that are greener, more cost-effective and more time sensitive.
Mickey Pack, the job superintendent for Frank L. Blum, the construction company for the Winston-Salem site, explained crews started stacking units last Wednesday. Every morning starting at 8:30, weather permitting, crews stack one row of four units onto the existing building frame. The top unit already has a roof installed. After unit placement, a task Pack said will be completed within the next week, crews will work for another four months to add final touches to the site.
When the building is complete, it will have 65 one-bedroom apartments, each approximately 630 square feet. These apartments will be called the Hilltop House South in Winston-Salem, located at the corner of Brookstown Avenue and Factory Row.
Kevin Masten, the project manager for Blum Construction, explained these modular units are fully inspected, in compliance with state inspection codes for such buildings. Inspectors visit both the manufacturing site, Champion Commercial in Salisbury, and then do additional inspections at the building site in Winston-Salem.
The architect behind the project is CJMW Architecture. CJMW principal Tom Calloway explained he believes modular building is a significant component in the future of construction--both in Winston-Salem and Triad-wide. He said the key characteristics of the method are time reduction and superior quality. Calloway did acknowledge some concerns people generally have about modular building. He said a common misperception is that pre-assembled units are cheaply-made. But, both he and Pack affirmed the units are made with quality materials, including walls that reduce sound disturbance.
Mike Ryan, the general manager for Hilltop House South, said the quick construction and quality assurance of the complex is appealing to future tenants. He said the units are not yet available for rent, but he expects them to cost approximately $800 per month.
According to the Modular Building Institute, all modular buildings have to abide by the same building codes and standards as site-built structures.
WFMY News 2