This paper presents a performance framework for modular construction. Modular construction is a method of construction that uses factory-produced building units called modules that are delivered as components, parts or whole buildings to be erected on site. The particular aspect of performance discussed in this paper is construction performance. The performance framework, in this context, is a description of the required structural characteristics of the module and its attachments for all stages of construction, from manufacturing, transport to installation. There are four elements of a performance framework: user requirement, performance description, performance parameter and evaluation. The performance framework can be used to prepare related regulation, standard, specification or check list for design and construction. The use of performance concept is encouraged because it allows innovative and efficient construction methods to be developed and still maintain a level playing field for safety and competition.
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Modular buildings are those built using prefabricated volumetric units called modules. Due to modules being connected to each other at discrete locations, discontinuous structural systems are formed, where diaphragm discontinuity is a key issue and could result in diaphragms that are flexible. Multi-story modular buildings with flexible diaphragms are susceptible to higher mode influences when under the action of seismic loads, where such influences affect lateral load distribution, cause excessive drift among gravity frames and could potentially lead towards collapse.
In this paper, the characteristic requirements for inter-module connections with regard to structural and functional needs are identified and presented. An overview into few key aspects regarding multi-story modular building construction is also discussed.
Due to the increasing rates of urbanisation and the ever growing urban population, it is inferable that the demand on multi-story construction industry will continue to increase. In Australia, having an urban population of approximately 21 million, equivalent to 90% of the total population, the construction industry is a key driver and contributes to approximately 7.8% of the country’s GDP in value added terms, where issues regarding quality control, reduced workplace productivity, onsite safety, skilled labour shortages, rising costs and environmental impacts are of great concern.