What is modular construction?
Modular construction is a technique in which large parts of a building are manufactured in a factory. The ready-made modules are assembled on-site, along with plumbing and electricity.
Modular construction, which meets strict building standards, goes a step farther than prefabricated construction, in which single elements such as concrete floors or façade panels are produced in the factory.
Modular construction is smarter, swifter and more sustainable
At Jan Snel, we build modularly under controlled conditions and according to a standardised process. We have full oversight over all of the supply lines and the entire production process. Productivity is significantly increased by standardised operations, automation and robotisation. Our shorter design phase lets us start construction earlier and minimise on-site completion time. Our process is also largely immune to external factors such as the weather or the availability of labour. This enables us to continuously deliver the highest quality whilst achieving a time savings of 30-50 per cent when compared to traditional construction.
Jan Snel is fully committed to reusing materials and has a future-oriented construction process, which makes our ecological footprint considerably lower than traditional construction. Industrialised modular construction leads to 50 per cent less CO2 emitted per project. If a building stops meeting the owner’s needs, the elements get a second life in a different arrangement or at a new location. As a result, no less than 80 per cent of the components in modular construction are reused. The approach creates value, as well as significant sustainability gains.
Industrialisation: the future of construction
Jan Snel is putting the future of construction into practice today. Although our projects may not always seem unusual at first glance, the innovative and industrialised construction method behind them offers huge advantages.
Because large parts of modular construction projects are standardised, failure costs are low. Little to no repair work is required to correct errors in planning, design or execution. As a result, buildings are delivered considerably earlier than traditional construction allows, increasing efficiency for the client. Most of production takes place in the factory, which limits the on-location nuisance for local residents. Additionally, fewer trips are required to transport the modules than traditional construction site assemblies. Because modular buildings can be disassembled, the modules can be reused in a different function or format, depending on the owner’s needs. A modularly constructed building remains flexible, whether that means changing function or location, upscaling or downscaling.
External factors such as weather or labour availability don’t have much effect, reducing construction time by as much as 30 to 50 per cent compared to traditional construction. It’s not for nothing that our name means speedy in Dutch!
Modular construction creates considerably less waste because the majority of the materials can be reused. Projects also emit less CO2 because fewer delivery trips are required.
Jan Snel’s manner of building is not that different from traditional construction methods. In fact, many clients don’t see a huge difference in appearance or final result. Architects also find it easy to work with Jan Snel, and modular construction meets the same Building Act requirements as traditional construction.
In general, modular and traditional construction use the same materials. After all, modular buildings are also supported by a concrete foundation. The difference between the two is therefore mainly focused on the method of construction.
Concrete floors and steel structures
The concrete floors and steel structures made in Jan Snel’s factory form the basis for all modules that are delivered complete to the construction sites. In the meantime, the technical installations and amenities are also completed in the factory. Jan Snel then installs an outer facade of the client’s choice of material, such as masonry, composite or wood.
Safety, speed and quality
Jan Snel’s factories are designed to ensure that employees do their work safely, efficiently and without any problems. Construction isn’t hindered by weather like frost or rain, which improves speed and quality.
Storage and transportation
The modules are stored at three production locations in the Netherlands (Montfoort, Eemshaven or Hulst). From these locations, Jan Snel organises the logistics process, using its own transportation to bring modules to the construction site.
The modular construction sector used to focus on temporary building needs, but the sector has evolved so much that its quality, in many cases, is even higher than that of traditional construction.
The modular construction sector uses the same high-quality materials as traditional construction, making it easy to meet the Buildings Act regulations, as well as the highest client requirements.
The comfort in these buildings has also improved enormously. Good insulation allows Jan Snel to achieve zero-energy housing, which results in not only a pleasant indoor climate but also a low energy bill. Taller buildings are not a problem either: Jan Snel’s buildings reach up to 12 floors.
Circular construction means that all products, materials and raw materials can be reused, preserving their value as much as possible. This is called a closed cycle. We also consider the materials’ origins, as well as their ability to be reused. We provide an overview of the full environmental impact of our products, from the cradle to the grave. Jan Snel has set a goal of achieving fully circular production and construction within the next few years. We’re already on the right track: our modular construction method enables us to cut per-project CO2 emissions in half!
01 Feb 2021 | News articles
Jan Snel establishes UK Office in South Wales
Jan Snel UK has now launched. Dutch company Jan Snel BV, a pioneer in modular building, is bringing its commitment to smarter, swifter and more sustainable construction to the UK market. Jan Snel is a subsidiary of Japanese market leader Daiwa House, which provides industrialised modular and commercial buildings in Asia, North America and Australia.