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May 21, 2018

KNOW YOUR BUILDINGS: PRE-ENGINEERED Vs. MODULAR BUILDINGS

Pre-engineered Buildings

When people refer to a pre-engineered buildings (PEB), they usually refer to a metal structural building. In structural engineering, a pre-engineered building (PEB) is designed by a PEB supplier or manufacturer, that is fabricated using the best-suited inventory of raw materials that is available and manufacturing methods that can efficiently satisfy a wide range of structural and aesthetic design requirements.

PEB TEKLASteel is naturally the “go-to” element for pre-engineered buildings due to its strength, long-lasting durability and the capability to withstand huge loads consistently as well.

As the name implies, when a building is “pre-engineered,” a structural engineer determines the essential building specifications before production based on local building codes and needed loads. This is where the engineer requires a state-of-the-art computer-aided steel detailing software that can allow them to plan the structures quickly and accurately, using 3D models and calculating the size and spacing of the steel components precisely.

These programs then generate drawings based on the data supplied by the engineer, detailing the exact specifications required for creating parts of the steel framing, piece by piece.

STEPS INVOLVED IN CONSTRUCTION OF A PEB STRUCTURE

Design

First and foremost, the steel frames, joints, etc., are designed with precise measurements and markings which are then sent to the fabricators. Nowadays, this is mostly done on a 3D steel detailing software as it helps engineers to complete the drawings at light-speed compared to the traditional methods; plus, room for errors in the final drawings are reduced exponentially.

Foundation

This step involves the pouring of concrete foundations for the Pre-Engineered structure. The concrete foundation supports the steel building and resists the loads imposed by the building and climatic load imposed on the building. In order to design a steel building foundation, the building engineers provide reactionary loading and anchor bolt requirements. This information, along with site-specific geotechnical reports, allows engineers to design the required supporting foundation.

ERECTION

Steel frames, grades of which vary according to the structural requirement,  are then installed. Thickness varies, for example, not much thickness is required, for a one-floor building as compared to a warehouse. All the steel columns and beams are then bolted together, plus, steel is also used in roofing if it is a single floor structure. The first design type is a ‘spread footing design,’ or ‘T shaped footing.’ Under each steel, the building column is spread footings installed below the frost line with pilasters that extended to the underside of the steel column. A grade beam or continuous wall joins the pilasters and footing and is continuous around the building perimeter. Lastly, the slab is poured between the grade beam.

WALLS

The final step in the construction of a pre-engineered building is putting up the walls. Usually, walls for pre-engineered buildings are made from different types of materials like granite, cement insulated panels, aluminum panels, bricks, stone cladding, etc.; the choice really depends on various factors like availability, pricing, vendor, delivery, etc. It is common for industrial buildings to have a masonry wall to a height of 10 or 15 feet (3 to 5m). This allows doors and windows to be easily fitted and provides security.

Modular Buildings

A modular building indicates that all or some parts of the building have been manufactured elsewhere and then brought together at the site.  For example, the framing of a pre-engineered metal building is fabricated in a factory, freighted by truck to the job site, and assembled like a giant erector set.

Modular buildings, which are also famously known as ‘prefabricated buildings’ refer to structures built-in components e.g. modular homes, panels or transportable manufactured homes. These modules usually have box-shaped sections of the structure that are produced at a factory, created in sections, and then transported to the home site for construction and installation. Although the sections of the house are prefabricated, the sections, or modules, are put together at the construction much like a typical home.

Modern, custom, multi-story, factory-built buildings with concrete and steel floors, brick exteriors, sheetrock interiors, windows, lighting, computer hook-ups, electrical service, plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and restrooms can include everything you need and can be constructed in half the time of a site-built building.

STEPS INVOLVING CONSTRUCTION OF A PREFABRICATED BUILDING

Design

Engineers get the specifications, location, costs, etc. from the owners in order to design the prefab structure.

Assembly

manufacturing and preparing all the components of the module and assembling it in a controlled environment.

Transportation

Modules are then transferred on to the final destination for the final assembly.

Erection

All of the modules are carefully put together and erected – this is when the modules evolve into a building.

Plumbing and wiring

Once the house is assembled, it needs flooring, plumbing, electric work, etc., specifications for which are already considered in the design process.

To reduce time and cost, companies usually manufacture the prefabricated elements while working on preparing the site at the same time. This allows for earlier building occupancy and contributes to a much shorter overall construction period.

 
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Imad Farid

Imad is a full-time marketer at Trimble Inc. and a part-time content creator for various digital publications. Over the years, Imad has written articles, blogs as well as created content for various videos, info-graphics, etc. for various industries. Now working for a technology provider for the construction sector, he specializes in writing and creating content for the construction industry,

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