MODEX: Automated Decision Support System (Archived)

RT-029 Topic Summary
RT 029


This research report (MODEX) was CII’s first foray into modularization research. Findings noted the lack of information about modularization available to the industry and limitations in systematic approaches to perform feasibility studies. The research team generated a computer tool to help guide initial feasibility studies. This tool (MODEX) is non-functional and no longer supported by CII.

It is important to note the MODEX document is archived and generally superseded by later CII publications (those associated with RT-171 and RT-283). In particular, RT-171 – PPMOF (Prefabrication, Preassembly, Modularization, and Off-site Fabrication) describes the basic definitions, pros and cons, and provides a scoping tool that entirely circumscribes the recommendations and findings of the MODEX study.

Principal contributions of the MODEX study were to capture some basic understandings of modularization, basic pros and cons, and related to those in the tool.

Readers are recommended to see later CII research in modularization (RT-171 and RT-283).

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Factors Supporting Modularization 

  • Safety – by removing dangerous work hours from the field (i.e., through less work at height)
  • Reduction of construction time – if economies can be found through speed of fabrication
  • Reduced labor costs – by moving hours off-site to a less expensive location
  • Labor availability – if there is a shortage at the construction location
  • Weather – by moving work away from the field and into a climate controlled/friendly location
  • Quality – by moving work to factory conditions
  • Reducing interruptions to operating plant – by moving work that would be performed at the operating site to off-site
Reference: (RS29-1)

2 : Factors Against (Limiting) Modularization

  • Transportation costs – increased cost of handling large shipments, both off-site and in terms of offloading and setting costs on-site
  • Transport size/accessibility limitations – logistics such as roadway weight limits restrict efficiency gains from large modules
  • Increased engineering effort – there are more up-front engineering costs and need for
Reference: (RS29-1)

3 : Factors Influencing Modularization

The interviews with modularization experts provided an extensive amount of information about the modularization feasibility study process. The most important discovery was the delineation of 5 factors to consider when a study is performed, that include:

  • Plant Location
  • Labor Considerations
  • Plant Characteristics
  • Environmental and Organizational Factors
  • Project Risks
The discussion of the factors above in the document is limited and conducted in an overview manner. A fuller description of the basic definitions and pros and cons is present in the RT-171 PPMOF materials and is recommended as a primer over the MODEX document.
Reference: (RS29-1)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved schedule, Improved quality (reduced errors & omissions), Improved craft productivity, Improved safety

Research Publications

Computerized Decision Support for Modularization of Industrial Construction - SD-72

Publication Date: 05/1992 Type: Source Document Pages: 120 Status: Reference

MODEX: Automated Decision Support System for Modular Construction - RS29-1

Publication Date: 05/1992 Type: Research Summary Pages: 22 Status: Archived Supporting Product