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Modular construction meets the changing needs of the pandemic

“At the beginning, we were always missing people” because of the quarantines, said Gilbert Trudeau, president of Groupe RCM, a modular construction company in Montreal. Still, he says, business hasn’t slowed down; the company recently completed a modular Hampton Inn in Verona, NY

Before the pandemic, modular hotel construction was developing rapidly thanks to prominent projects like the $ 100 million, 19-story CitizenM Bowery Hotel, which opened in Manhattan in 2018. Since 2015, Marriott has used modular construction in over 70 hotels in North America.

“We can cut development down by six months, so instead of 18 to 20 months, we’re opening in over 12 months,” said Eric Jacobs, director of development for Marriott Select Brands in North America.

In 2019, Marriott began construction on a 26-story, 168-room hotel in Manhattan, which will feature rooms prefabricated, assembled, and furnished off-site with bedding, hardwood floors, and even toiletries. And when the broken down AC Hotel NoMad finally opens in 2021, it will be the largest modular hotel in the world.

As some areas have slowed down, the demand for multi-family and single-family homes, especially the affordable options in these categories, has only increased.

Modular business Factory OS has attracted funding from large tech companies to use modular construction to create affordable housing. The company raised $ 55 million in November from Autodesk, Facebook, Google and others. Factory OS created market-rate housing, including corporate housing, and helped build hospitals in China earlier this year.

Eco-friendly materials like solid wood are a major selling point for many modular building projects. Mithun, a Seattle-based architecture firm, has partnered with Forterra, a nonprofit conservation organization, to create affordable modular housing in Tukwila, Wash., Made from laminated timber for a community of immigrants from East Africa. The project, which will open in 2022, will include around 100 residences, a marketplace and community spaces.

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