Modular moves to new levels of complexity and customization
Special to the Canadian Design and Construction Report
Building off-site in a controlled environment means faster schedules, improved safety, sustainable processes and high quality results. Best of all, when you work with a partner such as NRB Inc., you never have to sacrifice artistic vision or modify design or materials to realize these benefits.
“There’s nothing assembly line about what we do,” says NRB’s vice-president of sales and marketing, Laurie Robert. “Our buildings have a level of customization, sophistication and completion that our clients have come to expect when they say ‘I want an NRB building.’”
Although technically a building manufacturer, NRB understands construction and all of the co-ordination and collaboration needed for a successful project outcome. The company’s skilled trades can complete custom assemblies and finishes with a craftsman’s attention to detail and assemble the pieces seamlessly on the job site.
“We’re a hybrid,” says Robert. “We’re a manufacturer with construction smarts. The product is identical to what you’d get if you built it onsite.”
NRB has coined the phrase ‘build together’ to explain this blend of manufacturing and construction approaches. Using the ‘build together’ methodology, the building is completely assembled at the plant. “We build together so we can have precision fit and finish,” says Robert. “We don’t spend extra time onsite trying to get things to meet. We already know they will.”
Designers, owners and their construction managers are regularly invited to inspect their ‘built together’ building before it ships, whether it’s manufactured at NRB’s facility in Grimsby, Ontario, or New Holland, Pennsylvania. “Clients love seeing their buildings fully assembled,” says NRB president, Bob McNeil. “They can walk up the stairs, stand at a counter and see all the features and finishes installed before the building leaves the plant.”
Build together is a mindset as well as a methodology. “We approach every project as part of the team,” says McNeil. “We work with the owner and architect to establish best practices for the off-site construction approach. Then we do the structural design, build, deliver and assemble the finished building onsite, often working with the general contractor on the site. Projects can be completed 30 to 50 per cent faster than conventional construction. And time is money, no matter who the client is.”
To put the benefits of modular design and a construction mindset to work for your next project, contact Laurie Robert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We’re always pushing ourselves. We have built things that others didn’t think you could build modular.”
- Bob McNeil, president, NRB Inc.
“Projects can be completed 30 to 50 per cent faster than conventional construction. And time is money, no matter who the client is.”
– Bob McNeil, president, NRB Inc.
NRB’s off-site construction projects are regular winners at the annual Modular Building Institute’s awards. “We’re always pushing ourselves,” says McNeil. “We have built things that others didn’t think you could build modular.”
Dorm addition, Muhlenberg College, Best in Show Award 2014: This dramatic three-storey addition, featuring a grey slate tile roof, copper cupola and brick sourced to match the circa 1820 heritage building, was completed so quickly the school avoided the cost of providing temporary off-campus housing for students.
Robotic pavilion, York University, First Place Award 2014: This funky, multi-function indoor teaching space and outdoor study environment was designed with student input and can be repurposed as a transit shelter.
Addition, Brown Public School, First Place Award 2015: This permanent two-storey steel addition features an energy efficient building envelope, hydronic HVAC system and an attractive design that fits perfectly with the sloped walls and windows of the existing building.