Modularization has been explored and exploited in the delivery of pharmaceutical facilities for many years; the concept can now be considered mature. The objectives are unchanged: reduced time from decision to delivery, reduced risk of cost escalation, and transfer of risky construction activities away from the field and into the fabrication shop where safety and quality can be better controlled.
The solutions have been tried and tested too; process systems have been modularized as “skids.” Sheetrock wall construction once requiring numerous steps, widely varying skills, controlled conditions, and two weeks of work just to complete a single room has yielded to modular wall panel installation that requires a single craft and a quarter of the time in the field. Stick-built pipe racks, chiller buildings, and air handling systems have been replaced by drop-in modules. And structural modularizations have diverged into a wide range of solutions such as box-in-box designs and portable shipping container laboratories.
The most recent development in modularization is the implementation of design, construction, and commissioning processes that result in optimal modularization decisions at the optimal points in the project life cycle.
This article originally appeared as a supplement to the 2015 IPS Technologies Tours at INTERPHEX.