Skanska USA has started construction on a 32-storey tower in New York which it claims will be the world’s tallest modular building. The 348,000ft2 residential tower forms part of a mixed-use development owned by Forest City Ratner Companies in the Brooklyn area of New York.
The building, known as B2, is Skanska’s first modular residential building in the US. It began in December 2012 and will be completed in the summer of 2014, 10 months earlier than if traditional construction techniques had been used. Skanska’s contract is worth $117m.
Along with this project, Skanska and FCRC have created a new company called FC + Skanska Modular. This new company will build B2’s 930 modular components in a 150,000ft2 factory located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a mile and a half from the project site.
It has been designed by SHoP Architects and engineer Arup, which worked with Skanska and FC to develop new techniques and systems that will allow the 930 modular units to be assembled by skilled workers at a facility nearby and trucked to the construction site, where they will be raised by cranes, stacked on each other and attached to the building’s steel frame.
B2 will have 363 residential units, 50% (181) of which will be low, moderate and middle-income homes. The remaining 50% (182) will be market rate.
B2: world’s tallest?
Until now, the UK has been seen as a leader in high-rise modular construction, with Carillion building 25-storey student hall of residences. And China has also been making headlines in this area.
Bruce Ratner, CEO and chairman of Forest City Ratner Companies, said the building would prove that modular buildings do not require compromises when it comes to the quality of design.
“Construction is by definition about building,” said Bill Flemming, Skanska USA Building’s president and CEO. “With this project, however, and with our partnership with Forest City and the construction trades, we are also building a new industry that has potential to become New York City’s newest export, a product and process that can transform how construction is done in this century. We are proud to bring our expertise in prefabrication – which we have used extensively on our healthcare and data center facility projects – to the residential market for the first time in New York City.”
It is also estimated that modular construction will result in 70 to 90% less waste than traditional construction. B2 is expected to achieve LEED Silver certification.