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Modular Building Design
KBS Building Systems
Town of Acton Affordable Housing
Gross Size of Project:
- Architectural Excellence
The Acton project consisted of six duplex buildings for a total of 12 units of single family housing. Buildings were placed on the site around an imaginary oval and efficient parking lot to foster a sense of community. The buildings massing and design are contemporary interpretations of the colonial style single family homes of the area. The goal was to provide affordable housing without making it look like typical low-income housing. Front porches, rear decks and storage sheds were used to provide amenities to the tenants and add visual interest to the elevations. Large corner windows were used to harvest natural light. The buildings were designed with modular construction in mind. Four unit types were used to create a variety of unit types including an ADA flat, 2 and 3 br units. The living units typically feature a ground floor with an efficient galley kitchen and open expansive living area for combined living and dining. Second floors feature 2 or 3 bedrooms and a shared bathroom.
- Technical Innovation & Sustainability
The project was designed to achieve LEED for Homes Silver rating. However, due to the quality control inherent in modular construction, we were able to submit for a Gold rating. All of the mechanical and plumbing piping, and electrical wiring and fixtures were installed at the factory. This allowed the modular manufacturer to provide a very airtight building, which allowed us to move from Silver to a Gold rating. The following is a list of some of the sustainable features of the project: Energy Star Rated doors, windows and appliances; Marmoleum flooring; environmentally preferable cavity insulation; high efficiency plumbing fixtures; low VOC paints; high efficiency on-demand boilers/water heaters; site installed spray-foam insulation of the crawl space ceilings; native and non-invasive plants and low-mow grasses; minimal use of paving.
- Cost Effectiveness
The project is situated in a very challenging site, with a significant east-west slope and a high water table. Using modular construction allowed the buildings to be factory built while the site work was being finalized. This saved the owner both time and money. Additionally, the project is based in Massachusetts where labor costs are high especially for public work. By using modular construction, the owner saved a significant amount in additional labor costs as factory built components are not subject to the prevailing wage laws. Additional cost savings were realized because the modular manufacturer was able to obtain much better prices for high-quality products than a traditional contractor to the benefit of the owner and future tenants.