As demand for energy workers grows and diversifies, so too does the need to meet accommodation requirements in the area.
From our experience in North Dakota, we have found that using modular construction methods has the potential to be a quicker route to market than other traditional methods of construction.
Using modular designs means builds can be moved at a later date; this is useful if a fracking site develops further or the accommodation is needed elsewhere.
Oil sites develop at a much quicker rate, which inevitably leads to a delay in housing – this is where modular construction has its advantages.
Beauty pays off
As we have seen in North Dakota, building accommodation that looks aesthetically pleasing like a conventional hotel adds longevity to the project, when the infrastructure catches up with the ‘oil boom’ and the focus is not solely on the oil resource.
With a modular build, these design aesthetics do not add much more time to build.
Modular homes can be considered a form of ‘green building’ for several reasons: there are fewer wastage materials when built in a factory, as they are built to specification and the materials can be appropriately ‘portion-controlled’ when ordering.
Building in factory conditions also means we can retain unused and surplus materials for the next unit, as we are to build more of the same or similar – again reducing wastage.
In addition, by building using a modular design we can modify depending on the climate.
For example, in North Dakota the weather can be extreme with harsh winters reaching -30 deg C; this means the modular design can be modified to include insulation that is suitable for artic conditions.
Beyond these more direct factors, a further advantage of housebuilding in a booming area is that the business model can be greatly expanded due to captured demand as other industries and businesses are drawn to the area, such as restaurants, bars, hotels and shops.
Robert Gavin is the chief executive of US property developer NDD Group