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RP1031: Development and optimisation of low carbon, affordable, medium-rise modular structural system using innovative connections

Project leader name: 
Professor Saman Fernando, Swinburne University of Technology
Project status: 
Project period: 
04/2016 to 04/2018

This project aims to develop a robust, innovative and repeatable framing solution at the maximum transportable size of 16m x 4.5m x 3m. The framing will be steel based, with possible infill structural panels for walls and floors. This will require the development of innovative inter/intra‐modular structural connections to enable minimal access fastening for medium‐rise construction.

The solution will facilitate scalable open spaces within buildings, and provide the ability to transfer lateral loads between modules. It will address the following constraints and requirements:

  • Irregular site shapes;
  • Very limited site access;
  • Fast on-site assembly, in‐life adaptation, and post‐life disassembly;
  • Joining of conventional and new sustainable materials to maximise their effectiveness
  • Maximum safety;
  • Proven reliability; and
  • Affordability.

A 20‐storey building with the largest possible spans will be considered as a test case.

Publications related to this project

CRCLCL Project Reports

This study aims to understand the extreme load performance of modular buildings, which has had limited research, by conducting a comprehensive study on performance requirement of modular buildings under service/extreme loads and accordingly develop an innovative structural connections for...

Peer Reviewed Research Publications

Modular building construction is an emerging trend in the construction industry. During the course of road transportation of the modular unit of a building, vehicular vibrations on the truck-trailer may cause damage to components that are attached to the unit. The amount of dynamic loading...

Peer Reviewed Research Publications

The primary objective of the study reported in this paper was to evaluate the influence of in-plane diaphragm stiffness and strength on the seismic performance of multi-story modular buildings. Read the paper...

Peer Reviewed Research Publications

In this conference paper, the characteristic requirements for inter-module connections of modular buildings with regard to structural and functional needs are identified and presented. An overview into few key aspects regarding multi-story modular building construction is also discussed. 

Peer Reviewed Research Publications

This paper presents the preliminary work conducted to classify the behaviour of diaphragms in modular buildings and to assess the effects of diaphragm flexibility on the overall seismic performance of a case study modular building.

Peer Reviewed Research Publications

This paper presents a performance framework for modular construction - a method of construction that uses factory-produced building units called modules that are delivered as components, parts or whole buildings to be erected on site. 

Fact sheet

Innovations in modular building systems are limited by the low availability of well-designed module connectors. We have developed a universal, bolt-less connector for modular buildings of all shapes and sizes of up to 40 storeys (including public housing, condominiums, hospitals, hotels, offices...