Potential of Modular Offsite Construction for Emergency Situations: A New Zealand Study

Natural disasters cause significant adverse social and financial impacts by damaging homes and infrastructure. These disasters also need a quick and immediate solution to post-disaster housing problems, to provide temporary housing services for short-term disaster relief and reconstruction of lost and damaged houses for complete recovery. Reconstruction of new permanent housing for disaster victims is one of the most time-consuming post-disaster activities. However, time is a vital consideration that should be minimized for the reconstruction of houses for affected populations. Modular offsite construction technology has the potential to enhance the post-disaster housing reconstruction process due to its intrinsic characteristics of time-efficiency. This study aimed to assess the potential of the modular offsite construction method as an approach that could promote the design and construction process of post-disaster reconstruction in New Zealand in emergencies. An extensive literature review has been carried out to evaluate the features of the modular construction method, which can add value to the post-disaster recovery phase. To evaluate the suitability and viability of modular offsite construction for post-disaster reconstruction and to find substantial obstacles to its implementation, feedback was collected and evaluated using the multi-attribute methodological approach by performing a national survey of construction industry experts in New Zealand. Semi-structured interviews with New Zealand experts were then followed to confirm and validate the questionnaire findings. The findings indicate that modular offsite construction technology is a viable solution for providing housing in emergencies or during post-disaster reconstruction in New Zealand, with its time-efficiency and ability to overcome the challenges of the current traditional method by its specific advantages. Reduced need for onsite labor, overcoming local labor resource constraints affected by the disaster, and enhanced productivity due to a controlled environment are the advantages of the modular offsite technology, which are discussed in this research.
Buildings, 2022, 12 (11)