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Modular Construction Delivers Model for New York Housing in Record Time

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Modular Construction Delivers Model for New York Housing in Record Time

A 65-unit supportive housing facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., was completed in record time using modular construction with six stories set in just 12 days.


July 9, 2012
330 MacDougal Street, Brooklyn, NY. 85 modules forming 65 studio apartments and
330 MacDougal Street, Brooklyn, NY. 85 modules forming 65 studio apartments and the supporting public areas, stair towers and el

Concern for Independent Living, a New York-based non-profit group providing supportive housing was in need of a new housing facility in Brooklyn, N.Y., for low-income individuals recovering from mental illness. Using modular construction allowed the project to be completed in record time, quickly transforming the property into a residence with 65 studio apartments.

The development of this program included the demolition of the existing building and the new construction of the MacDougal Street Apartments. The new building is the first Single-Site Supportive Housing Program in New York State to utilize modular building techniques and provides a model for modular construction in supportive housing.

The MacDougal Street Apartment complex is located on the site of a former residential program for adolescents, which closed in 2005. The buildings on the property remained vacant and boarded up, becoming a neighborhood eyesore until the property was purchased by Concern for Independent Living in 2008. The vacant structures were demolished to make room for the newly constructed six-story building.

Eighty-four modules were constructed off-site at Capsys Corp.'s manufacturing plant at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The factory-controlled process moved the construction off site to bring the order and control of an assembly line, minimizing construction waste and site disturbances. Starting with the fabrication of the structural elements, components were added to the modules as they moved through the factory. Windows, doors, MEP systems and fixtures, and trims were all installed along the line. The modules were then wrapped in protective materials and moved to temporary storage awaiting their trip to the building site to become part of the building project.

Project Summary



Number of modules: 84
Number of stories: 6
Installation time: 12 days
Square footage: 29,850

While the site was being prepared and the foundations constructed, Capsys was simultaneously fabricating the modules. When the site was ready, so were the modules. A large hydraulic construction crane was staged at the site, modules were transported in a systematic order to the crane hook and modules were quickly stacked and welded creating a unitized structural whole assembly. The erection process happened so quickly that all six stories were installed in just 12 days.

The project was funded by NYS Office of Mental Health and designed by DeLaCour and Ferrara Architects. This apartment building provides safe, affordable housing and on-site supportive services, incorporating many of the latest advances in construction techniques and sustainable features such as Energy Recovery Ventilation, Photovoltaic technology for power generation and substantial reductions in energy use.

Residents enjoy their own studio apartment with private bathroom and kitchenette. The building includes a fitness center, computer room/library, laundry facilities, several lounges, and outdoor recreational areas.

When Concern for Independent Living purchased the site, they promised to improve the neighborhood by developing an attractive building that is an asset to the community; increasing employment opportunities; encouraging the stability, self-sufficiency and productivity of adults living with mental illness; and increasing affordable housing opportunities for disabled men and women. This project has succeeded in achieving all of these goals.

"We are proud to have companies like Capsys Corp. as members of the Modular Building Institute," said Tom Hardiman, executive director.  "With their help, we are changing the way the world builds."

About MBI

The Modular Building Institute (MBI) is the international non-profit trade association serving the modular construction industry. Members are suppliers, manufacturers and contractors engaged in all aspects of modular projects from complex multi-story solutions to temporary accommodations.

As the Voice of Commercial Modular Construction (TM), it is MBI's mission to expand the use of offsite construction through innovative construction practices, outreach and education to the construction community and customers, and recognition of high quality modular designs and facilities. To learn more about modular construction, go to www.modular.org. +

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