A New Concept in Modular Construction

ROBOTIC CONSTRUCTION AUTOMATION, LLC (RCA) is a new company that will be offering an innovative concept for constructing multi-story, multi-dwelling facilities. The RCA system will improve the construction and reduce the cost of hotels, hospitals, apartments, condominiums, dormitories, assisted living facilities and public housing.

This RCA concept influences the entire planning, design and construction process as it improves the security and sustainability of these multi-story multi-dwelling facilities, while decreasing the facility cost and retaining design freedom for the Architect. The cost of construction, the project financing cost and the long term operating cost of the facility are reduced by using concrete modules that are robotically cast on site in a mobile factory that can be leased to any contractor.

The RCA plan and technology (patent pending) were recently presented at the Strategic Development Council Forum 35 in Atlanta sponsored by the ACI Foundation. RCA is currently seeking strategic partners to make the concept available globally.

The RCA mobile factory is designed to facilitate practically any shape and size module designed by the Architect because all the module dimensions are variable. The monolithically cast modules consist of the floor slab and load-bearing demising walls for the dwelling units. The thickness of the demising walls is selected along with the concrete strength and reinforcing to provide the capacity needed to support the entire structure. The electric conduits are embedded within the walls and floor slab, and the concrete surfaces can be made to match the texture of drywall. The exterior walls, roof system and interior common areas are structurally supported by the RCA modules, but not included with the modules.

With the RCA system there will be no more shoring. No more forming. No more columns. No more beams. No more pumping concrete above the grade floor level. No more finishing cast in place floor slabs. These costs are all eliminated in exchange for the cost to rent the RCA mobile factory for the duration of the project.

Each module can be outfitted at ground level with a prefabricated bathroom, kitchen, doors, light fixtures, and even loaded with carpet and paint supplies. And, the exterior wall system can be attached to the module either before or after erection of the module into the building. Erection consists of stacking the modules using shims and grout.

Other current methods of modular construction consist of site erected column and beam framing systems that structurally support dwelling modules that are factory built, shipped to the construction site, and installed into the framework. Cost reduction results primarily from the difference between factory and site labor costs, but some of that benefit is offset by the cost of shipping the modules from the factory to the jobsite.

Conversely, the RCA modules can be cast at the jobsite, which eliminates the controversy caused by the differences between factory and construction labor rates. Instead of cutting the labor rate, the RCA process reduces the cost of the jobsite labor and the time of construction by casting the modules robotically, and by outfitting the finished modules at ground level.

The cost of the layout and construction of the typical metal-stud-and-drywall demising partitions is eliminated in exchange for the cost of concrete walls that are robotically cast monolithically with the floor slab. And, the cost of rough-in of the electric and other mechanical piping in the metal stud walls is eliminated in exchange for prefabricated piping assemblies attached to the prefabricated wall reinforcing assemblies that are cast into the concrete module walls.

The structure composed of RCA concrete modules is simple and fast to design using commercially available CAD software provided by RCA to the designers-of-record. And, the BIM software provided by RCA can be shared among the contractors. RCA does not take on the role of a designer-of-record; nor does RCA perform construction work for the project. RCA simply licenses the Owner for use of the RCA system, provides consultation and training on use of the system, and then leases the mobile factory to the Contractor. The rate of module production is controlled by the General Contractor.

The Owner is more secure because the concrete walls protect against damage by the occupants. The Owner’s facility built with RCA modules may last 100 years or more, and can be dismantled and recycled when it is no longer wanted. The Contractors are more secure because of the reduction in construction hazards and improved worker safety, and because the RCA system will lead to more reliable cost estimating.

But perhaps the most valuable aspect of the RCA system is the concrete walls and the privacy and security they provide for the building occupants. Those walls will protect the occupants against fire, smoke, noise, insects, mold, infectious bacteria, intruders and even bullets!

RCA stands for safer, stronger, healthier buildings built at lower cost and in less time.


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