By Macella Salzmann   4 Sep 2021

Modular Design: Fast, Adaptable and Sustainable

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Modular design and construction is an increasingly popular approach to fast track projects. The process involves a building’s components being prefabricated in an off-site controlled setting and then shipped to the project site for assembly.

NBRS has utilised prefabricated methodologies for nearly 10 years. Our design concepts have been realised by both the Australian state and territory governments, as well as the New Zealand Ministry of Education.

Most recently our Education Studio created a permanent modular solution for Fairfield Primary School in Victoria. The 2-storey design is formed by 25 volumetric steel framed modules. Working in collaboration with Fleetwood Australia, it took just 1 week to crane all modules into position on site.

The project was awarded Best New Primary School at the Victorian School Building Authority awards. It is an example of how learning spaces can be inserted into existing sites in a safe and time efficient way.

Below we consider the key benefits of the design and construction approach:

Timescale and Cost

Manufacturing the bulk of a building off-site avoids poor weather conditions and potential delays to the construction process. Shorter construction timeframes are achievable as off-site fabrication can take place in parallel with site preparation works.


With modular design comes unique functionality. Facilities can morph and reinvent over time or can even be relocated in response to demographic demand.


A predetermined quality can be achieved in a factory-controlled process. The indoor environment also means building components are protected from climate extremes and vandalism.


The design of modular facilities allows for building components to be disassembled, reused or recycled. The environmental impacts of construction are also reduced as site disturbance is minimal and construction waste can be carefully managed.

Innovative modular design and construction techniques offer fast, adaptable and sustainable solutions. We continue to develop our understanding and expertise in this area.

Macella Salzmann

Principal, Sector Lead - Education

“Architecture is a form of communication unlike any other.”