Korea Land & Housing Corp. embraces modular construction for future growth

Modular construction enjoys Korean Government backing with significant modular projects underway.

Korea Land & Housing Corp. (LH) is embracing modular construction to lower defect risks and shorten construction periods for residential and commercial buildings. They’re taking the initiative and driving the country towards modular construction as they see their role, as a government entity, to define and guide the construction industry towards smart construction technologies. (main pic: A mobile crane lifting a modular unit into position for a modular construction development in Sejong, Korea.)

Leading the future with modular construction
LH CEO Lee Han-joon acknowledges the potential and challenges of modular construction. “Although modular construction still requires further research for application to structures of greater heights and larger scales, it is the agency’s duty to lead the country’s future construction industry by expanding smart construction technologies,” he said. Lee emphasised that despite the current higher costs and limited demand for modular technologies, their benefits in addressing industry challenges like worker shortages and quality control are undeniable.

Watch a time lapse of a modular construction development in Sejong, Korea.

Overcoming Industry Challenges
One of LH’s primary goals is to provide new residential buildings to replace older ones. The agency aims to launch construction of 50,000 new housing units this year and over 60,000 units the following year. A significant portion of these units will incorporate modular technologies, confirming LH’s commitment to transforming the construction landscape.

“To tackle the shortcomings of the current construction market, its production environment should shift from onsite to offsite manufacturing,” Lee stated. This shift is highlighted by LH’s project in Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province, where they are constructing the country’s tallest modular structure, a 20-storey building housing over 380 units. Upon completion, LH will use this project as an example of offsite construction technologies for Korea’s construction industry.

Modular Projects and Efficiency
In Sejong, LH is undertaking a modular construction project with less than six months until completion. The project includes two blocks, UR-1 and UR-2, featuring four basement floors and seven aboveground levels. While conventional methods were used for the underground parking lots and commercial units, the 416 residential units are being built using modular technologies.

A completed modular unit for UR-1 and UR-2 in Sejong complete with furniture, lighting, heating, air conditioning and services.
A completed modular unit for UR-1 and UR-2 in Sejong complete with furniture, lighting, heating, air conditioning and services.

Kyeryong Construction, a private builder, is installing the modules. The modules, manufactured at POSCO Architects & Consultants’ factory in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province, are transported 140 kilometres to the site, arriving complete with plumbing, furniture, heating, air conditioning, and even wallpaper. “We try to minimise workloads on site by doing the most we can in factories,” said Kim Soo-jin, an official from LH’s Sejong special project division.

Looking to the Future
The tallest modular structure outside Korea has already reached the 55th floor. “For us to reach that figure requires more research to make our units fire-resistant strong enough to endure more than three hours. At the same time, the job must be financially affordable,” said Choi Tae-young from the Sejong special project division. By 2030, LH plans to reduce construction periods by 50% using modular construction and lower project costs to be competitive with conventional methods.

See: https://www.lh.or.kr/eng/

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