U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Modular Solution

NCJ Number
Corrections Forum Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2002 Pages: 20-24,26,27
Donna Rogers
Date Published
July 2002
6 pages
Precast concrete modular and steel modular construction for correctional facilities can be faster, cheaper, and better, but correctional departments that plan modular construction should be aware of potential pitfalls.
Over the past 10 years, modular construction in the correctional industry has been making inroads. Although most modular construction is done in concrete, steel is also being recognized as a viable option. Modular construction has a reputation for providing stock building plans and rigid designs with little, if any, changes allowed in the molds; however, there may be more flexibility in such construction that is usually recognized. Some manufacturers can accommodate small dimensional changes in the depth, width, or height of the cells for minimal cost. Although modular construction is not the most aesthetically pleasing type of construction, the overriding benefits are speed of construction, the quality of materials and construction, and cost effectiveness. Regarding the speed of construction, a structure can be erected in days at a rate of 10 to 15 modules (20 to 30 cells) a day, according to the Tindall Corporation of Spartanburg, S.C. Sweeper Metal Manufacturers, Inc. of Drumright, OK, provides completely wired and painted steel modular cells. So-called "smart" cells are delivered complete. The benefits of steel compared with concrete are reduced thickness of the walls, one-fifth the weight of concrete, and increased strength and durability. The cost is about the same as concrete. Some pitfalls to avoid in modular construction are climates that are incompatible with the construction material, flawed mold design, difficulty and expense in making changes, and the maintenance of a consistent color across a facade or series of buildings.


No download available