Comprehensive evaluation of flat pack modular building systems: Design, structural performance, and operational efficiency

Heshachanaa Rajanayagam*, Valentina Beatinia, Keerthan Poologanathan, Brabha Nagaratnam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The demand for innovative and sustainable building solutions has led to a growing interest in modular construction methods. Modular building units have gained popularity in recent years for both residential housing and emergency and temporary shelters. However, embodied carbon and energy accumulation from the transportation, storage, and reuse of modular building units have become a rising concern regarding overall sustainability performance. Therefore, this research focuses on addressing this concern by assessing innovative alternative solutions for flat-pack modular building units, with an emphasis on sustainable, eco-friendly, and portable building solutions utilizing deployable modular technology. Initially, based on existing conventional modular building practices, conceptual designs of three types of flat-pack techniques were introduced. These designs were then compared and ranked according to structural, design, operational, and environmental performance criteria. The findings indicate that overall, detachable 2D panelised modules are the most favorable flat-pack technique for both residential and emergency applications due to their superior performance in these criteria. Deployable flat-pack solutions also showed notable advantages in certain aspects, but detachable solutions outperformed these in most cases to a significant scale. The key contribution of this research lies in its comprehensive evaluation of flat-pack modular designs, providing insights into optimizing traditional systems for enhanced sustainability. This research also highlights the advantages of flat-pack solutions over traditional techniques, demonstrating their potential to significantly reduce transportation-related carbon emissions and improve modular construction practices, thereby promoting rapid, cost-effective, and eco-friendly building methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110099
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Early online date29 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Jun 2024

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