Structural response of modular buildings – An overview

Andrew William Lacey, Wensu Chen, Hong Hao, Kaiming Bi

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

263 Citations (Scopus)


Prefabrication by off-site manufacturing leads to a reduced overall construction schedule, improved quality, and reduced resource wastage. Modular building is therefore increasingly popular and promoted. With the recent promotion a number of relevant studies have been completed, however, a review of the design, construction, and performance of modular buildings under different loading conditions is lacking. This paper presents a state-of-the-art review of modular building structures. First, structural forms and construction materials are presented as a brief introduction to the modular structures. Modular building is shown to refer not to a single structure type, but a variety of structural systems and materials. These modular structures might perform differently to similar traditional structures and the structural performance is highly dependent on inter- and intra-module connections. The structural response of modules to different hazards is then considered, followed by the current design practice and methodology. As a currently developing area there is great potential for innovation in modular structures and several key research areas are identified for further work.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-56
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Modular building
  • Multi-hazard
  • Off-site fabrication
  • Prefabrication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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