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Does modular building reduce construction accidents?

The Stack isn't a pile of flapjacks at a New York City diner. It is instead the name of a seven-story modular apartment building at Manhattan's north tip. The structure is billed as the first of its kind in the city; a stack of modular units that offer potential renters a variety of floor plans and features.

However, according to the Modular Building Institute's website, developers might be interested in more than the variety they can offer consumers. They might well also be lured to modular building designs by what proponents say is a safer construction method that results in fewer construction worker accidents and injuries

Proponents claim the construction sites are safer (and less expensive) because fewer contractors are needed. Fewer contractors means fewer workers on the site, which they say means fewer accidents and injuries.

They also claim that the buildings are erected in significantly less time (30 to 50 percent less), also reducing the likelihood of on-the-job injuries.

According to the site, construction on the world's tallest modular building (32 stories) will begin in Brooklyn this December.

While some of the cost-cutting, injury-reducing claims might be true, it seems unlikely that many construction workers are interested in seeing injuries reduced by slashing construction jobs. Most would rather see New York City contractors reduce injuries by adhering to worksite safety regulations that help make the industry safer for workers, neighborhood residents and others. That means companies provide proper safety gear, tools and equipment, for instance.

When firms neglect safety, accidents and injuries are too often the result. In some situations, personal injury claims might make more sense for the injury victim than workers' compensation. The possibility is worth discussing with an experienced construction injury attorney.

Source:, "NY building shows how mod design stacks up as cool," Jennifer Peltz, July 20, 2014

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