With more than 30 years in the modular industry, Lee Bachman, Design Department Manager, has overseen hundreds of modular projects and worked on hundreds more.
“One of the most rewarding days I’ve had at MODLOGIQ was during the final walkthrough of a multi-story addition to an elementary school,” Lee recalls. “The President of the School Board asked me when we would be in the addition. Well, at that moment we were actually standing on the second floor of the addition. She could not tell our addition from the existing construction!”
Lee continues: “It was the first permanent modular school building ever approved in the state of Maryland. One of the reasons it did get approved was that the project concept – placing the addition within the interior courtyard of an existing school – could not be accomplished within the scheduled timeline using stick-built construction.”
Adding to the challenge was a directive from the school to match the features of the existing school while meeting the tight timeline – everything had to be completed over summer break. Installation was challenging, too. Lee explains: “The modules had to be craned over the existing 3-story brick building and positioned in the interior courtyard. We met the deadline while delivering the aesthetics and quality the school wanted. Our team accomplished the mission.”
Lee leads a group of extremely talented designers who are responsible for getting the most out of modular projects using (BIM) Building Information Modeling: “The level of detail we get with Revit – the precise fit and finish we’re able to achieve – is extraordinary,” he points out. “For example, a big factor in modules is ceiling clearance. Modules can only be so tall because they have to pass through tunnels or under overpasses during transport. Our team is great at working with MEP designs, fire suppression system designs, etc. to get the most out of each building.”
This ability to optimize space and value engineer is a big differentiator for MODLOGIQ. “We’re trusted by large companies like Whiting-Turner,” Lee remarks. “They’re confident using us on major buildings like the 95,000 square foot Cherokee Lane Elementary School project.” This hybrid project combines 30,000 square feet of site-built structures with 65,000 square feet of modular buildings manufactured off-site. “Five years ago, it would have been tough to convince a major contractor to do such a large project using modular.”
There are a number of reasons why off-site modular construction has become mainstream:
Stunning design. “Everyone on the design team shares a common goal to be the industry leader. Our team has won dozens of awards from ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) and MBI (Modular Building Institute) where aesthetics are a key aspect of the judging criteria.”
Schedule acceleration. “Off-site manufacturing lets us defy the laws of conventional schedules. For example, if the windows don’t come in on time with a stick-built project, everything stops. But with our indoor manufacturing facility, we can work around hiccups like that. We just forge ahead with interior work and don’t worry about rain or snow.”
Least site impact. “The school addition I mentioned is a great example. We were able to build most of it off-site so it could be installed and finished over the summer break. We didn’t disrupt the kids’ school year.”
Cost certainty. “Because Revit allow us to be so precise, because we collaborate closely with architects, engineers and contractors, because we fully work through all potential issues during pre-construction, we avoid the change orders that add costs to stick-built projects.”
Lee’s extensive construction experience is a critical contribution to the design team: “Part of my background is in project management. I’m able to bring what works in the field and apply it to the world of Revit. Whether it’s helping outside design teams convert their conventional designs to efficient modular builds or starting from scratch with Design/Build projects, we’re faced with constantly evolving demands as we collaborate with multiple teams.”
In addition to designing great modular buildings, Lee also knows how to build great communities. He was the catalyst behind the “WHAT CAN WE DO” campaign over the recent holidays. “In past years, we’d spend a few bucks exchanging gag gifts with each other. But this year, a lot of good people fell on hard times. I suggested that money would be better spent helping folks hit by the pandemic. You always try to do more. It’s just good business to let people know you care about them.”
Lee got a big assist from Ali Morrongiello, Office Operations Manager at MODLOGIQ, who identified a local shelter that was seeking donations of money and food. Thanks to Lee’s inspiration and everyone’s generous contributions, MODLOGIQ and its employees delivered the equivalent of more than 40,000 meals over the holidays.