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Technical Spotlight #3: Prefab Bathroom Pod Delivery and Load-In

At SurePods, we often say modular bathrooms are like a dishwasher. Once the pods are delivered to the jobsite, craned to the appropriate floor and slid into place, they’re ready to “plug and play.” A trained crew will anchor the units, and connect the electrical systems, hot and cold water hook-ups and wastewater disposal. Exterior drywall is then installed on the pod as part of finishing the room.

While many GCs readily understand how this “plug and play” method can help them save time and money, what isn’t immediately clear are the logistics of bringing off-site construction on to the jobsite. To shed more light on this process, our last “Technical Spotlight” addressed the details surrounding how pre-fab bathroom pods are shipped and delivered. In this post, we’ll answer common questions about when to deliver the pods to the jobsite and how to prepare for building load-in.

Question: When should prefab bathroom pods be delivered to the jobsite?

Prefab bathroom pods are craned and slid into the structure while the building façade is still open. The pods may be lowered onto deck before, during or after the surrounding walls. They can also be side loaded or top loaded, depending on the structure. We recommend working with an SurePods rep early to scope the project and identify the optimal point(s) in the build cycle for delivery.

Question: How much working space is needed for pod loading?

To effectively load-in the pods, we recommend a slab area with a minimum 20’ working depth and a 13’ working width or more. It is important to keep in mind bathroom sizes may impact these values. We frequently work with GCs to ensure their working space is designed to meet the specific needs of their project.  We can do a “parking lot” plan with clients to show them where the pods will sit temporarily to assist them in sequencing other work.

Question: Are there any specific loading requirements to be aware of?

Yes. The slab support must be able to handle the localized load of the pod lifting cage and the localized load of the pallet jack wheels. Specifically, the metal loading dock plate will be craned to the edge of the slab. It will impose a load equal to approximately half of the cage weight (the lifting cage is 7,500 lbs., therefore this weight is approximately 3,750 lbs.).  The pod will then roll out of the cage and impose an additional 1,500 lb. live load at the front and another 1,500 lbs. at the back. This weight will be distributed over a total of 8 wheels.

To ensure no damage occurs to the structure during the load-in process, project structural engineers must verify the deck assembly can adequately bear the pallet jack wheel point loads. The actual bathroom pod does not weigh any more than a traditional bathroom once in position, so there is no impact on the building structure or general load analysis. 

Question: What are the exterior opening requirements?

To side load bathroom pods on a steel or concrete building, the exterior opening must be a clear opening a minimum of 10’ 6” wide and 101” to 107” tall, dependent on bathroom pod ceiling height. For a smooth load-in process, it’s also important to make sure there are no projections, lips or major bumps on the slab where the cage lip will land, as well as no pre-installed HVAC or plumbing overhead yet. Conflict analysis of these items is normally done in the precon phase with our engineering team.

Ready to get started?

Our trained team has a comprehensive set of planning forms to work through during the preconstruction phase. The end goal is to make prefab as simple as possible for all involved parties, as well as make sure the technical details don’t bog you down. Remember, to achieve the full benefit of modular, early incorporation into the design is critical. To get started, contact us at [email protected]


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