The industry survey, available online here, is intended to identify the opportunities and challenges associated with the use of off-site construction processes and technologies.

The academic survey, available online here, will determine the scope of off-site construction teaching and research in U.S. colleges and universities. Results will be used to support the development of tools and resources for the schools.

The council also is seeking $150,000 for an off-site construction implementation guide, to help demystify the process.

Demystification is already under way in the U.K., home to the world's tallest completed modular tower: a 24-story dorm at the University of Wolverhampton. The 10-year-old industry group Buildoffsite has published hundreds of case studies that detail the benefits of off-site solutions. They are available at

Pitfalls aside, mainstream builders' move toward modular delivery is a logical step in one of biggest transformations in the construction industry since the introduction of the combustion engine and electric power, says Gilbane's Klawans.

"We're in the midst of creative destruction and reinvention of our industry," says Klawans. "It's exciting."