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2 Pier
SF, CA, 94111
United States

(415) 877-2211

As its name implies, Intermodal Structures designs, manufactures and delivers single and multi-story, steel frame buildings (intermodally) to customers located anywhere in the world. The buildings are earthquake and hurricane/typhoon proof and their moment frame design enables 40 feet of clear span without requiring any columns or structural walls. Their long life, expandability (both horizontally and vertically), adaptability to different uses over time and relocatability future proofs our buildings. 


Future Proof

Future Proof Buildings

What do we mean by future proof? Wikipedia says: “In general, the term "future-proof" refers to the ability of something to continue to be of value into the distant future; that the item does not become obsolete.” We believe a future proof building must possess each of the following five features.

Extremely Long Life - IMS steel frame buildings will easily last 100 years. Unlike an inexpensive, wood frame portable building that deteriorates rapidly and must be replaced periodically, an IMS building will last a very, very long time.

Transportable - A masonry building may be very strong and have a very long life, but what happens if, with the passage of time, its location loses value?  A couple of examples illustrate this point: 

  • Detroit used to be the automotive center until it was impacted by the emergence of a global economy.
  • Over time, climate change and rising sea levels may impact low lying property.  
  • Over time, a school that once served the needs of a community may lose its value if young people move away and the community the school served has aged.

To address these issues, a future proof building must be transportable.  A masonry building is too heavy to be relocated.  A wood frame building is not rigid enough to withstand the rigors of relocation.  However, an all steel IMS Building is designed to be transported intermodally by truck by rail or by ship.  If a school is no longer needed over here, then simply transport it over there, to where it is needed.

Flexible - Buildings that are too big want to be smaller.  Buildings that are too small want to be bigger.  IMS Buildings can be expanded or contracted in both a horizontal and/or a vertical configuration.  For example, in an “in-fill” location (a land-constrained location), an IMS one-story school can become a two-story school 18 years from now or 38 years from now or 62 years from now.  Conversely, a two-story school can contract in size by removing the second story and transporting it to a new location where new classrooms are needed.

A future proof building is not only flexible in terms of its size, but also in terms of its use.  Buildings that contain structural columns or structural walls impose inflexibility on efforts to redesign a space for a different use.  Because an IMS Building possesses 40 feet of clear span, it enjoys tremendous architectural flexibility and can easily adapt itself to different uses and architectural designs over time.

Sustainable - At the heart of a future proof building is its sustainability.  A wood frame portable classroom is destined for a landfill, faster than you might imagine.  A steel frame IMS Building can be relocated to a new location and/or transformed to accommodate an alternative use . . .  sustaining its economic benefit to its owners and the community it serves.  An IMS Building is constructed largely from recycled materials, is extremely well insulated and can self-generate the majority of its own electricity with the inclusion of solar roof panels.  In summary, an IMS Building is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient.  

Intelligent - Although intelligence is correlated with longevity and longevity is at the heart of future proofing, the word “intelligence” has not, until recently, been associated with buildings.  IMS Buildings such as our classrooms contain Building Automation Systems which enable remote and/or local control of lighting, heating and cooling, ventilation and audio/visual technologies.  This intelligence decreases operating costs and improves the learning experience.