Modular, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, simply means “having parts that can be connected or combined in different ways.” Understanding the value of modular construction is, however, a bit more involved.
Unlike the majority of buildings constructed onsite, exactly where they live out their usefulness, modular buildings – composed of one or more modules – are built in the controlled environment of a plant and then transported to wherever needed, to be used either in a temporary or permanent capacity. These prefabricated buildings comply with the same codes and standards required of traditional buildings, are equally functional and built to last.
For those who think choosing modular construction means losing architectural sophistication should think again. Modern technology has enabled modular companies to build products with ingenuity and appreciation for aesthetics that often match – or even surpass – traditional construction.
There are many distinct benefits in opting for modular construction over onsite construction.
Offsite construction helps builders manage quality, keeping ongoing projects and supplies organized and safe in weatherproof facilities, and preventing the damage and deterioration that occurs at the hand of Mother Nature. What’s more, since individual modules are built with enough strength to stand alone and then be transported, modular buildings can be even stronger than those built conventionally.
Removing the unpredictable effects of the elements and other unknowns saves time. Modular projects generally take about half the time to complete as equivalent onsite construction.
And by eliminating onsite traffic created by traditional construction, myriad safety and security risks can be eliminated. For example, construction often takes place on properties already in use by other facilities. With the vast majority of modular construction taking place away from current operations, visitors and workers are better protected. The eventual site of the new building is also cared for, with less debris, dust and noise.
Modular construction is the ultimate in sustainability. The modular construction process yields less waste, and the site itself is minimally disturbed. Most importantly, unlike onsite buildings, modular units can be repurposed.
Temporary vs. Permanent
Modular construction falls into two categories: permanent structures and those that are temporary and relocatable.
Relocatable modular buildings are built to serve temporary needs, and they’re usually repurposed several times during their lifespan. Transported and installed by trained personnel, they’re used to fill a wide variety of needs. Some common applications include classroom space in overcrowded schools, construction site office space, clinics and sales centers. Among the diverse industries that rely on temporary modular buildings are education, healthcare, hospitality and retail, office and administration, security, emergency management, industrial energy and construction.
Permanent modular buildings utilize offsite lean manufacturing techniques to prefabricate modules for single or multi-story building solutions. These structures are manufactured in the safe and controlled setting of a plant and assembled at the final site. Upon piecing the building together and sealing the modules, the structure is strong and often imperceptible as a modular building. Industries utilizing advantages of modular construction to put in place permanent structures include healthcare, education, hospitality and retail, commercial and residential housing, office and administration, and security.
Do you have a construction project coming up? If so, does the idea of completing the project faster, safer and greener appeal to you? Modular is the answer.