How Modular Construction Is Redefining the Sustainable Future

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Traditional construction practices are fast being replaced by prefabrication methods due to the plethora of advantages that come along with it. The construction industry is changing radically along with the advancements in technology, the industry accounts for 6% of the global GDP, and these buildings produce 30% of greenhouse gas emissions.


The first modular construction boom occurred in the United States during the 1940s and 50s, and in the United Kingdom in the 1960s. After a long slump, the United States and the United Kingdom witnessed a renewed surge of modular projects due to extreme shortfalls in housing supply and lack of labor – making it difficult to secure services, driving up their cost, drawing out build schedules, and threatening build quality. Environmentally sustainable and viable construction practices are the need of the hour – keep reading to learn more.


Businesses That Use Modular Construction


The potential of modular buildings is limitless; their flexible nature allows them to be used as:

  1. Mobile classrooms and other educational facilities
  2. Corporate offices
  3. Modular housing
  4. Portable offices
  5. Structures that can be disassembled
  6. Military constructions


Modular construction provides a one-fits-all solution to businesses that:

  • workaround tight budgets
  • frequently change locations
  • require unique customizations
  • follow eco-friendly construction practices


What is Modular Construction?


The process of constructing different modules of a building off-site in the controlled conditions of a plant using the same materials, codes, and standards as a conventional building and later assembling these modules at the actual site is called modular construction.


This shift from traditional onsite to off-site construction requires large amounts of initial investment in manufacturing facilities. Traditionally, companies take on projects one at a time, making it hard for facility owners to make the switch to modular construction. When the cyclical nature of development and its impact on factory utilization rates is taken into consideration, many markets are facing deep, structural supply shortages that will take years to address, and going modular can provide much-needed relief to these companies.



How does Modular Construction pave the way to a Sustainable Future?


The potential annual cost savings of modular construction is a whopping $22 billion. The various advantages of modular construction over traditional construction practices include


  1. Reduced Building Cost

Reduced construction time directly results in reduced building cost. Damage costs due to unforeseen weather conditions can be avoided by using a controlled factory setting. When done right, switching to modular can and should provide construction cost savings of up to 20 percent and life cycle cost benefits. One of the major benefits of a manufacturing approach in other industries is lower costs. Savings arise from the integrated processes involved in modular construction, which cuts out subcontractors and the margins that they include in their quotes.


Modular construction provides the greatest cost savings for projects that have a higher proportion of labor-intensive activities and repeated processes. For example, constructions like student accommodation, hotels, and housing offer high savings when choosing to go modular. Finally, the onsite assembly of modules requires a lower-skilled and hence lower-cost labor force.


  1. Accelerated Building Schedules

Building off-site is completed sooner than its equivalent building process onsite. Building schedules can be cut down by 20-50% by choosing to go modular. Although the modular design process takes longer than the design process of traditional constructions, the rest of the process can be completed faster. This is made possible by the enclosed and controlled factory environment, the ease of coordinating and repeating processes, and the increased usage of machines.


Depending on the number of shifts, the capacity and throughput times are also impacted. Usually, two eight-hour shifts are used, but the right labor makes three shifts possible too. The manufacturing of various modules occurs simultaneously with foundation work, which is not possible with the linear timeline of a traditional project.


  1. Safer Working Conditions

A modular building allows up to 80% of the traditional labor activity to be shifted off-site to a manufacturing facility, and even some of the most tedious and expensive tasks (including mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) are taken care of by lower-cost manufacturing workers in controlled settings. Also, standardized, automated, and controlled factory settings can double productivity and eliminate a large number of onsite risks. Overall, the safety benefits of the simplified and repetitive processes and advanced automation equipment are immense.


  1. Reusable Nature of Modular Buildings

Mobile buildings can be dismantled, relocated, and reused without having to make too many changes. This allows for double waste reductions in the form of waste minimized initially by using controlled modular construction methods. Also, the reutilized modules do not need many new materials, minimizing the amount of energy required. Used modular buildings can also be purchased and repurposed according to your requirement.


Modular Construction – A Green Alternative


Modular construction requires a considerably reduced amount of operational energy and cuts out the wastage and overall usage of raw materials by using precise digital rendering techniques. Smaller onsite crews, reduced transportation of materials to and from the site, and a shorter project schedule all contribute to the overall decreased demand for resources. A study by the University of Alberta says that a modular project showed a considerable decrease in carbon emissions when compared to an identical traditionally-built project.


“The factory-built project had a 43 % reduction in carbon emissions. It was the same building—the same envelope, the same material, everything. From a transportation aspect alone, from a reduction of construction time [and a travel distance of labor and materials] alone, it was a 43-percent reduction.”


The Future of Modular Construction


Modular construction gains traction in markets with a higher demand for housing and labor shortages in the building trade. The United Kingdom alone needs to add another 300,000 units every year to meet the housing demand. Unfortunately, only 200,000 new units have been built every year since the 1970s. The popularity of modular construction has been victim to fluctuating interest in the United Kingdom and the United States. Still, markets like Japan have embraced the idea and made it mainstream.


Japan has taken advantage of synergies with other manufacturing industries, and the increased volume of modular units keeps economies in scale and makes production much cheaper.


Modular construction is steadily becoming a premium product in various markets; modular homes often sell at a greater price due to their strong focus on quality and earthquake protection. Companies are faced with a limited supply of skilled labor, which requires higher wages and drives up costs. The changing construction landscape and advancements in technology set the stage for modular construction solutions.



Modular construction methods utilize technological advancements like robotization and 3D-printing to increase productivity without having negative impacts on the environment. Modular construction embraces the concept of reusing and controlled construction spaces to decrease the wastage of raw materials without compromising the integrity of the building.


Digitization is making the current modular construction trend a constant in additional markets worldwide. The advancement of digital tools has drastically changed the intricacies of modular construction proposition. The whole process of designing different modules, coordinating the processes within the construction facility, and the optimization of the logistics to assemble the modules on site are some of the enhancements that are making modular construction a compulsion on our way to a sustainable future.


1 thought on “How Modular Construction Is Redefining the Sustainable Future”

  1. Impressive and cost-effective. Is modular construction of a two story building viable in Nilgiris Tamilnadu.Will you design the building plan.regars

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