Modular construction has many different names, Modular Buildings, Systems Built Construction, Portable Buildings, Prefabricated Buildings or Pre-engineered Buildings.
A simple description of our modular building is a building that has been built in sections that include floor systems, walls and ceiling and finished as much as possible in a factory setting. Ideally, most of the finishes, electrical, plumbing and HVAC are installed and tested at the factory in a controlled environment. The modular sections are wrapped to make weather tight and loaded on transports or running gear, ready for delivery to the site.
Once the modular sections are delivered to site, they are erected side by side and stacked to create a complete structure. They are immediately made weather tight to protect the interior and interconnected structurally. The finishes and mechanical connections are completed and all systems are inspected and tested. Custom features such as site applied finishes, pitched roofs and other architectural treatments can be added to make the building a customized structure, ideally suited for its specific use.
The advantages of modular construction method are savings in time, simplifying the construction process and controlling cost. At the same time, a finished structure of equal or better quality than possible using conventional construction techniques is provided.
Time savings: The savings in time are achieved by the efficiency of factory automation and by performing the site work and foundations while the modular building is being constructed. With careful planning, as soon as the foundations are complete, the modular building is delivered and set, ready to finish. Often construction schedules are cut in half compared to site built structures. If your construction project is best suited between academic years or on school breaks, this type of construction accommodates those requirements very efficiently.
Financial Advantages: Time is money and a factory can simply produce a product faster and more consistently. Buildings are no exception. Framing jigs, subassembly stations and advanced material handling equipment are all used to increase the efficiency of the construction process. Automation and process management are well established in the modular building industry and improving with every opportunity. Additional cost savings are realized because the expedited schedule reduces carrying cost. For income producing projects, ROI is increased by having the income from the properties being generated much more quickly.
Quality: Construction at the factory is performed in an indoor environment that is not exposed to the weather. Materials are stored and installed at room temperature which makes performance consistent with the manufacturer’s expectations. With conventional construction, moisture, overheating or freezing can lead to mold or failure of important components. Quality inspection is constant by a dedicated quality control department and factory workers insuring consistent quality levels.
Safety: A modular building project has a shorter construction cycle. The schedule for site work on your property is shortened allowing for elements of construction safety challenges to be managed well. While the building is built off-site, the site is prepared just in time for the delivery of the factory pre-fabricated modules. This allows for limited exposure to unsafe construction elements like trenching, heavy equipment and construction traffic.
Customization: Your building project should be built around your space programming needs and designed to fit inside of your budget. Common features to any construction project are easily applied to the prefab modular construction approach. The best approach to every project is to first understand your need and determine the amount of space you should consider for your use. With that framework in place, a good modular building provider can work on design features and aesthetics that are important to you. Geographical location will determine the building code requirements like wind loads, roof loads and more. Zoning requirements may indicate a certain type of exterior finish detail or a fire sprinkler system for instance. The roof detail may be a minimal pitched membrane roof or pitched roof with shingles or standing seam metal roofing for instance. Facades and mansard overhangs can be custom applied too. Custom finish exteriors are easily applied with veneers or factory installed finishes. The exterior finish may be a site applied full brick, stone or a combination of factory installed siding materials that create an attractive and durable exterior finish. Interior spaces can be provided prefinished or prepared at the factory for a specialized seamless finish installed at site.
A custom modular building does not need to be expensive or beyond your needs. The modular building approach allows you to build upon a solid system with features that make your organization set apart.
Sustainability: Design elements and building material features can be built into your new prefab modular building. Recently, upgraded energy codes have increased the performance of all buildings and would be a standard feature on a modular building. Additional features utilize high efficiency HVAC equipment for excellent fresh air delivery and economic operation with technologically advanced controls. Daylight strategies to increase the use of natural light should be considered depending upon the location of the modular building on your site. Water conservation is addressed through low flow plumbing fixtures and faucets. The overall low impact of the modular building process is built into every building. Bulk material delivery, low VOC materials, recycled content and more are fairly standard features provided with quality prefab modular buildings. A quality modular building supplier would be prepared to address these benefits when discussing the best approach to your building design.
Teamwork: There is a great sense of teamwork developed when goals are aligned properly. A quality modular building supplier should be equipped to work in concert with your architects, engineers, site contractors and other trades people to provide the complete construction project. As a customer, you should be empowered and encouraged to visit the factory during construction to verify progress, quality levels and completed work for the purpose of inspection and release of progress payments.
Technological advances and bold designs create an exciting opportunity for prefab modular buildings. While this is not an exhaustive review of the modular building product it is an introduction. A knowledgeable modular building supplier should be a great help to determine if a prefab modular building is for you.