Relocatable modular building

If you have questions about modular buildings you've come to the right place. We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions that can help you demystify the modular construction process and provide a better understanding of its benefits and uses. If you have questions that aren't answered here, you can also check out our '20 Questions to Ask about Your Next Building Project' page or call us to learn how modular construction can work for your next building project.

What does Modular Construction mean?

Modular construction plant interior with various stages of module completion on the assembly line

The term 'Modular construction' refers to the carefully controlled off-site factory production of engineered building sections or modules that are typically constructed to a 50 to 90% completion state in a manufacturing plant. They are then transported to the construction site for assembly into a three-dimensional structure where the interior and exterior is finished-out to complete the building process. The size of modular construction projects can range from a single module to multi-unit multi-story structures that are as sophisticated as site-built facilities.

Is modular construction cheaper than traditional?

Modular building plans being reviewed and marked up

Modular construction is typically less expensive than other forms of construction due to the speed with which the building project can be completed, usually 25 to 40% faster than site construction methods. The construction timeframe is shortened due to the simultaneous work elements that can be overlapped. While the building is being manufactured off-site, at the same time the site work including the foundation is being prepared for the building installation. This compressed project schedule typically yields up to 10 to 25% in lower design and construction costs by reducing the general conditions and financing that are required. Modular construction also maximizes the coordination among all the trades which reduces mistakes and offers better material usage to minimize waste.

How long do modular buildings last?

Forklift moving modular building module into place

Depending on how the facility is maintained, modular buildings are able to last just as long as site-built structures. Whether they are relocatable or permanent, modular buildings use the same building materials and are built to the same codes, standards, and architectural specifications as site construction methods. In many cases, modular buildings are often stronger structurally as they must be able to withstand the effects of being transported safely over long distances while also staying intact when they are maneuvered into place or crane set onto multiple types of foundation systems. The use of permanent modular construction improves the overall longevity of the structure even in situations where they are paired with site-built structures in a hybrid construction situation.

What are modular buildings made of?

Steel frame modular building section being constructed

Both relocatable buildings and permanent modular construction use factory-controlled manufacturing techniques to build the modular sections or modules which use the same building materials as site-built structures. In either case they are typically constructed as wood (Type V-b) or steel (Type II-b) framed structures that may incorporate a wood or concrete floor system. The modular sections are designed in a configuration that will meet the requirements of the overall building layout and function while also allowing for the most efficient construction process. The buildings integrate all the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems normally used along with common interior and exterior finishes and claddings that provide the same architectural and curb appeal as completely site-built facilities. The modules typically range in size between 10' and 14' wide and 30' to 70' long in order to be transportable to the construction site. Both structural systems used for relocatable modular buildings and permanent modular construction allow for strength, safety, durability, and sustainability.

What are the benefits of modular construction?

Modular building section has been set into place, and exterior masonry being applied

With relocatable or permanent modular construction, the combination of a factory-controlled process and shorter time on site results in faster built, less costly, superior quality, and more environmentally sustainable facilities. Modular construction eliminates weather related delays, improves the air quality of the structure, and are built to meet or exceed the same building codes and standards as site-built facilities. Relocatable buildings are designed for temporary or interim term uses which allows them to be conveniently reused or repurposed for secondary utilization. They also carry advantages for leasing and other financing options since the buildings can be considered personal property. For permanent modular construction, facilities may be designed with all the external aesthetics that make them indistinguishable from site-built structures.

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