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What is Modular Building Construction

Modular building construction offers a versatile alternative to traditional building. This blog discusses the differences between these construction models.

What is Modular Building Construction?

Modular building construction refers to the process by which a building is manufactured at a controlled, off-site facility before being transported to the building site for final assembly. Individual building sections, known as modules, are fabricated using standard industry materials. However, the modules gain the benefits of a controlled assembly line production system to improve safety, repeatability, and quality assurance practices.  

There are three primary steps in the modular construction process:

  • Pre-construction accounts for everything that occurs before construction begins. This includes conceptualization and finalization of the building design, development of architectural and engineering plans using building information modeling (BIM), and obtaining any permits or regulatory approvals required for on- and off-site construction to take place.
  • Construction begins on- and off-site simultaneously, with a crew at the future build site breaking ground, excavating, and working on the foundation while fabrication of the structure’s modular components occurs at the manufacturing facility.  
  • Building installation occurs once the final build site is prepped and the modular units are ready for transport. Once delivered, modules are lifted and secured onto the building foundation and connected to the other modules. With only utility hook-ups and minor finishes remaining, installation is typically completed within days.

Completed modular builds are subject to the same building codes and industry standards as their conventionally constructed counterparts, yet offer a stronger, precision-engineered alternative that can be completed faster, safer, and with less waste. 

Modular Construction vs. Traditional Construction

While several steps in the process remain virtually unchanged, there are some differences to note between modular and traditional construction methods—as well as some distinct advantages to selecting the modular route. 

Traditional construction is more susceptible to factors that impact project timelines, such as delays related to:

  • Improperly set or poured structural components
  • Material quality issues
  • Labor shortages
  • Rain, heat, cold, or other weather-related events

These factors can push start dates back, causing a domino effect. As crews scramble to make up for the lost time, the risk of mistakes increases exponentially. This can cause numerous quality and safety concerns on the job site.

Modular construction methods offer several benefits in response to the challenges faced in a traditional construction environment. These include:

  • Time. Because modular builds allow for on- and off-site work to be done simultaneously, they are completed in an average of 30-50% of the time it takes for a conventional build. Modular builds fall victim to fewer delays along the way since there are far fewer variables involved. With much of the modular fabrication taking place in a controlled factory setting, the construction process is less likely to experience significant delays related to climate and associated factors.
  • Cost. Modular construction relies on economies of scale in the production process to reduce expenses and make projects more affordable. Materials can be more easily reused or recycled into other projects to further drive down costs. Additionally, shorter timeframes and simultaneous progress on- and off-site help to lessen the financial burden and make projects budget-friendly.
  • Adaptable. Modular buildings are easy to adjust to changing business needs, and can easily and cost-effectively be expanded, relocated, or recycled.
  • Eco-friendly. Modular construction cut down on physical waste by through optimized manufacturing processes, allows greater flexibility in repurposing, and reduces the carbon footprint of the build by minimizing the number of workers traveling to and from the build site.
  • Relocatable buildings (RB). Compliant with necessary state codes and regulations, RB structures are meant to be reused and repurposed to accommodate temporary space needs. Since they are not permanently affixed in a location, they can be moved or reconfigured quickly and for minimal cost.

Modular Buildings from Commercial Structures

Modular building construction provides all the benefits of traditional construction measures, but in less time, at a lower cost, and in a more sustainable fashion. 

Commercial Structures Corp. is your source for any industrial modular building need, offering a wide array of prefabricated building styles. Our product portfolio includes:

We also manufacture full modular complexes and offer custom modular construction to address the unique requirements of any application. To learn more about the benefits of modular building construction, please contact us today.