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Laurie Robert 

"Modular Advantage"
  April 2003
  by Laurie Robert


It's not unusual for facility planners, architects, and engineers to think in terms of "temporary space" when they think of modular buildings. For just this reason, there is often a presupposed idea as to how and where modular facilities fit into the overall scheme of things. Thus, below is an overview of key advantages you can expect when planning facilities using modular construction, one of the most efficient building methods available today.

Advantage 1: The Design Team

Modular building companies involved with this facet of the market have in-house engineering capabilities, and/or they partner with consultants who are well versed and experienced in all elements of traditional and modular construction methods. Architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical disciplines are in place to ensure your project meets all the necessary design criteria.

This formation of a design team means that you, as the buyer, have access to a fully developed design, through a single source-the modular builder. This can be extremely important during the initial stages, where precise communication and coordination are crucial.

Advantage 2: Methods & Materials

Whether you choose a simple wood framed building design, or a multi-story steel and concrete non-combustible building or addition, you can expect to receive the permanence, performance and life expectancy of a building constructed using traditional means.

Each building is designed and constructed to meet the rigors of handling, from loading and transporting down the road, to offloading and setting with a crane at the site. This means that these building modules have inherent strength not necessarily found in conventionally built structures.

Architectural finishes, electrical, heating, ventilating and plumbing systems that may be specified in a site built application, may all be incorporated into your modular building.

Advantage 3: Time

There simply is no other type of construction that gives you so many opportunities to start and finish a project so quickly. These compressed schedules are available because the building construction and the site work are done simultaneously, or in many cases, the building construction will actually precede the site development.

Because modular construction takes place at the builder's site and not yours, school sessions, for example, can often remain completely undisturbed by construction. This offers not only the benefit of the compressed scheduling, but also less worry about security and the safety around a construction site.

Advantage 4: Flexibility

With permanent modular construction, you are able to get what you want-from layout to finishes, features and systems. Expansion can be simple, by adding more modules, and although intended to be permanent, modules of steel and concrete can still be moved if the need arises. This feature is built in, and though it may not be the motivator for the purchase, is certainly helpful.

Advantage 5: Quality Assurance

Modular builders have quality assurance programs in place to guarantee that production standards, methods, and materials have continuity. In-house inspections ensure that each building is constructed in complete accordance with the design drawings.

Most states require that the building manufacturer have an approved quality assurance program, and that it is monitored by an accredited third-party agency. These third-party agencies make inspections on both the modular builder's plant and the building under construction. Where a third-party agency is not a local requirement, building department officials and/or certifying engineers typically assume the same inspection role.