Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat. When it comes to the debate over modular versus traditional construction techniques, we’re hardly neutral.
After all, at CoverSix, modular construction is what we do. And there’s a reason for that.
Over the years, we (along with our parent company RedGuard) have seen firsthand how modular buildings have time and time again exceeded our clients’ expectations around the world. Regardless of the application or environment, the benefits of modular construction always outweigh those of traditional brick and mortar.
That said, we understand that making the jump to modular construction can be a difficult one for some people to make. To help, we’ve compiled the following list of the top 10 benefits of modular construction that might nudge you in the direction of modular.
This one may not be that surprising, but knowing the role budgets play in purchasing decisions, we decided it was a good place to start.
First of all, just from a materials standpoint, the steel used in constructing modular buildings is usually less expensive than concrete and wood (although prices can fluctuate based on global demand). And, since steel is considerably stronger than wood, less of it is needed.
The real cost savings in terms of modular construction comes in the form of labor. Since most modular buildings—like those created by CoverSix—are built on pre-engineered steel frames, it leads to a drastically shorter production time. In addition, all of that pre-planning means that issues involved in construction are likely to be worked out at the beginning of the project. Hence, modular construction projects are more likely to stay on budget with fewer surprises.
Sticking with the financial side of a construction project, if you’re looking to purchase a building on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense, simply specifying that you’re looking for a modular building can dramatically speed up the approval process.
That’s because modular buildings are viewed as mobile by the U.S. military. This distinction means they can be classified as “equipment.” This allows them to be financed through operations and maintenance appropriations, which sidesteps what is often a five- to seven-year MILCON (The Department of Defense’s military construction arm) approval process.
From design, engineering, permitting, and approval through the entire manufacturing process, modular buildings are built almost entirely off-site. That means rain or shine, sleet or snow, extreme heat or extreme cold—nothing delays the progress of a modular building.
All told, modular buildings can be constructed in 25 to 50 percent of the time it takes to complete a traditional brick and mortar building.
Because modular buildings are built entirely off-site and transferred to the worksite once completed—they avoid timely and potentially disruptive processes from being conducted on-site. These processes include:
Once a modular building is built, it is simply transported to the site, bolted to the pad, and hooked up to any needed utilities. Just like that - you’re up and running.
We’ve already mentioned several benefits related to the fact modular buildings are built off-site, but one of the biggest comes down to build quality.
Since modular construction is completed within a controlled environment and every aspect of the build has been meticulously pre-planned, there are fewer variables to account for and none of the on-the-fly alterations commonly made during a traditional construction project. In addition, all of the materials used in modular construction are shielded from the elements to protect against potential damage that could affect the long-term life of the building.
Put it all together, and modular construction results in higher quality, more dependable, and often, a stronger structure.
Through our own blast tests, as well as industry-wide data, we have seen firsthand the amazing strength of modular buildings and their ability to maintain their integrity.
Most of this strength is a direct result of a modular building’s all-steel frame, which has the incredible ability to stretch and absorb what could otherwise be a destructive force. In addition, the steel connections used in the manufacturing process allow for a slight rotation at the joints so that steel beams do not separate under stress.
To top it off, the modular buildings produced by CoverSix, as well as some other manufacturers, are finished with a polyurea exterior coating. This highly resilient elastomer is also commonly used as a lining on truck beds and as a coating or lining on steel pipes and tanks.
At CoverSix, when we talk about safety, we’re generally referring to the blast- and ballistic resistance of our structures. However, as an added bonus, the entire construction process of modular buildings offers its own set of safety advantages.
With approximately 80 percent of the project being completed remotely, fewer contractors are on-site, which decreases the chance of accidents. For example, very little on-site welding needs to take place when a modular building is erected, so there is less danger of welding-related safety risks that could require the shutdown of all surrounding operations. (A multi-section building will require some welding, but a project manager should work with the site to coordinate that.)
So, whether it is reducing the threat of worksite accidents or the possibility of opening your site up to potential theft or vandalism, modular construction is the safest way to add to your facility.
In the past, adding a new building to a facility was a major commitment in time, money, and real estate. Not anymore.
While traditional buildings are permanent structures, modular buildings are built with the ability to move—allowing you to easily adapt whenever your needs or site changes without losing your investment.
Regarding changing needs, another major perk of a modular building is its ability to grow based on your needs.
If you ever find that you need to expand or reconfigure, it’s no problem. Modular buildings are specifically designed to be scalable, offering you the most flexibility possible. For example, if you find that you need more restrooms or an additional control room, getting it is as easy as just dropping in a new section. Once in place, all of the building components will all flow together seamlessly; and best of all—you won’t be throwing away your initial investment.
Considering building materials alone, modular construction comes out ahead of traditional construction in terms of its impact on the environment.
While 50 percent of concrete ends up in a landfill, about 85 percent of all of the steel in the world gets recycled. Recycled steel is the only material that maintains its strength regardless of how many times it is recycled. In addition, it consumes one-third of the energy it takes to create new steel and costs less than virgin steel.
Additionally, modular construction produces less waste and, due to a streamlined production process, actually uses less energy than traditional construction.
With all of the benefits we’ve touted regarding modular construction, you might be wondering if you’ll be compromising the overall look and feel of your building by not going with a traditional, stick-built structure.
Trust us, that’s not the case. If you can imagine it, you can get it with a modular building.