Baton Rouge: Modular Construction Works at the Speed of Expansion
The city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana plays a vital role in industry growth in the state. Baton Rouge serves as Louisiana’s capital city and is the second largest city in the state. Baton Rouge is also one of the nation’s largest deep-water ports, equipped to handle both ocean-going vessels and river barges. Baton Rouge is home to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, which is the tenth largest port in the US and farthest upstream port that can handle Panamax ships (sized for traveling through the Panama Canal).
With this area is in the midst of its greatest job growth and economic expansion in over 20 years, modular building may offer the construction alternative that many Baton Rouge industries need for quick and cost effective growth.
Baton Rouge’s Top Industries
The area’s industrial makeup consists of large industrial and chemical complexes. Energy production and petrochemical operations make up a large portion of the Capital Region’s commerce. Baton Rouge is home to several global chemical manufacturers, including Dow Chemical, BASF, and ExxonMobil’s third largest U.S. refinery. The industry collectively employs a workforce of more than 12,000 people.
Additionally, the Greater Baton Rouge area is built upon a natural resource basin, providing inexpensive access to gas, oil, water, timberland, sulfur, salt, and other raw materials. For this reason, forest and agricultural products, steel and pipe, ores, coal, and petroleum products are several of the top cargoes being shipped through the city’s port.
Economic Expansion in Baton Rouge
In 2015, four of the region’s nine parishes experienced more job growth and announced more projects than they had in a decade. They have also achieved record levels of employment, surpassing 415,000 jobs. Behind this unprecedented job growth is the expansion of diverse industries, including construction, manufacturing, software design, and business services.
Cost of Doing Business
According to KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives guide, which tracks business location costs, Baton Rouge has one of the lowest costs of doing business in the U.S. With a 92.8 index score, the overall cost of doing business in the Capital Region is over 7 percent lower than the cost of doing business in the average U.S. city. This score places Baton Rouge as the second most cost-effective market in the Southeast.
Local Incentive Programs
To encourage companies to expand or establish business roots in Baton Rouge, there are a variety of local investment incentives available.
- An industrial tax exemption allows new industrial buildings, machinery, and equipment to be exempt from property taxes for five years with provision for a five-year renewal.
- A five-year property tax abatement on improvements to a structure is available when renovation has not yet begun, with a five-year option for renewal.
- A one-time tax credit of $2,500 for newly created jobs, for up to a five-year period.
- Foreign trade zones allow foreign goods to enter the zone duty-free and quota-free.
- Most manufacturers can avoid paying taxes on raw materials brought to the state until they enter the manufacturing process.
- Financing assistance is offered through industrial revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, agriculture revenue bonds, plant loans, and other programs.
Modular Construction Supports Baton Rouge’s Key Industries
In an area where energy and raw material providers are a major component of growth and expansion, modular construction offers an excellent alternative to conventional construction for durable space needs, particularly in remote locations. Energy and utility providers have found that off-site construction provides quickly accessible buildings to accommodate exploration personnel, logistics and support service employees, and subcontractors.
Prefabricated temporary or permanent buildings provide unsurpassed accessibility to space within a compressed construction schedule. Utility and energy customers prefer modular buildings because they have discovered that off-site modular construction provides the durability and flexibility they want at an affordable price, which other space construction solutions just cannot achieve.
Modular buildings can serve numerous roles in the gas, oil, energy, and chemical industries:
- Engineering / Project Management offices
- Substation offices
- Scale houses
- Exploration housing
- In-plant offices
- Training facilities
- Locker rooms
- Break rooms
Modular construction methods also apply less stress on the environment and, with shortened timelines and smaller budgets, promote a lower cost of doing business.
Less Material Waste
A typical on-site construction project of a 2,000 square foot structure results in 8,000 lbs. of waste in the landfill. It’s when the organic waste in landfills begin to decompose that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, are produced.
In contrast, as part of the modular construction process, leftover materials can be reused for future projects, or otherwise recycled, greatly reducing the amount of construction waste filling up local landfills. Prefabrication also allows modular builders to optimize their material purchases and usage. Bulk materials at the manufacturing facility are stored in a protected and controlled environment, so there is no material loss from theft or exposure to environmental conditions.
Less Material Exposure
Air quality issues are identified as one of the top customer issues with new construction. Poor air quality results from high moisture levels in a building’s framing materials, which is caused by exposure to inclement weather. Since the bulk of a modular structure is completed in a climate controlled factory setting, using dry materials, the potential for high levels of moisture being trapped in the construction materials is eliminated.
Less Site Disturbance
Because most of the modular building process takes place off-site, there is a huge reduction in the time and impact on the surrounding environment of the final building site. Fewer construction vehicles and equipment are needed at the site, which contributes to fewer pollutants and less disruption to green space surrounding the site.
Prefab modular buildings offer a selection of high-efficiency options that can be installed in each project. LED lighting, programmable thermostats, ungraded triple glazed windows, upgraded roof insulation, and even solar panels are all available in new modular building construction to promote energy efficient operations.
Recycle & Reuse
When a business’s space needs change, modular buildings can be disassembled and removed. This sustainable benefit reduces demand for raw materials and minimizes the amount of energy expended to create an entirely new building to meet a new need, and again, reduces waste added to landfills.