Is Now the Time For a Modular Building Replacement?
Temporary modular buildings typically have a life expectancy of 20-25 years. Like any building, the construction life span for your modular building depends on how well you care for it with regular maintenance. When they are well maintained and renovated periodically, you modular building life expectancy can last a few more years. While 20 years seems like a long time, consider this: temporary modular buildings that were built as recently as the early 2000s are reaching the end of their lifespan. So how do you know when it is time for a modular building replacement?
While it’s tempting to maximize your budget by utilizing used modular buildings that are beyond their life span, these facilities may not meet the same requirements of energy efficiency, noise reduction, or durability as newer models. It’s recommended that you have a plan to “phase out” modular buildings that have been in service for over 20 years. A typical modular construction project can take up to 3 months to complete. If your current modular building is reaching the end of its life span, keep this timeline in mind when planning for your updated building.
When is it Time for a Modular Building Replacement?
If your modular building is reaching the end of its construction life span, be on the lookout for these warning flags which will signify that it’s time for a modular building replacement:
Modular buildings typically use commercial EPDM rubber roofs, which are manufactured to last upwards of 30 years. After some time, however, the rubber materials can begin to shrink and pull away from walls and decking. Additionally, because these roofs are glued into place, seams may pull apart. All of these issues allow moisture to enter underneath the roof, which can quickly cause problems inside your building. However, you can catch many of these issues early on by undergoing periodic building inspection and maintenance and major problems can be avoided.
As your modular building ages, you may start to experience water leaking in from doors, windows, and datelines (where the individual modules are assembled together). A persistent issue with water infiltration can signify that your temporary building may have reached the end of its life expectancy. This issue, like others, can be curtailed through regular maintenance, such as re-caulking areas where you suspect water is entering.
Poor indoor air quality, associated with outdated HVAC systems, is often cited a problem in offices and classrooms. Additionally, HVAC systems are often times turned off altogether due to the noise levels they create, which can also lead to ventilation troubles. While they cost a little more, roof-mounted or pad-mounted HVAC units may be an option for your new modular building to reduce system noise and keep a healthy air quality.
After almost 20 years, you may start to notice soft spots in your building’s flooring. This happens when your subfloor is not securely attached to the joists underneath. Over time, these joist settle or bend and the flooring becomes loose or detached in areas. If you start to experience more soft spots on your floors, it may be time to upgrade your modular building.
Keys to Expanding Modular Building Life Expectancy
When you are updating your modular building, there are several steps you can take throughout the process to improve the structural longevity and increase the life span:
- Construct a proper foundation. Your foundation should be designed based on soil investigation for the type of building and the anticipated weight load.
- Choose high-quality exterior finishes for the walls and roof. This can include smart panels and steel siding.
- Choose interior finishes that are easily cleaned, repaired and refinished.
- Conduct routine building maintenance throughout its life, including areas like your exterior painting, caulking, and EPDM roof.
For many organizations, temporary modular buildings often outgrow their usefulness before they meet the end of their life expectancy. They need more office space for a growing team, more patient rooms for an expanding medical practice, or larger equipment and more storage for a thriving manufacturing facility. When your modular building is still in good shape, there is always the opportunity to expand, remodel, and update as you find necessary.