Modular Buildings: Not What They Used to Be
From humble beginnings as single-wide mobile homes to the world’s tallest modular building, an advanced 32-story residential building in NY, prefabricated buildings are definitely no longer what they used to be.
In the Beginning:
From the late 1950s through the 1970s, the only buildings constructed in a factory setting were primarily mobile homes. Throughout that period mobile homes faced significant challenges, both with quality and stigma. People bought them only because they were cheap; providing an inexpensive alternative to buying a house.
During the 1980s prefabricated relocatable buildings, referred to as modular buildings, began to expand their usefulness as swing space for schools, businesses, and government. While the quality of modular buildings continued to improve, the adoption of modular buildings remained relatively limited.
From the late 1980s into the early 2000s, the broad use and demand for relocatable prefabricated buildings grew immensely. Enhancements in the manufacturing processes, building materials, and available application options caused a nationwide boom. Schools were expanding, while businesses and government was growing. Everyone needed space immediately and the only way to get it was with modular buildings.
A Permanent Option:
This is also when modular buildings started being considered for permanent construction. After exposure to some of the early examples of permanent modular buildings, savvy architects and engineers began to recognize that permanent modular construction could be a competitive option in place of traditional construction methods. They understood that modular buildings were no longer the mobile homes of the 1970s but rather high quality buildings that could boost profits by cutting project completion schedules in half in many cases.
And Now Today:
Temporary and permanent modular buildings are being built with higher quality and more efficiently than at any point in history. Today diverse prefabricated structural options include: wood frame, steel and concrete, as well as solid concrete; allowing for multi-story buildings to be pieced together with modular components reaching new heights. Increasing pressure for shorter occupancy times, efficiency, and environmentally friendly construction is causing architects and engineers worldwide to consider large scale modular building construction, pushing the envelope for both residential and commercial projects.
A seemingly endless selection of exterior facades and interior finishes provides the same cutting-edge aesthetics and comfort as site-built structures, but without the wait. Almost without exception, industries around the globe are leveraging the versatility and speed of modular buildings to create state of the art workplaces and multi-family housing.
Modular is the growing wave of the future. All types of prefabricated construction-related products, including modular buildings, are being broadly used and adopted by innovative design professionals in the United States, Europe, and around the world. However, there are still many that have not yet taken the step to embrace modular buildings as an alternative construction method. Whatever the reason for their resistance, looking at the history of advancements in modular construction and the strides it is currently making; those who hesitate to adjust will fall behind as demand for modular buildings increases in practically every segment of building construction.
Check out our project gallery to see everything that modular buildings can offer today!