Modular Construction in New Orleans: Professional Building Options for a City on the Rise
New Orleans is known for festivities, music, and celebration. But it’s also the main contributor to the economy of the state of Louisiana, as it is the hub for many growing industries that are as diverse as the individuals who populate the city.
As the Greater New Orleans region pushes to build upon its existing economic strengths and develop new opportunities based on untapped assets, it creates a need for new or expanded office buildings, healthcare facilities, transportation centers, and manufacturing plants. Quick and wide-spread business expansions are perfect conditions for using modular buildings to facilitate growth.
Thriving After Recovery
In the twelve years since suffering the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, the economy of the city of New Orleans is rebounding. Richard Karlgaard, a publisher of Forbes, called the revitalization of New Orleans in the years since Katrina, “One of the great turnarounds in American history.”
The city of New Orleans, the Greater New Orleans region, and the state of Louisiana have been tremendously recognized with top rankings and awards that include:
#1 City in the USA for Tech Growth and #5 for Women in Tech by SmartAsset
#3 City for Population Growth by U.S. Census
#4 Best City in the USA by Travel + Leisure
#5 City Where “Entrepreneurship is Booming” by Entrepreneur
#5 City for Millennial In-Migration by Time Magazine
#5 State in the US for Doing Business by Area Development
#7 State for Women Entrepreneurs by Thumbtack
#10 Market for Hispanic Entrepreneur by GoodCall
As a perfect summary of the continued expansion and improvement, Curbed New Orleans has created an interactive map of all the construction, renovation, and development happening throughout the city. This includes multiple mixed-use retail/condominium spaces, expansion of the National WWII Museum, new locations for the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute and Louisiana Children’s Museum at City Park, campus expansion at New Orleans Children’s Hospital, and Armstrong Airport terminal expansion.
Developing Industry Sectors
Further pushing for economic growth, the Greater New Orleans region is undergoing an unprecedented level of business development activity. More than $20 billion is being invested in the six industrial sectors that make up much of the economic resurgence, including foundational sectors (where development is building upon the region’s existing strengths) and diversifying sectors (where regional assets are being utilized to create new opportunities).
- Advanced Manufacturing: focused in space and defense manufacturing, including military vehicles, aircraft, and ships, as well as space vehicles
- Energy: one of the nation’s top provider of crude oil and natural gas
- International Trade: a multimodal transportation infrastructure makes the region perfectly suited for trade, logistics, and distribution companies
- Digital Media: Film and television production, sound recording, advertising, software development, and graphic design
- BioSciences: leading medical schools, universities, hospitals, and research institutions work in areas including cancer research, gene therapy, neuroscience, biostatistics, and tropical medicine
- Environmental Management: products and services that help companies manage environmental issues and challenges
Space Needs Throughout New Orleans
With so many construction projects and an explosion of business development among such diverse industry sectors, there comes a need for both temporary and permanent space. Space where employees can keep up day-to-day operations while their current workplace is turned into a construction site and space where new businesses can begin to generate revenue.
Current market trends in the New Orleans area show year-over-year increases in rental prices for office properties (+3%), retail properties (+10.8%) and industrial properties (+19.6%). Additionally, purchase prices for office and industrial properties are also on a steady increase. This can make expansion a costly endeavor.
To better control not only the cost of acquiring new or expanded space for your business, school, healthcare practice, or government facility, but also the timeline, modular construction is a building alternative you should consider. What makes modular building a lower cost option is the unique efficiency of building in a factory setting, where waste and construction costs are substantially reduced.
It only makes sense that modular construction would be a top consideration for commercial and retail industries which are dependent on producing a constant stream of revenue. Modular building construction methods can accelerate time to occupancy up to 50% sooner than conventional construction.
Building professionals, including architects, engineers, and construction managers, often report the following results when utilizing modular construction methods for their projects:
Project schedules are decreased by 4 weeks or more
The success behind modular buildings is that typical construction timelines are overlapped and accelerated. Off-site construction can be done at the same time that on-site preparation is being completed.
Project budgets are decreased by 6% or more
You’ll find fewer bumps in the road when working through a modular construction project. A controlled environment, automated processes, and specialized labor give project estimators a confident picture of the project budget.
Seeing Beyond Modular Misconceptions
For many people in the New Orleans area, their only experience with pre-fabricated buildings was the FEMA trailers brought in after the storm. However, it’s important to note that modular construction, over a decade later, has improved by leaps and bounds and is definitely worth a second look.
Here are some misunderstandings we often hear about modular construction and truthful information that can help combat those misconceptions.
Modular Buildings Don’t Look Nice
Today’s modular buildings are highly functional, creative, and attractive temporary and permanent structures. Permanent buildings can be constructed to be multiple stories, including elevators, vestibules, and connected to stair towers. Modular builders can also design a building’s interior and exterior to match the architectural design and façade of surrounding buildings, allowing it to blend in seamlessly.
Modular Construction Isn’t Structurally Sound
This may be the most common (and most untrue) modular construction myth. Modular buildings are engineered and fabricated to meet all applicable building codes. The assembly is performed in a safe and controlled factory using typical construction materials.
Rigorous quality controls, including structural inspections, are consistently performed throughout the modular construction process. Not only do the inspections at the factory investigate the individual components, there are also inspections at the project site during the assembly process further verifying the modular building’s structural integrity.
Modular Buildings Aren’t Digitally Connected
Concern that their business operations will be at a technological disadvantage in a modular office can often lead business owners to dismiss modular options. They feel that their team won’t be able to keep up the digital pace necessary to operate to their full potential.
Modern modular construction, however, includes a full complement of technological upgrades that can be incorporated into a temporary or permanent modular business environment. Today’s modular buildings are designed to be tech ready. They can be wired for the same high-speed data connectivity and include the same smart boards, projectors, or charging stations that you would find in other commercial properties.