Talk the Talk: A Modular Building Glossary
So you’ve done your research and you’re sold on all the ways your business, school or organization can benefit from expanding with modular construction. You’ll end up with a modern, quality building in a tighter timeline, with lots of potential for cost-savings. But you’re finding that the modular industry talks a whole language that you may not be familiar with.
No worries, our modular building glossary features many key industry terms that will have you talking about modular buildings like a pro, in no time. Here we’ve organized our glossary keywords in the order you may encounter them, from start of your project to finish.
You’ll often hear modular construction referred to as prefabricated. This term describes buildings that are manufactured off-site in individual components and then pieced together during final assembly.
Much like conventional construction, permanent modular buildings are built for long-term use. They are constructed using concrete and steel or wood framing and are set on a permanent foundation at the final building site.
Temporary in this instance is not meant to describe the structure of the building. Like their permanent counterparts, temporary modular buildings are constructed to be used for many years. Temporary, in this case describes the relocatable nature of modular buildings. Temporary modular buildings are usually installed for short-term use, then removed and relocated to another location for another project.
A module is an individual portion of your modular building. Many modules are pieced together to create a finished building. Modules are constructed in an off-site, factory setting. They are constructed and assembled in a pre-determined order so they can be delivered to the final building site and assembled to maximize schedule efficiency.
Design/Build is a delivery system in which the design and construction of your modular buildings is contracted with a single partner. They are known as a design-builder or design-build contractor.
Individual modules are delivered to your final construction site on a flat-bed, wide load trailer. Modules are prepped for delivery with weather-proof wrapping. They are delivered in a pre-determined order to make installation as efficient as possible. Most modules are built to be 8′ to 14′ to meet on-road delivery requirements.
During a modular construction project, 60-90% of construction is done off-site, at the same time that the foundation is being set at the final build site. Once the individual modules are delivered to the site, they are installed, or set, onto the prepared foundation using a crane or trans-lift. Modules are precisely designed to match-up exactly back-to-back, side-to-side, or be stacked.
Once modules are placed on their foundation on the final project site, they are seamed together to become one complete building. Seaming is done using weather-proof roofing and facade materials. Along with seaming, electrical, data, plumbing and HVAC connections that are completed between each module.
Lease-to-own is a type of modular building financing. When you lease-to-own, you are building equity in your modular building every time you make a payment. You own the modular building and the financing institution holds the title to the building until the loan is paid in full. As you make payments, the principal amount owed diminishes and you end up with complete ownership of the modular building at the end of the lease.
An operating lease is another type of modular building financing, mostly used for financing temporary modular buildings. An operating lease delivers a high level of flexibility, so that you can get the portable building you want, when you want it, and keep it for as long as you need it. Monthly rates are primarily based on the type of relocatable modular building you select and the length of lease you choose, normally 12-60 months.