Your Guide to Temporary and Permanent Modular Buildings
If you’re in the market for portable space, one of the first decisions you have to make is between temporary and permanent modular buildings. In this blog, we’ll explore exactly what each building type is, how much they cost, and the benefits of each to help you make an informed choice. We’ll also examine used modular buildings and leasing, both of which are closely associated with temporary portable buildings.
What Are Temporary Modular Buildings?
There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding temporary portable buildings, which we’ll dispel in this blog. It’s important to understand that “temporary” does not refer to the design and construction of the actual structure. Instead, it refers to the type of foundation, how the building is attached to that foundation, and its intended use.
Unlike permanent modular buildings, temporary structures are specially designed to be relocated multiple times during their lifespan. Each module can be disconnected and demounted, and the concrete pier foundations are designed for straightforward disassembly and removal. As a result, they’re popular with businesses that only need additional space for 1-3 years.
Temporary portable buildings are placed on plots of grass or parking lots and have decks or ramps at their entrances, which are typically 2-3 feet off the ground. They’re predominantly wood-based structures, although their exteriors are finished with steel. Most temporary modular buildings are not attached to existing structures. Instead, they’re connected through canopies or roof coverings.
How Much Do Relocatable Modular Buildings Cost?
In the majority of cases, companies opt to lease temporary modular buildings, rather than buy them. We’ll get into this in more detail below. While prices vary widely based on project complexity, structure type, and customization, you’ll usually pay $1-1.50 per square foot per month. Ultimately, your building size and lease length determine the price you pay.
Benefits of Temporary Portable Modular Buildings
There are a variety of benefits of leasing a temporary modular building for your business that are worth your consideration. Temporary relocatable modular buildings:
- Offer an accelerated timeline, as they can be on-site and ready to go in as little as 30 days.
- Can easily be removed by the modular building dealer when you’re finished using them. You can also quickly acquire additional temporary space if you need to scale up.
- Provide short-term swing space to keep employees or students comfortable and focused during renovations and/or expansions.
- Are designed and manufactured to meet the same building codes as traditional structures and undergo inspections throughout the construction process. They also have to satisfy additional standards to ensure they can withstand transportation to the job site.
Benefits of Used Temporary Portable Buildings
It’s crucial to understand the role of used modular buildings when discussing temporary portable structures. Because they’re already engineered and built, you’ll pay less and receive your structure sooner. There’s no initial depreciation, and they’re a very affordable option because you aren’t purchasing a new building.
Other major benefits of used buildings are their shorter lease terms and the ability to finance one-time charges throughout your lease. These costs include delivery, set-up, and removal fees, among others. Plus, you can see your temporary modular building before you lease it, ensuring you get exactly what you want.
Benefits of Leasing Temporary Modular Buildings
Most businesses that choose temporary relocatable modular buildings often decide to lease, rather than buy. If you’re not sure if leasing is right for you, ask yourself the questions below:
- How long do I need the building? If you’re not sure or will only need the space for 6-36 months, you should probably lease.
- Will I need to use the building at another location in the future? If the answer is yes, you may want to buy.
- What does my budget look like? Leasing is almost always more affordable for businesses on a budget. There’s also less upfront capital involved than if you purchase a building. Plus, you’re not responsible for major repairs or maintenance.
- Do I own the property? Leasing is a no-brainer for businesses who don’t own the property they’re located on.
- What does my credit look like? Leasing a temporary structure doesn’t require perfect credit. Plus, you’re financing through a dealer, so you don’t have to go through a traditional lender.
If you choose to lease a temporary portable structure, you can choose from a true lease or a finance lease.
True leases typically last 12-60 months and allow you to rent temporary space for as long as you need it. You’re locked in at the same interest rate for the entire lease term, and you can renew as many times as necessary.
Finance Lease (Lease-to-Own)
Finance lease (also known as lease-to-own) programs allow you to select your lease length and buyout amount. Lease terms are typically 24-72 months, and buyouts are often as low as a few thousand dollars.
What Are Permanent Modular Buildings?
Like the name suggests, permanent modular buildings are designed for long-term use at the same location. Unlike their temporary counterparts, most permanent modular structures are purchased, rather than leased. Once you sign a contract, it typically takes around four months to receive your permanent modular office building. They’re built as V-B, II-A, or II-B structures using steel or wood framing.
Upon arriving at the job site, these buildings are affixed to permanent concrete foundations. Like traditional structures, permanent modular building foundations consist of poured concrete with rebar and crushed stone. Depending on your specific needs, you can opt for a raised or on-grade foundation.
On-grade foundations are poured around the building perimeter and require a crane to set each individual module. Raised foundations use concrete piers or blocks and the modules can be set without a crane. After placement, the modules are seamed together to create a unified look.
How Much Do Permanent Modular Buildings Cost?
Like temporary portable modular buildings, there’s no one-size-fits-all price for a permanent structure. Costs vary based on your project complexity, level of customization, and structure type. With a more basic, V-B type building, you’ll pay $50-100 per square foot. However, a fully-customized building can range from $100-300+ per square foot.
Benefits of Permanent Modular Buildings
There are many benefits of purchasing a permanent modular building to account for as you research them. Permanent modular structures:
- Can be built in as little as 60-90 days, reducing your project timeline by up to 35% as compared to traditional construction.
- Can last for decades with proper maintenance, just like conventionally-built structures.
- Are designed to connect seamlessly to your current buildings by matching facades and structural details.
- Are engineered and built to meet the same building codes as traditional structures and undergo inspections throughout the construction process. They also have to satisfy additional standards to ensure they can withstand transportation.
- Can be completely customized to satisfy all of your organization’s unique needs and requirements.
Is a Temporary or Permanent Modular Building Right for You?
No matter your business type or industry, there’s a modular building solution for you. We’ve provided modular structures to a wide variety of industries, including: