How Early Do I Need to Order A Modular Building?
You’ve identified a need for additional space in your school district, community, or organization and you’re sold on the benefits of using modular construction to meet those space needs. There’s no doubt the accelerated timeline of modular buildings was a big factor in your decision. But now you may be asking yourself, “How early do I need to order a modular building to meet my deadline?”
The following information breaks down the building process, highlights bottlenecks that may occur and provides guidelines on when to order a modular building.
The Modular Construction Process
These are the steps your modular project will go through:
- Identify Property — An important first step, as it has a direct impact on many other components of the process.
- Design — Project owners can work with an architect or partner directly with a modular dealer that offers complete design/build services.
- Proposal — Breaks down responsibilities, floor plan and building specs, pricing, project schedule, exclusions, and other terms.
- Permits — Need to be obtained by the project owner, but the responsibility can be passed to the modular dealer or general contractor.
- Contract — Contracts and billing are determined by the size and scope of the modular building project.
- Manufacturing & Site Prep — The approved design is executed by the modular building manufacturer, while at the same time crews prepare the final build site (excavation, foundation, utilities, water, sewer, and walkways).
- Delivery — Individual modules are delivered in a predetermined order for efficient installation.
- Installation — Modules are meticulously placed on the foundation one at a time, next to each other, so they line up exactly.
- Occupancy — A certificate of occupancy is issued after all the appropriate inspections have been completed and required documentation is signed.
When to Order A Modular Building
Lauded for cutting down construction timelines and time-to-occupancy by as much as 50%, modular buildings typically take about two to three months to complete. Generally, March and April are the best times to order your modular building to avoid factory issues or price increases.
There are some industries that operate on a modified schedule:
For school districts, April and May are the prime times to place orders for modular buildings that will serve as classrooms, libraries, or cafeterias due to increased enrollment and limited space. Ordering a modular building before the end of the school year generally provides enough time for construction, delivery, and installation prior to the start of the new year. In higher education, modular building orders are typically placed a little earlier, in January or February.
For government organizations, a federal fiscal year typically operates from October 1 through Sept 30. For state governments, a fiscal year begins July 1. Most facilities planning will begin after the start of the new fiscal year. But like with most construction, the peak time to build and deliver is throughout the summer months.
Potential Bottlenecks in Modular Construction
While weather conditions are less likely to derail your modular construction deadlines, there are other bottlenecks you may encounter with your project. Consider these delays as you decide when to order your modular building.
Used Building Shortages — Used modular buildings utilized for temporary use operate on a consistent cycle. As one project ends, buildings are modified and delivered to a new location for their next need. This fluctuating inventory can often create periods when used buildings are not as quickly accessible.
Building Material Price Increases — As demand grows, the cost of many construction materials, including softwood lumber and gypsum increase. The construction industry often sees building materials jump in price as the summer rolls around.
Permit Delays — Some things never change! No matter if you’re building a deck, a home, or a commercial office building, the permit process can always cause delays. Modular construction requires the same building permits as a conventionally-built project. It is important to figure out which permits are required for your building as early in the overall process as possible because the actual approval of the permit application can take a significant amount of time.
Building Design Changes — Having a solid design in place before construction begins can help you avoid this potential bottleneck, but even the best-laid plans can go astray. If you encounter changes to your space needs that require design revisions, this can seriously delay your project delivery.
Natural Disasters — When natural disasters occur (hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding) communities often turn to modular buildings to serve as temporary command centers, community aid centers, or even short-term housing options. Because of urgency and government funding, these modular projects are often bumped to the front of the line, which can press pause on your modular building construction.
As a precaution, add some cushion into your project timelines. This way, if you encounter any of the delays listed above, you’ll have time to get back on track and you won’t need to delay occupancy.
Still wondering when to begin your modular construction project? Start today! Talk to a modular building expert in your area or quickly request a quote online.