Q: What are modular buildings?
A: Modular buildings are normal code compliant commercial structures, but are built with individual prefabricated sections called “modules” that are constructed in an off-site manufacturing plant. The individual modules are built sized so they can be transported over the road to the building site, where they will be fitted together to form the complete building structure. Normally the building sections are between 8 and 16 feet wide with lengths varying from 20 to over 70 feet long. The final size of a modular building is practically limitless and can be many stories high.
Modular buildings can be used for temporary space or custom built to serve permanent space needs.
Q: What is the process for manufacturing a wood framed modular building?
A: Individual modules are built in a controlled factory setting using assembly-line methods, beginning with the frame construction and ending with the interior and exterior finishes.
Modular construction starts with the welding of the steel frame which can be design as either an ‘outrigger’ or a ‘perimeter’ frame. Each module is most often designed to be within a range of 14′ width and 76′ length, mainly due to transportation restrictions.
While the frame is being welded, the floor joists are assembled and the decking attached. The complete floor assembly is fastened to the frame as the module begins moving down the assembly line.
Next, the walls are erected on the floor assembly.The walls, with traditional wood studs, are constructed while lying in a horizontal position then lifted to their vertical position, often with the use of a light duty overhead crane. After the walls are secured to the flooring, the interior wall finish is applied, while windows, insulation, electrical wiring, plumbing, and any custom components are being installed.
The module moves further down the assembly line where the roof structure is ready to be installed.An overhead crane is used to hoist the roof onto the walls. With the roof installed duct work, additional electrical wiring and other components are able to be completed. Exterior finishes are attached while doors and interior trim are completed.
As each module reaches the end of the assembly line it is weather-proofed with plastic wrap and moved to an outside staging area for delivery to the site. Modular buildings are manufactured in a predetermined order so that they can be delivered to the project site and installed in a well-organized manner maximizing schedule efficiency.
Q: What materials are used in modular construction?
A: Modular buildings are constructed using top quality building materials much the same as you would find in conventionally constructed buildings, because modular buildings undergo the same inspections and must meet the same building codes as traditionally built buildings.
The building’s base frame is always structural steel while the framework for the ceiling and walls is constructed of either wood or steel and concrete depending on the application and site requirements
Q: What materials are used in permanent modular building foundations?
A: The foundation materials used for permanent modular buildings are primarily dependent on the site conditions and soil compaction. That being said, typical materials we use in permanent foundations would be the same or very similar to what you would find supporting a site built structure, including a combination of poured concrete with rebar for strength and crushed stone for drainage.
Q: What options do I have for customizing my modular building?
A: New modular building layouts and designs are practically limitless. From single-unit prefabricated buildings to multi-story professional modular complexes, modular buildings can be constructed to meet your every need. At Vanguard Modular Building Systems, custom modular building design is one of our specialties.
If you come to us with a specific modular floor plan, we will build it to your exact specifications. If you have a general idea of the modular building your business, school or agency needs, we can work with you to develop a modular floor plan that will fit your specifications. Are you uncertain what you need? Give us your “wish list” and space requirements and we will create a modular building design suited to your unique challenges.
From there you can further customize your modular building project with interior and exterior finishes, lighting selections, technology options and security systems.
Q: Are modular buildings durable and safe?
A: Modular construction is durable and long-lasting. Both permanent and temporary prefabrication buildings are required to meet the same building codes as traditional construction. Furthermore, they are constructed to comply with additional standards since they need to maintain their structural and aesthetic integrity during transportation to the building site. Whether they permanent are permanently affixed in one location or relocated from site to site, our modular structures are built to last for decades.
Q: How does modular construction support sustainability and green construction?
A: Our modular construction projects minimize excess material waste by maximizing material usage and promoting adaptability and reuse. Here are few ways we’re making sustainability a priority:
Less Waste – Pre-fabrication makes it possible to optimize materials purchases and usage, while minimizing on-site waste and offering a higher quality product to the buyer. Bulk materials are delivered to the manufacturing facility where they are stored in a protected environment safe from theft and exposure to the environmental conditions of a job site.
Less Exposure – Modular structures are up to 90% completed in a factory-controlled setting where materials are protected from inclement weather conditions.
Less Site Disturbance – In the modular building process off-site construction is happening simultaneously to on-site work, such as laying the foundation.This reduces the impact on the surrounding environment, as well as the number of vehicles and equipment needed at the site.
Energy Efficiency – A large selection of high efficiency mechanical systems can be installed.
Reuse – When your needs change, modular buildings can be disassembled and the modules relocated or refurbished. Reuse of buildings reduces the demand for raw materials and minimizes the amount of energy expended to create a building to meet the new need.
Q: What needs to be done to maintain my modular building?
A: Following the steps outlines below will minimize service calls and equipment problem, and keep your modular building in great condition.
- Change HVAC filters at least once per month. Change them more frequently if you’re in a dirty environment
- Never block a return air register and clean ducts as needed
- Report any leaks resulting from plumbing or rainwater immediately
- Inspect the roof periodically for visible tears, cracks or loose shingles. Clean the roof and gutters of debris, and remove snow to prevent leaks.
- Maintain adequate storm water drainage way from the building
- Maintain floor coverings
- Replace batteries in smoke detectors/emergency exit lights once a year at the very least
- Operate the air conditioning during evening, holidays and weekends to maintain a reasonable temperature and humidity level
- Periodically check caulking around windows, doors, and siding
Have more questions? Read over our modular building glossary to learn more about the industry, or call one of our representatives at 877.438.8627