Why blogging again on this “thousand times already treated” topic ? Because we can’t avoid it. No, seriously, because among those 6 reasons, only one is crucial: cost.
Let’s start with the End… After several months screening all the modular construction’s knowledge on the market, and before resuming you all the pros (and even some cons), linking by the way several blogs and articles on each possible argument, old or recent analysis or comments here and there, let me start with the end: The Main Reason. Technology is making better quality and affordable materials, knowledge and experience are transforming processes to shorter and easier, bringing down prices of the most designed, customizable, high quality modular solution for houses, offices, schools, hospitals. Means that modular construction will be more and more popular because it is starting to be consistently cheaper than an equivalent traditional construction solution. Cost make the difference more than fastness, sustainability or others arguments detailed bellow.
First things first. What is Modular Construction?
Modular construction is manufacturing complete finished building modules (boxes) in a factory, then assembling them on site. It is a type of prefabricated construction. There are 2 types of prefab buildings: panel building and modular. Then there is manufactured construction which is based on factory building like prefab but there is no construction happening on site. I invite you to check the excellent article from Modular Homeowners. It details and mentions several major difference from building codes to appearance and quality.
What Modular Construction is not ?
A modular house is not a mobile home. This is unfortunately one of the most important stigma of this industry. It is not neither a less safer house, or less expensive home, or harder to maintain home or a home that depreciate in value. I invite you again on the same website here for details.
The 6 Main Advantages?
- Cost effective up to 20 to 30% cheaper than similar traditional solution.
- Lower labor cost.
- Fixed budget.
- Fast (construction speed up to 50%). Simultaneous site and building work. Reduced Construction Schedule. Elimination of Weather Delays.
- Simplified processes.
- Time from design to occupancy shortened.
- Offers “One-Stop Shopping” Options
- Better quality controls and standards
- High-performance buildings in the controlled factory environment
Sustainability and Energy Efficiency
- Less material waste under factory control. Improved Air Quality.
- Reduced energy consumption compared to on-site construction
- Minimal site disruption or Disturbance
- Flexibility, re-use and repurposing of modular units. Could be permanent solution or relocatable.
- Better safety and security.
- Less worker risks by mastering processing in factory.
- Limitless Design, innovative and Sophistication Opportunities
- Application fields for houses, schools, hospitals, offices, factories
Every awesome thing has its limits, isn’t it ?
- In some cases more expensive than traditional construction
- Architects need to think modularity. Not every building drawing is possible on modular basis.
- Size limits. At least till today.
- The costs and transportation difficulties greatly increase for building sites that are far (over 1000km).
- While the house can be very large, the room sizes are limited. The units in a modular home can’t be too large to transport on roads.
- Transport complication of big modules.
- Modular homes need to be paid for up-front or financed on an as-you-go basis.
In the section below, I listed several websites and blogposts that details arguments of this post. But if you need to go further in the analysis, better to dive in a serious detailed study, like this modular construction thesis.
For further details and informations: