Modular buildings are the future of construction. From their inception nearly 200 years ago, temporary modular buildings have risen in popularity and continue to do so. Many industries are turning to them over traditional construction methods due to their wide range of benefits.
However, despite their popularity, temporary buildings are not without their challenges. The industry will have to work together to overcome potential travel and regulatory issues in order to reach the potential heights that are predicted. Luckily, widespread changes in company sustainability policy and key advances in technology ensure that the industry remains on track.
History of Temporary Buildings
Despite their recent popularity, modular buildings have in fact been around for close to 200 years. The first documented prefabricated building was constructed in 1837 in London. It was designed by a carpenter called Henry Manning for his son’s move to Australia. The building’s simple, straightforward design proved popular, and soon hundreds of similar buildings were transported out to Australia too.
The history of modular buildings then stretched out across the Gold Rush era in America, the Crimean War, and beyond. In the UK, it was the end of WW2 that saw the biggest growth in temporary building usage. Many buildings were destroyed in bombings and temporary buildings gave governing bodies a quick, effective way to manage a growing housing crisis.
These buildings were only predicted to last a maximum of ten years but many outlasted their predicted lifespan. From here the modular buildings industry saw a wave of development and investment. It became apparent that the quick, simple, and cost-effective building process held a number of essential benefits to construction investors.
Benefits of Modular Construction
The first and most obvious benefit is fast and simple construction. The majority of modular buildings are assembled off-site in controlled manufacturing facilities. This allows on-site workers to carry out essential groundwork at the same time, meaning the modular components can arrive and be assembled instantly.
Following on from a faster construction process – one of the main beneficiaries of this is your construction budget. A quicker construction project is likely to cost less, and the simplicity of modular buildings means that there is less risk of unplanned and costly errors.
Another key benefit is the increased flexibility that a modular building allows for. Buildings are often completely customizable and segments can be added or removed depending on requirements. This versatility is a valuable asset for businesses if they experience rapid growth or receive a large, one-off order.
Due to the construction methods of modular buildings, they are heavily protected from the elements and any problems that may come as a result. Bad weather often spells disaster for construction projects and it’s not uncommon for damage to be caused by wind, rain, or cold. A higher level of quality control is therefore achievable as modular buildings are predominantly constructed indoors in controlled environments
Challenges of Temporary Modular Buildings
Modular and temporary buildings offer a number of advantages over traditional construction methods, such as faster build times, lower costs, and greater flexibility. However, there are also some challenges associated with these types of buildings, including:
- Transportation costs and risk – Modular buildings are typically prefabricated in a factory and then transported to the construction site. This has the potential to be a costly and time-consuming process, and there is always the risk of damage during transportation. Still, overall build times are considerably less than regular building processes.
- Difficult financing – Modular construction projects often require larger upfront investments than traditional construction projects. This can make it difficult to secure financing, especially for smaller businesses or projects. Modular buildings are generally still cheaper than regular building processes, however.
- Regulations – Modular buildings must comply with the same building codes and regulations as traditional buildings. This can add to the complexity and cost of modular construction projects.
Despite these challenges, modular and temporary buildings are fantastic options for a variety of projects across a range of industries. By carefully considering the specific needs of the project, it is possible to minimize the challenges and maximize the benefits of modular construction.
The Future of Temporary Modular Buildings
Modular buildings continue to rise in popularity and there are a number of interesting developments within the industry:
Increased Pressure to Boost Business Sustainability
Modular buildings are inherently more sustainable than traditional buildings as they are built in factories where materials can be used more efficiently. Waste is also reduced as buildings only use the materials they need. As the demand for sustainable construction increases, modular buildings are expected to become even more popular.
Worker Safety Forces Growth in Off-Site Construction
Modular construction is a type of off-site construction, which is the process of building structures in a factory and then transporting them to the construction site. The off-site construction industry is growing rapidly, and modular buildings are expected to be a major driver of this growth.
One key reason for this is the improved worker safety that comes as a result of using temporary housing. Construction work is carried out in safe, controlled environments as opposed to building sites where many non-fatal workplace injuries occur.
New Technological Advancements in the Temporary Building Industry
New technologies are being developed that will make modular construction even more efficient and cost-effective. For example, 3D printing is being used to create modular buildings, and this technology is expected to become more widespread and accessible in the future. This would greatly reduce build times and streamline the process even more.
As covered above, modular buildings continue to grow in popularity. The future is bright for the industry and the benefits of utilising their unique building processes continue to drive growth.
A greater focus on sustainability – especially within the construction industry – has allowed many businesses to consider using temporary buildings, and worker safety has pushed the industry forward further. When these demands are combined with rapid advancements in technology, it’s difficult to see the modular building industry slowing down at all.
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