Skip to main content

Modular Building Advances in the Last 25 Years — Part II

By May 25, 2012July 31st, 2015Uncategorized

Last week we began examining the many changes in Modular Buildings. Let’s continue.

Like mankind, in fact, like all living things, the industry has evolved. And it has adapted.
The demands of customers, pressures of competition, and creativity of individuals have changed modular buildings in thousands of ways. Let’s look at a few categories to get a feel for many of these changes.

ADA adherence: Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act has changed the layout and configuration of buildings. Bathrooms have higher toilets and urinals, and sinks have open spaces under them for enhanced accessibility. Hot water plumbing lines and drains have protective insulation wraps to prevent burns. Kitchens have proper counter heights. So do electrical switches and receptacles. Doorways are wider. Elevated entrances are wheelchair-ramp accessible. Parking spaces outside the buildings are also ADA compliant.

Codes and Certifications: We have mentioned some before, but there are many requirements with which modular building construction must (or can) comply. And they are changing every year.

From Wikipedia: “The major model building codes used in the United States are developed by the International Code Council (ICC), which have 14 sets of International codes, or i-codes, including the International Building Code (IBC), the International Residential Code, the International Fire Code, the International Energy Conservation Code, the International Plumbing Code, the International Mechanical Code and others.” And there are local and state codes, “green” codes, occupancy requirements, lighting requirements, and, as above, others.

Specialized construction: Specific uses require specific construction. A few examples are dental clinics with lead-lined walls to allow for safe x-ray equipment use. There are various gas recovery systems for nitrous oxide and other airborne gases or pollutants. Today, you can get special air infiltration systems, and both negative and positive pressure laboratory room environments. Commercial kitchens are available with Type 1 hoods and including associated fire suppression systems. Buildings can be equipped with fire sprinkler systems, various alarm and security systems, pre-wired for computer and communication networks, medical specific construction and other systems. Additionally, buildings and rooms can be constructed to meet high security requirements with protection from electronic, visual or audio surveillance. When installing any of these special systems, a major advantage new modular building construction has over existing site-built buildings is that these systems can be built-in from the beginning, without the difficulty, cost, and disruption of retrofitting existing facilities.

Climate and Environment: Not so long ago, modular buildings were difficult to heat and cool. They were hot in the summertime and cold in the wintertime. The heating/cooling “system” consisted of a large, unsightly combination heating/cooling unit called a “wall-mount.” Combine that ductless, inefficient machine with poor insulation and you can imagine the result. Modern modular buildings are built with a variety of equipment including central air and heat, larger roof mounted systems, small, individual room systems, and they have much heavier insulation to meet the rigors of any environment.

Variety: It’s like the old saw, “You name it, and we got it.” Today’s modular building industry “gets it. ”And we really do “got it” if you want it. The industry isfilled with innovation. New techniques, materials, processes, and designs appear every day. Modular buildings are more varied and compatible than ever. Because manufacturers have been forced into using unfamiliar new materials and methods over recent years, customers will find them much more open to using new materials and concepts. The melting pot of the marketplace has forged the industry into one much more willing to try new things, to innovate rather than copy, to tackle complex projects both big and small, and to offer better buildings more efficiently. This has resulted in modular buildings today of superior value and superior construction.

These changes have helped improve the general perception of modular buildings across the construction industry and with the general public as well. More people are looking at modular construction as a viable alternative for their needs and not as temporary trailers that are cheap, disposable, and undesirable. Today’s modular buildings are permanent solutions, desirable, flexible in design, and extremely well made.
The modular building industry has made tremendous gains in the past 25 years. Today’s modulars fill almost any need, are constructed in a fraction of the time required for inefficient site-built construction, and maximize value for your investment.

Today, for a multitude of reasons, you can’t beat a modular building.