February 18, 2022 /

Modular Buildings 101: The Complete Guide

Modular Building by Vesta Modular

What Is a Modular Building?

A modular building is a structure made out of one or many modules. Unlike traditional site-built residential or commercial buildings, these modules are constructed in a climate-controlled factory setting, then delivered and assembled at the location. 

Modular buildings have gained immense popularity over the last five years with the industry bringing in over $8 billion annually. This increase can be attributed to the cost-effective building process of modular buildings, which saves both time and money due to the regimented process of modular construction.

Modular buildings are built to the same code as traditional site builds, though they often exceed these standards when it comes to energy efficiency and weather resistance. Considering their value for their high quality, and the fact they can be used as a temporary or permanent space solution, modular buildings can be of great use to all kinds of industries.

Prefab vs. Modular: What’s the Difference?

Modular construction is a form of prefabrication—a structure is pre-made and subsequently assembled elsewhere. However, a modular building is an entire structure (or module) in itself. “Prefab” usually refers to an individual piece or part of the overall structure that was pre-made, like a bathroom pod or ductwork assembly, which has been built ahead of time and is ready to go in place. 

Both modular and traditional builds can utilize prefabricated materials.

Learn more about prefab offices.

Types of Modular Buildings

Modular Office Buildings

Is your organization expanding, but you lack the space to comfortably fit all the members of your team? Or maybe your files are taking over and you need a secure place that is close to the office to store them? We have the solution: a modular office building. A new or used modular office means more space for your employees and work activities. 

If you’re in need of more space ASAP, we recommend a pre-owned modular office building, as the turnaround time of a new building can be a few months longer. While refurbished modular buildings can be purchased, if you are planning on using the building for less than five years, we recommend leasing as a more cost-effective option.

Other reasons for a temporary modular office include: 

Modular School Buildings

A single, double, or multi-complex modular educational building can be an incredibly efficient and affordable way for school districts to accommodate an influx of students. At VESTA, we have a large, varied fleet of pre-owned modular buildings to utilize for a variety of educational purposes: classrooms, labs, libraries, gymnasiums, teachers’ lounges—whatever your school needs, we can provide. 

Modular buildings can be used as a temporary space solution or a permanent fixture in your community. Our custom-built modular single or multi-story complexes can even function as a modern, sleek school building. 

We know that funding for schools is not always easy to acquire. For districts with limited budgets but big dreams of a stunning new educational complex that students feel inspired to attend, a modular building is a great alternative to a traditional site-built school. The cost, as well as the turnaround time, is lower with modular construction, due to the majority of the work taking place off-site in a controlled environment.

Our energy-efficient, spacious classrooms come with bathrooms, drinking fountains, and quality HVAC systems, giving staff and their pupils everything a traditionally built classroom offers.

Modular Apartment Buildings

Modular housing is an affordable, attractive way to create durable, inviting apartments and townhomes. The construction of apartment complexes can greatly benefit from the modular process, as it is streamlined and repeatable. While traditional construction can take months to even years to be completed, modular apartment complexes can be finished much more quickly, which is a huge financial benefit to investors.

Because of their low-price point but incredible quality, modular apartments are often utilized by universities for student dormitories and municipalities creating more affordable housing. They have also been erected as centers for unhoused people. Modular apartments can be permanent or temporary—they function incredibly well as short-term lodging for those affected by natural disasters or housing for seasonal workers.  

Modular Church Buildings

Modular construction provides a cost-effective way to construct or expand churches and other places of worship. Custom builds can allow for a design that fits your space and budget, while refurbished modular buildings offer an even more affordable option when you need more room fast. 

If your congregation is growing rapidly and you don’t have time to wait for a traditional site-built project, if you have limited expenses, or if you want a stunning, modern space that welcomes all who see it, experience all that modular construction has to offer and build the church you’ve always envisioned

At VESTA, our buildings come with a plethora of options for customization, whether you want to match the exterior to your current church buildings, or are in need of ADA-compliant handicap accessible entryways and restrooms.

Modular Healthcare Buildings

The need for growing healthcare facilities has continued to expand since the pandemic. Our modular buildings can serve both temporary and permanent purposes. 

Pre-owned modular buildings are perfect for COVID isolation booths or testing centers, or when a hospital is in need of extra space. Brand new modular builds can create stunning clinics of all varieties or urgent care facilities, complete with spaces for cafeterias, break rooms, and more.

Traditional construction can face immense setbacks due to many external circumstances, the weather being a big one, and modular construction allows for projects to stick to a definitive timeline.

Modular Buildings for Sale

New Modular Buildings

Obtaining a new modular building means you are getting a fully customized space for your organization. While the cost is typically greater than that of a pre-owned building, you are able to ensure it includes everything you need to run a successful operation in any industry.

Benefits of New Modular Construction

New modular construction is great for those seeking a customized build or for those in need of additional space added to their existing structure. In a new build, materials can be made to match what you already have, saving you time and money that would be associated with a site-built project. New modular builds have the added benefit of meeting the latest in building code requirements.

If you don’t need your space to arrive ASAP and have a larger budget to ensure you are getting exactly what you’re envisioning, a new modular build may be the right option for you.

Typical Cost Factors

A new modular build will cost more than a pre-owned modular building. There are added costs that result from the design and construction process. We are happy to provide you with a free quote based on what your project entails. 

Permanent Modular Buildings

Modular buildings can be placed temporarily or permanently. Because our buildings are made with the best materials and building practices, our permanent modular buildings have been known to last for at least 50 years, though they can certainly outlive that, ensuring your organization’s structure will be standing for years and years to come.

Why Choose Permanent Modular Construction?

A permanent modular building is going to be cheaper to build and install than a site-built project. It is a good rule of thumb that if you are in need of additional space for over five years, you should make your building a permanent fixture. 

Is a Permanent Modular Building More Expensive?

A permanent modular building is slightly more expensive than a temporary modular building since it comes with the additional cost of foundation work. However, it eliminates the removal cost associated with a temporary building. 

Modular Buildings for Lease

Used Modular Buildings

For those seeking a more quickly deployed, affordable space solution, a used modular building fits the bill. Because our modular buildings are made with quality materials and impeccable care, they are built to last and hold up wonderfully when reused.

Benefits of Leasing a Used Modular Building

A used modular building is more cost-effective for those interested in temporary or permanent space. While they don’t allow for extensive customization, we have a vast inventory of modular buildings in all shapes and sizes, so you will definitely be able to find a structure that suits your needs.

Leasing Options

We work with trusted partners to offer a variety of leasing options that fit all time frames and budgets, including:

  • Short-term: A short-term lease can be considered anywhere from a few months to 1–2 years.
  • Long-term: A long-term lease is typically between 2–5 years. For those who want a building for more than five years, purchasing tends to be more cost effective. However, we do offer long-term leases for as long as needed, even offering indefinite leases for certain clients.
  • Flexible: If you have a unique situation, we are happy to discuss what leasing terms are right for you. Leases for job site trailers, for example, can be customized to match the length of a job, and shortened or lengthened as needed.
  • Financed lease: Cut back on initial costs by leasing to own your modular building.

Temporary Modular Buildings

Temporary modular buildings are useful for a plethora of reasons, from emergency housing to school overflow to disaster relief.

Why Choose Temporary Modular Construction?

A temporary modular building is a cost-effective space solution for those that need extra room on short notice. Many states allow for temporary buildings to be placed on non-permanent forms of foundation, further cutting down installation costs. 

How Long Can I Lease a Temporary Modular Building?

Temporary buildings can be obtained anywhere from a few months to five years.

Can I Lease a New or Permanent Modular Building?

Yes, financed leases that end in ownership are available for new modular buildings.

Modular Building Construction Process

How Are Modular Buildings Constructed?

1. Design

Our team will develop a custom modular building to the specifications you desire, including all the bells and whistles that make it unique to your industry and intent. We will also determine what type of foundation best suits the site of this project, obtain the necessary permits, and get the go-ahead from structural engineers. 

2. Construction

Plans in hand, our skilled contractors will begin the module build(s) in a climate-controlled factory, free from weather hazards or site-related delays. Everything from the doors to the floors to the plumbing to the painting is completed to perfection before the building leaves the warehouse.

3. Transportation and Installation

Finally, our team will take great care in loading the module, transporting it to the site, and moving it onto the prepared foundation (often via crane). Once the utilities are turned on, your space is ready to use and enjoy.

Can You Customize a Modular Building?

Yes, almost every part of the building can be unique to you. Pick your layout, exterior color, material type, or any other necessary add-ons specific to your industry and clientele. You have control of what finishes most fit your style, from the floor to the paint to the hardware.

Benefits of Choosing a Modular Building

Modular construction is the way to go if you want a project that includes:

  • Faster timeline: Modular builds are up to 50% faster than site-built construction projects. This means you will get a beautiful, brand-new build, or a clean and sturdy refurbished building, much more quickly than you would taking the traditional construction route.
  • Greater savings: Due to the speed of construction and the efficiency of the building process, modular construction offers incredible savings. This is great for everyone, especially those with limited budgets.
  • Greener footprint: Many factors of the modular building process make it better for the environment than traditional construction. The lack of heavy machinery that can cause damaging emissions and erosion, the efficient process that eliminates material waste, and the ability to break down and reuse a building are just a few ways modular construction is kinder to the environment than traditional onsite construction.

Modular Construction vs. Traditional Construction

When it comes to saving time, money, and receiving an excellent, long-lasting standard of quality, modular construction beats out traditional construction every time. Modular construction allows for minimized site disruption and can provide you with a new, stunning building in half the time it would take for a traditional build to be completed while maintaining all of the building standards and customizations.

Start Your Modular Building Project Today

Reach out to us today to inquire about how a modular building can be used for your next construction project.

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