Our Modular Building Process Makes Delivering A Turnkey Solution Time Efficient and Affordable

The manufacturing process of our modular buildings and complexes allows us to build prefabricated finished modules. By assembling and constructing the portable module units of a project in a controlled, indoor setting, we can more quickly construct your entire project. The mobile units are able to be shipped and transported using our logistics experts. Once the modular project is onsite, our construction crew can efficiently assemble the unit. All that's left is for you to turn the key and walk into your beautiful new modular complex.

Visit our guide to learn more about Modular Construction

Modular General Contractor

VESTA is the largest turnkey modular general contractor in North America. Over the years, our team has built permanent modular buildings from Alaska to the Caribbean for clients needing the speed and certainty that modular construction methods provide. As a licensed general contractor, VESTA has the unique ability to handle all aspects of a modular construction project and act as our customer’s single point of contact for their projects. From single story offices in the Midwest to multi-story apartments on a private island in the Atlantic Ocean, VESTA is the go-to option when considering a custom modular project. Our project heritage includes modular hotels, apartments, offices, classrooms, schools, medical facilities, municipal buildings, workforce housing, single-family infill development, and many more.

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Design & Build Expertise

For customers seeking a custom building in a remote region or on a tight timeframe, VESTA offers modular specific Design-Build services. Many of our best (and most cost-effective) projects involve customers committed to the modular process from the outset, allowing the VESTA team to craft an ideal modular design for the challenge at hand. Often, we will combine both modular and site-built elements to ensure customers receive the functionality desired. If you are faced with challenging site logistics or timelines, consider partnering with VESTA to create an ideal modular solution.

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A Few of Our Turnkey Modular Construction Projects

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What Is Modular Construction?

Modular construction is the process of building modules in a factory-like setting to then transport to and install on the construction site. By using prefabricated modules, you can construct a building offsite and then assemble it in the desired location. 

What Is a Module?

One way of thinking about modules is that they are similar to toy bricks, such as LEGOs. Modules can be connected side-by-side or stacked on top of one another to create a geometric structure multiple stories high. 

Unlike bricks, however, modules are not always fully closed cuboids with six sides (known as volumetric modules). There are multiple types of modules available, including:

  • Open-sided modules
  • Partially open-sided modules
  • Corner load bearing modules
  • Non-load bearing modules
  • Fully-closed (volumetric) modules

It’s a misconception that modular buildings are boring, predictable, or unsightly. Because of the number of different modules available (as well as the materials used and potential add-on features), possible configurations are endless!

Modular Construction vs. Traditional Construction

Traditional construction occurs on location. The building is constructed in exactly the spot it is intended to stand. 

Although this eliminates the transportation of a building, traditional construction requires the transportation of labor, materials, equipment, and heavy machinery. This may cost time and resources depending on the location of the building. It also means that certain costs can’t be guaranteed, as delays due to shipping, logistics, permits, product availability, weather events, and labor shortages are common in the construction industry.

With modular construction, all construction of the building occurs in a factory-like setting away from the intended location for the building. This allows work to continue rain or shine. It also minimizes the number of transports necessary for certain equipment and materials. Then, the finished building is transported to the intended location, where it is installed onto a foundation.

Because modular buildings are portable, they can also be reused. This means that existing modules can be used to create new buildings, or existing modular buildings can be leased or purchased as a whole. Traditional construction simply can’t compete with the flexibility, affordability, and environmental friendliness of modular construction.

Why Modular Construction?

Modular construction is a great option for businesses and organizations that want custom, high-quality buildings at an affordable price. Not only do modular buildings have the benefit of being constructed quickly and affordably, but they also are more environmentally friendly than traditionally-constructed buildings.

Faster Timelines

Compared to site-built or more traditional construction methods, modular construction offers faster timelines. Traditional construction schedules are typically composed of five distinct stages:

  1. Design engineering
  2. Permits and approvals
  3. Site development and foundations
  4. Building construction
  5. Site restoration

With modular construction, multiple stages can be done at once, resulting in a much shorter timeline:

  1. Design engineering
  2. Site development, foundations, permits, and approvals while the building is constructed in a factory setting
  3. Installation and site restoration

The timeline can be even shorter if a business chooses to purchase or lease a pre-owned modular building instead of constructing new modules from scratch. This makes them an ideal option for time-sensitive and emergency building needs.

Modular construction has the additional benefit of avoiding weather- and climate-related delays typical on onsite building projects. With modular buildings, construction can continue during blizzards, downpours, heatwaves, and other severe weather events that are becoming increasingly more common due to climate change.

Greater Savings

Modular construction is a cost-effective solution for both temporary and permanent buildings. Traditional construction projects are notorious for going over budget. With prefabricated modular buildings, the factory costs are fixed as soon as the contract is in place.

Businesses can also reduce costs if they:

  • Lease a modular building: Operating leases allow businesses to rent modular buildings for as long as they need. Typically, leasing a modular building is less expensive than purchasing one if you only need the building for up to five years.
  • Choose a used modular building: VESTA has a large inventory of pre-owned modular buildings. Whether you need a temporary office or a permanent classroom, choosing a used model can help keep costs down.

Greener Footprint

A little-known benefit of modular construction is that it is actually more environmentally friendly than traditional construction.

Onsite machinery that is necessary for a traditional construction project can cause or contribute to air, water, and noise pollution. More time to finish the project means more time to pollute. Every delivery of materials or equipment contributes to an ever-increasing carbon footprint. 

With modular construction, each module is constructed in a factory setting. Only one thing is transported to the construction site: the modular building itself. This minimizes the number of pollutants potentially released on location. The ability to reuse buildings is also more environmentally friendly than creating structures that are permanent and non-portable.

Modular buildings themselves are also good for the environment. They can be constructed to meet LEED certification guidelines, often making them greener than existing structures that haven’t been upgraded to meet new energy recommendations.

The Modular Construction Process

The modular construction process consists of three main stages: design, construction, and installation. Each one has its own processes necessary to complete the stage.

Stage 1: Design

During the design phase, we’ll begin at the same place as any other architectural project: the drawing board. Initial planning will require us to nail down a variety of factors, including:

  • The size of the site on which the building is set to be erected
  • Necessary construction materials
  • Your preferences for spacing, style, layout, etc.
  • The type of foundation necessary for the base of the site
  • Your financial budget

Engineering Analysis

No designs can be approved unless certified engineers from a registered government agency check the blueprints for any violations of local construction codes. Agencies such as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) ensure that there are no health or construction hazards and that all required safety measures are in place.

Permits

The small amount of onsite work required for modular construction still requires local permits. Failure to obtain necessary permits can lead to severe penalties—even the demolition of the building itself. Generally, most building projects require:

  • Site plan permit
  • Construction permit
  • Concrete usage permit
  • Mechanical permit
  • Plumbing permit

Construction Site Development

Once the designs are settled, the site on which the building will be constructed needs to be assessed and prepared. Engineers and other experts will survey the land and lay the necessary foundation. They will also install a drainage system if needed.

Stage 2: Construction

After the design stage comes the construction stage. This is when we actually build the module(s) needed for the project. Construction, also known as module fabrication, can occur while the construction site is being developed.

Materials

Modular construction typically starts with a welded steel frame. Steel-frame modular buildings are fire resistant, making them a safe option. Steel is also highly durable and long lasting, while still being malleable enough to create interesting features, such as arches. It is also easy to remove, replace, or add onto steel-framed modular buildings if future needs or desires change.

While steel is the most popular material for modular construction, there are two other options: wood and concrete. 

Wood-framed modular buildings are lightweight, sustainable, recyclable, and highly durable. They also typically offer better insulation. Concrete, on the other hand, is solid and strong. It is often the material of choice for outdoor or utility buildings, such as school sporting event restrooms or team locker rooms.

Assembly

Once the frame is chosen, it is placed on the assembly line. The entire structure is created on this frame, including base floors, walls, and ceiling. After the skeleton is prepared, electrical and plumbing accessories are added. Finally, interior design features are added to match the client’s desired style, including doors, flooring, paint, and more.

Stage 3: Transportation & Installation

After the modular building has been constructed, it is time to install it on location. Because of regulations on the size of modules that can be transported, these are generally built on a predefined scale. Because the building has already been almost entirely constructed elsewhere, installation is fairly quick and easy. 

Keep in mind that the installation of the building may not be the end of your construction project. Often, businesses want new sidewalks, landscaping, and other onsite features in addition to their new modular building. However, once the modular building has been installed, it is technically ready for use.

Modular Construction Companies

When looking for a modular construction company, you’ll want to look for:

  • Experience: A reputable modular construction company should have years of experience and a portfolio of past projects to back up their claims.
  • Reviews: Don’t just listen to what a modular construction company tells you about who they are and what they do. Ask the people who have been directly impacted by their work in the past.
  • Transparency: What services does the modular construction company provide? Make sure to ask who is responsible for each step of the process. A good modular construction company will tell you exactly what they offer—and they’ll have recommendations for local contractors or businesses who can help cover what they don’t.
  • Excellent customer service: Who are you speaking with when you call? Do you have a dedicated sales representative to answer your questions?
  • Options: Some modular construction companies may say they have options and customizations, but will push clients toward certain products or materials. A reputable modular construction company will want to design their products and services to fit your needs, not the other way around.

Types of Modular Construction

Permanent Modular Construction

Permanent modular buildings are intended to last for multiple decades. Our permanent modular structures typically last at least 50 years. Many have lasted for generations. 

In general, you’ll want a permanent modular building if you intend to use your building for more than five years. 

Temporary Modular Buildings

Temporary modular buildings can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. They are an excellent option for emergency shelter or short-term building projects. 

Generally speaking, temporary modular buildings are more cost-effective than permanent buildings if they are only intended to be used for five years or less. They’re even more affordable for emergency use. 

Often, states will allow temporary modular buildings to be built without a traditional foundation if they are only used for a short period of time. Instead of a traditional foundation, they are placed on plastic slabs, saving time and money. This cost-saving timeline could apply to buildings intended to stand anywhere from six months to three years, depending on state regulations. 

Residential Modular Construction

Modular buildings are a great option for a variety of residential projects, including:

  • Apartments
  • Townhomes
  • Villas
  • Hotels
  • Vacation rentals
  • Affordable housing
  • Workforce housing
  • College dormitories

Modular housing developments offer quality, speed, and affordability. They can offer temporary housing for workers, students, or people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, the customization and quality options make modular houses the perfect choice for families who want a permanent home or vacation spot. 

Commercial Modular Construction

Modular construction is the go-to option for companies across the nation. We’ve worked with businesses in a variety of industries, including:

  • Education: From student housing to teaching labs to classrooms, modular construction offers affordable solutions for public schools, private schools, charter schools, and universities.
  • Churches & religious organizations: We can help churches create cafeterias and fellowship halls, expand their K-12 schools, build administrative offices, design custom worship centers, or simply offer more space for Bible study.
  • Healthcare & medical centers: We’ve helped build permanent medical centers as well as set up emergency medical buildings in the aftermath of natural disasters.
  • Government & military: Modular construction is a great, affordable option for military buildings and publicly-funded services, such as fire stations.
  • Remote locations and islands: Modular buildings work well everywhere, from the Arctic Circle to tropical islands.
  • Oil: Modular homes are a great option for housing workers near oil fields.
  • Commercial businesses: No matter what industry you work in, modular construction can offer fast, affordable building solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Modular Construction Buildings Only Temporary?

No. Modular buildings, even temporary ones, can be expected to last for decades. Permanent modular buildings may last for generations.

Do You Have to Buy Modular Buildings?

You can choose to purchase or lease modular buildings. At VESTA, we offer two leasing options:

  • Operational lease: With an operational lease, you can essentially rent the building for us as long as you need. When your lease ends, the building will return to our inventory. Operational leases can last for years at a time, although they are typically more affordable if they only last for five years or less.
  • Financed lease: Financed leases allow you to lease a building with the intention of owning. At VESTA, we work with financing partners who are specifically trained to finance leases for modular buildings.

Can You Customize a Modular Construction Building?

Yes! Modular buildings are easy to customize. Whether you want a specific layout, materials, interior design, exterior design, specialty rooms, or amenities, we can customize your modular building to fit your needs.

Prefabricated Construction  vs. Modular Construction: What’s the Difference?

The best way to understand is to remember that all modular construction is prefabricated, but not all prefabricated construction is modular.

Modular construction typically focuses on the assembly of fully closed or nearly closed modules. Prefab construction refers to anything pre-built for a building project, including pre-built walls, floors, or ceilings.

Learn more about prefabricated construction vs. modular construction.