When it comes to single-family homes, the terms “modular” and “manufactured” have often been used interchangeably. But while manufactured houses are built to be portable, using lighter-weight (and less durable) materials than site-built homes, there’s nothing lightweight or temporary about modular properties.
Many commercial builders have capitalized on the benefits of modular to streamline their construction processes and create uniform, durable properties at a lower cost than site-built. On a nationwide basis, the modular construction business has increased from $4 billion per year to $8 billion per year since 2014.
The Benefits of Modular Construction
Modular construction is often performed in assembly-line format, constructing components like exterior walls, roofs, and internal structures inside a climate-controlled factory and then transporting them to the building site. This process eliminates the issues (like water damage, vandalism, or rust) often associated with exposing these components to the elements for months or even years while a construction project is completed.
But the commercial builders that have paved the way for modular construction have done so at a cost. Because the first modular components must be designed from scratch, builders must pay a hefty set-up fee, as well as a deposit for construction materials. Returning materials is also difficult, which makes it much more important for contractors to ensure that the quantity and type of materials ordered are correct.
The Future of Modular
Industry experts have predicted a continued increase in demand for modular construction and components, especially in the multifamily sector and in commercial properties like healthcare, industrial, and educational facilities. And this increase is likely to be exponential; as more facilities are created to meet this demand, the ready availability of modular components (and likely reduction in cost of these components) will fuel builder demand even further.