Modular Building FAQ – What is Modular Construction

Modular Building FAQ – What is Modular Construction

Modular construction industry is not straightforward and there’s been some misunderstanding what it is, how modular homes works and how it compares to conventional buildings. In this FAQ, we tackle some of those most frequently asked questions about modular building.

Q: What is a modular building?

A: Modular buildings are created with pre-fabricated components instead of traditional bricks and mortar. They arrive at your location either as flat-packed panels for on-site completion or as a fully complete building that is put in place using a mobile crane.

Q: What are the benefits of modular buildings?

A: Modular buildings have so many upsides that they become increasingly popular. They are made using the highest quality eco-friendly materials and they can be built with minimal disruption and mess. Modular buildings are tough, durable and long-lasting. They are secure and well insulated and provide the ideal option for many individuals and companies who need more space at a low price.Unlike site-built, modular building is constructed in sections or “modules” by a manufacturer and later put together on-site. The finished building can be identical to the design and specifications of almost any site-built structure – without compromising on quality or aesthetics. In fact, by controlling the whole process in a factory, there are many benefits that are much tougher to achieve with conventional methods.

Q: Are all modular buildings same?

A: No, there are two types – permanent and temporary.Permanent Modular Construction takes place in a factory. materials include wood, steel and concrete depending on what you need to achieve. The building is 50% to 90% complete when transported to the final building site. The modules can be integrated into conventional construction or as a standalone solution.Temporary Building is designed to meet regulations and provide flexibility for reuse or repurpose several times. Typical temporary modular buildings include popup medical clinics, construction site offices, and makeshift classrooms. This type of building is not permanently fixed to the site.

Q: Do you need planning permission for a Modular building?

A:Yes definitely, all modular buildings require planning permission. UK planning requirements state that regardless of size, any building or structure in place over a 28-day period has to have planning approval. However, this isn’t a problem as Portable Facilities can submit and manage your planning application on your behalf. You can find out more about Planning Permission here.

Q: Do Modular buildings need to comply with Building Regulations?

A: Yes, Modular Buildings do need to meet all current Building Regulations including Part L2. All our buildings are made in accordance with current UK Building Regulations. You can find out more about Building Regulations here. Most modular buildings up to 30m2 floor area are exempt from the majority of building regulations as long as they are not used for sleeping accommodation. Some companies which sell lesser structures as commercial outdoor buildings (log cabins, insulated summerhouses etc.) state they “meet building regulations”, when in reality, these buildings don’t have to comply with building regulations. All projects above 30m2 will require full building regulations approval. The initial part of the project will require bespoke structural engineering calculations to suit your project before the final price can be confirmed. Thereafter, we will manage building regulations compliance and certification as part of our standard service.

Q: What kind of foundations do the modular buildings require?

A: The foundations for your building will vary depending on local ground conditions but, as a minimum, foundations would be 600 x 600 x 600mm depth. Temporary buildings are often placed on masonry block piers.

Q: How quickly could I have a modular building finished and ready for use on site?

A: On average it takes about 8 weeks to finish a modular building larger than 250 sqm from time of order to delivery, depending on the type and complexity of building and a project’s particulars. Setting up a typical modular houses or pods can be as little as three days. The onsite construction phase is usually completed in a matter of just a few days. If necessary, urgent projects can be delivered and finished in as little as 6 weeks.

Q: Do we have to connect the necessary pipework and utilities?

A: If you have the knowledge expertise and capacity then this is a possibility. However, preferably you should hire a modular home company that manage these services on your behalf. It also simplifies the planning process as you cut out the chances of miscommunication between the teams.

Q: What is the benefit of recycling existing modular frames for my modular building project?

A: Sustainability is important and you should aim to reuse and recycle wherever you can so refurbishing 2nd hand modular buildings is one way you can make a difference. There are also benefits for you in terms of cost savings and rapid delivery times as most companies hold a stock of 2nd hand modular buildings ready for immediate delivery or refurbishment.

Q: How are Modular buildings delivered and installed?

A:Modular Buildings are delivered to site by lorries. They are then offloaded by a mobile crane onto the pre-built concrete foundations. So it’s important to carry out an initial site survey to check access.

Q: Is the modular building solution sustainable?

A: Modular buildings are inherently sustainable, they are portable and therefore can be recycled and refitted time and time again, Nearly 90% of the construction process takes place in factories, minimising waste and use of new resources.

Q: How Flexible is Modular Construction?

A: Modular buildings provide almost the same flexibility as conventional construction if not more as modular approach is scalable. By plugging or unplugging building modules, a company can rapidly expand to handle overflow demand. Unlike conventional construction, modular builders can design the structure for de-construction and relocation. A small team can quickly separate the units, have them transported to a new location, add, remove or rearrange the modules.

Q: What level of maintenance do modular buildings require?

A: Modular buildings are designed to be low maintenance. Minimal maintenance will be required, predominately because of the high quality fixtures and fittings we use for our structures. All materials used are covered by individual manufacturer’s warranties.

Q: Where have modular buildings already been used and for what purposes?

A: Modular buildings are widely used in academic situations such as schools, colleges, campuses & universities to create additional capacity, new facilities or provide temporary accommodation. In the corporate sector, modular buildings are uses as offices, meeting facilities, sales & marketing suites & retail shops.


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