Modular buildings – the future of construction?

Modular buildings – the future of construction?

Modular buildings - the future of construction?


There is already a saying going around that your next real estate project won’t be built – it will be manufactured. Does it mean that the future of construction is going to be modular? Some would like to argue, but the eco-friendliness and efficiency of modular construction are reaching new heights and the manufacturers of modular buildings have already built some impressive structures all over the world.

There is compelling evidence that modular construction is the way to go for all new construction projects. It’s safe to say that the average bystander can’t spot the difference between modular and on-site construction. The time has become to ditch the trailer park comparisons and see the ways modular buildings actually help the people who will surely notice the difference: owners, developers and municipalities who reap the benefits of going modular. What are the advantages which make modular buildings the future of construction? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a modular building?

To make the water clear, let’s specify what is a prefabricated modular building? Essentially it is a regular wood-frame building which just happens to be constructed of prefabricated room modules in a controlled factory environment. It is an eco-friendly way of constructing regular wood-frame buildings because there is almost no waste produced, the disturbances on site are little to none and the main building material – wood – is a renewable natural resource.

Modular houses are in no way comparable to the trailer park trailers or shabby temporary shacks which come to mind when someone starts to talk about modular buildings. Modular construction is following the same standards as on-site construction and due to regular tests in the factory the buildings are usually made even better than buildings built on site.

Why is modular construction gaining so much traction?

The more precise question would be, why is modular construction gaining more and more traction right now. Modular construction has been known and used efficiently and profitably for decades. But game-changing shifts in conservative fields such as construction don’t come along too often. What has caused the sudden growth in popularity for modular construction?

The technological revolution

Firstly the increasing use of digital modeling paired with new manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing have broadened the eyesight of people – we are using more and more robots and CNC-controlled technologies in manufacturing everything from cars to furniture. This shift is making its way into construction and the most effective application for these technologies is naturally modular construction.

Decrease of skilled workforce

Secondly modular construction relieves the issue of labor. During and after the recession, the construction capacity was pretty much destroyed – thousands of construction workers were suddenly out of work. Many of the former skilled craftsmen, site superintendents and construction workers found new professions or retired altogether. When the construction market started rising again there was an immediate shortage of skilled workforce because the new generations opt for other professions – which means there are not enough pairs of hands to construct buildings on site.

The perfect combination for growth

The combination of new technological possibilities, shifts in the economy, loss of skilled workforce in the industry and the increased cost of skilled trades have made the rapid growth of modular construction all but inevitable. When we add the increased quality standards, the demands of the clients and the desire for quicker ROI, then we find out, that modular construction ticks all the boxes.

What is the modular future going to look like?

The stereotype of modular buildings being generic or featureless needs to go now. Modular buildings can be beautifully made and modern-looking, which in no way come off second-best to the on-site constructions. Almost all major design schools are teaching the basics of prefab and the next generation of architects and engineers will be equipped to make prefabricated buildings exciting and easy on the eye. The prefabrication does not set limits to the customization, because similarly to any other wood-frame building, individual wall elements and features can be added to the room modules. This means that a building doesn’t have to be “just a box” or featureless – it can be anything you want it to be.

Speaking of the future, the one thing modular construction will certainly do is drastically speed up the construction of buildings which have many rooms or floors with repetitive room sizes and layouts – for example hospitals, apartment buildings, hotels, schools etc. There will soon be a time when constructing these types of buildings on site will become a massive disadvantage – and going modular will be inevitable.

If you opt for modular construction now, what are the immediate advantages?

If you are a real estate developer, a provider of accommodation, municipality or any other business client who is seeking to construct new buildings for their business, the future could start right now. If you chose modular construction as the technology to manufacture your next building, what would be the immediate benefits for you?

  • Cost saving – modular construction is efficient. There are no wasted materials because of the weather damage. The costs on labor are lower because less workforce is needed and the overall completion time is shorter which means quicker ROI.
  • Time savings – There are no delays caused by the weather or unskilled workforce. The site preparation and construction of modules take place at the same time which add up to 30-50% faster completion of your project.
  • Labor – The workforce in the house factory is highly specialized to a certain process which means they work quickly and provide high quality. On the other hand, the installation crew members do not have to be highly paid skilled craftsmen.
  • Quality control – prefabricated modules are constructed in a controlled factory environment. They are designed and built to the same standards as buildings constructed on site and regular test in the factory ensure the high quality of the modules leaving the factory.
  • Site impact – modular constructions leaves a minimal impact to the construction site which means less works (and costs) on restoration after the construction is completed Modular construction requires minimal movement to deliver materials to the site. This is perfect when transportation vehicles need to navigate and maneuver on busy streets.
  • Sustainability and eco-friendliness – minimal material waste and the use of wood as the main construction material, which is a renewable resource, makes modular construction friendly towards the environment.
  • Material use and logistics – we have consistent orders and certain suppliers for the raw materials which means we can negotiate better pricing. We can be fairly certain, that there are no delays or problems in the logistics. This translates directly into the reduced costs for our clients.

Astel Modular – creating the future of construction since 1992

The future of construction is available now – and we have been perfecting it for over 20 years. Soon enough building on site will be considered as a disadvantage and modular construction as the way forward. You have the possibility to reap the benefits now. Get in touch with us and let’s discuss, how modular construction can help your company to take the leap to the future.

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Astel AB

Assembly and construction of modular buildings

christian@astelmodular.se
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Astel Modular OÜ

Production of modular buildings

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(+372) 520 2826

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