What Is Commercial Modular Construction?

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EDISON PARKER & ASSOCIATES INC. was founded in 1997 as a sales and marketing company for all mechanical replacement parts, as well as new replacement units, to large facilities such as hotels, hospitals, nursing homes, and large real estate... read more

What Is Commercial
Modular Construction?

Commercial modular buildings are replacing traditional construction methods with prefabricated components that can be quickly set up and used. These code-compliant structures are created in an off-site location and are designed for easy on-site assembly.

With such benefits, commercial modular buildings are gaining ground among builders, contractors, and business managers who need functional structures erected quickly. It’s a particularly popular solution for the education, retail, and healthcare industries that need adjunct space or training, meeting, meals, offices, storage, etc.

Should you be considering commercial modular buildings for your business? To help you see if this option and its benefits are right for you, we take a closer look at what modular construction is, the different types of commercial modular buildings, and list its advantages.

How Are Commercial Modular Buildings Constructed?

If you’ve ever played with Lego and other building bricks as a child, you’ll understand the appeal of modular construction. This type of building method works in pretty much the same way. Modules or sections are constructed in an off-site factory-controlled setting before being transported and assembled where they’re needed. They follow the same protocols as standard construction buildings but are completed faster and more efficiently.

Types of Modular Construction Buildings

What types of modular construction buildings are available to you?
Commercial modular construction buildings fall into three broad categories:

  • 1
    Relocatable Modular Buildings

    50 to 90% of a relocatable modular building can be constructed in a manufacturing facility. Relocatable components can include interior and exterior fixtures, finishes, and even mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) fittings.

    These buildings can be moved and repurposed to meet businesses’ changing needs. Relocatable modular buildings are ideal for projects with tight deadlines and landowners who need a temporary setup for contract-based projects. These buildings undergo rigorous quality checks and expel less waste compared to traditional on-site construction.

  • 2
    Permanent Modular Buildings

    Permanent modular buildings rely on sustainable manufacturing methods for the construction of single and multi-story modules that are constructed on a permanent foundation.

    A permanent modular building’s internal and external walls can be constructed off-site and then arranged on-site to complete a building’s frame. Before permanent flooring is installed, modular buildings are lifted with a crane and placed on foundations with beam, pier, and concrete styles.

  • 3
    Hybrid Modular Buildings

    Hybrid buildings work well for complex projects that require a combination of modular and traditional construction methods, such as in cases where intricate architecture, strict fire codes, and extensive space requirements significantly prolong delivery dates and make construction more complicated. To reduce costs and fast-track turnover times, traditional construction can incorporate modular components. Hybrid construction lets contractors and manufacturers work together on projects by retrofitting prefabricated modules to existing building designs.

Benefits of Modular Construction

Modular construction can solve several problems related to waste, cost, tight deadlines, and inflexible designs. Here’s why commercial modular construction is the way forward:

  • Less Waste: Facilities that manufacture modular components are more conscious of their inventory and their consumption of raw materials. They keep a close eye on production and ensure standard output. Their processes are optimized so no materials go to waste. They also have opportunities to repurpose materials from previous projects, allowing them to cut manufacturing and sourcing costs.
  • Greater Flexibility: Modular components can be moved to different locations or be refurbished for new projects, thereby reducing the dependency on manufacturing new modules each time.
  • No Weather Delays: Since modular construction happens inside a facility, adverse weather conditions won’t affect project timelines. Projects can proceed as scheduled, occupancy is faster, and landowners can achieve returns on investment sooner.
  • Safer and Less Disruptive: Traditional construction methods are more prone to on-site injuries, cause neighborhood disturbances, and restrict road movement. In contrast, modular construction reduces the odds of worker-related accidents and is performed in enclosed spaces away from residential areas.
  • Better Air Quality: Since modular components are manufactured indoors with dry materials, moisture doesn’t remain trapped within them. This helps maintain the integrity of the components.
    In addition, on-site activities such as mixing cement mortar, backfilling, excavation, handling machinery, controlling construction vehicles, and other earthwork-related tasks can increase the number of particulates released into the atmosphere. These particles negatively affect air quality and are harmful to those working in construction sites and people in close proximity.
    Such risks are significantly reduced in modular construction since modules are manufactured in controlled indoor environments and can be quickly put together with less grunt work and debris.
  • Greater Design Opportunities: Modular buildings can effortlessly marry on-site traditional building needs with the ease and efficiency of modular construction. Existing building designs can be replicated as per on-site construction codes and the aesthetic needs of a project to produce a seamless blend of non-traditional and traditional methods.
  • Faster Project Timelines: According to McKinsey & Company, modular construction can fast-track a project by 20% to 50%. It thus comes as no surprise the industry is projected to be worth $130 billion by 2030 in Europe and the United States.
    Stakeholders can expect faster project timelines since modular buildings are built at the same time as on-site foundation work, significantly reducing the time spent on a project.

Commercial Modular Construction: What To Expect

These are three major stages involved in erecting commercial modular buildings:

  • 1
    Design and Approval: Architects, designers, and engineers plan the design of commercial modular buildings together. Interior and exterior plans are created and tested through a Building Information Modeling (BIM) system or similar software. Contractors will ensure adherence to on-location building codes and zoning permits.

    Once the plans are finalized, the owner will approve them, submit them to a third-party association or group for further approval, and submit building permit applications.

    The design process takes place once the important paperwork and plans are approved and given the go-ahead.
  • 2
    Construction and Inspections: After excavation and construction start, modules are simultaneously built in a factory. The modular construction crew is comprised of carpenters, painters, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals, plumbers, flooring and drywall finishers, and the like. Since the project incorporates a multitude of internal and external modules, the crew varies based on the project.

    Structural and internal components are built and fitted, depending on the requirements of the project. As the modules are built, a compliance officer regularly visits the factory to ensure that the project meets stipulated building codes at every stage.
  • 3
    Transportation and the Erection of Modules: To ensure that the modules are road-worthy, manufacturers have to make each section strong and durable.

    Transportation costs can go up significantly if the delivery location is more than 400 miles. Commercial modular building manufacturers must also take transportation restrictions and regulations into account to avoid transporting modules that are too large to be moved through certain routes.

    Once the modules arrive, the sections are stacked or rolled out carefully on the foundation. The modules are then attached to each other with bolts and are weather-proofed. Manufacturers add the final touches by caulking and cladding external systems to finalize the structure. Interior additions such as cabinets and countertops will be constructed at the location if they weren’t done in the factory.

    Modular construction buildings do not necessarily impact mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineering. HVAC systems can either be incorporated into modular designs at the manufacturing facility or on-site after the modules are assembled.

Modular HVAC Solutions

Like buildings and other commercial structures, HVAC systems with modular components are being adapted in real estate. Based on the same principle, modular HVAC systems are manufactured off-site and are later installed once the building is ready.

Why should you look into modular HVACs?
Modular HVAC solutions save space. They can take up to 50% less room than traditional HVAC systems, allowing you to get the most of your commercial space. Modular HVAC systems also produce less waste. By comparison, modular solutions only produce 2% to 3% of the waste that traditional systems generate.

Edison Parker & Associates: HVAC Solutions That Meet Your Technical Requirements

Take advantage of modular HVAC solutions with leading commercial HVAC contractor Edison Parker & Associates. As one of the highly reliable and sought-after commercial HVAC companies in the tri-state area, Edison Parker has its own in-house team of commercial HVAC contractors to ensure that customers receive consistent quality services.

Edison Parker caters to large-scale establishments such as hotels, nursing homes, malls, and recreational centers. Our services include the installation and maintenance of new, existing, and replacement mechanical parts and commercial appliances, including modular commercial HVAC installations.

We can address all aspects of your HVAC system with our commercial HVAC services, so you can focus on other aspects of your building. Allow Edison Parker to match your technical requirements with our professional, knowledgeable, and reliable services.

To learn more, visit our official website or submit a quote request for your specific needs. You can also give us a call at 718 768 1600 or send us a message. We look forward to servicing your mechanical system needs with reliable service and quality parts!

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