Today, the construction of buildings is a mammoth industry, with all sorts of clients needing new headquarters, stores, service centers, research labs, office buildings, and much more. Traditional construction works just as one may imagine it: workers in hard hats and orange vests using jackhammers, concrete mixers, ladders, saws, and much more to erect a building’s frame and set up its internal fabricated parts such as plumbing, electrical wires, heating and cooling systems, elevator shafts and the cars that go in them, and lighting. However, another method of construction offers itself to construction crews and project owners alike: modular construction. Modular office buildings, modular offices, warehouse offices, and more can take advantage of this particular method, and often cut down on wasted materials and workplace hazards. More often than not, a warehouse office will be modular, built entirely indoors and moved wherever it must be. A warehouse office is just the start; entire buildings can be constructed this way.
The Rise of Modular
More and more often, construction crews and firms, and the project owners who hire them, have come to appreciate the convenience of modular construction for cost and materials used. In fact, the Waste and Resources Action Programme, or WRAP (based in the UK) has found that modular construction methods often reduce waste materials such as bricks, cement, timber, wood pallets, and plasterboard by up to 90%, and similarly, a report sent by the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia shows that modular construction, such as a warehouse office or apartment, can lower construction costs by 9% to 20% overall. Projects can be completed much faster this way while not compromising quality. In one case, a Chinese modular construction company built a 57 story building in only 19 days, and such speed can come from the fact that 60% to 90% of prefab construction is done in a factory or warehouse.
Prefab construction methods and their products, such as a warehouse office, have proven popular among clients and builders of all kinds. For example, 90% of engineers, 84% of all contractors, and 76% of architects say that they use modular or prefab construction for at least some of their products. And the Marriott International hotel line promised to build 13% of its North American properties in the year 2017.
How can a prefabricated office building or warehouse office be built this way? Overall, there are two types of prefab modular construction: permanent, and relocatable.
According to Modular, permanent modular construction, or PMT, uses offsite and lean manufacturing techniques to deliver sustainable construction. This allows the construction of single story or multi-story buildings in modular style, where sections are delivered one at a time. These modules may be either integrated into existing construction on-site, or they can stand alone. Often, this leads to finished buildings that have higher quality construction and time efficiency than buildings built only on-site. This is less ideal for a warehouse office, however, which may need to be moved around. Something that would probably not be relocated, such as an apartment building, can make use of this technology, while mobile small businesses may want something less permanent for their campuses.
By contrast, relocatable buildings are partly or completely assembled structures that can be reused or repurposed more than once, and can even be transported to various building sites as needed, such as on the backs of large truck trailers or on trains. Medical clinics, schools, sales centers, and construction site offices, not to mention a warehouse office, can all take advantage of this mobility, or any other client that needs temporary office or work space delivered. They can be reconfigured and relocated for minimal cost, and instead of being bound by real estate, they are installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines and any local code requirements. Some clients whose business often moves, such as a small construction company, could make good use of relocatable building technology, and even if the business grows into having a larger and more permanent HQ, relocatable offices can be set up near construction projects as soon as they start, giving the company local access to the site and everything happening there.