How Modular Construction Is Changing the Construction Industry

Updated: Apr. 13, 2023

Modular construction is a modern solution to an age-old problem, and it's revolutionizing the way the industry operates.

Modular construction has been a hot topic in the construction industry for several years now. Once considered inferior, modular construction is now one of the most important and ground-breaking methods for building offices, temporary structures and homes. It’s truly changing the game.

What Is Modular Construction?

Modular construction is a technique that involves creating most (if not all) of a building in an indoor facility or factory, then delivering it to the job site and assembling it there. In most cases, one structure might consist of multiple modules or “pods.”

The factory might be hundreds of miles from the job site. The buildings are then placed on trucks and transported over highways. Traditional or stick-built homes are typically built piece by piece from the ground up in one location.

Despite their unconventional assembly, modular buildings meet or exceed the same standards as stick-built homes.

Pros of Modular Construction

Modular construction will likely continue growing, and it’s easy to see why. The following are some of the most significant advantages of modular construction.

Faster construction

Modular construction often leads to shorter project times. That’s because module construction at the factory happens while the crew at the job site installs the septic system, pours concrete and lays the foundation. Simultaneous work means faster completion.

Less expensive

Modular construction is typically more efficient than traditional construction. The buildings go up faster with less waste. Trained crews essentially work on an assembly line, often reducing costs significantly for the modular company and the buyer.

Safer

Construction can be dangerous, but less so in a controlled environment. Decking is never slippery. There are always stable stairs to climb instead of rickety ladders. And there aren’t any health concerns due to heat or extreme cold. Plus, machines do a lot of the heavy lifting.

Better controlled

Thunderstorms or blizzards can’t interfere with factory work, and temperature swings are usually relatively minor. This keeps employees safe and comfortable while lessening the chance of trapping moisture in the home during construction. The materials should be dry at all times.

Structures are often better built

Without weather interfering, less can go wrong with modules built in a factory. Teams of quality control personnel check progress along the way.

Cons of Modular Construction

Modular construction certainly has its upsides, but it’s not without drawbacks, as well. The following can’t be ignored.

Lack of customization

Most modular home companies offer a few floor plans for buyers to choose from. But overall, customization is at a minimum. Changing floor plan layouts and other major modifications aren’t even on the table. However, the fixtures and hardware inside the home are often open for discussion.

Property restraints

If the driveway is long and narrow and a truck towing a modular pod can’t get close enough to the site, modular isn’t an option. For these properties, traditional construction might be the only way to go.

Environmental Benefits of Modular Construction

Modular construction’s green nature is a big attraction. It can preserve the environment in the following ways:

Less waste

Lumber scraps, plywood off-cuts, and other materials may be reused on other aspects of the project rather than thrown away. This not only saves money but also prevents deforestation for lumber products. It also keeps building products out of landfills.

Fewer trips to the project site

Some experts believe modular building can prevent up to 90 percent of job site truck deliveries, lessening each home’s carbon footprint. Materials are shipped to the factory instead, and in much larger quantities, requiring far fewer trips than deliveries to a traditional home.

Energy efficiency

Most modular-constructed buildings feature energy-efficient materials and techniques. This includes the insulation, windows, doors, and mechanical systems chosen. While you can still build an efficient traditional home, it’s important to know the modular industry believes in energy efficiency.

Will We See More Modular Construction in the Future?

Yes. The ability to minimize the construction industry’s impact on the environment, coupled with saving money and time, should lead to more modular construction down the road.