A Guide to Modular Buildings

Table of Contents

  1. Modular Construction Defined
  2. Types of Modular Buildings
  3. Major Applications of Modular Construction
  4. Modular Construction by Speed Space




The commercial and industrial construction sector is constantly faced with an array of challenges. Time constraints, tight budgets, cost control, and inclement weather are just some of the hurdles that construction companies must overcome to ensure successful delivery of a single project. Additionally, construction professionals are under increasing pressure to maintain quality at lower costs, with minimal impact on the environment.

It has therefore become apparent that significant improvements need to be made to the conventional construction process, changing the way in which projects are delivered to meet the growing needs of the modern day client. Fortunately, the rapidly evolving modular building industry has helped many professionals overcome the shortcomings of traditional construction by improving construction efficiency, increasing cost-effectiveness, and enhancing building flexibility.


Modular Construction Defined

modular buildingsModular construction – also known as prefabricated construction – is the process in which the sections of a building are constructed off-site, under plant-controlled conditions, for subsequent transportation and assembly on-site.

The individual prefabricated sections of the building, called modules, are designed and engineered in accordance with the same building codes and standards as conventional buildings. The sections are then transported to the construction site where they are erected and joined together to assemble the final structure.

Modular buildings offer very few limitations. This type of construction can be performed with the same materials used in traditional construction, including steel, concrete, and timber. Modules can also be assembled to achieve almost any building configuration or floor plan layout, from single-story housing units to multi-story commercial buildings.


How does modular construction answer the challenges posed by traditional construction?

The modern construction industry is plagued by numerous obstacles. In many countries, the shortage of skilled on-site labor has been a major constraint on many projects. This lack of resource has made it difficult to keep up with the demands for growing infrastructure. The traditional construction model is also quickly becoming unsustainable due to its inherent inefficiencies and rising construction costs.

Owners are losing money on projects. Architects and engineers are not getting the kind quality they expect. Meanwhile, contractors continually have to bear increasing risk and financial burden.

Modular construction addresses these shortcomings by taking construction away from the site and into the factory. Repetitive assembly line-like manufacturing allows for better management of resources and materials. The controlled factory settings also lessen the probability of adverse and unforeseen circumstances often encountered on the construction site.


What are the benefits of modular construction?

Quick Turnarounds

One of the major benefits of modular construction is its significantly faster construction time. The Constructing the building modules happens independent of on-site work such as site preparation and foundation works, allowing construction activities to take place concurrently. This is in contrast to traditional construction where work is typically performed sequentially.

Cost Reduction

The cost reductions realized by modular construction can come from several sources. First, faster modular constructionconstruction usually equates to lower costs. Also, modular construction requires significantly less on-site labor and construction vehicles, resulting in considerably reduced labor and equipment costs.

Another avenue where modular construction saves money is in waste reduction. The controlled nature of prefabrication enables contractors to optimize purchases and store materials safely away from potential theft or damage risks caused by prolonged environmental exposure. Furthermore, modular construction also requires a smaller design team, reducing the costs associated with engineers, architects, and project managers.

Flexibility in Use

The usage of modular buildings can also be easily changed by disassembling, rearranging, or relocating the prefabricated modules. This reduces the demand for additional labor and raw materials and minimizes the energy expended to reconfigure the building to meet new requirements.

Environmental Benefits

Modular buildings are also widely regarded for their significantly cleaner on-site installation. Conventional construction activities such as mixing, grinding, cutting, traversal of heavy equipment, and waste disposal can result in destruction and contamination of the job site and surrounding areas. Prefabricated construction requires less on-site labor and fewer vehicles and equipment, thereby minimizing the negative impact on the environment.


Types of Modular Buildings

The versatility of modular construction allows structures of almost any type to be built with very few limitations. Some of the common types of modular buildings include:
modular in-plant offices

In-Plant Offices

The flexibility of modular buildings makes them ideal for in-plant office construction. They can be used to quickly erect workspaces near plants without affecting operations. These prefabricated structures can also be easily rearranged to accommodate workspace expansion.

Exterior and Two-Story Buildings

Modular buildings are designed and engineered to the same building codes and standards as conventional buildings. This makes them capable of withstanding external environmental loads due to seismic activity, extreme winds, and snow. These buildings can also be outfitted with standard features such as thermal windows, insulation, raised floors, and many others.

Restrooms, Locker Rooms, and Break Rooms

Modular buildings can also typically be outfitted with the plumbing fixtures and electrical wiring required for the appropriate application. Modular restrooms, locker rooms, and break rooms are ideal for amusements parks, campgrounds, public functions, sporting events, and other applications where rapid installation is paramount.

Equipment, Pump, & Machine Enclosures

Prefabricated enclosures can be used to protect a variety of sensitive equipment including generators, water pumps, communication equipment, and control panels. They can also be outfitted with specific features such as noise, electrical, and fire insulation; ventilation; and other necessary machinery enclosure requirements.

Medical Buildings & Laboratories

Modular buildings can include essential medical and laboratory features such as air handling and filtration systems, chemical sprinklers, and air curtains. Other amenities, such as restrooms and shower rooms, can also be preinstalled for fast and easy erection at a moment’s notice. Off-site construction allows these buildings to be built under precisely controlled conditions to help meet various stringent medical standards.

Blast Resistant & Bullet Proof Buildings

Where modular buildings are vulnerable to high impact loads due to blasts, vapor cloud emissions, forced entries, pressure vessel ruptures, high-velocity projectiles, and/or security threats, they can be designed to be durable enough to prevent collapse, minimize penetration of debris, and mitigate other types of undesirable failure.

Control Rooms

Modular control rooms offer a spacious solution for housing control equipment and personnel. They can also be designed with noise or other control measures to protect the room’s interior from specific external influences.


Major Applications of Modular Construction

Modular construction can be used to design and construct numerous buildings for a diverse range of applications. Some typical uses of modular buildings in various industries include:


  • Factories
  • Industrial warehouses
  • Workshops
  • Manufacturing facilities


  • Warehouses
  • Storage facilities
  • Apartment buildings
  • Housing units
  • Parking garages
  • Retail buildings
  • Offices

Medical & Healthcare (including Emergency Services)

  • Laboratories
  • Clinics
  • Cleanrooms
  • Medical offices


  • Control rooms
  • Security booths
  • Arsenals
  • Barracks
  • Guard shelters


Modular Construction by Speed Space

Speed Space has been a leading manufacturer of modular buildings and offices for a wide variety of applications for over 30 years. We specialize in custom-built portable buildings, guard houses, in-plant offices, and mobile offices for almost any industry.  Each modular building solution is precisely analyzed and designed by our engineers for safe and efficient operation in each unique situation and environment.


If you would like to learn more about how our modular construction solutions can be used for your building project, feel free to contact our support team or request a quote.