Prefabricated Modular Building Systems

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Nowadays, people are more interested in modular buildings because these buildings are environment-friendly and highly customizable. 

However, these are not the only reason why prefabricated modular building systems are becoming more popular day by day, there are thousands more. 

In this article, you are going to know what modular construction is, what the types are, what benefits and drawbacks they have, and everything you need to know.

Also, there’s an FAQ section that will answer the most-asked questions so that you leave the page without any further confusion. Sounds promising? Well, you can count on us.

Prefabricated Modular Building Systems

What are Prefabricated Modular Building Systems? Basic Understanding

Maybe you have seen people using ‘modular’ and ‘prefabricated’ interchangeably but the two terms are not the same. Before you feel more confused, we are going to explain what’s what. 

But, to have a crystal clear idea about prefabricated modular construction, you need to know what prefab (the short form of prefabrication) does mean in the first place. The concept is pretty easy to catch. 

Prefab is the process when prefabricated building manufacturers manufacture the components of your building in a factory before installing them at your building site. 

And, modular construction, is the most popular type of prefabricated construction

So, it’s basically an off-site construction process that offers you a higher speed of delivery and overall less expenditure. Even a single module can be the entire building itself requiring minimal site work.

The two key factors that drive a lot of big industries to embrace off-site modular construction are the high construction demand and a severe shortage of skilled laborers.


Types of Modular Construction Methods 

Permanent Modular Structures (PMC) and Relocatable Buildings are the two primary categories of modular constructions (RB). The two categories also have some points in common and in contrast.

The first one is a sustainable and innovative construction method that utilizes off-site techniques. The highlightable characteristics of PMC structures are:

  • PMC is installed for long-term use. 
  • PMC structures are as durable as conventional buildings. They can last as long as conventional buildings. 
  • They are generally constructed with steel, concrete, and wood. 
  • People consider PMC when they want to remain in a particular location for a long time.
  • PMC buildings offer you countless design and layout choices.
  • PMC buildings take more time to construct. 

About relocatable or temporary buildings, they comply with particular state regulations or applicable codes. They are generally utilized for sales centers, construction site offices, schools, medical clinics, and places where the building meets a temporary space need.


Here are the key characteristics of RB structures:

  • People consider installing RB for a shorter duration like for a few years. 
  • They are durable enough for withstanding several installations and relocations. 
  • Since temporary buildings are reinstallable, they are made of wood. Because you know that wood is lightweight as well as easier to transport.
  • Quick construction is a suitable word for temporary buildings, they don’t take much time to construct. 
  • They offer fewer layout and design choices. 

Since both of the types offer different features, you can easily go for the one which fits your needs the most.   

Benefits and Drawbacks of Prefabricated Modular Construction

Perhaps you can already guess that there are countless compelling reasons why big industries tend to embrace modular constructions nowadays. 

Here, we’ve compiled some benefits and drawbacks of the construction, let’s check them out. 

Benefits of Prefabricated Modular Constructions

  • This is an eco-friendly process. When you go for a modular construction system, there will be less material waste at both the job site and the factory. 
  • There are countless designs and customization possibilities.
  • ‘Quality construction’ this word is perfectly applicable to modular building systems. Because the building components in a factory setting allow you to have a more consistent quality because of uniform construction processes. 
  • Onsite laborers can provide safer and more efficient service in prefab modular constructions. 
  • There’s no risk of weather delays in the prefab modular construction process. Since the modules are fabricated inside a controlled environment, no risky weather conditions can affect the construction process. 
  • You don’t need a huge space to store materials. I mean, think about a site that’s really tight on space. You’ll face difficulty while moving and staging the materials here and there, right? Prefab modular construction rubs off these problems. 
  • Last but definitely not least, the prefab modular building system offers lower labor costs. 

Drawbacks of Prefabricated Modular Constructions

  • Prefab modular construction requires a higher amount of complex decisions. To get the job properly done, you need to consult engineers, architects, and contractors to know all the complexities of modular fabrications. 
  • There are at least a few transportation risks in prefab modular construction. 
  • Since every project has to meet local, state, and federal laws, the overall approval process can be complicated.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can You Combine Modular and Conventional Construction?

Answer: Yes, you can construct the building entirely of modules or you may keep a part of conventional construction as well. It’s up to your choice.


Question: How long do modular constructions last?

Answer: It depends on which type you go for. PMCs last longer than RBs. However, if you just want a basic comparison with conventional constructions, then modular can last for decades.


Question: What are modular units?

Answer: The sections that are attached together for making a prefabricated house or building are called modular units.


Question: Is prefab modular construction cheaper than stick-built homes?

Answer: yes, this is a cheaper option by 10-15% compared to stick-built homes. 


By now, you know every necessary information regarding prefabricated modular building systems. 

Since we left no stone unturned to discuss every relevant part of modular constructions, hopefully, you can decide now which construction system to choose. However, no matter which one you choose, make sure the advantages overweigh the drawbacks of your chosen method.

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