Permanent or Temporary Buildings? How Modular Buildings Can Do Both

Permanent or Temporary Buildings? How Modular Buildings Can Do Both

calendar icon December 24, 2019

Have you ever held a meeting in your office’s kitchen because the conference room was booked? Have you cancelled classes because your school was under construction?

Without enough space, you can’t grow your business or inspire your students. If construction isn’t in your budget, what are your next steps?

The good news is, a modular building system is a flexible construction option that’s a lot more affordable. Whether you need temporary buildings or permanent structures, a modular building can help.

Read on to learn how a modular building can meet your needs for a commercial structure.

What is a Modular Building?

A modular building is a structure that’s mostly built in an offsite factory. Construction workers build the modules, or sections, according to standard building codes. Then, the sections arrive at the building site and a construction crew puts them together.

Modular construction is much faster than the traditional building process. This is largely because the builders work inside of a facility.

They don’t have to contend with the weather, which is notorious for extending construction timelines. That means construction takes weeks instead of months.

Compared to traditional construction, modular systems are a lot more affordable. Modular buildings are made in a factory environment, so manufacturers offer a specific selection of floor plans. Since so many of the modules are identical, the manufacturers can order supplies in bulk which brings the prices down.

Types of Modular Building Systems

There are two distinct types of modular buildings: moveable and permanent structures.

1. Moveable Modular Buildings

Moveable buildings are temporary, which is why they’re also portable, re-locatable, or temporary buildings. Since they’re not meant to be permanent, they aren’t typically laid on cement foundations. The modular manufacturer just has to assemble it when the unit arrives at the site.

Unfortunately, moveable modular units lose value over time because they’re not permanent real estate. Instead, they’re classified as personal property, just like a car or boat. They don’t build equity over time like a traditional building would.

You can buy or lease a temporary building which gives you a lot of price flexibility. You can also choose a used modular building for an even more cost-effective solution.

Moveable buildings have an affordable up-front price and quick turnaround time, so it’s a great solution if you need something fast.

2. Permanent Modular Buildings

This type of modular building is meant to last, just like traditional stick-built construction. These buildings sit on permanent foundations.

There are also more style and design options with permanent modulars. In fact, they are so customizable that they can blend in with existing buildings.

Since this type of modular building is permanently installed, you’ll gain equity just like stick-build constructed building. If you plan to use your building for the foreseeable future, a permanent building will give you the best return on investment.

Uses for Temporary vs. Permanent Modular Structures

Whether you need a temporary construction office, disaster relief shelter, or a permanent addition for your school, modular buildings can do it all.

Example Uses of Temporary Buildings

Given the nature of the construction industry, job-site offices need to be temporary. Once the project finishes, you can move your office to the next job site.

Temporary units are also great for disaster relief. They provide shelter and storage space and since they’re constructed off-site, they won’t add to the disruption of the area. If your office is damaged during a disaster, a temporary building helps you carry on business as usual.

They’re also an affordable way to create temporary classrooms, libraries, or daycare spaces. Modular buildings are helpful if you need a place to continue lessons during construction on permanent school buildings.

Example Uses of Permanent Buildings

Since permanent modular buildings don’t move, they have the same function as any other permanent building. Plus, you can customize the design to fit with your original structure.

Permanent modular buildings are great for any expansions or additions you need. You could add a daycare center to your church, expand your medical office, or add a new conference room to your business.

The possibilities are practically endless. You can add a new space in a fraction of the time it would take to build something with traditional construction.

How to Use Modular Units as Temporary Buildings

Before you can install your temporary modular building, you need to have somewhere to put it. The land lot where it will sit also needs to go through some preparation.

Temporary structures don’t typically need full cement foundations, but they do need to sit on level ground. Once the ground has been grated off, the building sits on top of piers built from masonry blocks. These buildings also have steel straps, which are drilled into the ground.

While the building manufacturer is in charge of the building installation, it still needs to pass inspection. Local permits and building codes still apply to temporary structures.

How to Make a Modular Building Permanent

A permanent modular building follows the same process as a traditionally-built structure. That means that you’ll also need an engineer to oversee the design process.

The first major step is to pour a foundation. Depending on your needs and local building codes, it could be a cement slab or a full foundation with a crawl space or basement. Luckily, the crew can build the foundation while the module is being built, which will save construction time.

Just like any other permanent building, a modular structure needs to follow state and local building codes and pass inspection.

Start Your Modular Building Project Today

If you’re shopping around for temporary buildings or permanent structures, a modular system can do both.

Modular building may be faster than traditional construction, but you still need the help of an expert. At Alternative Building Solutions, we’ll help guide you through the entire process from planning a budget to the on-site installation.

Interested in a commercial modular building? Contact us today for more information.

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