Modular or prefabricated construction: a growing trend
Modular or prefabricated construction involves building sections of a structure or building off-site – in a controlled factory environment – and transporting it to the final site for assembly. This approach can help reduce the cost, time and risks associated with traditional construction. As well as reducing disruption to neighbours.
All these factors make this type of construction very attractive and advisable. Especially for large-scale projects such as hotels, residences, hospitals and clinics. However, it is also a suitable and appropriate solution for single-family houses or flats.
In this article we will take a closer look at what modular or prefabricated construction is, what its advantages are and how you can take advantage of it for your next project.
What is modular or prefabricated construction?
It is important to mention that when we talk about modular construction or prefabricated construction we are not referring to exactly the same thing, as there is a subtle but fundamental difference.
While in both cases the construction is carried out in the factory (off-site) and then the structure is moved to the place where it will be assembled, in the case of prefabricated construction (e.g. prefabricated houses) they are transported complete (all parts assembled) to be installed on the land, lot or plot.
On the other hand, a modular construction – which can be either a modular house, a modular kitchen or a modular bathroom – is transported in sections to the site where it will be assembled and there it is assembled and the final installation takes place.
Benefits and advantages of modular or prefabricated construction
Despite the aforementioned difference, the benefits and advantages of these two types of construction are similar.
The cost savings in modular or prefabricated construction are 30-40%, mainly due to labour cost savings.
Shorter project duration
Both modular and prefabricated construction often result in shorter project duration, due to the fact that prefabrication is done off-site, which decreases production times.
A shorter construction period also means less noise and less disturbance to neighbours.
High quality buildings
Modular or prefabricated construction is executed under controlled conditions, which means less risk of defects.
Also, contrary to what many people believe, this type of construction also allows the use of high quality materials, favouring and guaranteeing the quality of the finished product.
Design flexibility and greater customisation
Prefabricated module solutions, such as those offered by prestigious companies like Hydrodiseño, allow for great design flexibility and customisation, as well as better use of space, thanks to the use of various modern techniques, such as 3D modelling.
Modular or prefabricated construction can help reduce CO2 emissions through the use of prefabricated materials that require less energy and water to produce, also reducing waste generation.
The materials used for both modular buildings and prefabricated houses are mainly three: steel, wood and concrete.
Steel’s flexibility allows for a wide variety of designs, configurations and sizes to suit almost any situation or requirement. It is also energy efficient and durable.
Modular or prefabricated construction using steel can be used for a wide variety of projects such as warehouses, schools, medical facilities, hotels, etc.
Wood is a lightweight and easily malleable material, which makes it an essential part of this type of construction.
Modular or prefabricated buildings use wood in various elements such as beams, panels, frames, etc.
Concrete provides a strong structure that is ideal for the structural reinforcement of permanent modular buildings.
Concrete is widely used as a base material in this type of construction, thanks to its many advantages such as sound insulation, fire resistance, durability and energy savings.
Prefabricated modular bathroom solutions are becoming increasingly popular as a way to reduce the cost and time required to build bathrooms for both large-scale and individual projects.
Prefabricated bathrooms can be installed in new buildings, or used in renovations and extensions. Prefabricated bathrooms are most commonly used in buildings such as hospitals and hotels.
One of the advantages of modular or prefabricated bathroom construction is that when installed within existing buildings they can be built to the dimensions of any given space, from very small spaces to larger areas.
Prefabricated modular kitchens are also becoming very popular. They can often result in cost savings of up to 50% compared to site-built kitchens.
These types of kitchens have been around for a long time, but it is only now, with increasingly complex and higher quality designs, that they are gaining in popularity.
They are usually made of materials such as steel, wood, plastic or aluminium. However, there are also some modular kitchens that are made from environmentally friendly and sustainable materials, such as bamboo or hemp.
Modular or prefabricated kitchen construction is often of very high quality, and allows for a great deal of customisation, with a design and finish that can compete with high-end kitchens manufactured on site.
Costs of modular or prefabricated construction
When it comes to the costs of a modular or prefabricated construction project, there are several factors to keep in mind. These include the type of materials used, the site conditions, the size of the building or structure to be constructed, etc.
Many companies offer excellent value for money. This is especially true for large-scale projects where there can be a reduction in costs due to economies of scale.
Generally speaking, modular or prefabricated construction often offers significant cost reductions.
Modular or prefabricated construction: Is it a good option?
Prefabricated modular construction offers many advantages over traditional construction, such as saving time and money. And, as we have seen, this type of construction can be used in single-family homes to build prefabricated modular kitchens or bathrooms, as well as in large projects such as hotels, residences or hospitals. If you are planning a new project, modular or prefabricated construction may be an option worth considering.