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Modular buildings and modular homes are sectional prefabricated buildings, or houses, that consist of multiple sections called modules. "Modular" is a method of construction (v. "stick-built" and other methods such as off-site construction. The modules are six sided boxes constructed in a remote facility, then delivered to their intended site of use. Using a crane, the modules are set onto the building's foundation and joined together to make a single residential, or commercial, building. The modules can be placed side-by-side, end-to-end, or stacked up to 6 stories in height, allowing a wide variety of configurations and styles in the building layout.
Modular buildings, also called prefabricated buildings, differ from mobile homes, which are also called manufactured homes, in two ways. First, modular homes do not have axles or a frame, meaning that they are typically transported to their site by means of flat-bed trucks. Secondly, modular buildings must conform to all local building codes for their proposed use, while mobile homes, made in the United States, are required to conform to federal codes governed by HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). There are some residential modular buildings that are built on a steel frame (referred to as on-frame modular) that do meet local building codes and are considered modular homes, rather than mobile homes.
Modular buildings are often priced lower than their site-built counterparts, for a variety of reasons. Manufacturers cite the following reasons for the typically lower cost/price of these dwellings: Speed of construction/faster return on investment. Modular construction allows for the building and the site work to be completed simultaneously, reducing the overall completion schedule by as much as 50%. Indoor construction. Assembly is independent of weather, which increases work efficiency and avoids damaged building material. Favorable pricing from suppliers. Large-scale manufacturers can effectively bargain with suppliers for discounts on materials. Ability to service remote locations. Particularly in countries in which potential markets may be located far from industrial centers, such as Australia, there can be much higher costs to build a site-built house in a remote area or an area experiencing a construction boom such as mining towns. Modular homes can be built in major towns and sold to regional areas. Low waste. With the same plans being constantly built, the manufacturer has records of exactly what quantity of materials are needed for a given job. While waste from a site-built dwelling may typically fill several large dumpsters, construction of a modular dwelling generates much less waste. Environmentally friendly construction process. Modular construction reduces waste and site disturbance compared to site-built structures. Environmental benefits for used modular buildings. Modular buildings contain 100% reusable components. This means you have the ability to take the building down and relocate it. Should a company's needs change, the modular room can be moved and they never lose their original investment. Pre-owned modular buildings in particular are recognised by the UK Government as being extremely environmentally friendly compared with an equivalent new manufactured building. When a used modular building is relocated with minimal alterations, then the amount of energy used is approximately 3% of the energy that is required to manufacture a new equivalent modular building when minimal alterations are made. The reason for this is that the embodied energy contained within a modular building is transportable and is locked within the fabric of the building Flexibility. Conventional buildings can be difficult to extend, however with a modular building you can simply add sections, or even entire floors Healthier. Because modular homes are built in a factory, the materials are stored indoors in a controlled environment, eliminating the risk of mold, mildew, rust, and sun damage that can often lead to human respiratory problems. Traditional site-built homes are always at risk from these threats.
According to manufacturers, modular homes are designed to be stronger than traditional homes by, for example, replacing nails with screws, adding glue to joints, and using 10-20% more lumber than conventional housing. This is to help the modules maintain their structural integrity as they are transported on trucks to the construction site; however, it is difficult to predict the final building strength since the modules need to endure transportation stresses that traditional homes never experience.