Modular buildings have had something of a bad press in the past. From the infamous (though now iconic) prefab designed to solve the housing crisis resulting from bombing in the Second World War, to the images of shivering children being educated in leaky porta-cabins. Modular buildings today have come a long way from this haphazard approach to infrastructure and offer a highly flexible, cost effective solution to a range of (urgent) accommodation problems.
Today the term modular buildings is used to describe the descendants of those less than attractive short term (occasionally surprisingly permanent solutions) and today’s “prefabs” come with at least the potential to provide very long term accommodation. Whereas the traditional construction methods included a large amount of glue and much greater amounts of hope and stiff upper lips, the modern version can be delivered and installed in record time and has a natural tendency to remain damp free and stay upright. For those seeking to “go large” on the modular building front the possibilities are almost endless. Admittedly you may not get The Shard, but you can order an “off-the-shelf” solution incorporating offices, canteens, conference rooms, kitchens, stores, showers and toilet facilities. While smoking shelters don’t come as standard you can even add a few around the site as required.
Not so temporary solutions
While it appears that the government has finally begun to recognize the need for greater input in stimulating the economy by opening opportunities for the vital construction sector, some legislation and considerable controversy will need to be negotiated before many new projects can go ahead. In the meantime, for those with building sites to manage or schools to run, the short/medium term solution can be provided by a modular unit. While the government hopes to cut through the planning red tape that hampers many sites, temporary buildings (which look anything but temporary) can often fill the gap in the meantime.
Modular buildings, or prefabricated buildings, have come something of a full circle in recent years. In addition to the use for temporary or site accommodation, all things modular are now being viewed as the permanent solution to many issues facing the UK in terms of infrastructure and housing. Raines Court, in Stoke Newington, was one of the first modern-day prefab housing schemes to be constructed – though on more sophisticated and stylish lines than its predecessors. The multi-story modular block created a simple cost effective solution to pressing housing needs for the local authority, coming a la Blue Peter and taking no time to install. Other sectors include the health care, construction and education sectors, where the lower costs involved in using modular constructions combined with the “building regs compliant in a box” approach can offer simple, fast and effective solutions to normally difficult problems.
There are two obvious benefits to using modular buildings, as opposed to the less modular kind. The first is cost, on average the build (including planning and development costs) is likely to come in at a much lower figure than a more traditional build. For cash strapped individuals, organizations and businesses, this is a crucial consideration in these challenging economic times. Regardless of the state of the economy, installing a modular building offers a cost effective solution for a range of purposes. The second big consideration is the speed in which a building can be delivered and assembled. This secondary factor can offer attractive solutions for a vast range of problems; whether it’s temporary site accommodation for the construction industry, or a more permanent solution to expand existing premises the modular building offers excellent solutions. In a time when cutting overheads can make all the difference between success and failure, a modular solution to premises, offices and facilities can make all the difference.
Modular units have come full circle in recent years, from the notorious, if iconic pre-fab of the post war years, to stylish, simple cost effective building solutions that don’t compromise on looks or functionality.