- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 29 May 2019
Construction Problems Avoided By Using A Modular Approach
Modular construction is quickly becoming the a popular method of construction in the UK. It is a fast, cost-effective and efficient method of development that is revolutionising the way that the world builds. Here we discuss the construction problems that can be avoided by using a modular approach.
Traditional on-site construction follows a linear construction method, meaning every step needs to be completed before the next one can begin. All construction is carried out onsite and can be affected by several factors, including the weather and labour inefficiencies. With so many elements to coordinate, an issue with just one part can affect the entire build schedule. As a result, traditional construction projects regularly overrun.
For example, concrete is a stable material in the construction industry. It’s sturdy and durable, but it is also a time-consuming material. Concrete structures can take months to develop due to custom engineering. Preparation for the concrete construction then needs to be carried out, materials procured, and specialised labourers and appropriate machinery sourced. The approval and preparation process alone can take months.
Modular building projects use prefabricated elements that are assembled in a factory and transported to the site entirely or mostly complete. Allowing critical aspects of a build to run concurrently. While modular buildings are being constructed away from the site, foundation work can be carried out at the same time. The resulting building can be completed up to 50% quicker.
 Impact on business
Carrying out construction work on the site of your business can cause significant disruption to day-to-day running and can potentially result in a loss of income. Building off-site, 80% of the construction activity is done away from the business location, and the modular buildings are transported to the site flat-packed and ready to build. Meaning there is far less disruption and noise - significantly reducing the impact physically and financially.
Traditional building materials and methods are in general not eco-friendly. Concrete is not an environmentally friendly material, either to make, or to use, or even to dispose of. Paints used often contain damaging hydrocarbons and solvents, and plastics and composite timbers are also commonplace.
Modular constructions can be kinder to the environment using eco-friendly and recycled building materials. Modular buildings are made to specification and approached with eco-friendly, sustainable design at the core.
Modular buildings can be very efficient in comparison to traditional constructions. Modular constructions can exceed the standard building regulations requirements by enhanced insulation. The materials used for internal walls improve sound insulation and fire-proofing, and the building structures are extremely airtight which ensures their energy-efficiency.
Research carried out by WRAP has stated that off-site construction can reduce on-site waste by up to 90%. Modular buildings are constructed within a factory, and away from site meaning, the amount of waste that is produced can be significantly reduced as modules are built directly to spec using Computer Aided Manufacturing. The modular approach also reduces the project’s carbon footprint.
 Improved health and safety
The need to work at height can be eliminated as the main part of a modular structure is constructed off-site within a controlled factory environment following strict procedures which have been proven to improve safety.
 About this article
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Design for deconstruction.
- Design for deconstruction, BRE modular show house.
- Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).
- Futuro House.
- Kit house.
- Modern methods of construction.
- Modular buildings in the educational sector.
- Off-site construction.
- Off site, on track.
- Off-site prefabrication of buildings: A guide to connection choices.
- Open source architectural plans for modular buildings.
- Plug and play skyscrapers.
- Prefabricated structural panels.
- Self build home.
- Structure relocation.
- Student accommodation.
- Types of building.
- Y:Cube development in Mitcham.
Featured articles and news
A real deal – at last?
How does anastylosis help in the reconstructing of ancient monuments?
More than just aesthetic and historic values and meanings.
An exciting and novel collaboration between the RIBA and the SPAB.
Republic of Ireland updates to planning and development.
The different types of pile foundation.
Achieving a net-zero carbon UK by 2050.
Responding to an invitation to tender.
Statutory instruments laid in Parliament to amend the Climate Change Act.
How will we pay for infrastructure post-Brexit after EIB has gone?
What can we look forward to in the next few decades?