Modular building methods are gaining traction fast in the UK for a wide range of reasons. Modular buildings are recognised as being more energy-efficient and also offering savings in terms of construction time, as well as providing a faster and more streamlined approach.
Other important benefits include improved worker safety and often higher quality and consistency of workmanship. What’s more, the methods can be utilised for construction projects across a wide range of sectors, from education to sport and retail. In general, on-site schedules are shorter; modular building methods can reduce construction programmes by up to a third, a vital consideration for many sectors.
So is it more sustainable?
But how about the green and sustainable contributions made by modular building? We know that traditional construction methods cause significant environmental issues in terms of carbon emissions. Indeed, recent reports have suggested that in terms of environmental considerations, it is far more sustainable to repurpose buildings rather than demolish and rebuild.
There are benefits and challenges on both sides. Life cycle research suggests that on average, modular buildings can provide a better life cycle performance. On average, they perform better in terms of energy consumption.
The companies who operate in this field are successfully combining the latest technologies with the use of sustainable materials, looking closely at the environmental impact of their projects to design in improved performance.
Saving on materials and reducing waste
More traditional building methods use extra building materials which can lead to the generation of increased waste. Modular bays built in a factory are designed to tighter tolerances with less waste, much of which can be effectively reused or recycled in–house, reducing pressure on landfills.
More controlled factory production methods, subject to established levels of quality control and less subject to weather variances on site are more likely to achieve industry standards, saving money and resources.
Modular building companies are successfully combining good design and aesthetics with high-performance components, achieving more accurate construction methods, with improved levels of insulation and energy efficiency.
Choose the right modular building partner
Experienced modular building specialists understand their materials and built environments and have an important role to play in the design and planning process. Over insulation can create as many issues as under insulation; the objective is to achieve the right balance to ensure that the building envelope optimises heat gain and loss.
Air conditioning systems can enhance this, and some end users are also considering more energy-efficient options such as air source heat pumps. These work well in terms of sustainability but are often less effective in terms of cooling capabilities in warmer weather. In some cases, retrospective fitting of air conditioning units has been necessary to achieve the right end result for user comfort.
Create and recycle
Perhaps most importantly, modular buildings can be recycled or repurposed. The individual modules can be moved and re-used, or even added to, to provide more space and facilities. This is the ultimate objective; there’s no need to demolish and rebuild, simply re-think your configurations.
Modular building has come a long way. Many of today’s designs can rival even the most creative traditionally-built architectural designs. Modular does not mean less imaginative or less creative. It means high quality, reduced cost and reduced environmental impact.