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What is modular building?

‘Modular Building’ or ‘Modular Construction’

Often used as a collective term to describe any form of non-traditional construction. In fact there are several different types of non-traditional construction and a ‘modular building’ or more commonly ‘volumetric modular buildings’ are a specific category in their own right. The range of non-traditional construction includes:

Portable buildings or cabins

Smaller and simpler than modular buildings, single-piece cabins are widely used for temporary space needs, particularly as site accommodation for construction companies. Portable cabins can be stacked and linked to form larger complexes, which is useful where space is tight.   

Anti Vandal cabins
Elliott Modular installation

Volumetric Modular Buildings

Where whole ‘modules’ are manufactured in factory-controlled conditions, then transported to site individually, craned into position and put together to form complete buildings. Modules are most frequently made from steel for strength and durability and are sometimes supplied in ‘flat-pack’ form for transport efficiency, before being erected on-site. The level of module internal finish varies according to customer specification, from basic shells to fully fitted-out offices, nurseries, restaurants and living accommodation. Volumetric modular buildings are often low-rise - up to four storeys high, with virtually unlimited floor areas possible, thanks to their lego-like construction design.

Volumetric modular buildings are usually available to hire and buy. 

Hire buildings are simpler, with less customisation available because of their temporary role and need to be re-usable for the provider. Elliott Moduflex and Fireflex are good examples of volumetric modular buildings for hire. A vast range of external customisation options are normally available when buying volumetric modular buildings.  Cladding, render and brick wall treatments, window and glazed ‘curtain walling’ fenestration options, plus ‘traditional’ gable, mono and mansard pitched roofs over and above the default flat roofs standard on volumetric modular buildings.  

Brickclad modular Building
Modular Office

Offsite Construction or ‘Modern Methods of Construction

Offsite Construction is essentially the completion of building components at a different location to where they are permanently sited. It is sometimes known as ‘design and build’ because it usually involves a complete process – from planning, design and production to installation. ‘Post and panel’ and ‘timber frame’ systems are examples of Offsite Construction, which can also utilise volumetric modular systems. Its ‘component’ principles means ‘Offsite Construction’, ‘Modern Methods of Construction’ or ‘System Build’ are normally employed on permanent buildings and are closer to traditional building in methodology. These buildings can’t easily be moved or expanded, unlike volumetric modular buildings. Elliott Offsite Solutions is a leading Offsite Construction manufacturer.      

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