Commercial Modular Buildings: Examples, Process & Benefits

Modular construction has gone mainstream. According to the Modular Building Institute, the business has doubled in size to $8 billion over the last five years in the U.S. As more and more developers become accustomed to the process, commercial modular buildings are expected to increase. 

From portable commercial buildings to modular retail stores, modular construction has the potential for industry disruption. If you’re looking for a fast, cost-effective, and efficient construction method for your new business premise or even rental homes, a prefabricated building may be among your options to consider. Here’s why. 

What are Commercial Modular Buildings?

Modular construction refers to a process in which prefabricated buildings consist of repeated volumetric sections called modules. The process involves assembling sections away from the building site, then delivering them to the intended location. Modules can be placed side to side, stacked end to end, or a variety of other configurations and styles. 

After placement, these sections are joined together with inter-module connections to form the overall building structure. Sometimes, the entire building may be only one module almost completely put together and then delivered to the building site. These structures are often able to be transported to their destination by truck trailers and sometimes placed using a crane. 

The terms modular and prefabricated are often erroneously used interchangeably. Commercial mobile buildings are part of the prefab building family, but that doesn’t mean they are the same. Because they undergo the prefabricated construction process, all modular buildings are prefabricated buildings, but not all prefabricated buildings are modular buildings. The primary distinction is that some elements of a prefabricated building can be built in parts other than full volumetric modules. 

Examples of Commercial Modular Buildings

The dynamism of modular construction makes it an ideal option for a wide variety of use cases across different industries. It can also be used for long-term, temporary, or permanent facilities such as temporary retail buildings or construction offices. 

Other examples of commercial modular buildings include: 

Modular Office Spaces 

A commercial modular office is a sustainable solution to a business’s infrastructure issues. These can be built on an existing property as a separate outbuilding, an extension of current facilities, or even as a rooftop structure on top of your current building. 

Prefabricated Retail Buildings 

Rapid growth and change mean the need for fast and efficient construction of new space. This is why modular structures like temporary retail buildings and portable retail stores are growing in popularity. 

Modular Classrooms 

Today’s modular classrooms are affordable and built to last longer than stick-built construction units. 

Modular Restaurants and Diners 

These offer consumers numerous benefits over their traditional stick-framed counterparts: cost savings, eco-friendliness, and a distinctive aesthetic appearance. 

Modular Bathrooms

Modular restrooms have multiple applications. Places that frequently use these construction options include hotels, multifamily housing units, dormitories, hospitals, and office buildings. And these commercial uses are only the beginning of modular bathrooms’ applications. In many cases, those types of construction use shipping containers as free-standing facilities.

The Commercial Modular Building Process

Modular building construction differs greatly from traditional methods of construction. The process can be broken down into three stages: 

1. Pre-Construction

In this phase, the initial concept is formulated and all design decisions— from size and layout to finishings, are made. This process is usually done with 3D architectural and engineering modification technology.  Once conceptualized, the designs have to be approved by the client and any regulating authorities for the necessary building permits to be issued. 

2. Construction

The modular construction processes are on-site and off-site. As in traditional building, the final site of the structure is prepared. Work is done on the foundation, sublevels and any support platforms needed. 

The modular building is assembled off-site simultaneously. Fabrication takes place in a controlled site, where the structure is put together. Exterior features and interior finishings are completed.

3. Transportation and Installation

The modules are transported to the final destination and assembled into a building. Since most of the construction work has already been done, the final installation is fast and fairly simple. Units are placed into the foundation by a crane as they are secured. Electrical and mechanical system connection is then completed, as well as features such as utility connections, stairs, and ramps. 

Commercial Modular Building Benefits

Prefabrication is fast becoming the construction method of choice in the U.S. for numerous reasons. Here’s why you should consider that modular retail office or house. 

  1. The process is fast and efficient. Modular building projects can be completed 30-50% quicker than traditional construction methods. 
  2. Off-site construction ensures better construction management and less disruption. Because the majority of the work is done elsewhere, normal business operations can continue smoothly. 
  3. Buildings are customizable. Modular structures can be modified to fit virtually any purpose. You can create the perfect design, whether you need to add a modular storefront to an already-existing building or build new offices. 
  4. Modular Buildings are portable. Because of their smart design, you can “pack up” and move your building to a different site at any time. 
  5. The construction process is more eco-friendly. Recycled materials such as shipping containers are popular in modular construction, while off-site construction ensures less waste. 
  6. Modular construction is very cost-effective compared to traditional building methods. 
  7. Modular buildings are durable. Modular construction uses the most durable materials to ensure that your structure is built to last.

The Smart Building Choice

By choosing to build modular you’ll benefit from a fast, cost-effective, and efficient process with environmentally friendly materials and durability built-in. Whatever unique commercial concept you have in mind, BMarko Structures will help you use shipping container conversions to make it happen. Contact us to learn more.


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