When and Why Modular Part One: Location

Glenn CortIndustry Insights7 Comments

It may be truer than not that in a factory “the sun always shines.”  Certainly it never rains in a factory.  But even if both are taken as truths, these aren’t reasons enough for choosing permanent modular buildings over conventional construction.

In many cases, traditional outdoor methods of construction make perfect sense. Items such as size, scope, complexity, location and access to labor all play a part.   There is much to learn in this area and I question my expertise, but if you stick around long enough and talk to the right people you start to think you should blog about it! The considerations are interesting  so I thought I’d take a shot to provide a checklist  of some of the pros and cons,  whens and whys , of off-site vs. on site construction.

Before doing so, let me clarify that I’m referring to only commercial custom modular structures.  I’m not talking about standardized off the shelf specifications or temporary space and not about panelized or other prefab techniques.  I’m referring to modules that are 90% or more completed at the factory and delivered to a permanent site. Go to www.triumphmodular.com for more into.

Ok, so with all that behind me let start with an oldie but goodie:  location, location, location.   If you are in a dense urban center such as downtown Boston, with logistics galore, prefab makes sense given its speed and predictability.  If you are in a remote place with limited access to labor and materials, modular also makes sense.  I think of this as the extreme location factor.   If you are in the extremes, thinking about construction alternatives like this lines up.

But if you are operating in normal conditions with access to affordable labor and parking spaces for construction vehicles, don’t check the “prefab” box or check the modular neutral box. Use a black pen.

Check back next week for Part Two of the When and Why Modular series: Experience, Speed and Labor

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A graduate of Boston University School of Law (90), Glenn left a legal career for Triumph in 2003. A LEED AP (USGBC) he works with clients primarily in preconstruction to form healthy foundations for successful projects. Glenn advocates for the value proposition in prefabricated forms of construction, believing in the many benefits of “activation space” or “swing space” as well in the “modularization” of permanent building construction. He also enjoys an active curriculum in architecture and building science.