The modern construction industry in the United States is a truly vast one, having a market value over $1 trillion or so. Many construction firms are in operation, building anything from offices and skyscrapers to factories, warehouses, schools, banks, and hospitals. Traditional construction methods are often used, but modular offices are starting to become more common. Modular office buildings are quite efficient to build, and it’s not just offices; modular construction also includes warehouse partitioning systems and the construction of bathrooms and break rooms for a structure, too. What are the benefits of using modular and prefabricated office spaces today, and how do warehouse partitioning systems work?
Modular Construction Done Right
The idea of modular construction is that not everything is built on-site at once. Instead, some rooms are constructed in workshops and factories elsewhere, then brought to the project site and fitted into place like a puzzle piece. Why do this? For one thing, resource efficiency is greatly boosted, and many companies today are eager to cut down on waste of all kinds. At a typical construction zone, entire junk removal trucks need to be borrowed to cart off leftover scraps, but this step can be eliminated when modular rooms are used instead. Inside a factory, the workers may reduce waste materials as much as 90%, according to the UK-based WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme). This includes diverse materials such as bricks, timber, concrete and cement, shrink wrap, wood pallets,and cardboard, and possibly others, too. Leftover materials are easily reclaimed when modular construction is undertaken.
There are other benefits, too. Modular construction is also quick, since all the work is being done in a smaller, indoor space, and construction costs overall may be lowered 9-20%, according to the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia. What is more, construction won’t be hampered by poor weather conditions such as rain, snow, hail, or strong winds, and workers are immune to hazardous cold or heat (many construction workers suffer from heat exhaustion and face the risk of heat stroke). But not indoors.
In 2011, meanwhile, prefab and modular construction methods proved popular for certain commercial applications, according to a survey. Some 49% of respondents reported using this method for making healthcare facilities, 42% cited it for building college dorms, and 42% reported using prefab technology for making manufacturing facilities. Hotels, too, can be built this way; in fact, a Chinese modular construction firm used this method to build a 57-story hotel in just 19 days. Marriott International, for its part, once announced that it would use modular construction methods to build 13% of its North American developments in 2017.
A modular room is easily fitted into the construction zone once it’s delivered, and the room even has utilities such as plumbing and electricity built in, so there is very little maintenance work to do once it’s installed. Such rooms are permanently installed, but mobile modular room options are available, too. Many warehouse offices fit this model, since warehouse managers want a mobile office that can be placed anywhere on the warehouse floor. Construction managers also use these mobile, prefab offices to visit a construction site and oversee the project.
Warehouse Partitioning Systems
On a side note, warehouses are an excellent place for modular technology, and this includes the aforementioned mobile offices, plus warehouse partitioning systems. Why? Warehouses will often change the type, location, and quantity of items on hand, and this means that storage methods should be flexible. Relatively few walls, windows, barriers, or offices in a warehouses are fixed; rather, warehouse partitioning systems can be bought prefabricated, and then set up and moved around as needed. Larger models of prefab warehouse walls may come with windows and doors for employees to use, and these can form temporary offices or work rooms. Similarly, many warehouses are now using mobile storage units for great quantities of stock, so workers can have an item moved to them at convenience, or they can pack something up and have it automatically moved somewhere else for storage. This can cut down on time needed to store or retrieve items, and allows items to be placed somewhere that people cannot easily (or safely) reach. Warehouse efficiency is greatly boosted this way.