Keep an open mind.
That’s the lesson we learn from some unexpected situations where modular construction and temporary facilities have been the best solution.
Rapid construction, standardized materials, factory fabrication and significant cost savings with high quality are well-known advantages of modular. And the most typical temporary structure use cases are easy to imagine. But there’s more to our industry than prefab housing, offices, construction trailers, and overflow classroom spaces.
Here are a couple of unusual applications that may stimulate your imagination. Can you think of some more?
“We’d love to expand, but we can’t afford a disruption.”
This happens more often than you might think: an organization must maintain current service capability while they relocate, build, or upgrade their new permanent facility.
Where space is tight, short-term real estate is unavailable, and plans are ambitious, these goals can end up in sharp conflict. Here’s an unexpected opportunity for modular or temporary structures to “fill in” while construction proceeds.
Office, manufacturing, residential or service spaces can be delivered completely furnished, with environmental controls and full communications and connectivity built in.
Once delivered and situated (shown here via crane lift), staff or residents can move right back in, with a service switchover measured in days.
“Business is booming, that’s why we’re shutting down”
Another scenario is precisely the opposite: A current facility might need to close due to a project entering a new phase. Or a structure may have reached the end of its useful life. Yet in the interim, demands for its services or the logistics of the closure process might create a temporary need for even more work space.
Building permanent facilities for this short-term need isn’t feasible—but a temporary or modular structure may be a perfect solution. Unlike site-built structures, once the need ends these modular or temporary facilities can be removed and repurposed, and a large portion of the costs can be recovered.
“Nope—you can’t touch anything.”
Here’s a not-so-common situation where permanent construction is not feasible or may be disallowed: protected environments.
Historical structures may prohibit any permanent modifications (both interior and exterior). Fragile ecologies such as wetlands, shorelines, prairies, or rainforests may have similar strict limitations.
Both are ideally suited to a prefabricated solution.
In these cases, modular is ideally suited to creating usable spaces with a “light footprint:” little-to-no permanent impact on the surrounding structures or ecosystems.
For logistically challenging sites where there’s a need to avoid permanent construction or minimize impact on the existing environment, modular can be an effective solution.