Modular buildings and modular homes are prefabricated buildings or houses that consist of repeated sections called modules. “Modular” is a construction method that involves constructing sections away from the building site, then delivering them to the intended site. Installation of the prefabricated sections is completed on site. Prefabricated sections are sometimes placed using a crane. The modules can be placed side-by-side, end-to-end, or stacked, allowing a variety of configurations and styles. After placement, the modules are joined together using inter-module connections, also known as inter-connections. The inter-connections tie the individual modules together to form the overall building structure.
Modular and prefab construction has enjoyed a major movement over the past few years. Construction Dive predicts modular construction will continue to grow by 6.9 percent per year and hit $157 billion by 2023, driven by the lack of skilled labor and affordable and growing material costs.
As the technology supporting off-site constructed modular units improves, we can expect to see a lot more activity in this sector. Many smaller builders have developed innovative, green building designs with this method, increasing their market visibility and boosting client trust.
New technology has also enabled these prefab and modular buildings to get taller and taller. An example is the recent opening of the 21-story CitizenM Bowery Hotel in NYC. The 100,000 square foot hotel hosts 300 modular guest rooms, as well as a rooftop bar, lounge, and coworking space. The average modular project square footage has tripled to an average of 200,000 square feet.
Other major international builders say they plan to pare down their on-site construction activity to just 25 percent by 2025 in favor of prefab construction.