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Modular Building Buyer's Guide: Your Conception-to-Construction Guide to Modular Buildings

Rome, they say, was not built in a day, and I suspect, didn’t come cheap either—anyone who has experience with construction will tell you the same.  Between miscommunication with contractors, bad weather, supplier issues and scheduling delays, doesn’t typical construction sounds more destructive than it does constructive?

 

Until fairly recently, your only options were to endure the hardship of construction or sacrifice important aesthetical and functional concerns in favor of less expensive modular offices.  However, the modular offices of today are fully customizable and ready to make all of your building needs come true!

 

If you want to save money on office or building space that you will use for three years or longer, and you want it fast, then modular offices are the perfect choice for you.  (If you need short-term office space, mobile offices may better meet your needs.)  “Where do I start?  What do I get?” you ask.  Follow me, and I will tell you everything you need to know about leasing or buying a modular office.

What are Modular Buildings?

Modular buildings are sectional, prefabricated buildings that are typically manufactured in a plant to a customer’s specifications.  They are generally sold to customers looking for a more timely and cost-effective means of obtaining long-term (3 years or longer) space.  Unlike the modular offices of the past, today’s modular offices come with a bevy of options and luxuries to suit a wide variety of needs. 

advantages

Modular Buildings Advantages

There are many benefits that make modular buildings preferential to typically constructed buildings.  Some of the most notable benefits of modular buildings are:

-A significant reduction in cost.  Modular buildings, on average, cost 8-12% less than a regularly constructed building of the same specifications.  Who doesn’t like to save that kind of money?!

-A significant reduction in “construction” time.  Modular buildings can be assembled and ready to use up to 50% faster than a traditionally constructed building.  This happens because the majority of construction occurs off-site in a closely supervised and regulated work-environment.  There are also fewer delays due to weather, supplier issues and worker problems—the “middle-man” is essentially eliminated from the building process.

-Increasedflexibility of location.  Modular buildings can be relocated depending on your company’s changing needs, which is a great asset if you anticipate substantial growth or change in your company. 

-Increased savings.    Although it is more beneficial, tax-wise, to lease a modular building, there are other savings associated with buying modular offices as well.  While traditional building costs are usually amortized over 35 years, the typical modular building can be recognized in 7-12 years instead.  (Since each situation can be different, be sure to discuss your particulars with an accountant or other financial professional before making a decision.)

Modular Buildings Disadvantages

Just as every cloud has a silver lining, every silver lining comes complete with a cloud. When making the decision between traditionally constructed office buildings and modular buildings, you must decide which best fits your needs.

-Aesthetic and functional concerns.  Although modular buildings have made leaps and bounds with regards to appearance, there are structural and aesthetic limitations that could be avoided with traditional construction. Depending on the type of modification you want (elevated ceilings, multiple stories, etc.), it would be best to examine the prices of both traditional and modular office construction to determine which method is most cost-effective for you.

-Limited construction supervision.  If you are used to supervising a traditional construction process, the lack of on-site work could be disconcerting.  Although the work is done off-site in a highly supervised factory, if you are made uneasy about your needs being met or your instructions being followed, you should either develop an open line of communication with your modular office vendor or consider traditional construction. 

Custom Modular Options

From necessity to luxury and almost anything in between, modular buildings can be outfitted for almost any service under the sun.  Depending on your choice of vendor, the following options are available on the exterior of your modular building.  (Remember that the following options are not available from every vendor—shop around to find the dealer that best suits your modular office needs):

Roofing:


  • shingles, rubber (poly-vinyl), metal

Exterior walls:


  • aluminum, smart paneling, wood siding, cement paneling, stone, brick veneer, vinyl siding, cedar, limestone, stucco, concrete block, bullet-proof materials

As if you weren’t given enough choices with the exterior, the interior options available for your modular building can be even more plentiful!:

Interior Walls:


  • vinyl, wallpaper, paneling, dry-wall, fabric, glass, glass block, stained glass

Interior Floors:


  • tile, carpet, linoleum, wood, wood laminate, lightweight concrete, rubber , ceramic

Ceilings:


  • drywall and textured drywall, suspended acoustical configuration


Doors:


  • insulated hollow metal, aluminum and glass storefront silhouette, solid and hollow core wood, aluminum, French

Windows:


  • vertical slide or double-hung, horizontal slide, awnings, crank-out, glass block, single pane or double thick

Lighting:


  • fluorescent, track, incandescent, quartzx, low-sodium, mercury

Climate Control:


  • wall-mounted units, pad-mounted units, roof-top units, window-mounted units, through-wall mounting, baseboard heating, electric or gas powered

And, last, but not least, you can get industry-specific add-ons for your modular office such as catwalks, balconies, sprinkler systems, railings and combustion-proof construction.  (Whew!)

Modular Building Size Limits

Although some modular offices may have a size-limit, they are mostly set by the amount of on-site construction you are willing to endure and whether or not you would like them to be mobile.  Some aspects of construction, such as steel frames, require more on-site labor, and eliminate the option of mobility, therefore increasing the time and money needed to build your modular building.  The amount of on-site labor and the features that will require it depend on your modular building’s specific needs. 

Modular Building Space Needs

In this respect, modular buildings don’t differ from typically constructed offices at all.  The amount of space you will need for your modular building is contingent on several factors, including how large you want your building to be, and the kind of function it needs to have

Modular Building Vendors

Although there may be many factors that assist you in choosing a mobile office vendor--such as price, location, and the availability of desired options--the Gale group and Nielson Publishing remind you not to overlook the following:

-In-house assistance: If your modular building vendor provides you with in-house engineering and design support, the efficiency of the process will be greatly increased.  Instead of enlisting the support and help of outside architects, engineers etc. you will find all the help you need under one roof, which will expedite the process of purchasing and erecting a modular building.

 -Quality customer service:  Before contracting a modular building vendor, see if you can talk to one of their former customers. Are they happy with the service they received and the building they bought?  In order to ensure that you get the most for your money and time, you need to find a modular building vendor that is willing to put your needs first.

Modular Building Service

The best way to find what you want in a modular building vendor at the best price is to shop around, getting quotes from multiple manufacturers. Here at 360MobileOffice we make it easy for you to get what you want for the best price by allowing vendors to compete for your bid.  Just fill out a single form and up to four qualified vendors will get back to you! Its fast, its easy and its totally free—so let us help you get started!

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