Vanguard Modular Building Systems

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Vanguard Modular Building Systems logo

An Interview with:

Mark Meyers & Jody Werner

Mark Meyers, VP of Marketing Services and Jody Werner, VP of Sales


Vanguard modular office with ramp

Who is Vanguard?

We are a custom design modular company that specializes in providing temporary and permanent space to a wide range of industries. Our modular projects combine aesthetics, value and exceptional customer service to exceed the needs of our customers.


How did Vanguard get started?

We became an independent entity in 1998. Our company developed out of Schiavi Leasing Corporation, a business with over 20 years of experience in modular construction.


What industries do you serve?


We serve all of the following industries:

  • Commercial and Retail
  • Corrections
  • Education
  • Government
  • Healthcare and Medical
  • Industrial, Energy and Utility
  • Worship and Religious
  • Disaster Recovery Offices
Vanguard modular building for education, Community College, Bronx, New York

Education

The greatest need right now is for more classroom space. Many schools receive an influx of students without the space to accommodate them. While a permanent structure is one solution, it requires a lot of time and money to construct. In the field of education, where space is needed quickly, that is not ideal. Modular classrooms are a viable alternative to permanent structures.

One of the best things about modular construction is that the space can be customized to fit your needs. Our modular classrooms are expandable to allow for additional modules if needed.

“Modular classrooms are a viable alternative to permanent structures.”

Mark Meyers, VP of Marketing Services, Vanguard Modular Buildings


Vanguard modular building, commercial use

Commercial

We get a lot of requests for highly customized permanent structures. Unlike our competitors, we don’t have 500 vanilla buildings stored in one location. We take a different philosophy: instead of trying to fit our customers into what we already have, we create a structure that fits their specific needs. Our customers have the opportunity to design their own floor plan or they can choose one of our existing floor plans..

Why choose modular over permanent construction?

  • Speed – Modular buildings can reduce the ‘time to occupancy’ rate by as much as 50%. This is a huge cost-savings, especially if you are relying on a revenue-producing facility.
  • Quality –The modular units are manufactured in a controlled, factory-like setting that ensures consistency and quality. Permanent construction, on the other hand, must face the unpredictable and sometimes damaging nature of the outdoor elements.
  • Savings – There is often a reduction in waste and construction cost with modular. When build time is shorter, construction costs go down. Specifically, in many cases:
    1. Project schedules are decreased by four weeks or more
    2. Project budgets are decreased by 6% or more
    3. Construction site waste is decreased by 5% or more
  • Green – Modular units make a minimal impact on the environment because:
    1. The pre-fab design reduces the amount of wasted material
    2. The units can be disassembled to reduce the need for raw material
    3. The units can be relocated and re-used instead of having to build new units.
  • Flexibility – The units are portable, relocatable and prefabricated. The units can provide temporary or permanent space and can be expanded or moved as your business grows. It’s all up to you and what best suits your business needs.
  • Choice – You have the option to choose from a range of existing floor plans or create a custom look by designing your own floor plan.
  • Financing – We offer our customers affordable options to meet your budget needs. This includes all of the following:
    1. Operating lease with flexible terms
    2. Option to purchase
    3. Option to lease-to-own with a guaranteed buy-back

How much time is saved on a modular vs. permanent build?


If you choose to go with a permanent modular build, you can accelerate your time to occupancy up to 50% sooner than conventional construction. The module sections are built at an off-site factory during the time when a permanent construction build is prepping the site. Once the modules are completed, they are delivered to the site and placed on a ready-to-go foundation. The reduction in construction time is one of the main benefits of modular construction.

NOTE: The cost of labor and materials are often the SAME for modular and permanent. With a modular build, your savings comes in time, not on labor or materials.

interior of modular construction

What is the difference between a modular building and a mobile office?

Generally speaking, a mobile office is a temporary structure, usually a single wide unit, placed on a temporary foundation. In many cases, the unit does not require adherence to city code or a permit to store it on your property. If a permit is required, it is usually for temporary use only. Mobile offices are most commonly used on construction sites or other short-term project sites as an office or storage space. Once the project is completed, the building is removed from the property.

In contrast, a modular building is placed on a permanent foundation, it must meet all code regulations and it must go through the full permitting process. In many cases, modular buildings are used for extended periods of time and serve as permanent structures. It depends on the needs of the customer and their needs often change over time. For example, a school may start out using a modular building for one school year, but then they decide to keep the structure and use it as a permanent classroom.

What is your responsibility vs. the customer’s responsibility?

It depends on the warranty you purchase. A used building can be sold with a conditional warranty or as-is. New buildings come with an automatic 1 year manufacturing warranty. If anything breaks that is included in the warranty, we are responsible. But when it comes to overall maintenance of the unit, the customer is responsible.

When it comes to obtaining permits for the building, we provide the customer with the engineered drawings for them to submit to the city for approval. The regulatory process is becoming more and more cumbersome. In some cases, we recommend a permit expediter.
But generally speaking, we want our customers to know this: we’re not just some big corporation out there where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. We work very closely with our customers on a weekly basis to make sure we are meeting their needs.

“We’re not just some big corporation out there where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. We work very closely with our customers on a weekly basis to make sure we are meeting their needs. ”

Mark Meyers, VP of Marketing Services, Vanguard Modular Buildings

What is your most commonly asked question?

A lot of our customers want to know: what is the life expectancy for a modular structure?

Our answer: It depends. If the building is properly maintained and built out of sturdy material, it’s going to last a lot longer. In most cases, the life expectancy of a modular building is comparable to a conventional building made out of the same material (wood, concrete, steel, etc.). If you have a house that’s 20 years old, it’s going to need repairs. The same goes for modular.

Another factor that affects the life expectancy is how often the building is transported. If it’s taken straight from our site to one location and remains on that location, it will be in better condition than a modular building that has been moved from site to site every couple of years over a 20 year span.

What are the biggest misconceptions in the modular industry?

The Issue of Quality

Many people think modular buildings are lower quality compared to permanent builds. But the fact is, modular units have to meet commercial code just like any other commercial structure, whether it’s wood frame or concrete and steel. It becomes a matter of educating the customer.

The Issue of Cost

Modular buildings are not CHEAP. While there can be a savings in cost with modular, the savings comes in construction time, not on labor and materials. It also depends how customized you want to get with your modular build. In many cases, a modular custom design build can cost just as much or more than a permanent build. The acceleration of construction is where you can save.

The Issue of Time

Many customers assume that since our buildings are temporary structures, the regulatory process will be shorter and easier than that of a permanent build. But our buildings go through the same permitting process as permanent structures.

Vanguard modular building, residential home

“We’re not just driven by volume, we’re driven by value.”

Mark Meyers, VP of Marketing Services, Vanguard Modular Buildings


What makes Vanguard unique in the modular industry?

Our Custom Design – We offer a much more customized solution than many of our competitors. Once a customer meets with our technical team and explains what they need, we strive to create a modular design that reflects exactly what they asked for.

Our Customer Service – We have long-standing relationships with many of our customers. In the education industry, for example, it may be 2 or 3 years before a customer comes back to us with a new modular need. But the point is: they come back. We’re not just driven by volume, we’re driven by value.

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