Why has the modular building industry been growing so rapidly recently? And why has the industry been talked about so much in business and construction journals? Is it because of new technologies, making the modular building process more advantageous? Is it because of concern about the environment? Or because of concerns about efficiency?
I want to argue that it is all of the above. Due to coinciding advances in technology and various global problems, modular building is poised to set the new standard in construction practices.
Early modular technology saw cheap, quickly put-together prefabricated buildings being put up in a deliberate sacrifice of quality for quantity. As modular technology has improved, efficiency of the building process has not only improved, but building quality has vastly improved as well, a quality that makes modular buildings comparable to buildings of hard construction.
As technologies improve, more architects are becoming interested in designing with modular frameworks, making modular buildings not only functionally desirable, but aesthetically as well, attracting new portions of the market.
These changing trends in technology and design in the industry have coincided with not only economic panic, but environmental panic as well.
In a weak economy, businesses worldwide are looking to cut costs, improve efficiency, and adopt leaner practices in general. Modular buildings naturally account for this, as they save on material, labor, and energy costs. Not only that, but modular buildings are highly flexible and adaptable, and go hand in hand with leaner business strategy.
On top of all this, concern with our impact of the environment has reached a global high. With modular buildings’ recyclability and eco-friendly materials and design-aspects, modular construction can account for more sustainable building practices as well.
It is a converging of all of these seperate forces that is propelling the modular construction industry into a new worldwide standard. We can use technology and ingenious design techniques to solve many difficult societal and environmental problems. Certainly a beautiful thing.