Modular building construction–manufacturing building components in an off-site factory and assembling them on-site–has historically been strong in markets where demand for new buildings is rising and labor markets are tight. But there's more to the recent boom than these factors alone. Below are some of the other reasons why modular has, according to The National Real Estate Investor, doubled in size to $8 billion over the last five years:
Advances in technology
As with many other industries, the emergence of new and improved technologies has been having a disruptive impact on the building sector. Nowadays, modular construction firms are employing new tools and methods that help to facilitate better and more flexible designs, streamline manufacturing processes, and enhance integrated service models, boosting the already significant build-time advantage that modular has over its site-built counterpart.
Increased focus on the environment
While the global construction industry accounts for a notable share of carbon emissions and roughly half of the solid waste generated each year, the modular segment has gained plaudits for its eco-friendly approach. This includes efficient manufacturing processes that help to minimize construction debris, greater use of recycled materials, and the reductions in road travel associated with having workers and materials suppliers come to a single location.
Improving industry capabilities
The passage of time and the occasionally hard lessons learned from prior efforts can create a solid foundation for the future growth of a business or industry, and modular construction is no exception. Aided as well by working with a relatively stable roster of talent and the continuous improvement mindset that is now a requisite foundation stone of modern manufacturing, the modular sector has built up an extensive knowledge base and is well on the road to achieving critical mass.
Growing mainstream acceptance
Although modular methods have been employed for decades, key industry players–developers, facilities managers, architects, and lenders–have been slow to move away from traditional site-built approaches. However, driven by increasing operational and logistical bottlenecks, demands by businesses for faster delivery timelines, and a growing appetite for modular builds by well-known brands such as as Marriott and Hilton, this formerly unconventional technique is fast becoming a mainstream option.
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