With over 400m tonnes of materials being used in the construction industry each year, it is more important than ever for us to find a sustainable alternative solution to traditional construction. Modular construction techniques have been in development for generations and have progressed beyond prior expectations over recent years and are stealing the race to become one of the main contributors to reducing carbon footprints and improving sustainability credentials.
What are modular buildings made of?
In 2022, modular buildings are no longer the unattractive metal husks we may automatically consider. Instead, they are built with leading industry materials that support and follow all guidelines for thermal retention and health and safety standards. In addition, modern materials provide attractive cladding that follows design trends and matches the client’s needs, be it an office with a view or an onsite bathroom with fully functioning plumbing, sewage and drainage.
Thanks to modern developments in materials, environmental impact is considered and has allowed modular buildings to become one of the critical ideas for more sustainable construction industry. Modular buildings are now airtight, with excellent seals that keep thermal air inside and ensure climate control for the comfort of your staff or students. This helps prevent thermal leakage out into the world and a drain on heating resources.
Modular buildings also have a long shelf life, with predictions that the materials can last upwards of 30 years before replacements may need to be considered. However, as modern modular buildings are yet to stand the test of time, these are currently only predictions – ones of which we are keen to see the outcome.
How does modular construction reduce waste?
Thanks to developing technology, volumetric design has allowed for a massive decrease in the amount of waste in a landfill. Not only this, but they are reducing build times by 50-60%, whilst increasing the quality of the product, productivity and safety of staff. With clear benefits to volumetric design and construction, we can look at the issues the industry is looking to solve.
90% Less Waste
Annual construction waste is set to reach 2.2bn tonnes globally by 2025, an unacceptable statistic in modern construction. Individual modules are built in a factory setting with modular construction, meaning there is complete control over optimising the production line and material usage. Rather than going to waste, surplus materials are reused in future projects. They aren’t exposed to the elements, which can destroy a percentage of all materials used on construction sites without even being used. It is estimated that with modular construction, we can reduce up to 90% of waste generated compared to liner construction methods.
Digital Age and Volumetric Design
Another critical modern development in volumetric design has been Design Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA). This allows for a configured modular solution by digitally connecting multi-discipline teams from the start of concept design to the end of the development process. This technology allows for buildings to be constructed off-site and assembled onsite. Its 3-dimensional design helps to minimise errors and removes time-consuming translation of engineer information. Furthermore, as the plans provide a digital construction that allows the test of them virtually, it eliminates waste and produces highly accurate buildings.
How does modular construction benefit the environment?
Modular buildings are more energy efficient, which reduces the heating requirements and carbon footprint of the lifetime of the building. However, whilst we have established the sustainability benefits of the building itself, we can also look at how the methods used to construct a modular building also produce a lessening environmental impact than alternative methods.
- Less traffic, congestion, noise pollution and community impact thanks to less commuting to and from an active construction site. Overall resulting in 90% fewer vehicle movements – reducing carbon emissions and disruption to the local community.
- Less construction waste is going to landfills thanks to a controlled factory environment.
- Greater health and safety for staff thanks to a controlled factory environment and fewer risks than an active construction site.
- Energy consumption used to produce a modular building is less due to the controlled factory setting. Approximately 67% less energy is used, and up to 50% less time is spent onsite.
- Modular buildings have a reusable nature. Once built, they can be sold or hired, rebought, and refurbished for new needs. This provides an economical solution for those on a lower budget and stops the construction of too many new modular buildings and fewer resources and waste used and produced.
The environmental benefits of modular buildings keep growing and are quickly becoming the preferred construction method of many leading companies in the industry.
The modular building industry is booming as more people start to board the sustainability route. The quicker businesses can opt for waste-reducing construction methods, and the faster and more affordable things may become. Portable Building Supplies aims to provide the best options for the most negligible environmental impact possible, from supplying buildings of new to pre-owned, refurbished and more. We also ensure the transport and installation service remains high quality, working closely with local delivery companies.
Working with business customers of all sizes across the UK looking to reduce their carbon footprint, our team of friendly, knowledgeable, and professional staff is here to help you get the suitable building to meet your budget and requirements. We sell, buy and hire sustainable modular buildings, so contact us today to see how you can reduce your environmental impact with modular construction.