Modular Buildings: Pioneers of the Adaptable Reuse Movement
There’s a growing trend of re-purposing old, abandoned buildings for new uses as a way to spur community development and environmental stewardship. Called adaptable reuse, it’s the concept behind schools being built in historic factory buildings and apartment complexes being constructed from retired shipping containers. Around since the late 1950s, modular buildings were pioneers of the adaptable reuse movement and continue to push the movement forward.
Recycle and Reuse
Modular building systems are a prime example of a green life cycle. They are flexible, adaptable, modifiable, and reusable.
What one day is a portable classroom being used as swing-space during a major renovation project can be quickly refreshed inside and out and installed at another school location to be used as portable classroom space to relieve overcrowding. An on-site construction management office is modified and upgraded to serve as commercial modular office swing space at an industrial facility.
Modular buildings are ideal for flexibility and expansion. Like a life-size game of Tetris, modules of relocatable buildings can be added, relocated, or removed with minimal disruptions to the surrounding site and buildings. Modules are easily relocated or refreshed for their next use at a new location. The adaptable reuse nature of modular structures reduces the need for additional raw materials and minimizes the energy necessary to create a building. Used modular buildings also present an affordable option for those that cannot afford new or do not want to buy new for other reasons.
Less Waste and Cost Savings
The modular building construction process inherently reduces material waste and costs less. An indoor, weather-controlled manufacturing facility allows for building materials to be ordered in bulk and stored, protected from inclement weather conditions. Not only does this reduce waste of materials lost due to weather conditions or theft, but any excess materials from one project are stored away and reused for the next project. Furthermore, the capability of cross-project bulk material ordering is a cost saving factor unique to modular construction.
The bulk of modular construction is performed off-site at the same time that site prep, such as installing the foundation, is occurring. This simultaneous off-site and on-site project execution greatly reduces the number of vehicles and equipment that need to be at the project location each day.
This process also minimizes environmental impacts at the final building site. Fewer vehicles and less construction traffic for material deliveries equals less air pollutants, less sound pollution, and less disruption to green space surrounding the site. These Eco-friendly benefits are further enhanced by the accelerated timeline modular construction delivers.
What questions do you have about the recycling, reuse, and re purposing of modular buildings? You can leave a question in the comment section below.
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