Nothing Beats a Really Good Modular Building Design
By: Jeff Austin - Friday, September 30, 2005
Source: Modular Building Associates

For schools, nothing beats a really good modular building design.  You, your staff and your students are directly impacted by the functional nature of your modular building.  The performance of every occupant is either enhanced or hindered by the building design and its specifications.  You want to provide your staff and students with an environment that enhances the learning process and helps you retain good staff members.  You want your staff to see you as innovative leader representing a forward-thinking organization.  A properly-designed modular building can help you achieve these goals by taking into account the following key components of modular design:    

Interior Design
Effective interior planning is essential in establishing a functional environment.  People drive the day-to-day operations of every organization.  Individual workspace design is fundamental to the overall success of any building layout.  The primary stepping stone to designing a good building layout is to understand the needs of the building’s occupants.  

Exterior Design
Balancing your building profile with the site conditions is the defining step in achieving an attractive overall project appearance.  To develop a facility that is both functionally useful and aesthetically attractive requires detailed planning.  You can create a building with the same architectural features as your main facility except with the ability to expand the modular building as your needs dictate.  The decisions you make regarding installation determine:  1) if the building can be expanded 2) if the building will look like a temporary trailer or 3) if the building will look like a planned addition.  The exterior design component is vital to the overall success of your modular building project.

Flexible Design
A key aspect of designing a modular building is flexibility.  You should plan on fluctuations in your staff size over time.  The simple ability to increase or decrease in size is the most under-utilized and one of the most beneficial features of a modular building.  Every organization has growth projections.  Modular buildings allow you to adjust your space to suit your needs.  Assume you have a current need for 5,000 square-feet and project that you will need an additional 1,500 square-feet each year for the next five years – properly designed modular buildings provide the flexibility to meet this type of need with a minimum of downtime and cost.

For example, a client had a 1,300 square-foot modular building and needed to double their square footage immediately.  This possibility was planned for prior to the original installation of the building. Two interior floors were delivered to the site on a Friday afternoon as the staff was leaving for the weekend.  The modular crew worked over the weekend and, by Monday morning, the building was a 2,600 square-foot facility.  Mission accomplished.

Ability to Relocate
Modular buildings are designed to be relocated.   The ability to relocate a modular building is the basis for the entire industry.  A properly designed modular building’s floor, roof and walls are engineered and constructed to withstand the rigors of transportation, affording the opportunity to move the building to a new site without damage to the structure.  This ability gives the client the flexibility to move the structure as needs or conditions dictate.
Modular Construction Specialist
Although the basic materials used in modular construction are almost identical to site-construction, the difference lies in the techniques used to produce and install a modular building.  Understanding these principles of modular construction takes years of industry experience and knowledge.  A modular construction specialist provides the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to help you achieve the goal of a properly-designed modular building that will be an asset to you and your school for years to come.   

This article was written by Jeff Austin of Modular Building Associates located in Coppell, Texas.  For more information, please click here.

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