Temporary vs. Permanent Modular Buildings: Which Modular Building Type is Best for You?

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    April 19, 2021

    Temporary vs. Permanent Modular Buildings: Which Modular Building Type is Best for You?

    In today’s economy, innovative solutions that save money and the environment pack a one-two punch. Modular buildings are one solution that is catching on in a major way.

    If you are looking at modular building types, you’ll see that temporary buildings and permanent buildings are two common options.

    Read on to learn about the difference and pros and cons of buying a temporary modular building or buying a permanent modular building.

    Temporary Building Construction V. Permanent Modular Construction

    Temporary modular building systems are resilient, built strong enough to be torn down and reinstalled or relocated. Their tough exteriors and cleverly engineered components make them an enormously versatile asset for any business that needs this feature. Permanent and temporary modular buildings are often prefabricated.

    While permanent modular construction has similar design elements, buildings like these are usually constructed on a foundation, making them immovable. Of course, being immovable also means they are eligible for advanced customization, and may be preferable for large modular building projects, such as shipping container apartments or modular housing projects.

    What Are Temporary Modular Buildings?

    Temporary structure construction can provide a convertible, movable building. Temporary construction structures can be rented and used for a variety of time frames. Some temporary modular buildings are pre-fabricated and others are constructed on site.

    What Are Permanent Modular Structures?

    Permanent modular structures are permanent buildings, with the intent being a long-standing structure that is not going to be moved or altered. Similar to traditional construction, the foundation of permanent modular buildings includes poured concrete with rebar and crushed stone. In certain cases, a raised or on-grade foundation can be used.

    What Are Semi Permanent Structures?

    In between these two categories, of course, are semi-permanent buildings or semi-permanent structures, which may be intended for longer use but can still be moved. The most common differential between all these types of modular building construction is whether or not the structure has a permanent foundation.

    Pros And Cons Of Temporary Modular Buildings V. Permanent Modular Buildings

    Here is how temporary construction for modular buildings versus permanent buildings compare.

    Temporary Construction

    Most versatility Transport and logistics challenges
    Fastest Requires a specialized modular construction company
    Affordable Doesn’t increase in value over time
    Energy efficient Utility hook ups can be a concern

    Permanent Buildings

    Permanence Rigid and immovable
    Fastest Requires a specialized modular construction company
    Affordable Land costs can be expensive
    Energy efficient Utility hook ups can be a concern


    Note, requiring a specialized modular construction company doesn’t have to be a con, it just means that you may have to link up with a company like Mobile Modular, rather than a traditional general contractor.

    Temporary Building Types

    university-of-richmond-2One of the benefits of both temporary and permanent modular construction is that they are more versatile than other forms of construction. Of course, temporary modular construction is the most versatile option of all.

    Compared to the workflow and timeline of building construction, temporary buildings will out-rank surpass in terms of benefits every time.

    Here are some of the types of temporary buildings you can construct.

    Temporary COVID-19 Isolation Space at the University of Richmond

    Temporary Industrial Building

    Temporary industrial buildings and temporary commercial buildings are perfect as a short-term solution for expanded space. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies ordered temporary modular construction to increase office space.

    Large Temporary Structure

    Temporary buildings don’t have to be small, even if they aren’t permanent. For instance, modular medical buildings were erected nationwide to accelerate COVID-19 testing. Their practical and budget-friendly nature makes them appealing to community leaders and legislators.

    Permanent Building Types

    There are many types that can provide a low-cost, green construction option for virtually any use. Given that site work and fabrication run concurrently, permanent modular construction projects save time compared to traditional forms of construction. Research shows that traditional site built construction is less efficient and less productive. Most recently, a study of “Permanent Modular Construction, Process, Practice, Performance” by The National Institute of Building Sciences and MBI Educational Foundations provides case studies and speaks to the best practices of modular construction including early team formation and collaboration.

    There are many advantages to purchasing a permanent modular building. Some include:

    • Efficient project timelines (35% shorter than traditional construction timelines)
    • Long lasting structures with proper maintenance
    • Customizable to connect and blend with current buildings
    • Built to meet the same building codes and inspections as traditional structures

    Educational Building Construction

    From small classrooms to entire schools, modular buildings can provide temporary or permanent solutions using available inventory or ground-up construction.

    Permanent Modular Office

    winthrop-university-6Utilizing modular does not mean that a building will look temporary or like a trailer. Modular can provide two-story buildings, existing building additions, and even stand-alone buildings like a quick serve restaurant. This form of construction offers an accelerated timeline for schools, healthcare facilities, government facilities and commercial buildings. Office buildings have been a mainstay on construction sites and as part of schools. More than ever, shipping container offices or portable classrooms are a keyway for companies to have a physical footprint and a real estate market with otherwise inaccessible prices.

    Permanent Level One Trauma Center at Winthrop University Hospital

    Permanent Modular Building For Healthcare

    When it comes to building modular solutions for the healthcare market, modular construction is a great solution to provide prefabricated modular medical facilities, from individual medical offices for physicians and specialists to diagnostic imaging suites and dialysis facilities.

    Modular medical facilities require minimal waste and take less time on site than traditional building methods and minimizes disruption to existing facilities, doctors, patients, and staff.

    Find A Modular Construction Company

    Mobile Modular is your partner for temporary building modular construction and permanent building modular construction. Whether you need to rent or buy containers, container offices or specialty containers, we’ve got you covered.

    Our team of modular construction professionals can help you spec out your project and find the optimal temporary or permanent modular building type to meet your needs. Contact Mobile Modular today to learn more. 

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