Modular vs Traditional Buildings


For many generations, the UK has embraced the normality of brick-and-mortar construction. Modular buildings have come forward to solve our decreasing budgets and increasing needs for affordable living, energy efficiency and speed. The UK government has recognised the importance of modular buildings in the construction industry and has provided a £3bn funding framework to push modular buildings toward being the new norm. Both modular and traditional projects start the same in their construction journey. However, once the facilities are ready to break ground, the two quickly become dramatically different in their approach .Other forms of construction have been primarily shunned; however, with developing technology, changing needs and new generational ideas, there has been an opening for a new construction method to take the top spot.

What is a Modular Building?

This process is consistent and quality-controlled under the watchful eye of factory standards and production line speeds. As a result, when a modular building arrives on-site, it is usually 95% complete. Modular construction is the process that uses prefabricated parts which are assembled in a factory using volumetric construction. Modular buildings are transported to the building site either entirely or primarily complete.

What is Traditional Construction?

Traditional construction is where the primary structure is constructed entirely or mainly on the construction site. This method, also known as stick-built, is the conventional way of building that has been used for generations as the primary construction method for new buildings.

Cost Differences Between Modular Buildings and Traditional Construction

Modular buildings are more affordable than traditional construction; shorter build times and reduced design and planning changes significantly influence project costs. Furthermore, as building a modular structure is done in a factory at an optimised production rate, there is no dead time like with traditional construction projects where you must wait for the arrival of materials.

Environmental Impacts of Modular Buildings Compared to Traditional Construction

  • Health and safety risks are minimised in a factory-based manufacturing environment thanks to the regulations in place for factory floors. 
  • Waste is minimised to reduce the project’s carbon footprint; possible as fewer people are travelling to the site and modules are produced directly to spec using computer-aided manufacturing. This meticulous attention and planning mean that only the needed materials are supplied.
  • Impact on the community is significantly reduced as construction work does not cause noise pollution, traffic, or diversions.
  • Modular buildings can berecycled and reused and, when constructed, using modern standards, benefiting from energy-efficient and airtight design and high-quality products.

The Time Associated With Modular Buildings

Modular buildings are famously faster than traditional construction. For example, factory production makes modular construction 50% faster than conventional construction, with 66% of firms that currently use modular buildings having reduced schedules, and 35% experience decreases of four weeks or more.

If you decide between a modular building or a traditional building for your next project, contact us, and we can help guide you through more of the ins and outs of choosing modular buildings.