When you see a modular building out in the wild, you usually see steps, decks, or ramps leading to the door. So what is the difference in a standard modular building set and setting the building at grade level? And like many clients ask, what is the best option to fit within a budget?
Standard Modular Building Set
A standard modular building set involves blocking the building up approximately 2-3’ above grade level on a concrete pier foundation. The concrete piers are located approximately every 10’ within the building footprint. They are sized anywhere from 24"-48” in diameter based on the building load and the soil bearing capacity, and their depth is based on the frost depth at the project site. With the portable building several feet off the ground, the crawl space under the building is enclosed with skirting material.
For a standard modular building installation, the exterior doors are accessed with ADA compliant decks, ramps and steps. The decking can be constructed out of pressure treated wood or aluminum. Installing aluminum decking is more expensive than pressure treated wood, but it can also be reused on a different portable building or if the building is moved to another site. Aluminum decking can also be rented which can help with budget constraints if the decking is only needed for a temporary period of time.
Grade Level Modular Building Set
A grade level set involves installing the building at ground level on an excavated crawl space. The foundation consists of a concrete perimeter wall foundation with interior concrete piers. The pier size depends on the building loads and soil bearing capacity. The crawl space is excavated about 3’ below grade and can be accessed from a floor hatch within the modular building.
Because the building is set at grade level, it eliminates the cost of wood or aluminum decking, as well skirting material and installation. Although the grade level set is overall more costly than a standard set due to the additional concrete and excavation work required, some of that cost is offset by the elimination of the decking and skirting. The grade level set also has an advantage of providing a more aesthetically pleasing exterior, especially if the building will be located there long term.
So how much does it really cost?
The exact cost of the standard modular building set verses a grade level modular building set is really dependent on the type of project. To get a free estimate on a specific project, contact our modular building team today.