What Materials are Used in Modular Construction?

What Materials are Used in Modular Construction?

What Materials are Used in Modular Construction?

Modular construction is a process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities – but in about half the time. Modular buildings are designed and built to meet or exceed the same International Building Code (IBC) and standards as traditionally built structures. 

The most common structural materials used in modular construction include wood and steel. 

Wood in Modular Construction Waste Mangement #38

  • Wood  is a natural insulator due to the air pockets within its cellular structure
  • Wood  is 15 times better than masonry and concrete, 400 times better than steel, and 1,770 times better than aluminum 
  • Wood is structurally strong. Trees and wood products have a unique ability to store carbon. As trees grow, they absorb carbon dioxide. When the trees are sustainably harvested and used to make wood products, the carbon remains stored in the wood for the life of the product. About 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon. 
  • Wood is the only building material that helps tackle climate change. It is important to remove carbon from the atmosphere as well as reduce new carbon emissions going into the atmosphere. Wood achieves both of these. 
  • When the life of the building has ended, the wood in the building can be recycled.  

Common uses of wood in modular buildings 

  • Roof trusses 
  • Floor trusses 
  • Wall framing 
  • Joists 
  • Laminated beams 
  • Plywood 
  • OSB (oriented strand board) 
  • Composite panels 
  • Exterior wall panels  

IMG_3691Steel in Modular Construction 

  • Speed of construction 
  • Manufacturers can order steel construction components from suppliers to the exact size and specifications in the CAD drawings. This results in a streamlined installation process 
  • Lower project costs 
  • High Strength 
  • Structural steel is typically 50 KSI material indicating that the steel has a yield stress of 50,000 pounds per square inch in both compression and tension. 
  • Sustainable 
  • Structural steel is the most recycled material on our planet – today’s structural steel is made of 88% recycled product, is fully recyclable in the future and can be reused without further processing. 
  • Modifiable 
  • Structural steel buildings can be modified in the future for new applications, loading conditions, vertical expansions and changes in owner desires in ways that other framing systems can never accomplish 
  • Fire Resistance
  • Steel and concrete construction is compliant with Type II, non-combustible Construction. The inherent fire resistance of these materials allows for increased building height and footprint. 

Common uses of steel in modular buildings 

  • Floor frame 
  • I-beams 
  • Axles 
  • Mate beam 
  • Wall framing 
  • Ductwork 
  • Exterior doors 
  • Plumbing fixtures 
  • Door hardware 

Concrete in Modular ConstructionRR Shelter

Modular construction with concrete typically consists of buildings such as restrooms, concession buildings, shower facilities, storm shelters, utility buildings, etc. in which the walls are fabricated with high strength precast concrete or concrete masonry units (CMUs), floors are constructed of precast concrete or structural steel and the roof can be constructed of lightweight precast concrete panels, metal panels, concrete tiles, or traditional architectural shingles. The buildings are designed and constructed to meet all local building codes. They can have a variety of color and texture options such as brick, stone, stucco, split-face block, board and batten siding, or horizontal lap siding. The buildings are prefabricated and delivered complete and ready-to-use, including plumbing and electrical where applicable. Modular concrete buildings can also be constructed on permanent, poured-in-place reinforced concrete foundations. These buildings are permanently anchored to a foundation with a footing designed for local seismic and wind loads to ensure stability and integrity of the entire structure. Modern, design-focused precast concrete is suitable for all types of buildings, in all areas, including those prone to seismic, tornado, or hurricane activity. Precast concrete can be used as the main building material or only partly as a structural component.


Common uses of Concrete in modular buildings 

  • Poured concrete in the factory – provides solid non-combustible floor for buildings such as Imaging Suites, Concession Stands 
  • Cement board in the factory – Used as a flooring underlayment or backer to ceramic tile. 
  • Fiber Cement Siding in the factory – exterior siding available in finishes such as vertical, lap or stucco
  • Poured gypcrete in the field – solid floor underlayment for sound reduction, fire resistance, radiant heating and floor leveling

To know more about what Innovation Modular Solutions offers for modular construction, please contact us by visiting our website and filling out our Contact Us Form!