Modular construction is going mainstream

Modular construction is constantly developing. Learn about the rise of modular construction – from the original practices to its current position in the mainstream.

The rise of modular: Innovative construction methods


Modular is one of many modern and innovative construction methods, commonly referred to as MMC (Modern Methods of Construction). The process is simple: you manufacture the majority of the building in one place (off-site), then transport to site where they are connected together to create an entire building. Amongst the newer forms of construction, it a proven build method that is efficient and economical.


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Modular construction began as a practice in the 19th century but, in the past 20 years, its popularity has grown as its many benefits are becoming more difficult to ignore. The benefits we are talking about include shorter build schedules, reduced costs and less impact on the environment. These are all factors that construction companies look for when planning a new project and modular construction delivers on them all. These advantages have brought modular into the mainstream – it ticks all the boxes that construction companies and end users look for.


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In this article, we will look at the inception of modular construction, its growth, and how it can benefit building projects in various markets.

How did modular construction start?

In a way, modular construction has existed as long as humans have been building structures. Throughout history, structures have been made in one place and then erected in another all over the world. This, in essence, is what modular construction is. However, there is one key event that is widely regarded as the start of modular construction.

Modular construction started in the 1830s. Henry Manning, a carpenter from London, designed a home that could be built and then reassembled in a different location. The building that he created became known as the Manning cottage and the first one was transported to Australia to be put together after all the parts were made and assembled in England.

This defining moment was one of the first recognised modular construction projects. However, modular buildings have progressed since then as you might have expected. This construction method can be used for any type of new building, not just residential. It is a versatile method of construction that brings the same benefits regardless of the market and building type.


Why is modular construction growing now?

This is a great question. Although it has been around awhile, it is only recently that modular construction projects have become more common in the UK. The main reason for this is because modular has so many advantages over traditional methods of construction. Proven not just to be potential and promise – modular construction delivers.


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Modular construction competes with traditional methods. The benefits of modular buildings have only, until fairly recently, become a reality thanks to advances in engineering, design, manufacturing processes and materials. Gone are the days of cold, creaky and small prefabricated buildings you might have seen in school – modern modular buildings are sleek, stylish and comfortable.

It’s clear why modular construction is so popular when you look at the benefits in more detail.


Speed of construction

With up to 70% of the construction taking place off-site, modular projects mitigate the risk of any delays with lead times, that might happen on-site with a more traditional construction project. In fact, construction time can be cut by around 50% with a modular approach. No delays due to weather conditions, shortage of labour or logistic supply or delivery problems.


Keeping the majority of work off-site also has an environmental benefit. It means fewer vehicles, deliveries to site and machines are required on-site, reducing the impact of the project on the environment dramatically. Offsite construction methods are known to reduce waste by up to 50% while also reducing noise pollution in the process.

Cheaper costs

Off-site construction projects require fewer people working on them which makes them more economical. Modulek offer a full turnkey solution, which covers design through to planning, delivery and installation. A fixed price allows end users to work to budget and eliminates any additional or unexpected costs along the way.

Quality and longevity

Modular buildings used to be seen as temporary but this is no longer the case. Our buildings are permanent and built on traditional foundations and have a design life of up to 60 years. The quality of modern building materials means that our buildings are durable and built to last.


Modular buildings give you flexibility of design. Educational buildings, in particular, benefit from this as schools are always adapting to the needs and numbers of students, teachers and governing bodies.

Minimal disruption

Modular projects are proven to reduce disruption to site by having a small team coordinating on-site work and a team taking care of manufacturing off-site. Fewer deliveries and trades are required with a modular build and, at Modulek, we ensure we will make deliveries at the most convenient times for you.


How is modular construction growing in the UK?

Many predicted that 2020 was the year modular construction would really take hold in the UK. After seeing other countries, such as Japan and Sweden, adopt modular construction more widely, it was clear that the UK had to do the same.

However, the coronavirus pandemic halted the growth of all construction projects. Over the past 12 months, the construction industry has gained momentum and is now in a healthy stage with many end users keen to make up for lost time during the pandemic.

Modular construction is providing many solutions for projects that were halted or are now behind schedule thanks to its efficient process.

Modular construction is experiencing huge growth and is set to continue across the UK. Policymakers and leading construction experts believe that the benefits of modular buildings will help address the current issues in the industry.


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The closer you look, the easier it is to see that a modular approach is creeping into almost every construction market in the UK. It is becoming more evident in Commercial, Sports & Leisure and Education.


Make your next project modular

The benefits of modular construction are undeniable. If you are looking at modular to provide solutions to your build project we are happy to help and offer advice. Our experienced team can help in all aspects of the project, including:


Take a look at some of our case studies to see how you could save time and money on your next project. We are leading experts in everything modular, so please get in touch to discuss what your plans are with a member of our team.


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