Modular Buildings Make Life More Predictable

After maybe ten years, that mortgage payment may be just starting to feel comfortable, as you progress with employment or grown children find work.  If life is predictable, it’s a smooth ride.

However, real life has its ups and downs.  You might decide to have another child, a parent may need to move in with you because of some health problem, or a newly-married son or daughter might not yet be able to afford a home.  Your daughter or son might need studying space, or maybe you’ve been given the option to work from home.  All of these changes make your home feel as though it’s shrinking in size.

The cost of moving is exorbitant: a bigger mortgage; solicitor’s fees; removal costs, to name but a few.  Even losing the closeness of your neighbours bears a price. If there was room for an extension, this would answer your problems and save expense and upheaval, maybe when you least want it.

Even with all of the difficulties we experience in life, the standard of living does change and seems to improve.  Instead of finding work on your doorstep, the technological world of today may mean you have to relocate – and on more than one occasion. Housing, or lack of it, is then the issue.

Modular Buildings and the Way Ahead.

Advancing technology has also addressed ways of developing a housing system that meets a transient lifestyle.  Bricks and mortar are fixed structures: they use the earth’s energy, create carbon emissions, are costly and they take time to build.  Modular buildings are now the future.

Take recycled shipping containers.  They came into our lives about fifty years ago and, as world trade grew, they were used to transport everything from chocolate to computers and cars.  Piling up at the ports, people started using these shipping containers for garden sheds and even underground storage.  As the idea caught on, the concept of making accommodation was born.  With containers of the same size and with their interlocking devices, these units could be connected sideways or even stacked, making sturdy modular buildings, where use was only restricted by one’s lack of ideas.

A twenty foot shipping container gives the single person ample living space, in which can be incorporated all one’s needs (bathing, sleeping, cooking, living etc.)  If the number of occupants increases, so can the living space, simply by adding another container.  Today, modular buildings are appearing as work-related buildings (site offices, schools and nursing homes) and as living accommodation, including family homes, student accommodation blocks and hotels.

What’s Special about Modular Buildings?

Modular buildings have a lot of things going for them:-

•    They are very sturdy and have been known to withstand winds of up to 283 mph (Hurricane Larry in Queensland, Australia)

•    They are rust proof, vermin proof and water proof

•    Your accommodation can be increased in size, by adding more modules

•    They can be disassembled and moved to another location

•    Completion time is more than halved

•    There are huge savings on labour.

The list goes on.

We’re not all DIY enthusiasts and, thankfully, there are experts out there who, once planning permission has been given, can create a bespoke home offsite. The individual modular units are delivered when they have been fitted with windows and doors, eco-friendly energy systems, insulation or whatever you have requested.  Described as ‘plug and play’, moving in seems to be all you have to do.

Life is unpredictable but, with accommodation that can weather the storm with you, things seem to have just got a whole lot better.

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Modular Building Systems for Us All

Location is not important for all businesses, though for some, it can be the deciding factor between success and failure.  For hotels, boarding houses and bed and breakfast establishments, location is the first point for consideration and planning for possible future trends is just as important as looking at the current state of play.

Imagine taking on a small hotel in a popular terrace in a city centre.  Business will thrive and, at weekends, the proprietor might have to turn people away, as all rooms are booked.  Of course, that same proprietor could go hunting for a second hotel in another location, as extending the current property would be totally out of the question. Two lots of bills, two lots of staff and all of the other things to double up on could be prohibitive, making that original location not so perfect after all.

Modular Building Systems are the Future.

Thankfully, today’s world has moved on from bricks and mortar, with a steady and positive trend towards modular buildings and green construction.  Getting the location right for a new build, with ample land to cater for a future extension, is now a more sensible decision than the cosy terraced building.

A popular shell for these modular constructions is the recycled shipping container, a robust item which allows for extending your original modular building when the time is right.  Containers can interlock and make a sturdy building which can be on one floor or boast several storeys, allowing the forward-thinking property owner to design the perfect building for holidays, business trips, conferences, weddings and whatever new get-togethers the future may hold.

The Modular Trend.

Shipping containers can be used to construct the smallest of places (student and single person accommodation) to the largest (hotels) and the money saved on the actual build can be used to make the individual rooms just that little more spectacular.  If you step outside the box of the traditional build, your modular building can be adventurous, exuding personality and individual taste.  (

As for big business, the hotel group Travelodge have already caught onto this eco-friendly concept and a hotel in Uxbridge is already up and running.  Sporting around one hundred and twenty steel rooms, construction took only four months, creating huge savings on time and cost.  The company’s future plans include more of these green buildings, an indication of their trust in the suitability and sustainability of modern construction methods ( ).

If a chain of hotels can take advantage of such eco-friendly methods, so can the small business. As they say, big trees out of little acorns grow and adding to your modular building when the time is right makes sense, doesn’t it?

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Fast-Track Solutions with Emergency Modular Building Systems

When a disaster occurs, specialists of all kinds are needed to tackle the dangerous situation.  Where human life is affected, there will be doctors, nurses, fire fighters, counsellors and manual labourers, all needing immediate accommodation. It is therefore vital that suitable living quarters are identified and, in a disaster area, this could prove extremely difficult. Then the only solution is temporary accommodation, hopefully close to the area in need.  However, not all temporary accommodation buildings will be suitable, as a lot will depend on the disaster itself (fire, avalanche), the temperature of the disaster zone and the availability of clear space to house temporary buildings.

Sustainability is a must and one of the most interesting modular building systems is made from recycled shipping containers, ideal for use in extreme conditions. Made of steel, these waterproof containers can be fitted with all services, to provide clean and safe pre-fabricated accommodation for the many rescue workers needed on the scene.

The London-based company My Space Pod specialises in fast-track building solutions and its team of experts has approached this disaster need from all angles. Quick solutions are key issues in preventing disease and getting to grips with the rescue operation.

The reconstituted shipping containers are virtually new and may have been used only once to carry dry goods. My Space Pod’s team of engineers (Buro Happold) have devised structural supports and stability systems that make it possible to stack the modular units, making additional accommodation available. Where suitable clear ground may be at a premium, stackable modular building systems will be paramount.

They guarantee sustainable accommodation which can endure adverse conditions and can be virtually parachuted onto the site, within a short timeframe. Insulation and air-conditioning are absolute musts, to protect against temperature extremes.  To this end, My Space Pod uses the latest space-age insulation technology, which pays particular attention to thermal performance. The insulation drowns out noise levels of up to 47 decibels and the internal lining meets the sixty minute fire rating standard.  These low-cost buildings are ‘plug and play’, connecting to local water and electricity or emergency generators and water supplies, thus providing instant services.

Of course, the rescue workers are not the only people who need to be cared for. We quite often hear of a disaster where there are fatalities, injured and missing persons. The need now is on temporary hospital accommodation, which will cover operating rooms and dormitories, for the sick and injured.  There will also have to be a temporary mortuary and even storage for life-saving drugs, dressings and medical equipment.  As with the rescue workers’ accommodation pods, these innovative modular building systems will need to be waterproof, burglar proof, insulated and also temperature-controlled.

In a disaster situation, the list of support is endless.  The diversity of possible unique container buildings constructed by My Space Pod is endless, too.

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An Investment Opportunity in Modular Accommodation

When it comes to education, there is always a rush for suitable and affordable student accommodation and, because of a shortage of flats or houses, some students may have to travel into the town or city, from the outskirts.  There is obviously an investment opportunity there but, in the current economic climate, property investors have to be shrewder than ever when identifying accommodation that will offer the highest financial return against cost.  A very attractive solution is found in self-contained independent accommodation pods, as these can be constructed quickly and at a reasonable price.

From an investment point of view, shipping containers are worth their weight in gold. These items come to England via products brought from countries like China and, once the goods have arrived, the shipping containers pile up, of use only to those who think laterally.

A standard shipping container measures 20’ x 7’ x 7’6” (height) and this space is ample to house all the living needs of a single occupant i.e. living/ studying area, kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom.  These containers also connect together well so, for two people sharing, the living space can easily be doubled, connecting either alongside or by stacking, making the pods one of the most advanced modular building system.

The good thing about a shipping container is that you are starting from scratch.  The basic shell is waterproof and very sustainable and you can clad the outside of the container with colours and materials which match both individual taste and the environment. Specific needs for people with disabilities can also be built into the empty shell e.g. wheelchair accessibility, lower cupboards, suitable bathroom facilities etc..

This fast track building takes a lot less time to construct than the normal brick-built flat or house and can incorporate modern eco-friendly systems such as rainwater harvesting, solar heating and recycling of grey water, making the cost of yearly upkeep less expensive and the property more inviting. With the necessary services at hand (i.e. electricity, water, telephone connection) and the ground prepared for arrival of the already prepared bespoke pod, the ‘plug and play’ unit can be up and running very quickly.

For landowners close to universities, such an investment opportunity should have them champing at the bit.  When looking at planning permission, the site My Space Pod offers clear information about what is permitted ( and they make the paperwork easy, taking all the running around away from the buyer.

These finished low-cost buildings use highly efficient and environmentally-friendly building materials, space-age insulation technology and can be ready within six months, once planning permission requirements have been met.  With a shelf-life of around sixty years, a container home in a fixed location will more than pay for itself, making it a very wise investment indeed.

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Modular Buildings and Quick to build Construction

Modular buildings seem to be the answer to many building shortages.  Built in sections from rigid steel, they can be stand-alone units, attached to other buildings to provide extra space, or assembled to create whole new buildings.

Some modular buildings come as flat packs, where the individual sections arrive and it is your job to put the jigsaw together.  This would place a lot of responsibility on you as the purchaser unless, of course, you are into that kind of business or you relish the DIY aspect.

Of course, the disadvantages are time and weather.  If you only have the weekend in which to work on your project, it might take you some time to make the modular unit functional and, if the weather conditions aren’t conducive to working outside, it could take you quite some time to complete the job.

Then there’s the kit house. In an episode of Grand Designs on channel 4, a designer home was prefabricated in Germany then shipped to Bath in England.  Due to inclement weather, the onsite work of preparing the land took quite some time.  Erecting the six storey house took only five days.  The house was huge and so was the bill!

They are eco-friendly constructions but flat packs and kit houses seem to indicate a lot of personal involvement and the work schedule will be heavily affected by weather conditions.

I would therefore think that the best and quickest form of modular building would be a recycled shipping container.  These can easily be transported via a breakdown lorry and, if the ground has already been prepared in advance of the delivery, your metal building can be sited on its foundations the same day.  Being a complete unit, you will not be affected as much by adverse weather conditions, as interior work can be done during cold or wet periods.

Now that’s all very well if you are a builder or a DIY fanatic.  If, like me, you’re not, or you simply need extra space quickly, you can go down the route of having a company that specialises in creating designer homes and buildings from the aforementioned shipping containers.  Known as ‘plug and play’, these units can be designed to your specifications and arrive fully converted and ready to use.

And it doesn’t stop there, as you can use these shipping containers for many different purposes.  These stand-alone portable buildings can be modular offices, toilet blocks, site offices, or even a workshop in your garden. Attached to make bigger buildings, they are being used as hospitals, nursing homes and classrooms.  The advantage of them arriving as completed units is that there is much less disruption for staff, residents or students. What could be a dangerous building site for the regular build is no more than a brief inconvenience, whilst the metal building is sited.  It might be good clean fun to watch but the entertainment is only going to last a short while!

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When the Going Gets Tough – Disaster Relief Accommodation

Few of us can imagine what goes on in a disaster area.  Taking an earthquake as an example, we watch the course of events on television.  We can see what we are shown but we cannot begin to realise all of the work that takes place, to bring a disaster to a turning point.

As the disaster occurs, there may be mass panic, many deaths, many injured and lots of people unaccounted for.  This is the starting point.  Already you can imagine the urgent needs – medical staff, drivers of excavating equipment, counsellors, dogs and their handlers, firefighters, social workers, carers – the list is endless.

People apart, there is a need for specialist equipment, medicine and first aid supplies, food, clean water and, last but not least, shelter and storage space.

In a disaster area, such lists beg the question of where can these people or commodities be found and, during the difficult time ahead, what will serve as accommodation or storage?

The temporary living space will need to be more than a place to rest one’s head.  Depending on the terrain or the weather conditions, suitable rooms may not be easy to find, as a whirlwind of panic spreads through the affected area.  Equipment and emergency supplies need to be secure from weather conditions and looters, whilst kept close to the scene.

A disaster area creates upturned water pipes, disconnected electricity supplies, exposure, squalor and disease.  Whilst victims most often find shelter with host families, the staff drafted in to handle the many difficulties need accommodation and they need it quickly.

My Space Pod construction and design experts guarantee that recycled shipping containers can swiftly become purpose-built units, fitted with much needed extras for the situation at hand.  The efficient heating and cooling systems of these unique disaster relief accommodation will keep the much needed experts safe from extremes of temperature, which could otherwise lead to illness or disease. Fully compliant to fire regulations, the containers can be stacked within limits set by Health and Safety, making the most of limited space available.  The acoustic design will greatly reduce the ferocity of outside noises, allowing the occupant at least a possibility of switching off long enough to recharge one’s batteries. Although easily moved onto a lorry via hydraulic lifting equipment, these containers can be virtually parachuted onto the site, placing them right where they are needed.

But containers are not only for accommodation and can therefore also cover the storage problem.  Virtually vandal-proof, medical supplies will remain safe and uncontaminated in this temperature-controlled strong box.  Valuable equipment can also receive the same security, when not in use.

With global warming and the evidence of recent disasters, health and safety risk assessors will applaud having such instant building and storage space at the end of a phone.  Even better, with a guaranteed design life of sixty years, having one on standby in typical disaster areas will definitely be a step in the right direction.

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Modular Housing ideal for Nursing Accommodation

Thinking Outside the Box: Traditional Care homes vs Modular Housing

Thinking Outside the Box.

In today’s world of community care, the service is delivered to reflect the feeling of home, staff and residents becoming close, as the carers become family substitutes. As an outsider looking in, perhaps you see the benefits of a shared lifestyle but there are also disadvantages in such a ‘created’ family.

Upon your arrival to the home, your loved one will be very happy to see you and, within the confines of a residential home environment, you try to make up for lost time.  Private time will happen within the personal room of the resident and it is private, though the locked door will have an override system in place.  During private time, staff are supposed to knock before entering but the very thought of such an interruption spoils that relaxed feeling.

For you, it can be a starchy and difficult time, similar to the feeling one has when visiting someone in hospital. Your loved one will be enjoying the maybe long-awaited visit, though within the constraints of his or her private living space. Your visit might be short or, if you have travelled some distance, it may be infrequent, the cost of hotel accommodation being the unfriendly factor.

MySpace pod and Will Alsop’s timeous concept of pod modular accommodation can be an option that is quick, easy and affordable.  If a residential home was to provide such detached accommodation within its grounds, there could be many all round benefits:-

  • Depending on the type of disability or needs of the residents, a ratio of staff to residents is calculated.  For example, people with severe disabilities may warrant one staff to every three residents. Having a resident visit family (albeit within the home’s grounds) rather than the reverse, allows more quality time for residents still within the residential home.
  • The visiting family member needs little more than sleeping accommodation, a bathroom, a tea point and sitting space. Renting the pod to visiting family members at a price which beats those of nearby accommodation will provide income, making it possible for the pod to pay for itself, within its sixty year expected working life
  • Although the Community Care sector is doing its utmost to move away from an institutionalised environment, the routine of care work and its staffing limits don’t enable its service-users to make individual decisions. A break from the timetable of the permanent home will give the resident a welcome feeling of ‘time out’. Mental and emotional wellbeing will improve, as the individual feels able to make his or her own decisions and do things differently.

Thinking outside the box of regular building constraints, My Space Pod’s design specialists can make anything possible and the completion time of around twenty weeks makes the finished building quickly functional.

In cases of emergency, they are quick to respond, with pods designed to handle the needs of the situation in hand e.g. accommodation for emergency service workers, with necessary and appropriate heating and cooling systems in place.

‘Putting the customer first’ may be an age-old adage but it is this very point on which My Space Pod bases its success.

More information and contact details can be found on this website:

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Welcome to Modular Buildings

Welcome to our blog about Modular Buildings. This blog aims to explore all the type of modular buildings available such as recycled container accommodation and other modular building concepts around the world.

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