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!