Is modular building less expensive than traditional building?
Generally speaking, yes. There are a lot of variables with a modular project, just as there are with a conventional construction project. The availability and cost of on-site labour is a key factor. In larger urban areas where labour is scarce and/or expensive, shifting construction to an off-site (often rural) location can yield significant cost savings. Additionally, the overall efficiency of the process can lead to cost savings. Fewer labour hours are needed to complete a comparable project and waste is significantly reduced. Lastly, the shortened construction schedule can reduce the time needed for a construction loan and can dramatically advance the occupancy date.
MBI partnered with other organizations to fund research conducted by Professor Ryan Smith at the University of Utah to analyze several modular projects compared to similar site built “peer” projects. In all but one of the comparisons, the modular project was found to be more cost effective. McGraw-Hill published their Smart Market Report titled “Prefabrication and Modularization: Increasing Productivity in the Construction Industry.” Through an Internet survey of hundreds of AEC professionals, the report found: “65 percent report that project budgets were decreased—41 percent by six percent or more.”
Credits: 2019 PERMANENT MODULAR CONSTRUCTION REPORT: Modular Building Institute