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How Modular Buildings Are Delivered

Modular building units are wrapped in protective covering, transported from a factory by land or sea, and permanently installed at their destination.

October 9, 2019

The delivery stage of modular construction is one of the most fascinating aspects of the modular process, and perhaps best captures how this innovative technique is unlike any other within the industry today. Similar to the spirit of modularization, the vast majority of everyday products are made in a factory, typically far away from where they are sold and purchased. Thus, just as the modular methodology modernizes traditional construction by shifting the actual building process into a factory or warehouse, it also involves the transportation of the finished modules to their ultimate destinations.

The delivery of nearly every modular building starts in much the same way, with the module components that form the completed building originating within a fabrication facility — such as ours in Berwick, Pennsylvania.

Unlike prefabricated components, volumetric units are designed and built around a six-sided structural frame, ensuring that each has the independent strength necessary to withstand the stress of delivery. As they leave the facility, each is wrapped in a protective covering that will shield them from the elements during their journey and installation.

Who is responsible for delivery?

The party responsible for the delivery of modular units to the job site will be determined in the contract with the modular manufacturer. Full-service design-build manufacturers, such as iBUILT, will offer contract options in which the manufacturer will make all necessary arrangements for delivery.

The specific path these units take to the final destination will depend upon the distance and location, but most modules will leave the facility via trucks. From there, some may be transferred onto trains for more efficient travel across longer distances.

The delivery of modular units is not restricted to land travel, though. These building blocks can also be shipped by sea, not unlike the countless shipping containers traversing the ocean on cargo vessels every day. Compatibility with this form of transportation enables the conveniences of modular construction to reach destinations where traditional construction would present much greater logistical challenges in coordinating the delivery and availability of various construction materials and labor.

No matter how they travel the bulk of the distance, most modular units will arrive to the construction site, again by truck. It’s at this stage that developers will want to ensure they’re working with an experienced modular manufacturer who can handle this crucial stage properly, especially in congested urban settings requiring careful navigation and timing to minimize disturbance to the surrounding area.

The delivery of a modular building rarely occurs all at once, however. As crews can only install a given number of modules per day, depending on the size of the crew, and the construction site may have limited ability to store modules long term, units are often delivered on a daily basis throughout the course of the installation process, which can be completed in as little as a few days.


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