Sustainability in construction: What are the advantages of modular buildings?

Choosing the best building strategy is an ongoing challenge for construction firms across the UK. Sourcing the most environmentally friendly option could serve your team well, no matter if you’re working on an extended project or based in a remote location.

There’s also the question of giving your colleagues their own private space throughout the project. Modular buildings are an upcoming trend for larger firms, and as accessibility continues to increase, there’s no reason why small- to medium-sized companies should overlook using them.

Whether you’re upscaling or taking on your biggest project yet, it’s always worth knowing the benefits.


What are modular buildings?

In modular construction, the buildings are constructed off-site before being transported to a project.

These buildings can be either permanent or temporary, and they’re produced in ‘modules’ that fit together to produce a desired result. Whether used for temporary site accommodation hire or an integral part of the project, modular units bring more to the table.

Since modular buildings are constructed under controlled and professional plant conditions, they take around half the time to make. This helps construction firms to ensure that they’re not only choosing the most efficient option but a greener one too.


Why is sustainability so important in construction?

It’s no secret that construction is one of the most hazardous industries. Along with slips, trips, and machinery accidents threatening workers and their projects, the sector can be harmful for the environment too. According to the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the construction industry is responsible for almost a fifth of all large particle pollution in the UK.

Working sustainably on-site means reducing carbon emissions into the air, protecting workers from hazardous materials, and minimising the chance of physical or particulate pollution into soils, rivers, or natural habitats.


Why are modular buildings more sustainable?

  • Lower carbon footprint

Research has shown that modular buildings have a significantly smaller carbon footprint than other building types. On average, modular construction emits 45% less carbon than traditional methods, but this figure can range up to 60%. Through minimised pollution, modular units enable clearer air and healthier environments.

  • Enhanced flexibility

Once constructed, modular buildings can be disassembled. After their use in one project or location, they can be reused in a new location or refurbished entirely. Since modular buildings can so easily be given a new purpose or setting, they keep energy demands low and reduce the demand for excess raw materials too.

  • Reduced waste

The carbon-based fuels and materials used in construction pose an environmental threat, especially when they’re handled on-site and near natural environments. When modular units are built in a factory, unnecessary waste can be prevented by recycling materials and repurposing older units.

  • Safer sites

Lastly, the installation of modular buildings onsite is quick and clean. Fewer journeys away from the site are required, which means less dust, noise, air and water pollution will occur. Construction firms need to be aware of their impact – and this starts with addressing and enhancing core decisions in daily operations.