Advantages of Modular Buildings in the Warehouse
Better, faster, and less expensive than frame out construction
In the past year I’ve toured manufacturing facilities that have office space right on the plant floor. Those offices had been added as the company grew and needed more supervisors or engineers on the floor. They were using modular offices, of course. Later, I was fortunate to attend a training session on modular offices done by one of our suppliers, and it was amazing the forethought and engineering that goes into these modular buildings.
Construction similarities and differences
When you build a room using conventional techniques, you have wall framing, wall sheathing, doors, windows, and electrical supplies to consider. Sound proofing or insulation might also figure into that along with network cables, phones lines, as well as heating and cooling. Then you’ve got the builders, sawhorses, power tools, extension cords, scrap lumber and wall board — oh, and the sawdust, chalk dust, loose nails, hammering and sawing, and strangers wandering around in your facility. As you build the office, things will get messy before they get better.
Modular buildings use many of the same elements but compartmentalize them into 4-foot wide units that fit together quickly with basic tools. You still have wall framing, wall sheathing, doors, windows, and all the rest within those modular sections — but you don’t have scraps laying around and all the clutter and dust that goes with it. You also lose the wandering strangers if you install the module yourself, and wonder of wonder, conduits for electrical wiring and phone and network cabling are included in those little modules. You can even get the heating and cooling needed.
Other advantages include the ability to expand or reconfigure easily. Even relocate or re-use the structure as conditions change in your business.
Remember that modular buildings are ideal for mezzanine applications. They’re often paired together, with office, lab, or climate controlled space atop the platform and storage below.
Time can make all the difference
Did I mention the time frames involved? Traditional construction can take weeks, depending on how large the structure is. Modular units take 1 to 2 days typically. Imagine, 1-2 days to put up office work space inside your facility without dust, muss and confusion. It makes sense to take a serious look at modular office space when you consider the simplicity of installing and short time your processes may be disrupted due to the construction. Don’t forget the efficiency of modular buildings for guard gates, checkpoints and remote sites, too.
Get a tax break in the deal
Lastly, one of the strongest reasons for considering modular over conventional construction is the tax advantage available. When it comes to capital expense deductions, the depreciation deduction for conventional construction extends out for 31-1/2 years, whereas modular buildings receive a 7-year depreciation rate, meaning a faster return on investment. For most of us, that quicker return on investment means a lot toward the bottom line.
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.