The Advantages and Terminology of Modular Construction

Modular construction is a modern method of building that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It offers numerous benefits, such as reducing construction time, minimizing waste, and potentially saving costs. However, there are various terms used to describe this type of construction, which can be confusing for those unfamiliar with the industry. In this article, I will explain the terminology associated with modular construction and highlight its advantages.

Off-Site Construction

The terms “off-site construction”, “prefabrication”, and “modular construction” are often used interchangeably.

These terms encompass a range of different approaches and systems, from individual elements joined together using standard connections to three-dimensional volumetric units with complete accessories. Essentially, off-site construction refers to the process of manufacturing building components in a specialized facility away from the construction site.

Prefabricated Construction

Prefabricated construction is another term used to describe off-site construction. It involves the prefabrication of building components that are then transported to the construction site for assembly. This method is often used for large-scale projects and can result in significant time and cost savings.

Modular Construction

Modular construction involves building large modules off-site that are designed to be joined together on-site.

These modules can be customized to fit specific project requirements and are typically built using advanced technology and materials. This method is often used for commercial buildings, schools, and healthcare facilities.

Traditional Construction

Traditional construction is the most common form of building, where most of the work is done on-site. This method involves constructing a building from scratch using materials such as wood or metal. It is often referred to as “pole construction” in industrial settings.

Kit Construction

Kit construction is a type of prefabricated construction that involves pre-cut parts that require significant assembly on-site.

However, this method results in minimal waste and can be more efficient than traditional construction.

Temporary Buildings

Temporary buildings are structures that can be easily moved or dismantled and reassembled elsewhere. They are often used for events or as temporary office spaces. This type of construction is also known as “panelized” construction, where walls, floors, and other flat components arrive in large sections that can be quickly put in place.

Volumetric Modular Construction

Volumetric modular construction is the most complete form of modular construction, with a minimum amount of on-site assembly required. This method involves building large structures by joining individual modules together end-to-end and one on top of the other.

It eliminates the need for an additional superstructure and results in a more efficient and cost-effective building process.

Frame Construction

The terms “frame” or “framing” are often used to describe the schematic structure of a building. However, they can also refer to support structures for modular buildings. These frames are designed to provide structural stability and support for the modules.

The Benefits of Modular Construction

Modular construction offers numerous benefits over traditional construction methods. As mentioned earlier, it can significantly reduce construction time, minimize waste, and potentially save costs.

Additionally, modular buildings are highly customizable and can be designed to be relocated during their useful life. This is something unique to modular units, whether they are large or small. Furthermore, because modular buildings are made up of more complete parts, they are easier to disassemble and transport elsewhere. This makes them a more sustainable and environmentally friendly option compared to traditional construction methods.


In conclusion, modular construction is a modern and efficient method of building that offers numerous benefits. It is important to understand the terminology associated with this type of construction to fully grasp its advantages.

Terms such as “off-site construction”, “prefabrication”, and “modular construction” are often used interchangeably, but they encompass different approaches and systems. By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can better understand the benefits of modular construction and make informed decisions for your building projects.

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