Monday, June 30, 2014

How To Write A Specification For A Modular Building

Modular buildings are just like traditional construction in that you have thousands of choices in every category of the modular construction process. You can choose which roof covering you want, what type and size of window, how many doors & windows, what quality grade of floor covering, how energy efficient to make the modular building, what "BRANDS" you want included....and so on, and so on, and so on!

As a manufacturer we specialize in "CUSTOM" construction so our clients can make educated decisions on the quality, life cycle, or value of a certain building component. Many manufacturing companies in the modular industry have built their empire on "BULK" purchasing. This means they make purchasing deals with certain vendors and limit the choices so that they can obtain a higher volume of purchasing level, which ultimately helps with value pricing. Commodity purchasing is great for the economy of a building, but does limit the choices you have as a consumer.
There are advantages and disadvantages of both the commodity, and custom manufacturing processes. Our goal as a manufacturer is to help all of our clients make educated decisions on every aspect of the modular building process. Consider these six great tips below when developing a modular building specification:

1. Do you want a building that is temporary short term or a long term permanent structure
2. Do you have structures on site that you need to match component "BRANDS", or aesthetic qualities
3. What is your schedule, can you wait on custom long order materials
4. Do you have a maintenance staff to service lower end "value" components that may need replaced
5. What is a realistic budget for the total project
6. Are you trying to be green, or reduce your carbon footprint


To learn more about construction options contact our team at Modular Solutions,Ltd

Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Can A Modular Building Be Used In High Wind Areas?

There are many parts of the USA that have extreme wind conditions. Places that are wide open lands or tornado zone like the mid-west have struggled for years when tornado season hits. There are strong winds, wind gusts, dust walls, tornadoes, dust devils, many varieties of wind conditions that modular buildings and traditional buildings are faced with.

Most local and state agencies have "wind-load" conditions as a part of the design criteria based on "typical" wind conditions for a certain area. So When we are asked "can a modular building withstand high winds?" that answer is YES, but is also subject to extreme conditions. Modular buildings are built to travel down the highway at 60 M.P.H. so there are always straps, and bands and other structural elements built into a modular building that you will not even get in a traditional site built structure. Can a modular building survive a tornado? I have seen pictures of commercial modular buildings in disaster regions that were standing held on by the tie down straps, and I have seen commercial modular buildings that were a casualty. I don't know if any structure is ever completely safe from tsunami, tornado, hurricane type winds, but you do your best to design one that is resistant to "typical" wind conditions for your local area.

1. Check the local wind zone & make sure if you are getting new or used construction that the building meets that criteria
2. Select a roof covering that is more durable, example standard three tab shingles are not usually recommended in high wind areas
3. If you are in a region subject to occasional wind bursts, design the building to the stricter code design and wind load
4. Always use tie downs! I have seen many buildings saved by being secured to the foundation with tie down straps
5. Disclosure, if you are purchasing a used modular building ask if the building has ever been damaged by wind

For more great tips and professional advice contact our team:
Modular Solutions, Ltd
Address: P O Box 15507-Phoenix, AZ 85060
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Is A Steel Building The Same As A Modular Building?

We are frequently asked is a steel building the same as a modular building. The category of construction if often lumped together as a "prefabricated" structure. In our industry frequently firms will combine steel buildings and modular buildings for effective uses such as fire stations, or retail so they can have the high ceilings and open space steel offers with the flexibility of modular construction coming to site 90% complete.
I guess the biggest difference is in the construction design- see the comparison, showing the variables between steel buildings and modular construction. In some instances modular construction is best like a daycare or classroom, in some cases a steel building works best like an industrial storage facility or airplane hangar, and in other instances "melded" construction of modular and steel buildings will be the best space solution. When you talk with your design experts walk through items such as your current and future space goals, your budget, your schedule, your life cycle, and other important goals. It works well to build a needs and want list to see what the total budget can really afford. Sometimes the building funds are right on target, but the land development fees are in excess, causing the building design team to have to make value engineering choices.

In the end, you make educated choices based on working with an experienced modular building team. For more information contact our experts at:
Modular Solutions, Ltd
Mailing Address: P O Box 15507-Phoenix, AZ 85060
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Fire Separations In Modular Buildings, Are They Required?

In modular buildings, just like site built structures factories are required to meet the state, and local building codes or the occupancy. Some building are used for multiple functions and require special fire separation to meet code. Fire rating means to put an additional layer of gypsum to create a separation between the uses of a facility. This can also include doors, corridors, and mechanical upgrades for full separation.

Some common separation of spaces include
* Offices & Education
* Classrooms & Food Service
* Gymnasium & Classrooms
* Living Space & Offices
* Assembly & Education
* Office & Industrial Storage

There are many variables that will determine if you need a fire separation such as total square footage, common areas, shared functions, etc. In some cases the site will determine fire rating, for example if you are too close to another structure on site. Fire rating is not an expensive item, but if has not been designed into a modular building & you have to retrofit, it can be more expensive. For more information on mixed occupancies & fire rating requirements visit with our team:

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Why Are There Different "A" Occupancies In Modular Buildings?

We have clients that are churches or non-profit organizations that just need lots of wide open space but don't understand why there are so many types of "A" occupancies. While the total size of the building is a huge factor the basic uses are common practice.
Here is a break out of the basic uses:
A-1: Fixed seating such as theater or concert halls
A-2: Food & Drink Consumption such as restaurant or banquet halls
A-3: Intended for Worship, amusement or recreation such as churches, community halls, art galleries, museums, libraries
A-4: Indoor sporting events such as ice skating rinks, arenas, tennis courts
A-5: Outdoor Activity Viewing such as grandstands or amusement parks

If you have less than 50 occupants it can even be considered "B" occupancy.

The code is very flexible and is best left to the architectural team to help you select the best design & value for your space goals. Contact our team for more information.

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Let Us Help You Build A Medical Facility!

Modular Buildings are used for a variety of reasons. Lately with an older population, veterans returning from war, a new baby boom, and natural disasters, hospitals and clinics can not be built via traditional means fast enough. Historical construction data shows that hospitals have been renovated ever 3-4 years to keep up with new technology and federal requirements. To outfit a medical facility with traditional construction there are always special hazards and special construction knowledge that make it critical to pick an experienced design & construction team.

Let us look at this from another view point.....What could bring in a hospital or medical clinic addition, match it to an existing structure, and have it come to site 90% compete! Saving all the hassles of construction debris, air quality control, noise abatement, utility connection services, etc!

Modular buildings really do make more sense! NOW, how to find an experienced team for medical construction of a modular facility.
Tips for finding a great modular construction medical team:
1. Do they have an architectural team with medical design on staff or do they have to depend on 3rd party for input?
2. Have they ever constructed a medical facility before?
3. How long have the key employees been providing specialty medical facilities, and job references?
4. What is the current backlog, can the complete a project faster?
5. Do they do site work for a turnkey modular building solution?
6. Are they licensed for architectural, site work, and modular manufacturing?
7. Are they the factory or do they 3rd party that out to another company?

Lots of things to consider when you want the job done right! Our team at Modular Solutions,Ltd has been providing turnkey modular medical building solutions since 1996. A better way to build!

For more information contact our team:

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sizzling Summer Heat, Ways To Save On Your Energy Bill (6) Tips

When summer hits full force utility bills soar sky high as mechanical units run non-stop in certain parts of the country. We are asked what are some tips to bring down the cost of operating expense during the summer heat.

1. Change your filters, Will help units run more efficiently
2. Check duct work for leaks or possible repairs
3. Strategically plant landscape, to help with shade & summer heat penetration
4. Cover windows with shade screens and reflective coatings
5. More expensive, but helpful reflective coating or white roof
6. higher SEER HVAC units operate more efficiently, if you have old units maybe time for a replacement and NOW, there are tax rebates for this type of upgrade

For more tips contact our team:

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What IS GSA & How Can We Use It?

General Services Administration (GSA) is a commodity program that allows contracting officers to purchase goods & services from a per-determined price list from established vendors. Modular buildings and prefabricated buildings can be found on schedule 56. GSA uses Special Item Numbers (SIN)to identify the goods and services a vendor can provide. The modular buildings are listed under SIN category 361 A-H. When you are looking for a modular building or installation services, this is how GSA identifies vendors that can provide the services.

Each vendor will have unique ways they have priced out their GSA schedule items, so sometimes you have to do your homework & make sure you are getting everything you want in a modular building. If you want a custom building look for vendors that have a menu of line items to customize your new facility, or if you are looking for a "quick-fix" maybe for disaster relief look for a vendor that can offer "models" or an inventory of equipment.
One great thing about the GSA schedule is that it can really expedite the purchasing cycle. You can put the information out in electronic format to GSA vendors, and get responses back quickly. In emergency situations I have seen proposal offerings that are due in 24 hours, with mobilization due within the week. The great thing is that you can write your own performance specification and scope and get the vendor that best fits the mold for that type of performance. Not all vendors can provide all services. The other great thing about the GSA schedule is that you can put projects out on a "set-aside" basis to reach your performance goals. You can select companies that are small business or minority owned & still get a good proposal response from pre-screened vendors.

For More information on how to purchase a modular building through the GSA schedule contact our team:

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

Monday, June 16, 2014

How To Prepare A Used Modular Building For Relocation

Modular buildings are constructed to be relocated. While relocation of modular buildings happens every day across the USA there are proper ways to get your used modular building ready for transport so that you do not have to deal with damages to the structure at the new location.

1. If your building is a multi-sectional modular building separate the sections at least 5' between each section as you dismanatle the modular building, Make sure you have left piers under the sections for the safety of the team providing the dismantle
2. Build shipping walls to support the beam between the support posts. Shipping walls can be made of recycled materials. Measure & re-measure to make sure you touch the beam & floor
3. Roll the carpet back, so it goes back nicely at the new site (if tile take out 12" x 12" square down the center for full tile replacement
4. If you have Tape,Texture,painted (TTP) wall covering place cross bracing to help reduce cracking to a minimum
5. Make sure you got all your close up materials inside the modular for re-use (ie exterior trims, interior trims, cove base, sprinkler couplings, etc)
6. Label all your cross over boxes & wrap them in a whip or put them in a ceiling box for electrical, fire, communication so you know how & what wires go back together
7. Remove any items that will make the building over height or over wide or be prepared to pay for the additional escort fees (weight the difference)
8. Put plastic & strapping on the sides of the sections. If storing for a while use HEAVY DUTY plastic to keep it weather tight. This is NOT an area you want to save a few pennies. If water or weather get in you can spend thousands of $'s in repair or mold remediation.
9. Block the doors with plywood so they don't accidentally swing open, and put plywood over window. This step is NOT required, but is a great tip for saving money on unnecessary damages. Also if you have cabinets or other items take drawers out, block doors closed, block interior doors so they don't swing loose.
10. Plan ahead and make sure your taxes are cleared and you can transport the building.

By choosing an experienced moving team, all of these items should be included in the fee schedule. If not, this gives you a good list to review with the moving company. Our team has a "make-ready" ship list form that we take to each relocation project to ensure we cover all the site specific items that need to be taken care of properly to ensure a safe and excellent relocation.

For more details contact our team at Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

Friday, June 13, 2014

Buy Native American Clause, We Can Help!

Many Native American tribes and communities want to choose modular construction, but always try to promote the buy Native American Clause.
What is the buy Native American Clause?
This clause is a federal recognition that allows Native American tribes or communities & federal agencies to give special consideration in the bid or proposal process to companies that are Native American owned.

What are the benefits of this buy Native American clause?
1. Keeping Native American owned companies in business and helping them grow strong by building great construction projects in Native American communities
2. Companies that are Native American owned have a better understanding of sovereign rights, TERO regulations, Davis Bacon Wages, archeological clearance, and other unique requirements associated with construction on Native American sites
3. More conscious of environmental impact on construction sites
4. Putting Native Americans to work

How Do you incorporate the clause into RFP's?
Below is an example of a set aside clause that was recently incorporated into a proposal. By choosing to set aside business for competition among Native American owned firms you are allowing the proliferation of strong Native American owned businesses.

For more information contact our team at:
Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Metal Roof Or Shingle Roof For My Modular Building?

We are frequently asked by clients if they should choose a metal or shingle roof covering there are pros & cons of both types. Consider this as you weigh your decision:
Shingle Roof Advantages:
1. Readily Available
2. Cost-Effective
3. Easy to Replace or Repair
4. Variety Of Color Choices
5. Can Ship Complete From Factory
6. Easy Penetration Seal

Shingle Roof Disadvantages:
1. Damages More Easily In High Wind Locations
2. Shorter Life Cycle Than Metal, about 1/3rd the life span
3. More Maintenance & Visual Inspections Required

Metal Roof Advantages:
1. Steel Roof Life Cycle Measured At 50+ Years By Roofing Industry
2. Steel Roof Very Low Maintenance Cost
3. Steel Roof "White" Covering, Is Considered Energy Wise For Reflective Value
4. Lightweight & Versatile Panel Shapes
5. Fire Resistant Material & Some Insurance Reductions If Applicable

Metal Roof Disadvantages:
1. More Expensive Initially Than Shingle Roof
2. Penetrations Can Sometimes Lead To Leaks If Not Sealed & Maintained
3. More Expensive To Replace Or Repair

Both systems are highly utilized in the modular industry. Our preconstruction team has cut sheets and comparisons on file for you to review & make an educated & informed decision. There are lots of roof covering choices, we are just showing a comparison between two highly common ones selected in the modular industry. For more details contact our team at Modular Solutions, Ltd

Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Time To Move Your Modular Building? (5) Tips To Consider

Many clients only need a modular building as a temporary swing space resource. The great thing about modular buildings is they are relocateable. When you are using space as a temporary fill until you move to your new location or you need seasonal space you can move the modular building in & out or relocate it without losing your investment. We recently worked with a firm that needed a facility that was very custom and they needed the building for six months.....howerver, they to have this facility nationwide at various branch locations and could not afford to customize a "temporary" facility that many times. SOLUTION...... We constructed the building for them with multiple state approvals and tags, and they can move the "prototype" facility around from location to location and have the perfect building solution and save time & money!

some tips to consider when thinking about moving your modular building:

1. If you are moving within the state see who has jurisdiction for at the new location to make sure your existing modular building will work, without special considerations
2. If you are moving but the site will not be ready, make sure to plastic the building up and water tight it so you will not face any storm damage or weather issues
3. If you need to grow, just ask about "flex-space" modular sections. We can build & add to any existing modular structure
4. Decide if you want a temporary or permanent foundation system. A permanent foundation system is more expensive to install at the new location & remove from the prior site
5. Blend in! Each time you go into a new community you want to feel like you have always been there. Choose siding finishes that will blend in with any community well

Friday, June 6, 2014

What Is The Process For Getting A New Modular Building?

The process will vary depending on where you are located, but in general the process or flow are similar across the USA. Two main reasons modular building construction is gaining popularity faster than other construction methods are that you can start generating revenues quicker, and you reduce the cost of your construction general conditions fees by finishing the project quicker.
General Process:
1. Find your land: In any business it is location, location, location
2. Get your preconstruction team assembled: If you are fortunate enough to have a company like ours that can offer design-build turnkey construction providing all services this is the best way, but if not you can assemble your architect, your general contractor, and your modular manufacturer or dealer.
3. Design your site & building layout: Talk through future growth plans and future requirements during this stage to ensure you lay out a wise plan
4. Submit for Permits & approvals: Getting approval on the conceptual plans is usually done on a local basis, but many states have a review division for modular buildings.
5. Start site preparation & building construction: Here is where the modular benefit really kicks in! We prepare the site for the building, as it is being fully constructed in the plant. No weather delays or construction delays when you build inside a plant. Both are completed at about the same time.
6. Deliver & Install the modular building: Take your almost fully completed modular building and install it on the foundation system. Inspections are called in & the building is almost done.
7. Final finishes: Some buildings have to get final finishes connected or completed (ie porches, stucco, high roofs, etc). Those final finishes are installed and inspected & then your new modular building is ready to occupy.

Most modular projects take about 120 days from inception through occupancy. Some are quicker if the building is basic, and some take a little longer if the site is tied up in zoning issues or approvals. Traditional construction takes about 6-18 months on an average project. As you can see that is a HUGE time savings.

For more information on how to get your new modular building contact our team:

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Can I Get Moveable Walls In My Modular Building?

Modular buildings are great for meeting halls, assembly use, churches. One big question we hear all the time is can a client put "moveable" walls into a modular building. The answer is YES! When you are getting your custom modular building designed by the preconstruction team you want to look at the functions of your meetings. Frequently you may have smaller groups in break out sessions or learning labs, and then when your entire committee or congregation come together you have a large gathering.

The best way to allow true "flex" space is by using a moveable wall system. The best question to ask yourself during the design stage is how much noise separation do you need. The quieter you need a room the more expensive the "flex" walls become.
Types of moveable wall systems:
Level 1: Visual screening only. Usually on a track system that may not even reach from ceiling to floor. This just breaks up a room into areas on a visual basis and sound transfers right through.
Level 2: Sound Attenuation Walls: These walls can be sandwich stacked or panelized. The walls are usually covered in a sound absorbent material
This type of wall is usually a 35 - 45 STC rating. The higher the STC rating the higher the cost of the wall.
Level 3: Track walls: These walls are usually constructed to be "knock-down" walls and take a little more effort to install and remove. They are meant to be easily removed without damage to the adjacent walls. With this type of wall can get up to a 55 STC rating which is equal to shouting not audible in an adjacent room

What ever the space goal you need to look at your budget, your schedule, and your over all design needs. Some of the moveable wall systems are quite expensive and have a very long lead time. Make sure that this wall is your best solution and if it is, make sure you allow for it in your budget.

For more details talk to our pre-construction team:

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Can I Get Financing For My Modular Building

The great thing about modular buildings are there are two ways to categorize them.

1. As equipment & get a lease to own (with tax benefits) finance on equipment leasing
2. As true and real property, with a traditional long term mortgage

As a modular company we often have small businesses and non-profits that need to grow, but that do not have the capital. Funding for a project addition is sometimes tough to find. We have been very successful at building relationship with equipment leasing and traditional mortgage companies that understand modular buildings, and that understand how to get them funded.

They type of financing you go after is usually determined by the tax credits and total available credit. Many of our clients are able to roll in the land, land and site development, the modular buildings, and all related costs for permits/design/approval. If you are looking for a short term fix, perhaps leasing is a better option. The variable will be your short and long term financial goals.

If you are a non-profit or municipal agency we have some great lending agencies that work within your fiscal abilities to commit funds for extended terms, and get the projects funded for you.

For more information on how get get funding for your new modular building contact our team at:

Modular Solutions, ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

Monday, June 2, 2014

Easy Sustainable Options For Your Modular Building

A Common question we are asked is can I get a modular building that will be more "green", and that is better for the environment. There are lots of little things you can incorporate into your modular building design that is better for the environment, green, reduces carbon footprint, and that will make a difference.

1. Design you building with 2 x 6 wall studs: Increase insulation, reduce energy consumption
2. Use a high efficiency mechanical system: Modular buildings can have more efficient units with higher seasonal energy efficient ratings (SEER)that will reduce the cost to cool you modular building.
3. Modular Building Placement: General common sense of placing windows and door facings when putting the modular building on the site will reduce heat conductivity
4. Sustainable Floor Covering: Choose a floor covering made from recycled bottles or bamboo. Make a conscience choice to select a product proven to be reducing carbon footprint
5. Use an alternative energy system (ie windmill or solar power) for energy generation to have a net zero design
6. The very essence of modular is "green"- A modular building is 100% recyclable and can be used at a new location any time during its life cycle or rebuilt to have a new life cycle

For more tips and hints on how to build a more sustainable modular building contact our team at

Modular Solutions, Ltd
Phone: 800-441-8577 x 1

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