What are the Different Types of Modular Products?

Erin J. Hill

Modular products can include prefabricated homes, buildings, and trailers that are used for both residential and commercial functions. They are used to provide low-income and middle class families a more affordable housing option, as well as to allow businesses to create extra office space for less cost. The main difference between modular products and brick and mortar buildings is the way in which they are built.

Costs of modular homes and buildings can be more predictable than conventional ones.
Costs of modular homes and buildings can be more predictable than conventional ones.

Most modular products are prefabricated at a remote site and then moved to the residential or business lot where they are to be assembled. They are composed of many separate pieces, or modules, and are generally lifted into place by a crane. This way of building is far more cost efficient than designing and building a home using traditional means, resulting in more affordable prices.

Some modular offices desks are ergonomically designed.
Some modular offices desks are ergonomically designed.

Mobile homes are one type of modular product, although they differ from most others. Trailers, as mobile homes are more commonly called, are built in the same manner as other modular products with the addition of an axle and trailer. These allow the home to be moved from location to location, so long as it is not placed on a permanent foundation.

Other modular products are more strenuously built on site, although some modular homes have axles that allow them to be shipped to the site via a truck. Many modular homes are two stories and very closely resemble more conventional housing. There is no real limit to the size and appearance of a modular home. Some are fully customizable, so buyers can customize the building process.

Businesses also use modular products as office and storage space. “Portables” are small box shaped modular buildings that can moved as needed to various locations. They are commonly used at schools to provide additional classrooms, or by businesses that do not have dedicated offices. An example of this type of business would be a car lot or construction site.

Another type of modular product is called a prefabricated metal building. These are more permanent structures and are constructed in the same way as other modular buildings. They are usually placed on a foundation and are simple square shapes, although unlike a portable they often have more than one room. They are commonly used as churches, office buildings and meeting houses.

Buying modular products involves finding and speaking with a supplier. Since these buildings can be moved and constructed on site, location is not as important as finding the right company. Most company websites will feature plans and layouts to choose from. For the purchase of a modular home, visiting a local retailer may be more appropriate, as they often feature model homes used for walk-throughs. This gives buyers a better feel for the house before a purchase is made.

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