How Long Do Modular Buildings Last?

How Long Do Modular Buildings Last?

“How long do modular buildings last?” and “How durable is modular construction?” are two questions we are frequently asked at Modular Genius. The discussion below is designed to provide you with answers about their longevity and durability.

Modular Genius is an award-winning modular builder that provides design-to-occupancy turnkey modular solutions for educational institutions, healthcare facilities, businesses of all types, the military and the government.

Our service-oriented team of designers, engineers and technicians has the ability to create virtually any design, from single-story structures to contemporary multi-story complexes that exceed 100,000 SF.  We can also serve as general contractor for everything from architectural renderings, to foundations and site preparation, to final paving and landscaping.

Average Lifespan of a Modular Building

Modular buildings must meet the same quality and function requirements that site-built structures are expected to meet and must adhere to the same building and occupancy codes.

Because they have to be transported by truck to a construction site, however, extra attention is paid to their ability to withstand winds and poor weather along the way, which results in a stronger structure.

The longevity of modular buildings and their components can be negatively impacted by: poor installation and poor quality control, harsh or damp internal or external environments, failure to use the building for its intended purpose, allowing the building to sit vacant for long periods, and failure to adhere to an ongoing maintenance plan.

The expected life cycles of various modular building components are:

Category                                                  Minimum Service Life

Interior finishes                                        =        5 to 10 years

Roofing systems                                      =        20 years

Mechanical systems                               =        20 years

Electrical and plumbing systems          =        25 years

Windows and siding                                =        30 years

Building structure                                    =        25-30 years (temporary); 50+ years (permanent)

Foundations                                             =        Forever

Durability of a Modular Building

Temporary/Relocatable: Temporary modular buildings, also known as portable or relocatable buildings, are designed to be reused or re-purposed multiple times and transported to different sites. “Temporary” does not mean they are not built to last. They are intended to serve short term and/or urgent needs and are designed for easy tear down and relocation. The “temporary” designation has more to do with how the structures are installed on the building site.

Temporary buildings are not permanently affixed to real estate. They are typically anchored to a concrete pier foundation. The crawl space is enclosed with skirting material, and decks, steps, or ramps are built for access to the exterior doors. Consequently, floor plans for these buildings may be less complex, and the interior/exterior finishes incorporate lighter materials to make the building more conducive to easy dismantling and relocation.

With proper care, temporary modular buildings have a service life of at least 25 to 30 years, after which the components are typically repurposed or recycled.

Permanent: Permanent modular buildings can be installed on a concrete pier foundation in the same manner as a temporary building, however, they are most often installed on a full perimeter foundation with an excavated crawl space, eliminating the need for skirting and decking.

Like relocatable modular buildings, sections or “modules” of the structure are manufactured off-site in a controlled factory environment, including all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing fixtures and interior finishes.

Permanent modular buildings can be constructed of wood, steel, or concrete, and can be integrated into site-built projects or stand alone as turnkey solutions.

When permanently affixed to real estate, they offer far greater flexibility, such as the ability to incorporate brick facings, site-built roofs, entrance canopies, interior lobbies and stairwells, elevators, glass storefronts, and custom layouts. They become virtually indistinguishable from stick-built buildings and would be very difficult (and expensive) to relocate.

With proper care, permanent modular buildings have a lifespan of at least 50 years.

Get in Touch Today

The Modular Genius team is focused on excellent communication that will exceed the expectations of our clients and lead to their success, from designing and building high-quality multi-story modular projects to delivering and installing a modular classroom or a used portable building,

As you evaluate how long modular buildings last, consider Modular Genius’ expertise in modular construction when you need more space. Contact us today at (888) 420-1113 to discuss your plans.