A guide to the latest modular building construction materials

Modular construction is one of the latest trends to revolutionise the world of building construction, for both domestic and commercial purposes. Contrary to popular belief, modular construction tends to utilise similar materials to other types of construction. It’s not necessarily the materials that differentiate modular construction from conventional construction. It tends to be the process, which is more flexible and fully customisable, and allows the design to influence the required modular building construction materials.

Wood, steel and concrete are three of the most common building materials. They have been used for centuries to overcome architectural challenges and are still a key part of the modular construction process.

The remit of modular construction is to offer the best value for money in terms of build quality and speed. Modular architecture relies heavily on 3D cutting-edge technology to bring modular designs to life on-screen and explore the possibilities using all available modular construction materials.

Below, we explore the benefits of wood, steel and concrete for the sole purposes of modular construction.

Why use concrete for modular building construction?

Although concrete may be associated with more conventional on-site building projects, there is also a place for concrete in modular construction too. Concrete modular constructions offer a solid structure, ideal for permanent buildings, particularly when reinforced with fibre or steel.

A prime example is the use of concrete in prefabricated bathrooms, which can be designed, built and customised to each particular modular bathroom project. Hydrodiseno’s CubikConcrete material creates a monolithic structure, capable of having all the design elements, modular bathroom materials and fittings integrated within it for simple on-site installation in residential and commercial environments.

Prefabricated Bathroom pods

Why use wood for modular building construction?

Wood-framed modules are also an integral facet to modular construction. The lighter nature of wood as a material ensures it is easier for manufacturers to work with compared with their concrete and steel counterparts. Carpenters find it easier to manipulate, craft and assemble wood-framed modules either by hand or using state of the art machinery.

In the past, wood has been most commonly used for single-storey structures, but advancements in modular construction and engineering have made multi-storey wooden modules an exciting reality. Keeping wood materials dry is key to stabilising a modular wooden frame, as the drier it gets the harder and more durable it becomes.

A by-product of modular construction is sustainability, and wood is one of the most sustainable building materials you will find. Even when wood framed modules are no longer needed, the wood can usually be reused for future projects. Wood also tends to minimise the toxicity levels of a modular construction.

Why use steel for modular building construction?

Steel or metal-framed modules are the last but by no means least common material for modular construction. Steel can be shaped with ease, which makes it possible for modular designers and architects to innovate and create aesthetically pleasing curves and features.

Steel is also non-combustible. This is a particularly important talking point when it comes to modular building construction materials in commercial environments. Steel-framed modules are more likely to limit fire damage, keeping the wider infrastructure largely intact.

Although wood can be strong when dry, steel is arguably the toughest of all modular building construction materials. Providing it is safeguarded from the elements and potential corrosion, it can withstand even the harshest of climates. Furthermore, steel like aluminium can also be combined in multi-material modular projects, that may also feature wooden frames.

Today’s materials help modular architecture to invariably surpass building regulations, whilst being completely customisable, to redefine and maximise the efficient use of spaces. This is a true revolution in global construction.