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What are the Different Types of Modular Structures?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

Modular structures are buildings that are prefabricated and transported to their destinations on large tractor trailers. They are composed of multiple sections, or modules, that are pieced together to form a whole. These structures can be used in various ways, for both business and residential settings.

The most well-known of all modular structures is the trailer, or mobile home. These comes in various sizes, including mini trailers used for camping, single-wide trailers, and double-wide trailers. They are generally used as homes for lower income individuals or families. Although they cost less than traditionally built houses, trailers have become more aesthetically pleasing over the years and newer trailer homes don’t have the same stigma as the older ones carried. This is especially true for the double wide models.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Although trailers are often put one some type of foundation, mobile homes tend to depreciate in value, much like automobiles. This can be avoided or slowed by keeping a well-maintained home, or by placing the home on a large amount of land in a nice area. This fact doesn’t mean that mobile homes can’t make suitable homes for several decades, much like a traditional home.

Other modular structures include larger modular homes that look virtually identical to brick and mortar versions. Unlike mobile homes, larger modular homes often have two floors, bay windows, large porches and other features not common in single- and double-wide homes. These modular structures are generally of higher quality than mobile homes and maintain their resale value much better as well.

Modular structures are not limited to homes. There are also modular buildings in varying sizes and shapes that can be used for business purposes, schools, or organizations. Many new or emerging churches use metal modular structures until their congregations grow large enough to warrant having a church built.

Schools also utilize the convenience of modular structures to create additional classroom space in the form of structures known as “portables.” These buildings are usually simple squares or rectangles and are made up of only one large room. These can be beneficial for schools during times of remodeling, or to add classrooms for a growing student body. They can also be moved from location to location, so more than one school can use them when needed.

Businesses, such as car dealerships and other small offices, use modular structures for inexpensive office space. These buildings are often built similar to classroom portables, but they may be separate into more than one room to allot for multiple offices. Portable modular structures like these can be especially beneficial for businesses that travel, such as amusement companies.

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