If you are researching online for your first steel building, you will come across the terms prefabricated, modular, panel, and manufactured. These terms may cause some confusion if you aren’t sure exactly what they are referring to. Many websites will use the words interchangeably, but in reality they don’t mean the same thing. In order to be on the same page with your steel building company, take a look at the true meaning of each of these terms. You will be more knowledgeable when it comes time to purchase a building and you will be more prepared to make the right decisions.
Prefab for short, you hear this one a lot with steel buildings. When a building is prefabricated, it means that the entire building or just portions of the building have been built and assembled in a factory and then shipped to the construction site where it is installed. After the parts are welded together, the rest of the building process can commence such as putting up sheetrock, installing plumbing, putting in electrical components, etc.
Many steel buildings contain prefabricated portions because it allows for a faster, less expensive construction process. Prefabricated buildings most often show up in the commercial sector, but are becoming more popular in homes. Prefabrication allows for wide, open spaces and tall ceilings, which is important to many steel building owners.
Panel and Modular fall under the realm of prefabrication but they are slightly different.
Modular building refers to the process of constructing smaller, separate box-like modules, and then securing those boxes together to form a whole building. The individual modules are created in a factory and then shipped to the construction site on trucks. As you can see, this is a unique type of prefabricated construction. With new technology, modular buildings can become more customizable than ever before. In the past, each module had to remain under 16 feet wide in order to fit on a flatbed truck but now more options are available.
In the world of steel buildings, modular is an option. It allows for extremely fast construction times, which means that the building owner can occupy the building much sooner than they would with a traditionally constructed building.
Panel building is the process of laying down the floor and then lowering sections of the wall in place by using a crane one at a time. It is used more than modular construction for commercial buildings because it allows for more design flexibility, wide, open spaces, and long spans.
A manufactured building is built entirely in a factory and shipped to the construction site. Obviously, since the building has to fit on a truck, it has to be rather small. Manufactured steel buildings are best as small garages and carports, not as large steel buildings for commercial businesses.
These are the types of steel buildings that could be classified as prefabricated. Of course, there are other types of steel construction methods such as I-beam and steel framed. The important thing to know is that steel is an extremely versatile building material that can form buildings of any size, scope, and purpose imaginable.