top of page

What’s Ahead for Modular Construction?

To say 2020 didn’t go as expected would be quite an understatement. Despite the year’s unpredictable series of events, the modular construction industry continues to grow and “is likely to register tremendous gains over the coming years,” according to Market Study Report’s Modular & Prefabricated Construction Market Forecast, 2020-2026. The favorable projections are unsurprising, given its ability to speed construction timelines and fill productivity gaps amid skilled labor shortages. A 2019 report by McKinsey & Company underscores these recent findings, estimating that modular construction could grow to a $130 billion industry in the United States and Europe by 2030.

Following a year where social distancing and reducing points of contact took precedence over construction projects and opening schedules, developers are likely to turn to modular and prefab methods for these reasons and more in 2021. Namely, to mitigate health and safety risks on the jobsite, deliver a quality building product on an accelerated timeline and address the shift in demand for new and refreshed healthcare facilities.

Offsite prefabrication will be employed to mitigate safety risks on the jobsite

As global priorities shifted in ways previously unimaginable, construction projects came to a halt and returned with stringent health and safety guidelines. Modular manufacturers can help building teams comply with these protocols by moving the building process to a controlled setting and eliminating work-zone risks. For example, SurePods’ modular bathrooms consolidate into one unit what would typically take 8-12 skilled trade workers to complete – often working in 50 to 100 square-foot spaces. As a result, employees are able to better adhere to social distancing guidelines on the job.

Additionally, offsite bathroom prefabrication reduces safety risks associated with slick surfaces in a confined, often above ground-level workspace. And since most modular building takes place at ground-level, the risk of injury caused by falling overhead debris is essentially eliminated.

Developers will turn to modular construction methods to accelerate construction timelines

Prior to 2020, there were already huge challenges with coordinating dependent skilled labor tasks on construction projects, especially given the limited availability of workers. Prefab had become a popular building method to help curb these capacity issues and get buildings open sooner. In fact, SurePods’ clients were regularly shaving 2-4 months off of their construction schedules by prefabricating bathroom pods offsite.

As labor pools have shrunk further and today’s jobsites experience unforeseen starts and stops, tandem offsite work is poised to become an even more valuable asset to developers and building teams. By taking most of the work into a factory-controlled environment, modular building can carry on even if labor comes to a standstill elsewhere. The benefits of this approach extend to the bottom line. As recently noted in The New York Times, “modular construction can speed up construction by as much as 50 percent and cut costs by 20 percent.”

The healthcare industry turns to modular and prefab construction to address demand

According to the same recent article published by The New York Times, Scott L. Robinson, an assistant professor at the Schack Institute of Real Estate at New York University, notes that “modular makes sense for projects with a high volume of discrete and repeatable units.” The article also acknowledges that “many developers have turned instead to medical buildings” as “the pace of hospitality and office projects has slowed in 2020.”

This anecdote corresponds with the larger industry trend we’re seeing as well. Prior to 2020, SurePods had completed more than 2,000 hospital bathrooms after entering the healthcare construction market only a decade prior. As of January 2021, SurePods now has over 1,600 additional hospital bathroom pods in production or pre-con for nine new hospitals throughout the United States.

If you think your project is a match for SurePods as we head into 2021, let’s talk. We have a checklist of technical issues we review with the project team based on our extensive experience to make projects seamless. To get started, contact us at [email protected].


bottom of page