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September 9, 2021

The concept of modular construction is nothing new. However, with economic demands, improvements to technology, and evolving mindsets, it is attracting more attention and investment. Along with the increase in interest in this type of construction came a modular restaurant construction boom.

What is modular construction?

When it comes to productivity, construction has a tendency to lag behind other sectors. Even a factory renovation project operates faster than standard construction. Modular construction provides the industry with a golden opportunity to make a notable change for many building activity elements. That being the transition from operating on traditional construction sites to factories with off-site manufacturing production.

Modular (aka. prefabricated) construction is the development of a building off-site and abiding by controlled plant conditions. It uses the same materials and adheres to the same codes and standards as facilities with conventional constructions. However, it takes half the time. When put together on-site, buildings produced in “modules” express the intent and specifications of the design. This is plausible even with the most complex facilities. And all of this transpires without compromise.

Key benefits of modular restaurant development

Below are the primary advantages of modular restaurant construction:

  • Fast: It would take half the time it would normally take to complete a building. The creation of modules usually occurs within a factory, and foundations – plus other on-site work – can be done simultaneously.
  • Safety & Security: With controlled environments, general contractors can work in optimum, not to mention safe, working conditions. Additionally, materials storage is indoors, thus limiting robberies that ensue in urban and rural settings.
  • A decrease in waste: Modular construction utilizes fewer materials, and whatever they do use are typically eco-friendly. Moreover, this form of construction leads the market when it comes to using recycled materials.
  • Cost reduction: Due to this construction type’s nature, standard projects can save up to 25% on the costs of construction.

Faster construction

The potential for a faster construction schedule is arguably the biggest perk for restaurants taking modular construction into consideration. According to Gary Sadler, the owner of Upland Architects, people seek out different ways to save time on construction schedules. Put simply, a fast restaurant construction will lead to quicker openings and generate revenue much sooner.

If you read our last article Medical Construction Costs, you might find this article on schedules helpful. Common construction projects mostly involve linear schedules. It starts with site preparation before commencing the foundation construction. Afterwards, there is the framing and so on. With modular construction, contractors can work in parallel by way of building the structure before site work begins. Developing the building inside a factory with control of the climate eliminates any delays stemming from nasty weather. This is another time-savings aspect especially in regions that experience cold weather.

Manufacturers insist that modular construction can shave time off the construction schedule by 6 to 12 weeks. This is quite the difference in comparison to similar projects with on-site construction.

Structural benefits

Being able to move certain modular structures provides additional perks to quick-service restaurant chains. Generally speaking, a smaller structure will make moving it much more feasible. For instance, if a modular restaurant is struggling at one site, the operator could move it to a different location. One that has heavier traffic, thus better chances of boosting business. Additionally, in some cases, modular buildings offer a tax advantage. Tax codes permit companies to gradually diminish the value of mobile buildings as if they are pieces of factory equipment.

Another benefit for restaurant chains is the prefabrication of portions of a structure. Moreover, using them on conventional on-site project development. College dormitories are recently employing this technique with prefabricated bathrooms. On top of that, hospitals use this strategy with patient room headwalls with inherent electronics and oxygen supply capabilities. This saves time and increases the quality of construction. This principle could apply to restaurants, though it still needs to go through testing.

Is modular restaurant construction the future of the industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a surge of changes, so more brands may turn to modular construction. Various food chains such as Burger King, Chipotle, Wendy’s, and Taco Bell are incorporating smaller formats without indoor dining. Additional brands that are considering a smaller scale include KFC and Starbucks, among several others.

Will others follow suit? Perhaps. Whether they do or don’t, modular construction has undoubtedly left an impact. If you need quote on your modular restaurant construction project, be sure to contact our Calgary construction services