Modular construction is quickly gathering steam as a fresh, modern approach to construction work that many can see becoming the future of the industry. Modular construction involves elements being constructed off-site, which comes with it’s own set of unique advantages and disadvantages.

Some of the main bonuses to modular construction include lessening the impact of weather on site, difficulties with procurement and other on site stressors that can cause difficulty and detail. Being developed in a factory setting also means that parts of the production process can be automated, increasing efficiency and output. 

Roofing is no different, and it’s becoming more and more common for roofs to be installed as the final product rather than a lengthy assembly process. However, there are several advantages and drawbacks to this new method, and here we’re going to look at the principles of modular roofing, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of the process. 

Advantages of modular roofing

Modular roofing means much less work to be completed on site, with only the installation of the readily made pieces to be completed by workers. This means that there is a large drop off of safety concerns, as roofers can bypass the complicated construction processes that often result in falls or injuries on the site. Modular roofing also helps to massively streamline the procurement process, rather than needing multiple materials delivered from separate sources, roofers can work with single materials delivered in one go, massively removing many of the procurement difficulties which can interrupt and delay work on site. 

Many of the advantages of modular roofing stem from the fact the unpredictable variables that occur on site are mitigated, such as impacts from other work, weather conditions and more. With the bulk of the construction completed in a factory setting, these elements can also be completed through automated means, further increasing output and precisions when rolling out these roofing solutions. 

Modular Roofing materials are often also chosen with sustainability in mind, and modular roofing can often provide a greener alternative to traditional building practices. This is furthered by the fact that modular solutions can be delivered in much fewer (or single) deliveries compared to typical construction practices, which involves multiple deliveries from separate locations to acquire the right materials.

 Disadvantages

Whilst this method of construction excels in supplying multiple solutions at increased output, it’s factory rate production does limit it’s capabilities. Whilst standard roofs can be mass produced at high frequency, modular roofing lacks the capabilities to make up for more complicated roofing jobs, which require more complex assembly. These limitations means that beyond commercial means, modular roofing is limited in its application. 

There is also the problem of transportation costs, and whilst procurement issues are bypassed, transporting such large materials as modular roofs can result in increased costs and difficulties. Modular construction also does play a part in reducing the resale value of a building, due to perceived notions about its longevity. 

The narrow supply chain concerned with modular roofing and construction is also somewhat a double-edged sword. Although the supply chain is streamlined and less complicated, it also means that disruptions in procurement can delay progress by significant amounts, or halt work completely. 

Modular roofing is by no means a like for like replacement for traditional construction, and currently is only suited for simple, uniform roofing that can be produced in a standardised format. However, it is a significant step towards reaching net zero goals, and is an exciting prospect for the future of the roofing and construction industry.