A modular office is a building that is constructed to serve as an office, but is not connected to a permanent foundation on the ground. These offices are often used as temporary spaces, but can also be used as overflow areas or even permanent work areas, depending on the need. Typically, they cost less to buy and build than more traditional office buildings. Modular offices can also refer to temporary walls and structures within a more traditional building.
Modular construction is simply a construction type that is based on standardized dimensions or units. As such, construction can be accomplished more quickly and in an assembly line fashion. This is opposed to more traditional construction, which usually takes place on site and is more flexible in nature, with a greater diversity of design. Though some may not believe the aesthetics of a modular office are comparable with a traditional office, they both accomplish the same goal.
A modular office can be both portable and permanent, or at least semi-permanent. Portable modular offices are often seen at construction sites and other locations where temporary events are taking place. More permanent modular offices can be put nearly anywhere, and even constructed in such a way that they attach to permanent structures. The modular office building may include electrical and plumbing hookups for restrooms and even small kitchens.
The lifespan of a modular office varies widely, depending on the use and how often it is moved. They do not tend to last as long as more traditional buildings, but each situation is different. Quality also will play a major factor in the lifespan. Those needing a building for more than a decade or two should plan to invest a little more in it.
A number of advantages and disadvantages go along with the modular office building. A major disadvantage is, other than a few size differences, there may not be many options as far as dimensions and shapes are concerned. Also, they may not provide a safe haven in severe weather. Advantages include the cost and an easier permitting process, in many cases.
Another use of the term modular office is for construction done inside a permanent building. This is usually more extensive than simple modular cubicles. The walls and partitions of a true modular office may reach to the ceiling and will completely close off an area, with access through a door. It could also include windows. This is a cheaper option than dividing a room with traditional construction methods.