Modular builds have been popular in the residential space for decades. Now with current healthcare needs skyrocketing, they’ve become more and more common in the medical industry.
These buildings are a great alternative to traditional construction if you need a high-quality medical facility built quickly.
If you’re worried that modular means lesser quality, don’t. Modular medical buildings use high-quality materials and their exteriors can be hard to differentiate from stick-built structures.
What's In This Article
What Is a Modular Medical Building?
Modular medical buildings are prefab buildings often used for doctor’s offices, dentist offices, wellness centers, hospital expansions, and more.
These buildings are put together in a factory-like setting, allowing for quicker construction and a faster, more streamlined process. They’re typically 80-90% prebuilt before making it to site. Then, once they reach their intended location, a crew fully assembles them.
The finishes in a modular medical building are just as nice as a traditional medical building, only they cost significantly less and are far quicker to build. Also, these buildings can be custom-built for your particular needs.In general there are two types of prefab medical buildings: permanent and temporary.
Temporary buildings can be brought to your location and placed in a parking lot or on other level ground. These are great for temporary clinics, temperature check stations, and you can use one while waiting for your permanent structure.
Even though modular medical buildings are prefab, they can last just as long as a traditional medical building. They also meet strict standards required by the healthcare industry.
Common Names You Might Hear These Buildings Referred to as:
You may hear these buildings referred to as several different names, including:
- Modular medical buildings
- Prefab medical building
- Modular doctor’s office
- Modular healthcare facilities
- Temporary clinics
- Modular dentist’s office
- Modular hospital buildings
- Prefab wellness centers
- Temporary medical building
Types of Modular Medical Buildings
There are two main types of modular medical buildings: temporary and permanent. Here’s what you need to know about each.
Temporary modular medical buildings are pre-constructed to meet the strict standards of medical facilities but don’t include as many customizations as permanent buildings. In addition, they are portable, and you can have them placed in a parking lot or other level space.
These structures are ideal if you’re currently working on traditional construction but need a medical office or if you’re experiencing high demand and need a quick way to expand.
If you’re worried that a temporary building won’t work for you because it’s already constructed, don’t. Most companies can make small changes to these buildings to meet your needs.
Lease and Co-Op Options
Temporary modular buildings typically come with three financing options:
Lease – Leasing is the best option if you need the building for a short time. Temporary structures usually come with a very flexible lease option. This allows you to rent the building for the amount of time you need it.
Lease with a buyout – If you’re interested in buying a temporary medical building but don’t have the funds to do it immediately, you can do a lease with a buyout. This allows you to pay a monthly lease, typically lasting 1-3 years, with a buyout due at the end of your lease.
Purchase – If you want to purchase a temporary building, you can do so by financing through the modular company or obtaining a bank or private loan.
The financing options will vary a bit depending on what company you work with.
Estimated Length of the Building’s Life
Temporary modular medical buildings will last approximately 25-30 years. However, with proper maintenance and care, they may last longer.
Permanent modular medical buildings are the perfect option if you need to get your medical practice setup quickly or you’re looking for a cost-effective way to expand your practice.
These buildings can be customized to meet your exact needs.
After you’ve agreed on the layout, finishes, and customizations, your building is prefabricated. The building is then moved to the site, placed on a foundation, and fully assembled.
Even though permanent modular medical buildings are prefab, their finishes are just as high-quality as traditional construction. Plus, when you build with a prefab company specializing in medical buildings, they know long what health and safety codes your building needs to meet.
The financing options for permanent modular buildings are similar to those of temporary modular buildings.
Lease – You can lease a modular building. Doing this will lock in a monthly payment for a specific term. Many modular medical building companies will allow you to renew this lease an unlimited number of times.
Lease with a buyout – In this case, you’d pay a lease for a specific number of months, which is usually a much longer-term than those of temporary buildings. Then, you could buy the building for a set amount of money or market value at the end of the lease, depending on your contract.
Purchase – If you have cash, a bank loan, or a private loan, you can purchase your building outright.
Cooperative agreement – If you’re part of a government or religious organization, you can enter into a cooperative agreement to help save money.
Many banks are still hesitant to fully finance modular medical buildings, mainly because they have difficulty valuing them. However, that doesn’t mean bank financing is out altogether.
Estimated length of the buildings life
Permanent modular medical buildings typically last at least 35-50 years. With proper care and routine maintenance, they can last just as long as traditional construction.
Why Modular Medical Buildings?
If you’re wondering if a modular medical building is suitable for you, here are some of their most significant selling points.
Since modular medical buildings are prefabricated using a streamlined process, the construction is much quicker, even with many customizations. In addition, final assembly is quick since the buildings are 80-90% finished before ever making it one site.
Prefab companies construct modular buildings 50-60% faster than the time it takes for traditional construction.
Most of the fabrication of modular medical facilities occurs in a factory, which means excess waste is easily recycled. Plus, since the process is so streamlined, there’s far less waste than you see in traditional construction.
Also, many times builders construct modular buildings with at least some “green” or recycled parts.
Meeting the high standards of the medical industry can be considerable stress during the construction of a medical building. Luckily, you can reduce that stress by going with a modular option.
Builders keep industry standards at the forefront when fabricating each piece of a modular medical design. And since prefab companies specialize in the construction of medical buildings, they are up to date with current regulations.
No matter your practice type, you can customize a prefab medical building to meet your specific needs.
Plus, if you only need a building short-term, you can rent or lease a temporary facility. You can also move temporary structures to different areas, which is excellent if you have an extensive practice or plan to move locations in the near future.
Modular buildings can cost up to 20% or less than traditional construction. They also help save money in the form of time. After all, if you’re waiting months on traditional builders to finish construction, you’re losing money.
More Favorable Depreciation
If you need a tax write-off, your modular medical building may be able to help. While traditional construction typically amortizes over 35 years, modular buildings can qualify for accelerated depreciation. Accelerated depreciation will put them on a schedule of 7-12 years.
Pros and Cons
Even though there are many benefits to modular medical buildings, you need to look at both sides of the equation.
Here’s an honest look at both pros and cons.
The biggest pro to using a modular medical building is that it can be up and running quickly. These buildings are prefabricated using a streamlined process. As a result, the construction is typically 50-60% faster than traditional construction.
Plus, if you need a temporary structure, you can find a building ready to be delivered to your site for a monthly lease payment.
Other pros include:
- Potential tax savings
- Meet regulations
One of the biggest cons of modular medical buildings is that some banks are still hesitant to finance them. This can leave you with fewer financing options than traditional construction.
Other cons include:
- More limited design options
- Possibly lower property valuations vs. traditional construction
While many viewed modular buildings as lesser quality a decade ago, that’s no longer the case. The materials used in most modular medical buildings are just as high quality and well put together as in conventional construction.
How Much Does a Modular Medical Cost?
Modular medical buildings range from $50 – $400+ per square foot, depending on the materials. Smaller, temporary buildings made out of a wood frame are usually $50-$100 square foot plus delivery and installation costs.
Another factor that affects cost is the condition of your site. For example, the more prep work the site needs, the more you’ll pay in labor costs.
The size of the building you need will be a significant factor in its costs. In most cases, the larger a building is, the more you’ll pay.
Quality of Materials
The quality of materials you use is one of the ultimate factors regarding price. Standard materials will get you to the lower end of the price range, while custom materials will run you far more.
Modular Medical Building Options
If you’re thinking of purchasing or leasing a modular medical building, you’ll be glad to know that they come in many different dimensions. Here’s a look at the most popular:
The typical widths of modular medical buildings range from 8 to 100 ft.
For example, a modular building used for a temperature check station can be as small as eight ft. wide. On the other hand, most modular two-doctor practices from have a width of 60 ft.
Just like the widths, the lengths of modular medical buildings vary greatly. These buildings can range from 8 to 150+ ft. long.For example, a temporary temperature check station can be only 8ft in length. You can contrast this to a 19-bed rehab facility that’s more than 168 ft long.
The average ceiling height in a modular medical building is about 8 feet but can go all the way up to 13 ½ feet.
The great thing about modular medical buildings is the custom designs. Many builders have layouts that work for a variety of settings. You can find plans for any of the following, plus more:
- Primary care physician’s office
- Dialysis labs
- Rehab centers
- Exam and Xray rooms
- Ob/Gyn offices
- Temperature check stations
- And more
You can make customizations to these layouts to fit your specific needs.
The exterior design of modular medical buildings is just as extensive as traditional buildings.
While you’ll often see temporary buildings with simple designs and metal, vinyl, or wood siding, that’s not the case for permanent structures.
If you want a permanent modular medical structure, you’ll have many choices regarding the architecture and the materials used on the exterior.
Modular medical buildings require foundations, with most needing standard concrete foundations. However, if you want to set your modular facility flush to the ground, you’ll need a pit foundation.
Additional Factors To Consider
Aside from the building itself, there are a few other considerations you need to make.
When choosing a site location, ensure that the landscape and soil are suitable for a foundation and building. The more work the landscape needs, the more money you’ll pay for prep.
Other factors to think about are accessibility. Not only do your clients need to find your practice easily, but there needs to be enough clearance for the building to be safely delivered and installed.
You should consider shipping costs if ordering a modular building from across the country. If you can find a local builder, your shipping costs will be significantly less.
Additional factors to consider include building compliance, whether or not you can expand the building, and future business plans.
Do all modular medical buildings look alike?
Modular medical buildings do not all look alike. You’d never know that most modular medical buildings were prefabricated. Today’s modular buildings are customizable in almost as many finishes and designs as traditionally built structures.
Do modular medical buildings look contemporary?
There are many modular medical building designs, and when you purchase one, you get to choose the look of the exterior. So, if you want a contemporary look, you can get it.
What factors should I consider when choosing a modular medical building company?
Modular medical buildings are high quality, quickly constructed, and cost-saving compared to traditional construction. However, even though these buildings are becoming more of a norm, they can still be hard to finance through a conventional lender. So financing should be one of the most significant factors to consider.
Other factors to consider include site location and the needs of your practice.
How is modular construction different from traditional construction?
With traditional construction, builders bring materials to the site, where construction workers assemble the building. With prefab construction, the building is 80-90% complete before leaving the factory. Then, the building gets shipped to its intended location and fully assembled on site. Therefore modular construction is approximately 50-60% faster than traditional construction.
What’s the difference between modular medical buildings and prefab medical buildings?
Modular and prefab are used interchangeably but have slightly different meanings. For example, when referring to a prefab medical building, it simply means all or part of the building was prefabricated before construction. On the other hand, a modular medical facility comes in pieces (modules), and a crew assembles it on site.
In a nutshell, a modular building is a type of prefab building.
How long does it take to construct a modular Medical?
Modular medical buildings can be ready in as little as eight to ten weeks. This, of course, will depend on the size and customizations of the building.
If you need a small temporary medical building, you’ll likely receive it much sooner.
Can a modular medical building be eco-friendly or “green”?
Yes, a modular medical building can be eco-friendly. The process of construction reduces waste and pollutants and increases recycling. Furthermore, some modular building companies use “green” materials throughout the build.
Do modular medical buildings come with bathrooms?
Yes, you can design your modular medical building to have bathrooms in it. While you’ll have control of the design, modular medical buildings mimic traditional builds.
Why do organizations buy modular medical buildings?
Modular medical buildings are quick to construct and cost less than traditional builds – this is why they’re becoming so popular. They’re also one of the best solutions when an organization needs to expand quickly to keep up with demand.
Who Should I Contact If I’m Interested in Modular Medical Buildings?
If you’re interested in a modular medical building for your practice, the next step is contacting a modular building supplier to discuss your options.
Not all modular suppliers are the same. Consider the following attributes when selecting a company:
- Reputation – Does the company have a history of satisfied customers? Check online reviews and ask for a portfolio of finished work.
- Location – Is the factory close enough to your job site to make shipping feasible and affordable?
- Financing Options – Do they offer payment plans or leasing options that fit your budget?
- Flexibility – Do they offer construction options and features so you can create the type of rooms you want?