Metal buildings vs Modular Buildings 2024 Guide

Metal buildings vs Modular Buildings

This article will examine two popular types of structures that you may be considering for your next project. We are going to be looking at metal structures vs. modular construction. These are two methods of construction which are often utilized because they are simple, cost-effective, and very durable.

If you’re looking to construct either a modular building or a metal building, you might be stuck with an essential question; what is the difference?

How can I benefit from either, and which one is best for me?

This is where Green Building Elements comes in.

In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about metal and modular buildings, including what they are and the benefits to both. We will start with a guide to understanding both metal structures and the modular construction process. We will include their differences, the areas where they overlap, and their comparison to traditional construction. We will then help you decide which is the best method for you.

Metal Buildings

Metal buildings are traditionally made from prefab or ‘prefabricated’ kits, which means that they are manufactured in a factory, and so they are prepared to specific needs and requirements.

This can mean that you won’t need to spend nearly as much time on building your home or commercial building, as you would if you needed to create everything on site.

Often, metal buildings will be created from flexible but strong metals like aluminium or steel, which range in price depending on the thickness and the sub-types of metal.

They are also typically much more cost-effective thanks to the versatility of metal, especially as in some cases you won’t even need professional builders to help you to put everything together.

Metal buildings are also highly regarded for their wide versatility of use. They are often used for commercial purposes such as for storage, as a manufacturing facility, and as an office space. They can also be used in a variety of residential applications. Basically, they are flexible enough in their designs to meet a wide variety of your needs.

There are many different providers of metal buildings, with each one providing specific benefits to their customers.

  • Unique color schemes to choose from
  • Easily customized
  • Might not need professional builders
  • Expand the size of your building
  • Door and window options
  • Includes plans and drawings

Top Metal Building Companies

1. Metal Depots

Type: Metal building kit suppliers

Locations: Texas

Metal Depots are a Texas-based company who can offer their customers a wide range of metal building kits which are made from 26-gauge steel, that can be used for a variety of uses like for community, residential and commercial needs.

They have an excellent 4.5/5 rating on Google, with customers stating that they have a friendly service which can help you save on your metal building.

2. Southeastern Building Products

Type: Building products and kits supplier

Locations: North Carolina

Southeastern Building Products produce building products which include everything from flat sheets of metal to metal trim and components, which might mean things like awnings and insulation for example.

They can also offer you metal buildings such as carports, garages, barns and commercial buildings.

With a 4.2/5 rating on Google, Southeastern Building Products has a stellar reputation with many satisfied customers.

3. Freedom Steel Buildings

Type: Steel building provider

Locations: Florida

Freedom Steel Buildings are a Florida-based company who specialises in creating steel structures and products which can be used for multiple purposes.

Their prefabricated kits are more accessible to construct, they are resistant to the problems that can occur with alternative materials, and they are cost-effective.

Freedom Steel Buildings are a 4.7/5 rated company on Google, with many positive individual reviews.

4. American Eagle Steel Buildings

Type: Steel building provider

Locations: Florida

American Eagle Steel Buildings has distributors all over the United States, with shipping points in Utah, Iowa, Virginia, New York and California to name a few.

They have over 30 years of experience in the metal building industry, with steel buildings on offer for storage, agriculture, aircraft hangars and building components.

There is also financing on offer for their customers so that you can secure funding for your new structure.

5. American Buildings

Type: Steel building provider

Locations: California, Nevada, Illinois

American Buildings is a company that has multiple sites in America. They have over 70 years of experience in the steel building industry providing customers with solutions for projects including those for agriculture, commercial and residential uses.

They collaborate with many different design professionals including architects, designers and engineers to create sturdy and robust structures.

Modular Buildings

Similar to metal buildings, modular buildings are often prefab and arrive in separate parts, but unlike metal buildings, they need to be put together by builders.

A modular building is essentially a building that is built in “modules”. What this means is that a section of the building is built off-site. You have a partially finished piece of the structure that is able to be transported. It is brought to the site and put together there.

The advantage is that the construction process becomes quite straight forward once it arrives on site. Depending on what kind of structure you are looking for, modular construction can end up being a good method of affordable housing or affordable development.

Each one of these modular buildings is typically installed with a self-supporting structure, which can often be joined with another modular building.

This can mean that while you are limited to how big a single module can be, you can always expand using multiple modules like blocks.

Modular buildings are typically used in the circumstances that you have structures that need to be replicated. They are excellent for mass production, or if you have a building for a specific, common purpose. Some examples of popular modular buildings projects include a modular dormitory, a modular classroom, an office space, a modular home, and more.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages to modular building construction:

  • Quick construction times
  • Fewer costs
  • Easy to expand
  • Good to replicate buildings
  • Versatile in design
  • Mobile

Top Modular Building Companies

1. Design Space Modular Buildings

Type: Modular building provider

Locations: Washington, Oregon, California

Design Space Modular Buildings is a Washington and Oregon-based modular building provider who can help you to create a solution which matches your specifications.

These buildings can be used for temporary and permanent accommodation, classrooms, schools, retail outlets and storage.

You can also choose between many unique styles such as shipping containers and modular trailers.

2. Modular Solutions LTD

Type: Modular building provider

Locations: Arizona

Modular Solutions are a modular building company which boasts a 5-star rating on trusted websites such as their Google page. They provide their customers with many modular options.

This includes buildings that are used for commercial purposes such as retail and housing, or they also offer used buildings which can help you to save on funds.

They also provide case studies to show how they can cater to your specific needs, such as for worship spaces or healthcare.

3. Hunter Buildings & Manufacturing

Type: Modular building provider

Locations: Texas

Hunter Buildings & Manufacturing are a global country who has locations not just in the United States but also in Europe, Canada and Mexico to name a few.

They have been offering customers modular buildings since 1999. Their buildings are blast resistant, compliant to all US regulations, and used overseas too.

On offer are also leasing options and testing, as well as safety and site services.

4. NRB Inc

Type: Modular building provider

Locations: Ontario, Pennsylvania

NRB Inc is a Canadian and American company who specialises in modular buildings which can be used for a variety of purposes such as booths, kiosks, equipment storage and as a permanent modular building.

Not only do they have a 5-star rating on Google, but they are also providers of award-winning and important projects such as Harvard University’s Life Lab and the Lehman Child Centre.

5. Vesta Modular

Type: Modular building company

Locations: Georgia

Vesta Modular is a 5-star rated company which is based in Georgia and provides their customers with a range of modular solutions to match many different uses.

This will include both temporary and permanent buildings for education, storage, housing and custom designed modular structures.

Although they have only been around since 2014, they have already worked on over 1,000 units of housing across America.

The Main Differences

The main difference between metal buildings and modular buildings is that while each module is restricted regarding individual size, a metal building is, on the whole, limitless regarding size.

Metal is simply a building material, and the reality is that you can do with it whatever your architecture and building plans will allow for. Although prefab options do exist with metal buildings as well, there are simply many more options at your disposal.

Certain skyrises are made with traditional metal building frames because of their versatility and strength.

Modular buildings can often stack on top of each other easily, or slot in side by side, whereas metal buildings are traditionally unique structures.

Basically, if you are looking for a basic structure that is able to be built quickly and efficiently, you will lean more in the modular direction. If you want more flexibility, you may want to look more at custom design with metal buildings.

  • Modular buildings are best for classrooms and student accommodation
  • Metal buildings are often more suitable for commercial properties such as shops or motels for instance

How Can I Benefit?

There are many benefits to choosing either a modular building or a prefab metal building, so here are some of the main advantages of having a structure made out of steel.

Prefab means that a building’s parts have already been made in a factory, so when they are delivered, they can be quickly put together.

This can save you a lot of time, allow you to do specific building tasks yourself and you can rest assured that these parts have been built to specifics to fit together.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Faster to build
  • More affordable
  • Simple construction
  • Easy to expand
  • Customisable
  • Adds value

Or, you can opt for a modular building system, which has its advantages which include the following:

  • Can be easily duplicated
  • Quick construction
  • A temporary solution
  • Easily customised

What are the Disadvantages?

While there are many significant advantages to choosing either a steel building or perhaps a modular option, there are also some disadvantages that should be considered.

Let’s take a look at some aspects of steel buildings which should be analyzed before making any solid decisions:

  • You need to make sure steel buildings are allowed in your area
  • Steel buildings are harder to transport than modular structures
  • These types of buildings are more permanent than modular buildings
  • There are funding issues to consider as steel buildings usually require loans

There are also some disadvantages to using a modular structure as well.

  • You need to adhere to your land regulations
  • There might be a struggle to obtain financing
  • Modular buildings have a lower resale value
  • There might be size restrictions

How Should You Decide?

Now that we have considered the advantages and disadvantages of modular versus metal construction, you may have one question left. That question is – how do I make the right choice for myself?

Basically, the proper choice for yourself depends on what you require. This is why, as a first step, outline what you are looking for in a building project. Include where you want it located, what you will be using it for, how permanent you want it to be, and how much you are looking to spend.

Once you have an idea of exactly what it is you want, see whether your own needs would be met better with modular or with metal construction. Compare your needs to the advantages and disadvantages that we mentioned above, and you will be well on your way to making the best decision.


In conclusion, there are many differences and benefits to having either a metal building or one that is modular in design. Whether the advantages are right for you will really depend on what you are looking for.

Are you ready to find out more about building elements?

Do you want to see how using a steel can help you construct the right building for you?

Take a look at the Green Building Elements here.