Frequently Asked Questions
At Cotaplan, we get asked many questions about modular buildings, particularly from clients purchasing or hiring one of our prefabricated buildings for the first time.
Below we have decided to answer a few of the most common questions to help you understand modular construction and whether a prefab build is for you.
What is Modular Building construction?
Modular construction is a way of manufacturing 90% of the building off-site in manageable sections that can then be delivered on the back of a waggon direct to site.
Each section may be as small as a roof, wall or floor panel delivered in flat-pack form or as a complete building section.
How are Modular Buildings delivered?
Modular buildings are delivered on the back of a series of wagons and lifted into position using a crane or hiab.
Sometimes access to the site can be challenging and may require temporary trackway/road protection or widening of the access route to the site. Cotaplan will undertake a full site survey prior to delivery.
How does the quality of Modular Buildings compare to Traditional Builds?
Cotaplan modular buildings are built under strict factory conditions with quality checks undertaken at various points during the sub-assembly and assembly processes, ensuring the work is to a high standard.
All our buildings are then re-audited for quality before handover to the customer.
In addition to all our buildings being fully compliant with building regulations Cotaplan are fully compliant with ISO:9001 quality accreditation and are continuously looking to improve the services we offer.
How flexible can Modular construction be?
Things can change very quickly in all aspects of working life and Cotaplan buildings can be quickly disassembled and moved to another site ready for re-occupation – making them ideal for both short-term and long-term requirements.
Cotaplan also offer a range of sizes and finishes to suit; through hire, lease purchase or outright purchase.
How long can I hire a Modular Building for?
There is no minimum or maximum hire period as such, but we often recommend a minimum period in order to provide the most competitive hire rates.
Do I need planning permission for a Modular Building?
As a rule, anything on site for more than 28 days or over a given size needs to have planning permission although some works can be done under permitted development rights. However, as every local authority is different, you need to seek advice about the area in which your project is to be undertaken. The rules are not clear-cut, and it would be wise to seek advice from your local planning department at the outset.
Cotaplan can help prepare drawings to help with your submission.
Do Modular Buildings comply with building regulations?
As a general rule, temporary buildings that are on site for more than 28 days
or that are more than 30m² need Building Regulation approval.
If the building is less than 30m² but linked to an existing structure, this will need approval too.
At Cotaplan, all our buildings are designed to meet current Building Regulation requirements and we offer an inhouse service to undertake the application on behalf of our clients – from serving the initial notice to obtaining approval from an approved Building Control company.
Can Modular Buildings be built on the roof or within an enclosed area?
In principle, there is no reason why not. It generally involves adding some extra steelwork and certainly needs an approved design by a structural engineer, but modular buildings can be placed onto or joined to existing structures.
Placing them into a courtyard or other ‘difficult to access’ spaces is probably more straightforward. This can be done with a strategically placed crane to lift from a safe hard-standing nearby, where vehicles can gain access for off-loading.
How long do Modular Buildings last?
In many cases modular buildings often outlast their original intended purpose. Their life-expectancy, just like traditional buildings, very much depends on the maintenance and upkeep after handover but generally this can be in excess of 30 years.
The roof bears the brunt of the weather, so it is important to keep the gutters clear of debris and periodically inspect the roofing membrane – like all flat roofs, these will perish over time.
Cotaplan offer a range of guarantees and warranties on the various building components.
What are the benefits of Modular Buildings?
The biggest advantages of this type of construction are: time, cost and the minimal disruption to the site.
Whilst the building is being manufactured in the factory, the site is prepared ready to install the building. This vastly reduces the time on site, allowing projects to be completed quickly with minimal disruption.
As the buildings are of lightweight construction they can be assembled quickly, irrespective of the weather, vastly reducing the overall cost.
How long does it take to complete a project?
An average Cotaplan project, from commencement on site to hand-over to the client, can take around 6-8 weeks. Many smaller projects can be undertaken and completed within shorter time. Cotaplan will provide and agree a project programme prior to order.
Cotaplan have over 36 years’ experience in supplying buildings to all sectors throughout the UK.
Is Modular Construction less expensive?
Generally, much less than other traditional building types. This is due to the inherent construction process that moves the emphasis away from site to an offsite location where assembly is not affected by inclement weather, subsistence and travel; and is less labour intensive.
Any building specification can be constructed on request.
Do I need an architect for my modular build?
Not at all – its your choice.
Architects are ideal for buildings that are more bespoke or complex in nature but as most Cotaplan buildings are based around a pre-designed and engineered system, most of our projects do not require one. Cotaplan can provide a complete Design and Build turnkey package.
Cotaplan provide technical designs for customer approval prior to the building going into manufacture.
Is there a size limit for a Modular Building?
Most projects are limited by the building’s purpose and budget.
In theory there is no limit to the length and width of the modular buildings we produce.
Cotaplan buildings can be end-linked, side linked and stacked to produce large areas of work space.
What options are available for Modular Buildings?
Cotaplan buildings can be tailored to meet every clients’ need and to blend in with existing structures on site or to suit any project specification.
We offer a range of exterior finishes which include:
- Plastisol steel cladding, fascias and trims with a variety of colour finishes
- Thermowood and cedar cladding
- Trespa, Rockclad and other rainscreen claddings
- Brick cladding
- Aluminium or steel lined doors with a range of colour options
- Bespoke canopies
- Aluminium or UPVC windows
Interior Options include:
- Toilet & kitchen facilities
- IPS panelling for toilets and low maintenance sink splash-backs
- Air conditioning and MVHR systems
- Range of vinyl and carpets in a variety of colours
- Suspended ceilings
- Fire & intruder alarm systems
- Internal lighting options
- Internal door finishes
- Curtain walling entrances
- Demountable acoustic wall panels