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How Modular Construction Works

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Modular construction has been around since the early 19th century when Henry Manning designed and constructed cottage components in the United Kingdom and shipped them over to Australia to be erected.  However, despite having existed for over 150 years, modular construction still seems to be a relatively unknown or unproven method to many outside the world of construction. In fact, with today’s construction techniques, it can be difficult to differentiate between stick-built and modular buildings to the untrained eye.  Nevertheless, the most important part of understanding modular construction is understanding its processes, the different types of modular construction, and most of all, understanding the benefits of it. So let’s get started! How exactly does modular construction work?

Modular Construction Definition

Like Henry Manning in the 1800’s, modular construction typically takes place in a setting away from the actual building site with the structure’s design already being taken care of.  However, in the time since Manning’s first modular building, there have been many new developments to improve the process.  Today, modular structures are assembled in an absolutely controlled, factory-like environment.  In some cases, like modular homes or our inplant offices, the structure or building consists of many different sections. The sections are prefabricated inside a facility, compactly shipped to the site of the construction project, and then put together perfectly onsite like building blocks. These “modules” can range in size depending on the size of the overall construction project. In some instances, the module is the size of a trailer and is used to make a much bigger, sometimes multi-story building. In the case of Panel Built, the modules are simply panels which eventually will snap into place to make up the entire building or inplant office.

portable-buildingModular Construction Benefits

Modular construction takes advantage of the microeconomic term of “economies of scale.” What that means for modular construction is that cost per module and production are inversely related. As Panel Built produces more modular structures, the variable cost per module (or panel) decreases. The reason modular construction companies see these economies of scale is because of the assembly line way of constructing their product. With their entire end of the construction process taking place in a controlled environment, the module moves from station to station with each specialized post adding a piece to the product.  To go along with this assembly line method, Panel Built, Inc. employs a binder-post system which allows them flexibility in the size and shape of the structure.

Overall, because of these procedures, modular construction sees a few inherent benefits over stick built construction…

Green Advantage

Because of the factory environment, and the use of numerous extremely similar modules, modular construction tremendously reduces the amount of waste produced by the construction project.  The factory setting keeps unpredictable elements like the weather out of the equation, lessening the chance of damaged materials.

Construction Speed

While the structure is being manufactured in the plant, the construction site can be prepped for installation, allowing for these two processes to occur simultaneously. Because of this unique process, modular construction projects can be up to 30-50% faster than stick built.

Quality Construction for All

Within some more remote areas in the United States, there are very few choices between construction companies or sometimes practically none at all. However, since every structure we manufacture is shipped to its final destination, modular construction can service even the most secluded areas of the United States and Internationally.

Less Site Disturbance

With modular construction, our structures can be installed to the job site in a fraction of the time of stick built, only requiring the building or structure to be fastened to the concrete.

Overall, modular construction can provide some distinct advantages over stick-built due to its assembly line mentality to the construction process. Through the use of mass customization, these modules can be linked together to form a practically limitless variety of structures. For sectors such as education, military, industrial, and others modular construction allows for a quick, cost-effective method of executing a construction project, without putting day-to-day activities on hold. If you want to learn more about modular construction, or start a modular construction project of your own, contact our sales team, or request a quote on our site.

How Modular Construction Can Improve Government Projects

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With so many companies and corporations making use of modular construction, it stands to reason that government entities could benefit from its advantages as well. Plus, our government utilizing a method of construction that is not only  more efficient, but also more affordable than stick-built would help everyone. When it comes to projects like inplant offices, mezzanines/work platforms, and prefabricated guard booths, modular construction just cannot be beat. And, being a GSA contract holder, Panel Built, Inc. has a solid standing and history working on government projects.  We will not only be able to find you the most practical solution to your space needs, but the most economical too.

Government Applicationsgsa info sheet

Although most of our jobs are B2B (business to business), Panel Built has worked in collaboration with the United States government on a number of jobs, across our entire product line. At the federal level, we have provided guard houses and mezzanines for our Armed Forces at military bases across the country, improving their safety and space needs. At the state level, we have provided modular offices, mezzanines and press boxes for state universities, and security booths for state penitentiaries. Finally, at a county level, we have provided modular structures for every type of government service you can imagine; airports, schools, waste treatment plants all over the country have PBI structures that help support their day-to-day activities. Being a GSA contract holder, Panel Built is readily available to provide the best quality and price our industry has to offer.

Prefabricated Guard ShackModular Benefits

Especially during this period in the election cycle, everyone pays closer attention to the spending of every different government agency. Regardless of your political tendencies, everyone can agree on wanting their government to spend tax payers’ money as efficiently as possible. And, when it comes to construction projects, modular structures can provide undeniable benefits over their stick-built counterparts. In fact, modular construction can shorten construction project time by up to 30-50% in certain cases, and since modular construction takes place in a controlled environment, there are far less hiccups in the building process because you do not have to worry about outside weather in a factory. Also, with a modular structure, you have absolutely minimal downtime for your facility because the only on-site work required is installing the structure.

The Panel Built Difference

Founded in 1995, Panel Built, Inc. has committed itself wholly to creating the best possible space solutions for companies, peoples, and organizations in all shapes in sizes. However, with numerous different US Military customers and structures sold to different government agencies, we pride ourselves on working with our government on providing the perfect product to complete their project. Besides being experts in modular construction, Panel Built, Inc. is a GSA contract holder that is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty to provide our customers with a product that exceeds their expectations.  Aside from the reputation and reliability of this company, there are other advantages to utilizing the services of Panel Built. Although we can provide both prefabricated and preassembled structures, along with platforms, guard rails, and safety barriers, you will also be working with a company that has completed countless government projects in the past, meeting all codes and regulations along the way.

In conclusion, if you need to have a modular office, preassembled building, platform, guardrail, safety barrier, or any type of custom project made for your department, Panel Built is the company you should work with. Based upon our reputation and reliability in the industry, you will not go wrong working with us.

Here are some pointers to ensure your modular project fits you best!

1. Understand the restrictions of the site of the project, most importantly size and in some cases, clear height
2. Take employee safety and comfort into account like fire resistance, sound proofing, HVAC, and IBC/OSHA codes
3. Work with our sales people to find any extra amenities to optimize your work/ storage space

Click here to request a free quote

and get your next project started!

Bulletproof vs Bullet Resistant Guard Booths: Which is Correct?

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Bulletproof and bullet resistant are two terms that are thrown around a lot in the prefabricated guard booth industry, and sometimes they are even used interchangeably.  However, these two terms do have slightly different, separate meanings, and understanding the difference between the two is very important because these terms are typically used in defining the effectiveness of safety equipment, products or structures.  With lots a variables going into what is truly bulletproof or bullet resistant, and the varying types of ammo calibers, these types of phrases can eventually become bogged down and can start to lose meaning.

BulletproofBallistic Rated Booth

In the world of ballistic rated buildings and structures, using the word bulletproof is oftentimes inaccurate or can be misinterpreted.  The word intrinsically means “being able to stop a bullet.” However, over years of misuse, bulletproof is more commonly used in place of bullet resistant which is typically the more accurate term.  The reason for this mistake is that very few structures and buildings can be created to be 100% fully capable of stopping every bullet.  Ammo comes in many different calibers that can allow them to penetrate further into a subject by focusing the largest amount of momentum into the small amount of area. And, theoretically, a bullet with a high enough momentum, concentrated in a small enough area, could render any structure non-bulletproof.  Another more frequent problem with the definition is the frequency and number of bullets a structure must withstand.  A structure may be designed to stop one 7.62mm round, but what if it is struck by 10 or 100 rounds of ammo? Would this structure be able to absorb the impact, and if not, would it still be considered bulletproof?  These are all frequent issues that arise from labeling something completely “bulletproof.”

Bullet Resistant

A less frequently used, but the more accurate term for these structures would probably be bullet resistant.  This phrase, as you can imagine, refers to an object or structures ability to resist and/or absorb the impact of a bullet.  Besides all of the reasons listed above, bullet resistant is oftentimes the preferred term because it comes with bullet resistant levels that are defined by the NIJ (National Institute of Justice) and UL (Underwriters Laboratory).  The NIJ levels of bullet resistance go from Level I –Level IV with the full chart shown below

NIJ Bullet Resistance Levels

Source :

As you can see, the level system takes into account the type of round, the caliber of the round, the bullet’s velocity, and the number of hit per “armor specimen.” Similar to the NIJ system, UL levels take into account the specific ammunition caliber, the ammo’s weight, velocity and the number of shots, but UL has eight levels instead of just four. This standardization of bullet resistance levels allows for manufacturers and buyers to have a better understanding of the protection a product will offer.  Plus, the manufacturer will be able to test their materials and structures to ensure they are up to code, and the customer will know exactly the level of protection for which they are paying.  Overall, specifying the difference between bulletproof and bullet resistance is important because bulletproof, in most cases, is a bit of a misnomer.  Given enough momentum in a small enough point and enough ammo, very few things are actually bulletproof.  Therefore, the term bullet resistant, and the defined levels of bullet resistance, provides an accurate description of the materials and structure.

Panel Built’s bullet resistant guard booths provide excellent added protection for facilities that have a higher than normal threat level.  These ballistic structures can be manufactured to meet NIJ and UL ballistic levels, including building material, windows, and doors.  Currently, our ballistic rated buildings are helping provide protection to military bases, forts, airports, and transportation hubs across the United States. Panel Built, Inc. is a GSA contractor holder (#: GS-07F-0186X) as a small business, offering modular storage solutions to government agencies at the best quality and best price our industry has to offer. We hope this blog post has provided you with a most solid understanding of the differences between “bulletproof” and bullet resistance so that you may make a more informed and accurate buying decision when looking at guard houses or any type of protective equipment in the future.

If you want more information on our ballistic guard houses,

you can go to our request a quote page, or you can contact our salespeople.

Have More Freedom in your Warehouse with a Steel Mezzanine

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With all of the different systems operating concurrently in a warehouse, it’s easy for them to run into many different problems.  A flood of in inventory can lead to overcrowded and unorganized warehouse.  And unfortunately, these types of situations tend to snowball, leading to more and more of a mess until one day your entire warehouse is in utter chaos, and you are trying to figure out what went wrong. Well, luckily you do not have to wait till it gets to this point. After all, a lot of these problems can come from simply seeing an influx in business and having a warehouse that just trying to keep up.  Especially if you’re constantly busy and don’t have a lot of time to perfectly outfit and reorganize a brand new warehouse system, but don’t worry.  You can take back your warehouse!  A steel mezzanine system can provide you with the space you need to take control of your warehouse away from the inventory and back in your hands where it belongs.

What is a Steel Mezzanine?

A steel mezzanine system is an intermediate floor that would sit above your warehouse floor.  These warehouse mezzanines can be as big as your warehouse space allows, potentially providing you with a complete second floor (a 100% increase in space).  These mezzanine floors are modular bolt-together systems that are semi-permanent, meaning they can be disassembled and moved out of your facility at any time if needed.  They also come with a powder coating, allowing them to keep their color and withstand the dings that come along with being in a warehouse or manufacturing facility.  They also come with numerous decking options: Advantech, Resindek, welded grating, and concrete.  Each one is built to satisfy OSHA codes for safety and can be designed to comply with IBC standards as well.

Warehouse MezzanineHow Will a Mezzanine System Address the Problems in our Warehouse?

A mezzanine system brings you freedom to your warehouse via a number of avenues.  Over the course of our 21 years in operation, our mezzanine systems have had countless different uses in various types of warehouse spaces and facilities.  In certain cases, material handling companies will integrate our mezzanine systems into their logistical designs.  The steel mezzanine will often times hold a conveyor system and will allow the flow of inventory to move throughout the warehouse, above the floor, and out of the way of any ongoings below.  Similarly, a mezzanine can be used at a catwalk system, allowing employees to safely move from one end of the facility to the other.  And of course, these systems can be used as a nice giant storage space for your inventory.  Since the mezzanine floor sits above the warehouse floor, you can essentially double the amount of storage space that you can have in your facility, transforming your warehouse entirely.

As you can see, a mezzanine system provides you with the freedom to utilize your warehouse to its greatest ability.  You will not have to be bogged down with an overflow of inventory, disrupting the ergonomics of your warehouse system.  Instead, you can utilize the one thing most warehouses have plenty of, space above the warehouse floor!  Now, all of that unused space will reach its greatest potential.  Whether you want to increase your ability to move product in and out of your facility (conveyor system), or want to provide yourself with more storage space during your busy season, a warehouse mezzanine provides you with all of the space to get it done, and you will finally feel as though you have the freedom to run your warehouse again.

Here at Panel Built, we believe in quality over everything else. We are always improving our products, our process, and ourselves for our customers. We understand you trust us to provide you with the best product money can buy. From concept to completion, we will work with you every step of the way to ensure the success of your project. When you work with us, you know you’re getting the most quality, cost effective solution for your business.  You can see more of our steel mezzanine systems in our gallery section, or if you can request a quote on your next product!

Going Lean with Modular Construction

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Lean manufacturing has been a goal that companies strive to achieve in order to have their work processes flow as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Everyone has heard of Henry Ford’s use of the assembly line that standardized workflow, streamlined manufacturing, and multiplied production output. Although Ford’s version of lean manufacturing revolutionized the industrial sector and created a new way of thinking in the manufacturing world, it did have one problem, variety! There is a reason why he said, “You can have any color as long as it’s black.” The Ford assembly line did an amazing job at eliminating wasted material and motion, however it did not allow for customization, making every Model T exactly the same. Today, modular construction involves many different methods similar to Ford’s assembly line but with one enormous difference. Panel Built, Inc. utilizes a process known as mass customization to provide a lean manufactured product that is unique enough to meet our customers’ individual, specific needs. In this post, we are going to establish how our use of modular construction epitomizes lean manufacturing.

Exterior-5CROPTo begin, the ultimate goal in lean manufacturing is to constantly achieve the perfect workflow. Also, it’s worth noting that you must “constantly work” for it because many consider an absolutely perfect workflow to be unobtainable, as there is always something you can do better. The best way to imagine this “perfect” process is through this quote from Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Oftentimes companies can get carried away, wanting to do more and more things to improve their everyday practices; however, more times than not, the simplest solution is the best. Eventually, you will learn exactly what your work processes look like, and then you can take away any phases that do not directly add value to your product or company. In our modular construction processes, we at Panel Built are constantly working to make our own factory system as streamlined and simple as possible. For example, our prefabricated offices are constructed from two gypsum boards with a polystyrene core. Not too complicated right? Well, each of these panels are constructed on our panel line identical to one another (like Ford’s Model T assembly line). However, our structures have one very important difference that allows us to customize each building for our customers’ specific needs. We employ a binder-post system that lets us  attach multiple wall panels to one another, forming whatever office size and shape necessary. This manufacturing system is known as mass customization. Taking mass produced wall panels, we can provide a large variety of unique structures tailored to our customer’s exact requirements without adding cost, allowing us to push the savings on to them.

Modular Construction ProcessPerhaps the greatest benefit to our lean approach to modular construction is the overall reduction in waste involved. In previous posts, like “Modular Construction: A Greener Way to Build,” we have talked about the stark contrast in the methods of stick-built vs. modular construction. In stick-built building projects an estimated 8,000 lbs. of waste is created from the construction of a 2,000 square foot building and only an estimated 20% of these leftover construction materials are actually re-purposed or recycled. In comparison, using our panelized wall system, any leftover panels can be easily repurposed for another similar job. And since the construction process takes place in a controlled, factory-like environment, there is absolutely minimal chance for any water damage or schedule delays due to inclement weather. Our focus on reducing waste goes beyond just our materials though. We place a continuous emphasis on constantly improving (not adding to) our everyday processes. Rather than making periodically making huge changes, we try to make smaller day-to-day improvements, like slowly chipping away at a piece of granite to make a fantastic work of art. Most importantly, this exercise, known as kaizen, involves all members of our company to collaborate and work together to establish the most efficient workplace possible.

Above all else, we at Panel Built, go through these steps in order to do one thing, deliver the best possible space solution to our customers with excellent service and affordable pricing. When developing a modular project for one of our customers, we take pride in providing them with a quality product that is specifically tailored to their needs; you will not find any cookie cutter modular buildings here. Because, a crucial part of our ongoing lean initiative is provide maximum value to our customers, while producing minimum wasted materials and motion. Panel Built, Inc. has been implementing lean principles into our everyday practices for over 20 years, and we can attribute a great deal of our success to our team’s unwavering support and dedication to this systematic method of eliminating waste.

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and get your Modular Project started!

Expanding Your Business with Prefab Offices

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No matter what size your company is, you have to constantly be aware of your bottom line. However, one of the most difficult parts of running a business is the expansion phase, or figuring out how to grow in the most efficient and risk free manner. Obviously, as your business develops and grows, you will need more space, but for most small and medium-sized business, the cost to expand can be taxing on the company’s financial margin.  And investing in the construction and additions to your facility can cause you to take on risk in the form of overhead, price, and potentially debt.

Modular Offices: Smarter Work SpacesModular Office

When you expand the space of your company, the move will affect the productivity of your workforce. Whether you opt for moving to an entirely new space or expanding the property you have with a remodel, your employees, schedule and production will see negative effects.

If you opt for a remodel or expansion of your current space, you will have to juggle construction noise, dust, personnel and traffic until the completion of the work. Moving to a new space requires packing, transporting, unpacking and resetting up shop. However in the case of a modular office, the office can be delivered to your site pre-built with the only thing left is the installation which can be done in no time. Since we take care of the construction part of the process in our own factory, your facility will see minimal disruption. Therefore, you will be able to keep your work processes uninterrupted, unlike stick-built structures which can cause your facility to have to shut down completely.

A Prefab Office Saves Time

What do you do when you need to expand quickly? Traditional construction is certainly not a good solution because it can take several weeks or months to properly complete a remodel and even longer to complete a new build. You are stuck wading through clutter and disorganization until the expansion is complete.

One of the benefits of modular buildings is that you can have a new solution ready quickly. Spending too much time waiting for an expansion will negatively affect your business. If you do not have room to produce and work properly, you could miss additional customers or clients. Quality of work can suffer and staff members will get frustrated.

Pre-Built, Portable Offices can be Standardized

Many times, all you need is a simple space to store additional supplies, run meetings, add more work spaces or for your employees to take a break. Pre-built office building offers designs as simple or as complicated as you want or need them to be. You can save money by opting for simple, yet functional and high-quality options for your additional space. Most of our customers operate in industrial space, which often requires units that are easy to clean and easier to keep clean. Pre-built options are made to withstand industrial environments; you can rest easy knowing you are saving money on your new design as well as money on future maintenance.

Two Story Modular OfficePortable Offices Save Money on Construction Costs

One of the most obvious ways you will save money with our economical portable offices is the actual construction process. Traditional buildings require construction workers, supplies, permits (which you may also need before you add your new office space), and various other costs; labor costs can be the most expensive portion of your new structure.

When you purchase a prefab, portable office, labor costs will not sink your project! The construction process for portable buildings makes them easier to build for less money and in a short amount of time. Because many of the parts needed to create your new portable office are mass-produced, we are able to make many pieces at once. This saves us money on production costs and allows us to pass those savings on to you.  However, our unique binder post system still allows us to customize the portable office just for your company and your specific needs.

Purchasing portable office space is a great way to create additional usable space to your already functioning industrial space. With simple manufacturing, easy installation, and a reliable company guaranteed to provide quality work, your company could benefit in many ways, if you opt to go the modular-building route.

Running a business takes time, money and energy. We know how important it is to have the time and energy to focus on the most important aspects of your job: production and customer satisfaction. Choosing a modular unit will allow you to focus on your everyday responsibilities while we work on expanding your workspace.

Contact a sales rep to learn more about finding the perfect modular office for you!

Optimizing Your Athletic Facility with Prefabricated Buildings

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Sports and exercise have never been more popular in the United States than right now.  And with more and more people learning the health benefits of an active lifestyle, the physical fitness industry has been growing for years (and not just around New Year’s…).  However, the sports and fitness industry can oftentimes involve a lot of overhead for owners, operators, or even schools.  If you are running your own fitness center, you obviously love to see more people coming through the doors day in and day out, but how are you going to ensure every person receives a consistent experience or workout?  Heavy traffic on certain areas could lead to unhappy customers, and unhappy customers tend to find new places to do business. The problem is, moving to a new facility can take a lot of time and can cause your overhead costs to soar! However, this is not just a problem for gyms; sports complexes and stadiums oftentimes need to add more space for seating, press boxes, or even a practice facility. It may be obvious that your complex or facility needs to expand, but starting from scratch can be a huge risk and can take ages to get approved, designed, and constructed. So how can you make the most of the space that you currently have, in cost and time effective manner, and see a genuine return on investment?

MezzaninesThe Mezzanine Floor AKA The Upper Deck

In the case of a fitness or health club, there are lots of ways to take advantage of even a limited amount of space in your facility.  You can utilize the space above your gym floor by installing an intermediate mezzanine floor.  Looking back at our previous example, if your facility has seen a growing number of customers and your machines are constantly busy, a structural steel mezzanine can allow you to practically double the space for equipment.  Whether you wanted to add in an extra line of treadmills or even store extra sets of dumbbells and plates for heavy lifting, our structural steel mezzanines will be able to hold anything you need.  We can design our mezzanine systems to have high enough pounds per square foot to handle practically anything you can throw at it. Want to add an aerobics or spin class to your club’s repertoire? A mezzanine floor would provide you with the perfect open area, and you would have a wonderful view over the rest of the facility. Or, if you have a rather large fitness center, our mezzanine systems can be utilized as a running track above the rest of the gym floor.  This will appeal highly to those runners who do not like to use treadmills but still would like to enjoy heating and air. In this scenario, the space underneath the mezzanine could be used for workout equipment, an office, or storage. Plus, since the mezzanine is made out of durable steel, it will take the wear and tear of people running on it nonstop.

Exterior on a Mezzanine AKA The PreFab Press BoxPrefabricated Press Box

Of course, health clubs are not the only areas of the fitness world that have to find unique solutions for creating space.  For sports teams, especially ones with new fields or facilities, they often need to provide an area for reporters, coaches, and scouts to watch the game, oftentimes called a press box.  This is a controlled, enclosed area, away from the noise of the crowd that allows the people inside to focus solely on the game.  What benefits would a prefabricated press box bring? For smaller programs that are growing, a prefabricated press box can be a fantastic, affordable temporary solution.  It can even make a great permanent solution, because the structures are innately durable and can be designed to blend in with any preexisting architecture.   While the players and fans will be weathering the weather on their own, all people within the press box will be in perfect comfort thanks to our insulation, heating, and air conditioning systems.  Whether you need a giant box for a college football field or something smaller for a high school baseball team, a prefabricated press box will provide you with the perfect atmosphere and view for the game.

Prefabricated Building AKA The Complex Compliment

security-booth-300x206Finally, prefabricated buildings can help your sports team as a whole, because our  exterior structures make the perfect compliment to your sporting complex. They can be used as a convenient concession stand that can be moved to different locations throughout the park. Or you can stick the prefabricated building out in front of your stadium or complex, put a sliding window on it, and you have the perfect ticket booth for your new field.  A prefabricated ticket booth provides you with a mobile solution to collect ticket revenue, and, like the concession stand,  you will be able to move the booth around the complex, via forklift, where ever is most convenient or efficient for your facility.  Ultimately, if your sports complex or venue has seen an uptick in attendance and customers, prefabricated buildings can play a vital role in providing added customer service, and because you will now be able to serve more customers more efficiently, you will be able to see an obvious return on investment on your prefab building.

Overall, the flexibility of prefabricated buildings allows them to have many different uses in the fitness and sports worlds.  They can complement practically any facility with their ability to seamlessly blend into any preexisting structures.  Besides their versatility, they provide an affordable, efficient, and dependable solution to many different potential space needs a sports complex could incur. Need to make the most of your limited space? Mezzanines can almost double the usable space in a facility.  Need to provide a quick and comfortable viewing area for your football field?  An exterior building on a mezzanine provides a satisfying, controlled environment, raised above the playing field.  With prefabricated structures, you will get all of these benefits plus the added bonus of a quick installation and an overall very short lead time, in comparison to stick-built.  At Panel Built, we believe in Vince Lombardi’s old quote that “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”  We strive to prove our dedication to every project we work on through excellence in craftsmanship, service, and attention to detail.  So, if you think that prefabrication could help your facility, contact our sales team or request a free quote,  and we will go for gold together!

Click here to request a free quote

and get your prefabricated project started!