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Frequently Asked Questions

Build With CRATE Expectations, Build Modular.


What exactly is a Modular Building?

It is helpful to think of “modular” as a construction process rather than a building type. A modularly constructed building simply means that the materials were delivered to an off-site location (the modular manufacturing facility), assembled into components or three-dimensional building modules, then transported to the final site for assembly. As such a building constructed in this manner must still meet all the same building codes and requirements as if it were built on-site. This is most commonly a version of the International Building Code (IBC) in the U.S. or the National Building Code (NBC) in Canada.


Are Modular Buildings Compliant with Building Codes?

Modular buildings are designed and constructed to meet the IBC (International Building Code) requirements for commercial buildings, as well as applicable federal and state building codes. These are the same standards that are used to inspect and approve commercial buildings constructed using traditional building methods.

What is the difference between a modular building and a manufactured building?

Modular buildings are designed and built to meet or exceed the same construction codes as traditional site-built construction. The same building or zoning rules apply as well. Manufactured buildings are built to the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act HUD Code, and often have restrictions on the location of the buildings. Manufactured buildings have a metal chassis and require a VIN number, while modular buildings are installed on a wood or concrete foundation.



How does Design process work?

Ownership will need to carry the design team. CRATE Modular will come onto your team in a Design Assist role to provide details and assemblies to the design team, as well as perform plan reviews at 30% and 60% for constructibility, factory efficiencies, and price. This fee is roughly 1.5% of estimated project value.

Please note, the design process for some education projects are different if they go through DSA approvals and permitting.*

Do I need a General Contractor for my project?

Yes, CRATE Modular is a supplier of modular components. You will need a licensed General Contractor (GC) to perform all the on-site work necessary for your project including installation of your container modular building. We have a list of partner GC’s we have worked with on past projects that we can share with you.

CRATE also offers an Installation Education Program if you have a GC that you prefer to work with. Building with steel utilizes many traditional trades, we are happy to educate your GC of choice on how to work with our product for a seamless install.


What Happens On-Site?

The main advantage of modular construction is the overlap of off-site building and on-site preparation and the time savings that comes with simultaneous progress. We pay a lot of attention to what’s going on off-site, as the individual modules are being built in assembly line procession by specialized workers. But what’s happening on-site during a permanent modular construction project?

While individual modules are completed up to 90% off-site, there is a lot happening on the final build site. This includes:

  • Excavation
  • Grading
  • Site drainage
  • Foundation construction
  • Utility installation

Using traditional construction methods, all the above steps would need to be completed in full before building construction could begin. This adds significant time to your overall project timeline and delays your ability to take occupancy of your building.


Are there size limitations?

The module size limitations vary to adhere to different state transportation guidelines. Typically module widths are between 10’0″ to 15’6″, lengths are up to 72′ exterior dimension, and interior ceiling heights are between 9’0″ to 10’6″.


How complete is the building once the modules arrive on site?

Modular building components are shipped to the site of the project 80% to 90% complete. The components are installed on the foundation for final assembly and finishing touches including utility connections.

What is included from the factory for building systems?

Mechanical: We utilize ductless mini splits. Air handlers will be hung in factory, condensate lines run and power distributed. Condensers shipped FOB to jobsite. Installation crew sets condensers (on roof or on ground per plan) and line sets. Installation crew makes floor to floor and module to module connections, site connections.

Electrical: All wiring, fixtures, receptacles, switches, and trim provided in factory by CRATE. A subpanel for each unit is also included. Conduit from panel to site for install crew to pull wire from site to subpanel. Installation crew makes floor to floor and module to module connections, site connections.

Plumbing: All water and waste lines run in factory. Fixtures such as tub shower, vanity sink and faucet, kitchen sink and faucet are installed in factory except for toilets. Toilets ship FOB and are set by installation crew after flooring. Installation crew makes floor to floor and module to module connections, along with all site connections.

Fire sprinklers: Piping and heads are included inside each module. Site contractor installs underground and riser. Installation crew makes floor to floor and module to module connections, site connections.

What finishes are included from the factory?

Some finishes that are included on the container module are roofing, vinyl windows, exterior doors, insulation, solid plywood construction cabinets with soft close drawers, solid surface counter tops, wall finish, flooring, interior and exterior paint.


What kind of roofing comes with the modules?

It is standard that each CRATE module has a fully finished independent roof system comprised of a Thermoplastic Polyolefin/(TPO) or PVC60 mil membrane cool roof. Single-ply membrane roofs have traditionally been used on the east coast in the harshest climates and known for their superior performance in both energy efficiency (cool roof technology reflects heat and reduces heat absorption in our more temperate climate) and roof lifecycle costs. The ease of repairs and durability of the membrane extend the life and performance of the roof with little maintenance required. Most of the roofing is installed in factory, with patching material sent to site for connection lines between modules.



Is modular construction less expensive than site-built construction?

Modular construction offers cost savings because of the benefits associated with this method of construction. With construction taking place in a manufacturing facility, all workers are in one place at one time creating a reduction in personnel needed to complete a project. The factory setting also provides shelter from the weather with less opportunity for delays. Building materials are not exposed to the elements or left on-site where vandalism and theft could occur. And since owners can occupy their buildings much quicker than with a site-built project, this presents the opportunity to start generating revenue much sooner.


What do your typical payment terms look like?
  • 10% deposit to hold factory space
  • 30% commencement of fabrication deposit
  • Progress payments based on percent complete monthly thereafter



See What's Going on at CRATE

Take a look at some projects we currently have in production at our factory.