Container or room module?
One of the inventions that changed our lives is the container. The prefabricated steel containers have greatly facilitated the transport of goods worldwide, significantly reducing the costs of international trade. Containers have long not only been used for transport, but also as enclosures for facilities, as laboratories and as reception, work and residential buildings. In comparison to conventional buildings, they are much cheaper, faster to install/use and transportable. These are positive features which modular, mobile room systems also exhibit and are even more flexible than the usual containers.
The big advantage of the container is its standardisation: the most common model, the ISO 668 container, is 12.192 m long, 2.438 m wide and 2.591 m high. In addition to this 40-foot container, other 20, 30 or 40 foot long models, as well as the particularly compact 10-foot (2.991 m long) containers are common. All standard containers consist of a watertight steel box with end wall door and have standardised corner fittings for means of transport and as points of attachment for handling equipment. Standardised size, fittings and the use of trapezoidal sheet steel give the freight container its typical appearance.
For some requirements, however, the standard dimensions of ISO containers are unsuitable. Where sufficient surface area is available, the usual variants can be easily deployed. However, in order to be able to optimally use floor surfaces, especially in the interior of buildings, for precisely fitting plant and machine housings or for special sound insulation requirements, room modules with custom-adapted dimensions and geometries are required.
Such room systems are prefabricated by the manufacturer according to customer requirements in the factory and assembled in a jiffy on site. They have the right dimensions and can be equipped with various exterior trim, door and window elements, colour schemes and complete interior fittings including heating or air conditioning. The combination of various structural measures makes it possible to achieve sound insulation of up to 35 dB – a value that has so far not been achievable with containers. Despite their versatility, these modules can be moved with overhead cranes and even with forklifts.
Outdoors, where the dimensions of a building are usually less problematic, modular mobile space systems also offer interesting advantages over standard container solutions, especially when it comes to reception, recreation, work or residential buildings. In addition to the greater freedom of design in the realisable forms, everything that deletes the provisional character of the buildings plays a role: high-quality exterior panelling, material mix, colour design, and decorative elements. Visitors, employees and residents should not have to feel like goods and, after all, that´s what containers were invented and made for.