You might think ModSpace is a young player in the modular building industry, but in reality there are 40 years of experience underlying the new company. Founded in April 2007, ModSpace was formed through the merger of two pre-existing companies, Resun Leasing and GE Modular Space. Once combined to form ModSpace, the new company became the largest modular manufacturer in North America with 60,000 rental units and 80 branch locations.
For those unaware, modular buildings are prefabricated at a remote location, delivered to the location and assembled onsite. They can be temporary or permanent structures, ranging from job site trailers, storage containers, military barracks, classrooms, commercial offices and even state-ofthe- art medical buildings. Some customers intend to stay in their building for a long time; others only need them for short-term company changes, such as plant shut-downs, temporary projects, and employee relocations and additions. Either way, modular space is a viable option for expedient building and cost efficiency.
For ModSpace, the core business is office trailer and modular complex rentals, but the company has a variety of services. “We do big and small projects,” says Mark Boily, Senior Vice President. “We get contractors and sub-contractors who need for space for a one-month period, six-month period or one-year period.”
“A good example of short-term projects would be the two-storey complex we did for IBM,” Boily says. “It totalled 65,000 square feet with 400 employees working under one roof. The building was intended for a two-year project, with a possibility of extension, so IBM didn’t want to invest a large amount of money into a permanent building. We were able to come in and accommodate all their requirements.”
Accommodating niche requirements is what ModSpace is really all about. That’s why they have a range of product lines (See Products at a Glance). It’s also why the company has two factories of its own where employees design and build custom spaces.
Innovation and technology are two things that dramatically change the way modular construction companies do business. ModSpace is very aware of this fact and does everything it can to stay on top of industry trends. One of the most recent was the inclusion of steel and concrete into their buildings.
“ModSpace was one of the first companies to offer steel and concrete buildings,” Boily comments. “Even today, there are very few modular suppliers that can build with these materials. The beauty of it is modular construction is a small percentage of construction in Canada (about five to eight per cent). But once you’re able to offer steel and concrete into your modular buildings, then you are starting to look at the entire construction industry as a potential for growth. Who is to say a strip mall or a McDonalds can’t be done modular? It can. These innovations make it possible to expand into new markets and compete with standard construction methods.”
This is just an example. ModSpace is also responding to green building technologies and materials as the market demands. The company has made a commitment to use more energy-efficient lighting, the latest in innovative window glazing, higher R-value insulation, as well as room occupancy sensors. ModSpace is also incorporating green practices at their own Brampton facility, including incorporating more energy efficiency into their plant and putting a greater emphasis on reducing waste onsite.
One of the ways the company keeps abreast of industry changes and trends is by listening to the customers. “It’s easy to say we listen to people,” Boily adds, “but let me quantify that. In the past two years, we’ve been working on what we call a Net Promoter Score (NPS) philosophy. We have a team that measures customer feedback.
Every month, they call a large percentage of our customers that have received a service during that month and find out their level of satisfaction, which translates into our score. Each branch location has its own NPS score and we try to push our performance via the customer’s feedback. It’s very unique in our industry. And to my knowledge, no one else does it.”
ModSpace is in a great position for growth. “The marketplace is tough right now,” says Boily, “which is a good and bad thing. I think there is a good opportunity to look at acquisitions within the Canadian market. Our company is financially sound, so we are in a position to expand this business.”
How would ModSpace like to expand? Boily says the company wants to continue to focus on its conventional industries, such as tar sands and construction, but they also plan to expand their specialty in healthcare facilities. “We have done quite a few MRI buildings already,” he adds. “They are very custom and complex buildings; everything is built with strict requirements, but what an opportunity for growth!” ModSpace is already at the top of its market. But for the company, there is always room for improvement and expansion.