Hide this alert
InfoMine Home

Modular & Mobile Buildings 



This review looks at the basic knowledge of buildings, including their types and usage in mining. It also tells the regulation for buildings, material suppliers, consultants and books for building design.


Buildings are one of the most important infrastructures for a mining activity. In a mining area, buildings are designed for the administrative usage, shelters for workers, protection of machinery, material storage etc. Depending upon the requirements, weather conditions, land prices, ground conditions and building materials availability, buildings can be designed in different fashions.


Buildings can be divided into two categories based on the design.

1. Modular Buildings: These consist of prefabricated buildings sections that are built in a remote facility and then delivered to their intended site. These modules are assembled into single building using cranes or trucks.
It is typically constructed indoors on assembly line and then they are transported to the building site and assembled by crane.
These buildings are mostly used for long term and permanent facilities such as administrative office, maintenance rooms etc.


  • Speed of construction as module construction and on site assembly can be done simultaneously.
  • Since, the module is constructed indoor, so on effect of weather.
  • It reduce the waste generation and on site disturbance.
  • It can easier to use modular building in remote locations.

In the United States, all modular homes are constructed according to the International Building Code (IBC), IRC, BOCA or the code that has been adopted by the local jurisdiction.

2. Mobile Buildings: Mobile buildings are constructed according to the HUD Code and are generally considered lesser quality. Wood-frame floors, walls and roof are the most typical. Mobile buildings are constructed with a steel chassis that is integral to the integrity of the floor system. Mobile buildings often require special lenders. Most companies have standard plans.

Most of the mobile buildings are used as a temporary shelters or offices that can easily be transported to other places when needed.

In the mining industry, different types of buildings are used for different purposes:

1. Administrative Buildings: These are the main offices in the mining campus used by management units to look after the work and the activities. These are permanent buildings made of concrete and steel.

2. Maintenance Buildings: These are the workplace used by the engineers and workers to fix the problems in any equipment and to store all the toolkits for the same purposes. These are also permanent buildings made of concrete and steel generally with a roof made of tin. These buildings are also used to store the materials used for mining (drilling and blasting).

3. Plant Buildings: These are the main Process building where all the process equipment is installed with all conveying facilities. This is also a permanent space, which can either be made of concrete or tin.

4. Control Rooms: This is the most important part of a mining activity, which is made either inside of the plant, or some time outside. There can be one control room, which will control all the machines or several depending upon the equipment. This is made of glass frames generally to make sure that the equipment can be seen.

5. HEMM block: These are the facilities where all the Heavy Earth Moving Equipment used in the mining operations as Shovels and dumpers are kept. These are generally made of tin but sometime concrete is also used.

6. Material stockpile: These are the facilities where the finished products is stored and then dispatched by trucks or dumpers.

7. Temporary Offices: These are mobile offices used in some mines especially in mining area when the mine is in very remote locations and made of tin and steels.

8. Residential area: These include the shelters for the staffs, hospitals, schools etc. permanently established the mining area.


Diavik Mine Modular Facilities at Night (Image Source: PTI Group Inc.) The regulations for building design in a mining area are similar to the building codes in normal townships. The main purpose of building codes is to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the construction and occupancy of buildings and structures and these codes and regulations vary with the countries.

Every country has its own regulations. As in United States, all major cities have their own buildings codes. Most of them have adopted the International Building codes. In Europe, the Eurocode is a pan-European building code that has superseded the older national building codes. Each country has "country annexes" to localize the contents of the Eurocode. Similarly, in India, each municipality and urban development authority has its own building code, which is mandatory for all construction within their jurisdiction. All these local building codes are variants of a National Building Code, which serves as model code proving guidelines for regulating building construction activity.

According to the Wikipedia, these codes generally include:

  • Rules regarding the parking and traffic
  • Fire codes to ensure safe evacuation in the event of fire
  • Requirement for earthquake, hurricane, tornado, flood and tsunami resistance
  • Requirements for specific uses
  • Energy provisions and consumptions
  • Specifications on components
  • Allowable installation methods
  • Minimum and maximum room and exit sizes and locations etc.



Building at Eskay Creek Mine InfoMine's Supplier's database includes companies that provide building equipment and supplies. Here are some:

Also, go to this link to find companies who have building supplies as part of their product list.


Musselwhite Mine Site, Pickell Lake, Ontario, Canada (Image Source: Travco Industrial Housing Ltd.) InfoMine's Consultants database includes the names of the consultants who provides modelling and safety services for buildings:


Here are some software available for designing the buildings at mine sites:



  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modular_building
  3. http://pavilionstructures.com/industries/mining-buildings
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_code

| Back To Top |





Publications Search