The use of prefabricated plant rooms is steadily increasing across the country, as a growing number of premises managers, developers and construction companies understand more about the added value and cost savings that using a prefab plant room can bring. As well as offering increased efficiency and convenience, prefabrication brings a significant number of other advantages. Here we take a look at the many benefits that opting for a prefab can bring to your plant room project.
When a building, including its infrastructure, is constructed off-site, the work is completed in a controlled environment. This enables workers to achieve greater accuracy than would be the case were the construction taking place on-site. For example, in a factory setting, workers can gain access to a fabricated plant room section from all angles, in a way that just isn’t possible on site.
In addition, variables such as uneven surfaces, wind and other adverse weather conditions, and limitations on work due to safety matters, can all be easily overcome in a purpose-built, factory setting. As a result, prefab constructions are made in optimal conditions, improving both the accuracy of the finished item and the quality of its build construction.
Advances in technology mean that each prefab plant design can be reproduced digitally. A high degree of sophistication in the software used allows meticulous attention to detail. The high quality of the BIM and 3D design enables everyone involved with the project to have a clear idea of what the finished creation will look like.
This information enables positive changes to be made that will help to reduce the amount of pipework required (or make sure that the necessary pipework is configured in the most effective, efficient manner), assist in the installation of hi-tech HVAC equipment and implement other improvements that will result in more effective, economical plant operation.
Almost inevitably, construction on-site is a more risky affair than creating prefab buildings. Site variables (for example, the terrain, ease of access, restrictions on working hours due to location) all impact the speed and ease with which construction can be achieved. Attempting to complete complex construction processes on-site can be delayed or compromised by the weather, failure of the relevant materials and/or equipment to be available on time, or issues with other bits of work that are taking place concurrently on the same site. In simple terms, a construction site is a high-risk environment, not only in terms of worker safety but also in the ability to deliver high-grade work on time and on budget.
One of the major advantages of prefab plant rooms is that they’re constructed in low-risk environments. The environment inside a fabrication unit is tightly controlled. The key risks that attend on-site working are dramatically reduced, or eliminated completely. Because fabrication takes place indoors, for example, the weather problems that are common on-site are eliminated. Low-risk, prefab plant rooms are more likely to be completed on time, simply because the site variables that are likely to delay construction are all managed and reduced.
Similarly, the low-risk prefab construction environment eliminates a lot of the risks that can result in increased costs. Problems arising on site that may require costly solutions (for example, flooding problems if there is extensive rain, or the need to hire more expensive plant to overcome a tricky construction issue) just aren’t an issue with prefab construction.
If you want to optimise the chances of ending up with a plant room that’s built on time and within the agreed budget, prefab is the way to go.
Purpose-built for transport
A common concern amongst stakeholders considering prefab construction is that the finished pieces of the prefabricated plant room will be difficult to transport. Every piece of prefab construction is skilfully designed so that its finished dimensions are within the maximum width, height and length required for legal transport by road. For example, no piece of prefab construction will be more than 4m wide (the maximum legal limit).
Prefab construction companies either use their own trucks and drivers or work in partnership with a specialist logistics firm, to deliver the sections safely. Before taking on a project, the prefab team inspects the proposed site and maps out an appropriate transport route. If there is an insurmountable obstacle in the route that means sections need to be narrower or shorter than usual, this can be accommodated before manufacture starts.
Regardless of the final dimensions of the project, contemporary transport solutions ensure the sections can be safely delivered to the required site.
Reduce on-site labour costs
Labour costs are always a major outlay on construction projects. As prefab sections are completed off-site (for a pre-agreed price), on-site assembly requires much less labour in comparison with creating a building totally on site. On-site labour costs can often skyrocket due to safety considerations delaying work (high winds, for example) or materials failing to be ready for use (such as late deliveries). Keeping on-site work to a minimum is a sure-fire way to keep labour costs under control.
Improved technology means bigger, more sophisticated structures
The days when prefab buildings were all small, pokey structures are long gone. Prefab plant rooms can be built to any set of dimensions and can be completed to almost any specification. 25m x 12m plant rooms are not uncommon. If you need a plant room that’s 50m x 12m, a prefab can be made that matches those measurements.
Once installed correctly, a prefab plant room is every bit as durable, stable, and long-lasting as on-site construction. Whilst there are limits regarding what can be achieved through prefab construction, they are almost identical to on-site construction limits.
Prefab plant rooms can be constructed to an extremely high standard, concurrent with the plant and other parts of your project. With just one supplier completing all the construction work, you don’t have to deal with multiple subcontractors; each of whom has the potential to delay the others.
With so many benefits, it’s little wonder that a growing number of data centres, hospitals and other commercial premises are now completed using prefab construction techniques.