In recent years, there has been an increase in momentum for the shift towards using offsite construction methods (such as prefabrication) in the construction industry. This is a trend that has been seen throughout the world as the sector looks to innovate and outdated perceptions of modular and prefabricated construction fade into oblivion.
Past associations with modular constructions included images of box-like, utilitarian buildings. The assumption has always been that ‘prefabricated’ means ‘lacking in style’. But the modern construction industry has transformed this, with general contractors opening their minds to using prefabrication to enjoy flexibility without sacrificing creativity.
Prefabrication should also not be automatically be defined by modular buildings, but consideration given to the various aspects within a building that can be prefabricated. For instance, prefabricated building facades, plant room skids, prefabricated vertical risers hosting business services, modular wiring to just name a few.
Advancements in prefabrication have progressed it into a disruptive technology that is drawing the attention of many in construction. This is causing the techniques involved to move further and further into the mainstream, as observed in the recent Advancing Prefabrication conference of 2022.
Addressing labour shortages
Prefab continues to grow in popularity across the globe. Offsite construction methods has consistently proven that it can enable projects to succeed, and the lingering labour shortage has driven developers towards them. The labour shortage in the wake of COVID-19 and other key factors has presented problems for many industries, and the focus is on finding solutions to this problem.
Offsite construction is done in a controlled environment within a manufacturing facility. This is an immediate benefit over conventional onsite building, and it can shorten project schedules to reduce the number of man-hours needed. This presents it as a solution to labour shortages by focusing on greater efficiency.
Naturally, another benefit of this improved efficiency is cost savings, which is an attractive prospect for any shrewd investor, contractor, owner, designer or stakeholder.
More opportunities for offsite construction methods
While prefabricated rooms have been frequently used in construction projects, there is also tremendous opportunity in the entire ground-up process of construction. All manner of precast concrete and other prefabrication services are available, including the use of multi-trade subcontractor assemblies that offer all the advantages of offsite construction without fully committing to it.
This means that electrics, plumbing and other considerations can be implemented into a parallel schedule to the primary project’s timeline with greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The prefabricated pieces produced this way can then be implemented into the overall project.
Any kind of structure with repetitive features like classrooms or hospital wards is an excellent fit for these multi-trade subcontractor assemblies. Offsite construction can be used in a piecemeal format rather than committing entirely to the concept, which might help people with reservations get a simpler introduction to the process.
Ready for change
The construction industry is ready to try something different, and collaboration needs to begin early on. If designers connect with prefabrication specialists in the project pre-planning stages, the maximum benefits of offsite construction can be accessed. It enables both sides of the arrangement to fully understand one another’s capabilities and requirements.
Prefabrication is a process that affects other trades rather than a producer of commodities. It is a method of construction and should be treated as such if the full benefits are to be experienced. Project teams must act as true partners from the outset to enjoy shorter schedules and higher-quality finishes. Designers and owners are waking up to the style and quality on offer with prefabrication, so it is only going to continue this trajectory into the mainstream.
Advancing Prefabrication 2022
This year’s Advancing Prefabrication event was held in Phoenix, Arizona. Many prominent leaders in the prefabrication sector presented and were present at the event, and EVO-MEP’s Managing Director Neil Wypior was a speaker.
The conference showed that the injury is approaching an inflexion point. More clients and contractors than ever are committing themselves to transform their supply chains and productisation, and the coming together of industry leaders and stakeholders is a very timely one.
EVO-MEP is now working in partnership with Auto Tech to maximise the speed, quality and safety of our work. With such partnerships and prominent figures such as Amy Marks (a.k.a. The Queen of Prefab), the industry is strengthening and showing a united front as the trend towards offsite construction continues all around the world.
With benefits like greater speed, reduced costs, reliable quality and lower environmental impact, it is no surprise to see that the need for change in construction has moved it towards prefabrication as a long-term solution. If you want to learn more contact EVO-MEP today.