Industrialized Construction: What Is Prefabrication and Where Is It Needed?


Similar to how other sectors are evolving, the construction sector is also growing by leaps and bounds. Traditional techniques and methods are now termed obsolete as more innovative and automated processes take center stage. Construction is slowly turning into “industrialized” construction.

Industrialized construction is a type of building arrangement that leverages certain innovative processes and techniques where structural components are manufactured in a workshop. These parts are then shipped to the final location where they are assembled.

In layman’s terms, industrialized construction automates the traditional design and production processes. One of its more popular techniques is prefabrication.

What Is Prefabrication?

Prefabrication refers to the off-site construction of developing components and assemblies in a factory. Next, they are moved to a site where they are assembled and installed to form the final structure. Prefabrication is not exactly a modern approach. In fact, it was used back in the 19th century but never received mainstream adoption.

Prefabrication systems are categorized into panelized construction and modular construction. In panelized construction, referred to as penalization, the building’s structure parts are created in a factory and shipped to the site where they are assembled. On the other hand, in modular construction, the building components are developed in a factory as modules – separate box-like structures and then moved and installed on-site.

When to Choose Prefab?

Prefabrication is suitable in the following scenarios:

Overlooked Building Systems

Do you know what often gets unnoticed? Parts required by code or commodity assemblies. Since they make or break the final project, their price-sensitivity is more significant than other systems. Examples of these systems include elevators, fire stairs, heating and cooling, plumbing, and ADA-compliant spaces. These are easy to prefabricate and deliver to the worksite for smooth and breezy installation.

Building Components

In certain buildings, repetitive subcomponents make up three-fourth of the overall structure. For instance, consider classrooms in universities, kitchenettes and guest bathrooms in hotels, patient rooms in hospitals, and laboratories in research facilities – all of them have subcomponents that can be replicated easily. They are ideal for making with prefabrication because you can build them off-site at scale and install them on-site in no time.

However, during project planning, it is important to keep in mind that a prefab is an all-or-nothing solution. Sometimes, certain parts of buildings are well-suited for prefabrication, while others are better off with another construction methodology. Still, these prefab parts will end up producing a higher quality at a lower cost.

Final Thoughts

Prefabrication allows you to minimize labor costs, create safer projects, reduce delays, and plenty of more benefits. Let us help you  manage the technological part of this paradigm shift.

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