Prefabrication construction – or “prefab” has become a popular construction technique over the last decade. The process includes a combination of construction experts creating different building components off-site, then transporting and assembling them to create a structure. Put simply, it’s the process of creating different parts of a building or structure in one location, then delivering them to be assembled in their permanent location.
Prefabrication is a popular process for construction companies. Using these techniques, they can transport a completed structure to the construction site, then complete the setup process. It simplifies or eliminates the need for many steps in the construction process and limits the strain on construction crews.
The Pros of Prefab
Because materials can be created offsite in an indoor facility, the construction crew does not need to worry about delays from the weather or leaving tools and resources outdoors overnight. This helps cut down on waste, reduces manpower, and saves time and money.
Another major benefit to prefabrication techniques is the reduced impact on the environment. Prefab techniques reduce air, water, and sound pollution commonly seen at the average construction site. This is especially in industrial projects. For example, buildings with similar rooms and duplicate components like hospitals, hotels, or apartment complexes can save an abundance of energy through prefabrication.
Lastly, a construction company can get much more done with a smaller crew. This means an industry that has struggled with talent shortages has less strain and safer working conditions when working in a prefabrication environment.
Modular versus Prefab
Although often interchanged, prefab and modular construction processes have a few distinct differences. While prefabrication is an all-encompassing term, modular construction describes one category of prefabricated construction. Think of tissues; not all tissues are Kleenexes, but all Kleenexes are tissues.
Modular construction takes prefab a few steps further. It often includes elements like plumbing and electrical work–still completed beforehand and delivered to the construction site. While modular construction can save a lot of time, energy, and money, it is difficult to change course or leave space for wiggle room once the project begins.
Prefab Catches A Bad Rep
While there are plenty of benefits to prefabrication, it can come with negative connotations. In the past, prefabrication was seen as a way to mass-produce structures – not always using the highest quality methods. Especially after the housing crisis of 2008, prefab carried a bit of a bad reputation for creating excess, not innovating the best processes available to the industry.
Now, civil engineers use prefabrication in a variety of ways, including concrete and steel sections of structures. It is a modern construction process that fosters innovative ideas, enables time and cost savings, and promotes eco-friendly construction processes.
If you’ve considered using prefabrication as part of your next construction project, reach out to the experts at BCI Construction to learn more