Modular and prefab construction has created enormous opportunity for the industrial construction and design build worlds. If planned well, prefabricated structures offer flexibility on the construction site, tremendous cost savings and environmental benefits that traditional industrial construction processes can’t match.

Modular prefabricated industrial structures are made from all of the same materials and meet all the same codes and engineering specifications as conventionally built structures. The key difference is the build process. Since prefab construction takes place off site, in-factory manufacturing can happen simultaneously with on-site foundation work meaning buildings can be up and functional much faster than conventionally built structures.

The Benefits of Off-Site Construction

Individual structures are designed and built off-site in a controlled environment that helps ensure stricter quality control. Units are then transported and assembled on-site in a fraction of the time of traditional construction methods. Off-site construction offers all of the same materials and meets all of the same specifications and code requirements as traditional construction processes but are less susceptible to many on-site challenges. Projects can be operational in a fraction of the time required for the traditional process when off-site work happens in parallel with on-site work.

Since fully completed units are delivered to the construction site and ready to assemble, final construction can be quicker and more efficient. With less pieces constructed on-site, safety risks are decreased. Prefab construction is changing the industry by facilitating a more efficient way to build structures and complex industrial units. Rather than transporting a variety of equipment and parts to a remote location, complete pieces of the final project can be brought on-site through a carefully orchestrated logistics plan.

By reducing the threat of weather-related issues, prefabricated structures can be built off-site even during periods of inclement weather or other uncontrollable circumstances. One company is even building modular units in a controlled environment in the Northeast.

In addition, prefab construction enables fewer workers to complete the same or more work contributing to increased productivity and an improved bottom line. This also helps address the skilled worker shortage by creating job opportunities in a certain location so the workers don’t have to travel to construction locations.

Modular Construction is Sustainable

As businesses become more aware of the benefits of sustainable processes, prefab construction offers environmentally friendly processes. Some of the environmental benefits of prefab construction include:

  • Quality control in the factory facilitates better use of materials and significantly less waste
  • Energy consumption may be greatly reduced when compared to onsite construction practices
  • Construction can often progress with minimal on-site disruption, and in some cases no loss of existing business
  • Some prefabricated buildings can be reused and repurposed easily, which is more sustainable

Finally, from a business operations standpoint, prefab construction can offer faster construction timelines and significant cost savings. Being operational and generating revenue quicker with these techniques increases the turnaround time on the investment while positively impacting the company’s bottom line.  Keep in mind, however, that while prefabrication and modularization offer real benefits, insufficient planning or deciding too late to modularize can quickly reverse any gains and result in serious cost challenges.  Be sure to consider moving work off-site very early in the project planning process and carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of the decision.

As design and build techniques continue to improve, expect prefab/offsite construction to take a larger role in transforming commercial and industrial project development.