Can Prefab Construction Revitalize a Stagnant Industry
It has many names: offsite, modular, prefab construction. Regardless of its moniker, the practice has seen a kind of renaissance in the last five years, as construction experts search for ways to revamp the frustratingly stagnant building industry.
As part of this renewed interest, the National Institute of Building Sciences, the Modular Building Institute and the Associated General Contractors of America held the first-ever Offsite Construction Expo in Washington, DC, on Sept. 23 and 24. The event, while relatively small, attracted vendors, owners and contractors looking to participate in the growing trend of offsite construction methods.
Henry Green, president and CEO of NIBS, said during the expo, “There is a lasting impression that needs to be made for offsite construction.”
Prefab construction includes any building methods that take place in a location other than the site of the project, and can range from precast concrete, wall panels, MEP systems, bathroom pods, and permanent modular building.
Sue Klawans, Gilbane’s director of operations excellence and planning, said during the event, “On major projects, at least 35% should be offsite or prefabricated … The general contractor or construction manager is the primary driver of offsite demand.”
The commercial sector of the construction industry has seen the greatest demand for offsite methods, especially in the hospitality, student housing and military segments, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the NIBS Offsite Construction Council.
We build faster, better, greener and for less!