Updated: Mar 7
Construction sites can be crowded by the myriad of trades needed to complete a project and short on space for the storage for the variety of materials and equipment needed to maintain productivity. In addition, many sites are located in dense urban environments or exceedingly rural areas into and out of which travel is difficult. These conditions often result in higher costs and longer timelines, lending different methods of prefabrication and off-site construction as possible solutions to these issues.
Prefabrication is a process whereby structures are manufactured elsewhere, generally a location better suited for construction, and then set up on-site. Heavy-haul companies are then contracted by construction companies to transport prefabricated components to the main construction site to be tied together. Prefabrication is most often used by construction firms in the form of concrete and steel sections designed to exact architectural specifications that are then repeated many times in the building plan.
Off-site construction is closely related to prefabrication with a twist. Off-site construction is a broader aspect of planning and manufacturing buildings in another place. Offsite construction is not tied to how the building components produced in the off-site location eventually come together. They may be modular, manufactured, or piecemeal.
While general contractors and stakeholders lose some flexibility in final building design when using prefabrication and off-site construction techniques, there are many benefits: labor pool capitalization, streamlined planning, increased productivity, cost effectiveness, time savings, improved quality control, lower environmental impact, and better site safety and security.
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