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What is Prefabricated Construction?
Prefabricated construction, or “prefab,” is a method of construction that is becoming increasingly popular all over North America, especially in places like Los Angeles and Arizona. This strategy uses components made off-site in a factory, which are then transported put together on-site to create a structure.
There are a couple different popular forms of prefab with different benefits to offer. Depending on your specific construction project, you may want to consider implementing some of these options.
We’ve pulled together information about the different kinds of prefab as well as the benefits of using this strategy in order to help you decide.
The Pros of Prefab
Because prefab methods are implemented indoors in a factory, construction professionals do not have to worry about delays and interference from the weather, vandals, intruders, or other complicating factors. This is a controlled, safe environment which allows owners to streamline the construction process and cut down on waste. This makes prefab cost effective.
In many cases, prefab also reduces environmental impact. It can lessen air, water, and noise pollution caused by a construction project.
Prefab is especially helpful to projects with a high degree of redundancy. This means that the building has many rooms that are similar or identical. Some examples are student housing, hotels, hospitals, and institutional buildings.
As the industry struggles to deal with a talent shortage, prefab can help you manage to complete a project with a smaller crew. Because most of the work in done indoors with less strain, fewer people can get more done. These sites are also considered safer for workers than traditional sites.
Modular v. Prefab
Even though modular construction is often conflated with prefab, they are not one in the same. In fact, modular construction is a category of prefabricated construction. In the same way all poodles are dogs but not all dogs are poodles, all modular construction is prefab but not all prefab projects are modular.
Modular construction entails building entire sections of a project before shipping those pieces to a site. This includes plumbing, electric, and everything else needed for a function unit.
This method requires the least amount of on-site work, and the most specificity. It’s difficult to change course with any kind of prefab, but it’s especially important that a modular project is carefully planned out beforehand. There is not much wiggle room once a project is underway.
This is another form of prefab, but it requires a bit more work on site. Panelization involves walls, floors, and roofs being constructed in a factory before being transported to the build site. Those elements are then attached to the structure that already exists on-site. Plumbing and other infrastructure is installed afterwards.
This could be a happy medium for many projects, as it will help to streamline part of the build process without committing to an entirely prefab project.