Prefabrication and Modular Construction Are Gaining Popularity

Prefabrication

Prefabrication and modular construction methods have been used for a number of years now. However, a new report from Dodge Data & Analytics, with support from Bradley Corporation, the Modular Building Institute, Pinnacle Infotech, MCAA and Skender, finds the trend is expected to grow even more rapidly as more architects, designers, engineers, building owners, contractors and subcontractors see the benefits. 

The report, “The Prefabrication and Modular Construction 2020 SmartMarket Report,” shows architects, engineers and contractors have been using these methods to significantly increase their engagement with them, especially for healthcare facilities, hotels and motels, multifamily projects and college buildings and dormitories. 

“Critical trends in the construction industry, such as shorter project schedules and workforce shortages, are several drivers of wider use of these methods, and technology--like building modeling--is enabling increased use,” said Dodge Data in announcing the report.

Additional findings from the report include:

  • Prefabricating single-trade assemblies is popular, with 62% of respondents using prefabricated single-trade assemblies in the last three years.
  • Forty-eight percent of those completing modular work are using panelized modular components (such as wall or floor panels).
  • In the next three years, those leveraging prefabrications on 10% or more of their projects is expected to increase 15%.
  • The most interesting growth is expected in practices that are currently less-widely in use now, such as prefabricated multi-trade assemblies that involve the work of several trades combined together (such as a corridor rack in a hospital), which will be used by 58% of those doing prefabrication in general and up from just 33% using this approach today.
  • Growth is also expected in the “full volumetric approach” to modular construction, in which entire parts of buildings (such as bathrooms or hotel and hospital rooms), are delivered preconstructed on-site and assembled together. Sixty-one percent expect to employ this method in the future on at least 10% of their projects, which is up from just 44% currently using the process.

What are the reasons for the growth in prefabrication and modular construction? According to the report, about 90% of respondents report that they achieve improved productivity, improved quality and increased schedule certainty compared to traditional methods. And 80% report seeing improved cost predictability, reduced waste and increased client satisfaction.

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