Off-Site Construction Gaining Popularity

Increasingly, electrical contractors who are involved in new construction work may find where they are expected to show up to work, and what they are expected to do, will change significantly.

A new report, "Report of the Results of the 2018 Off-Site Construction Industry Survey," from the Off-Site Construction Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences, surveyed over 200 construction managers, general contractors, trade contractors, architects, and owners/developers to find out how popular off-site construction activities are becoming.

According to the report, 87 percent of respondents have used off-site construction during the past 12 months.

The five most common project types for off-site construction activities are: commercial (with 53.9 percent of respondents having used off-site construction for this type of project); multi-family housing (38.5 percent), industrial (33.3 percent), healthcare (31.3 percent), and education (30.3 percent).

In terms of the specific type of off-site work done, the five most popular were: precast concrete structure (with respondents reporting using this in a total of 95 projects); curtainwall assemblies (94 projects); HVAC, plumbing, and electrical racks, risers, and other assemblies (82 projects); pre-engineered metal building systems (81 projects); and prefabricated exterior wall assemblies (71 projects).

In terms of who was responsible for making the decisions to use off-site construction, the top results were requested or required by construction manager or general contractor (47.7 percent), specified by architect (45.6 percent) and requested by client (42.0 percent). In only 16.1 percent of the cases did subcontractors request off-site construction.

The reason for the growing popularity of off-site construction can be seen in the benefits cited by respondents: schedule advantage and speed to market (71.4 percent of respondents citing this as a key benefit), quality (46.4 percent) and cost-effectiveness (42.9 percent). Other cited benefits included weather conditions, safety, client satisfaction and productivity.

Over the next 12 months, 52.6 percent of respondents reported that their use of off-site construction will remain the same, 29.1 percent reported plans for more off-site construction, 8.7 percent reported plans for less use, and 9.7 percent reported not planning to use it at all.

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