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Prefabrication and Modular Design

22/09/2020

Studio Victoria

4 minutes

In today’s article, we are going to answer the following questions: What are Prefabrication and Modular Design within the Construction and Property Development Industries? and What can Prefabrication and Modular Design offer the Construction and Property Development Industries? Keep reading and find out how Prefabrication and Modular Design will help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS.

WHAT ARE PREFABRICATION AND MODULAR DESIGN WITHIN CONSTRUCTION AND PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT INDUSTRIES?

Prefabrication is defined as the assembling of components that are manufactured in a factory or other manufacturing sites that are then transported to the location of the construction sites where the structure is to be situated (e.g. buildings or civil engineering works). A modular design is an approach that enables designs to be customised, repaired, upgraded, and reused due to creating things out of independent parts with standard interfaces to be used in different systems to operate multiple functionalities.

For instance, you may hear terminology such as a prefabricated building, meaning the building has been manufactured and constructed using prefabrication. The components or units are factory-made and have been transported and assembled on-site to produce the complete building. A modular construction is a process in which a building has been constructed off-site and designed to the same standards as traditionally built facilities but in less time.

WHAT CAN PREFABRICATION AND MODULAR DESIGN OFFER THE CONSTRUCTION AND PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT INDUSTRIES?

Prefabricated and Modular Design are becoming more common due to its capabilities of improved safety, flexibility, high quality, and faster builds. It presents opportunities in helping the UK housing crisis and leading the world towards a Circular Economy. Here we discuss what Prefabrication and Modular Design can offer Construction and Property Developers:

  • Quicker construction time: compared to traditional construction, prefabrication takes significantly half the time to build than on-site construction due to improved planning, faster fabrication, no one-site weather factors, and subcontractor scheduling delays. The quick construction time can allow construction companies to handle multiple projects at once instead of one at a time. The more time and resources mean they can help more businesses to grow
  • Improved safety: with sub-assemblies being created off-site under factory-controlled conditions this means there is reduced risk of environmental hazards, dirt and moisture problems, and weather-related risks. Construction sites can be subject to things like changing ground and weather conditions, and other workers on the site whereas the strict factory procedures can present fewer of these risks. Therefore, off-site construction can reduce the risks of accidents and liability and improve safety of the workers
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable: compared to traditional constructions that often use more material than is needed, modular construction helps reduce waste due to sub-assemblies that are created in a factory being able to be recycled in-house, decreasing the amount of waste ending up in landfills. The design of materials to be recycled and reused again can ensure that they can be restored again at their highest value and therefore constructing buildings with reusable materials can also reduce the need for primary materials. Moreover, the strict controlled environments also enable accurate construction which can improve things such as wall insulation which in turn helps improve energy efficiency
  • Flexibility in design: not only can modular construction reduce waste in landfills and take less time to build compared to traditional construction, it can also reduce the demand for raw materials due to it being able to be easily disassembled and transported to different locations. This allows flexibility in design of structure and with prefabricated construction units able to be used in different spaces, it can blend in with almost any building type
  • Variety of budgets: another benefit of prefabricated construction is that it can save money as it accounts for all budgets and prices to create affordable options. Prefabrication manufacturers can potentially gain bulk discounts from material suppliers and help avoid unproductive and unreliable construction staff and contractors. Therefore, it can be cost-effective helping you save on construction financing costs as it offers options for a variety of budgets
  • Consistency in quality: site-built construction is dependent upon contractors and their varying levels of skills and their schedules whereas prefabricated construction happens in a controlled environment following necessary standards. This means that you will be able to get consistent quality with prefabrication because each sub-assembly is monitored and built by an experienced crew, going through numerous quality checks throughout the entire process and accurate machine equipment is used
  • Increasing housing schemes: The UK has a serious housing and skills shortage and modular construction can help by increasing the number of homes being built every year. Modular construction can help grow the Build-to-Rent schemes (residential developments) where the investors and developers preserve and operate the building for its lifetime instead of selling them once they have been built
  • Extending building lifetime: a lifespan of a building is of around 50–100 years although, around 20–30 years it is no longer economically valuable which results in the building being demolished. A modular design reuses around 80% of the components in a building’s exterior helping the building to last up to 100 years or more. The designs enable buildings easier to have renovations, building maintenance and adapt to changing needs

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