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What is Offsite Construction?

Last Updated on May 19, 2022 by Admin

This article discusses offsite construction, its key features, types of offsite construction pros, and cons of modular construction.

One of the newest construction industry developments is offsite construction, which allows building elements to be designed, manufactured, and fabricated in a factory. Weather conditions in traditional buildings raise expenses by requiring extra labor hours and introducing contingency fees. On-site construction also generates a significant amount of garbage.

In terms of sustainability, worker safety, and quality, offsite building, on the other hand, modifies the construction lifecycle. It uses a variety of cutting-edge materials, 3D printing technology, and new assembly methods. Volumetric construction, which encompasses modular and pod building, is the first phase of offsite construction.

Heavy 3D constructions, such as rooms and homes, can be prefabricated using this technology. Panelized construction is the second aspect, in which the manufacturer creates flat panels for use in walls, floors, or roof panes. This method is used to install walls and support parts in modern commercial structures. As a result, start-ups provide modular construction alternatives to traditional construction processes.

What is Offsite construction?

Offsite construction is a tried-and-true method of speeding up the construction process by fabricating building components at a factory. In contrast to traditional building methods, which occur “on-site,” “offsite construction” means that the work is done in a factory, away from the construction site.

Off-site construction is a method of building that entails the planning, design, manufacture, transportation, and assembly of prefabricated building components on-site with great speed and precision. This level of accuracy is considerably superior to on-site construction. Offsite construction boosts productivity, decreases workplace congestion and associated safety hazards, improves quality, and shortens construction timelines.

Because this sort of construction may be started in the factory (off-site) while the ground is being prepared on-site, it benefits the construction process. As a result, the overall building time is reduced. Furthermore, the factory-made building elements are produced in a controlled atmosphere, resulting in higher quality, increased safety, and fewer weather-related issues as compared to traditional techniques of construction.

Prefabrication and modular building, for example, have been shown to reduce costs while also decreasing construction timetables, reducing waste, and drastically boosting energy efficiency. However, several barriers to widespread offsite building adoption exist, ranging from industry standardization to public perception and coordination with authorities.

Key Features of Offsite Construction

Offsite building construction uses a variety of materials, scales, and systems, as well as cutting-edge manufacturing and fabrication techniques, digital software, and current assembly procedures.

Offsite construction results in panelized and modularized components that can be employed as structural elements, enclosure and service elements, or interior partition systems. Offsite construction optimization is done by the integration of these systems with the supply chain, as well as proper and efficient research, design, testing, and prototyping.

Offsite construction is excellent for projects that meet the following criteria:

  • Working under pressure.
  • The Jobsite is plagued by inclement weather.
  • The construction of the building necessitates repeating internal structures.
  • Limited space on the Jobsite
  • Theft and vandalism-related risks and issues
  • Building height, intense heat, and cold pose safety hazards.

Types of Offsite construction

Modern offsite construction can range from the assembly of a few components in a factory to the delivery of a whole structure on a convoy of trucks to the job site. It cannot, however, entirely replace on-site construction: even the structures on those trucks will require some assembly on-site.

Offsite construction refers to a variety of techniques that can be used to shift as much or as little of a construction project off the site and into a factory as is appropriate for the project.

Offsite manufacturing systems can be classified into four groups:

Sub-assemblies

A sub-assembly, which is part of a component system, is any portion of a building that is manufactured in a factory and transported to the construction site. Sub-assemblies can range in size from door locks and handles to bigger components such as pre-assembled roof trusses.

Sub-assemblies are likely to be employed in a construction project that mostly employs onsite techniques, but allows some of the more difficult components to be manufactured in a factory with greater precision than on the job site.

The sub-assembly system is the procedure through which building components are first created offsite before being permanently placed on the job site. Building components, materials, equipment, and prefabricated parts are among these aspects.

Small building components such as roof trusses, flooring pipes, staircases, roof trusses, precast concrete beams, and columns are manufactured in this style of construction. Prefabricated foundations, floor cassettes, and roof cassettes make up the sub-assembly system.

Panelized systems

Panelised systems are flat-pack components, similar to an Ikea closet that has developed into a full-sized structure. Walls, ceilings, and roofs can all be built in a factory and installed on site.

Mechanical and electrical utilities, such as electrical outlets and water feed pipes, can be integrated into the panels. They must still be connected as the building is put up, but having them built-in saves time on site.

The panels themselves come in a variety of designs. The Kingspan TEK system, for example, employs a structurally insulated panel (SIP) that sandwiched urethane insulation between two wood panels. The system is highly-insulated and airtight, ensuring that the building is energy efficient, but it’s also simple enough to adapt to the walls, roofs, and floors, as well as to buildings developed by companies like Bentley SIP Systems.

Another option is Tufeco’s ceramic composite paneling, which is mostly constructed of recycled glass and is based on technologies developed for the aerospace industry. Tufeco claims that its panels are faster to manufacture than competing designs and that the fundamental concept can be easily changed to bespoke building designs.

Volumetric systems

Before leaving the factory, volumetric systems require at least partial assembling of the panels into rooms. The advantage is that once the modules arrive at the construction site, they can simply be craned into place. The disadvantage is that a volumetric takes up significantly more space on a lorry’s rear than the panels it’s made of, thus a vehicle that could carry numerous rooms in panelized form could only be able to deliver one in volumetric form. For volumetric systems to be chosen over panelized, significant time reductions onsite are required.

By inserting kitchen or bathroom pods into buildings that would normally be built using panelized or more traditional methods, some developments blend volumetric and panelized technologies. Because kitchens and bathrooms are the most technically difficult components of many constructions, it may be worthwhile to construct them in a factory and transfer them even if other parts of the structure are not.

A bathroom pod can be built in a building with the client’s preferred bath, toilet, and tiling design, then moved to the job site on the back of a lorry and simply plugged in.

To create a single building, hybrid construction uses both volumetric and paneled techniques. As a result, this structure is also known as semi-volumetric. Building facilities that are totally produced or prefabricated in the factory—these units with the complete final finish—are hybrid systems.

Once completed, the hybrid systems, also known as pods, are brought to the job site. For example, highly serviced sections such as bathrooms and kitchens are created as volumetric units first, then the remainder of the house is built with panels.

Modular systems

A modular design might be appropriate for a building with several identical substructures, such as a block of flats or a school. The concept separates the entire building into pods small enough to be carried on the back of a lorry, using kitchens and bathrooms as volumetric components.

Because a large residential structure requires a large number of units to be built to a small number of designs, they may be mass-produced in a factory significantly more efficiently than on-site, which balances greater transportation costs than if panelized construction was utilized.

Factory-made pre-engineered building components are supplied to the construction site in modular construction. After that, the modules are put together as massive volumetric components or considerable pieces.

Non-structural elements are employed with a load-bearing structure in Pod Construction. They are mostly used in the construction of hotels and other lodging facilities. Timber, concrete, steel framing, or a load-bearing structure can all be used to create the enclosure.

The Pros of Modular Construction—Efficiency, Exactness, and Excellence

Off-site building (also known as modular or pre-engineered construction) has a number of benefits that make it a viable choice.

  • The speed with which construction is finished is unaffected by the weather. The weather has little effect on modular construction because it is done (prefabricated) off-site in a factory.
  • Modular construction may be moved around. After the factory has completed the modular structure, it is delivered to the job site and assembled there.
  • Modular construction provides consumers with much shorter deadlines. To streamline timescales, the factory team can collaborate with the on-site crew.
  • Quality control procedures yield excellent results. The end product is good because modular construction is manufactured off-site in a controlled manufacturing setting.
  • Why Modular construction poses fewer safety risks than on-site building. There are fewer safety dangers for workers because of the controlled production environment.
  • Waste is reduced with modular construction. Computer-assisted production of prefabricated construction projects reduces waste and lowers the project’s carbon footprint.
  • With prefabricated buildings, communities are less disrupted. Modular construction causes less overall disruption to the community because teams of employees do not travel in and out of neighborhoods on a regular basis, causing noise and disruption to nearby businesses and residents.
  • Commercial structures constructed using modular construction are airtight. Because of their strict off-site manufacturing procedures, modular, prefabricated construction projects produce energy-efficient and airtight products.
  • The prefabricated building uses less energy overall. Energy is saved in the commute to and from the area where the commercial construction project is being created when buildings are constructed in a factory rather than in multiple locations throughout the city.
  • Factory conditions produce excellent results. In construction projects, modular construction improves efficiency, excellence, and precision.

Cons of Modular Construction

These are the few cons of modular construction;

  • Why Modular construction is not appropriate for every location or business. Because the site must be able to manage the delivery of huge modules, the modular building may not be an option on every site.
  • Modular building projects cannot be changed after they have started. While traditional building allows for design and plans adjustments during the construction process, modular construction does not.
  • Modular construction technologies necessitate meticulous planning prior to construction. Because of the nature of off-site construction methods, comprehensive planning must be undertaken prior to construction.
  • Modular construction projects can only be customized to a limited extent. When a prefabricated building is used, the capacity to customize designs may be limited.
  • On-site and off-site workers must communicate more in modular construction. For prefabricated building projects to be completed successfully, more communication and coordination between on-site and off-site construction personnel is required.

Towards a better quality of life through Offsite construction

There is no doubt that modern off-site construction is dramatically altering the laws of architectural design; with prefabrication, structures can abandon rigid, extremely invasive, and unsafe practices that harm the environment and are unable to adapt to a quickly changing world.

Architects may respond to environmental, economic, and societal concerns by combining digital, precise, and collaborative technologies with creative, lightweight, and high-performance materials. They can enable better social fairness in housing access by offering cheaper, higher-quality solutions that adapt to people’s different demands, especially in difficult-to-access metropolitan locations.

From a design standpoint, architects can abandon traditional methodologies, such as previous modular solutions, in favor of a more flexible digitalized prefabrication methodology. Buildings that respond to housing shortages can still be customized to meet varied demands in this way.

As a result, it’s critical to keep looking into new and different off-site solutions in order to contribute to a more sustainable and creative world – and therefore to better architecture and worldwide quality of life.

Conclusion

Although a few roadblocks have prevented widespread acceptance of off-site construction, the benefits are already transforming the culture, making the practice more popular than ever. The construction scene is rapidly changing due to offsite buildings. Prefabrication and modular construction are offering a compelling argument for lowering costs, shortening construction timetables, reducing waste, and drastically enhancing building energy performance. Due to this career opportunities in these fields are also increasing.

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