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Prefabrication: What Is It And How Can It Help Construction Industry?

Last Updated on June 15, 2022 by Admin

Have you heard about Prefabrication? This article teaches how Prefabrication can help the construction industry by reducing waste, increasing sustainability, and lowering costs.

Prefabrication is a word that refers to the activity of assembling a range of structural components at a manufacturing facility and then transporting those sub-assemblies to the construction sites after they are finished. It’s most commonly employed in construction and civil engineering when prefabricated concrete and steel parts are used repeatedly throughout the design.

Because that part or shape is reproduced frequently, it’s easier and more cost-effective to mass-produce a large number rather than build them on-site. When created at a facility specifically built to satisfy that demand, economies of scale dictate a cheaper cost per piece, not to mention bulk shipment that saves on trip costs. It’s also worth noting the increased building productivity that comes from thoroughly prepping a structure before adding prefabbed elements in large batches.

Prefabrication and modular construction have resurfaced as a result of BIM advancements. A growing number of construction components can be manufactured off-site thanks to the accurate and precise design.

Because prefabricated components may be constructed in ideal factory circumstances and construction companies do not have to deal with limiting factors on-site such as weather or daylight, modular and prefabricated construction can save construction time and boost efficiency.

What is Prefabrication in the construction industry?

Prefabrication is one possible–and promising–method of lowering construction costs and speeding up the construction process.

Prefabrication, according to ECHO tape, is the act of constructing buildings or building components in a different site, presumably one that is better suited to construction. When the structures are finished, construction companies move them to the final location, where they finish the setup and hand them over to their new owners. To summarize, Prefabrication is a method in which structures are built off-site but assembled on-site.

Prefabricated construction combines excellent design, cutting-edge, high-performance mechanisms, and quality-controlled production processes.

The work is divided into two stages: the first is the component production, which takes place in factories or at a location other than the final location, and the second is the installation of the structure in its final location.

The numerous prefabricated parts are mass-produced and sent to various construction sites in large quantities. Before being employed in construction, the precast concrete units are hardened and cast. However, occasionally, contractors cast components on the job site and hoist them into place once they have hardened.

Bad weather no longer hinders the construction process with prefab techniques; in fact, it helps to reduce the loss of time and materials on the job site. This method also assures that the buildings are erected quickly.

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Different Types of Prefabricated Systems

It’s not only about concrete and modular systems regarding Prefabrication; there’s a lot more to it. Examining the many types of prefab systems will, we believe, be highly interesting.

1. Panelized Wood Framing

These are lengthy sections of laminated timber frames, usually used for roofing, that are covered by plywood or a board roof deck. Roof panels with panelized frameworks can be up to 72 feet long, saving time and making roof installation considerably safer.

2. Sandwich Panels

Two thin facings of concrete, plywood or stainless steel are used. After that, the facings have adhered to an insulating core commonly comprised of foam, paper, cloth, or rubber.

3. Steel Framing

Steel has long been a popular and reliable building material for commercial and residential projects. Steel framing makes prefabricated panels that can be used to construct buildings from this strong and durable material.

4. Timber Framing

Although timber frame panels are not widely used in India, they are commonly used in other nations where timber homes are prominent. These framings are manufactured in factories and then used to construct timber houses.

5. Concrete Systems

Having prefabricated building concrete components cast in the factory increases versatility while saving time. Even though architectural elements such as concrete panels are heavier than other construction components, they are often more durable and can improve the appearance of a structure.

6. Modular Systems

These systems use all prefab styles to generate a complete building structure, often made up of factory-built modules. The structures are delivered to the final construction location and then joined to a foundation that has already been created. Regarding the size and specification of fundamental modular units, Prefabrication necessitates collaboration between architects, builders, and suppliers.



Prefabrication building components

The following are some of the prefabricated components:

Columns: The beam and floor loads are carried to the foundation by a column, which is a vertical part. Because it is a compression member, the column connection must be accurate. The basic premise involved in connecting columns is to maintain continuity, which can be accomplished in various ways.

Beams: Beams range in complexity of design and reinforcement from a simple beam produced across an isolated opening to the more typical beams found in frames that pass their loads to the column.

Methods of connecting beams and columns are

  • A precast concrete haunch is cast onto the column with a locating dowel or stud bolt to secure the beam.
  • The beam is bolted to a protruding metal corbel fixed to the column.

Column and beam reinforcement is left exposed, usually in the shape of hooks. The two components are coated with in situ concrete to complete the junctions.

Waffle flooring/roofing unit: These are suitable for two-way spanning roofs and floors. They are arranged in a grid. Molds are used to make these units. The amount saved is insignificant. Shuttering is also time-consuming and costly. The construction process takes less time.


Advantages of Prefabrication in the construction industry

Prefabricated building is gaining popularity, quality is improving, and it is now available at various price points. Now consider the benefits of prefabricated buildings for both enterprises and customers:

  • Speed — Because the off-site fabrication process takes place in a facility, site preparation tasks can be completed concurrently. This can help a project’s overall constriction time be significantly reduced.
  • Sustainability — Minimal site disruption, carefully regulated material flow, construction waste, and pre-planned assembly/disassembly can all help to reduce construction’s environmental impact. Prefabricated constructions are environmentally friendly since they eliminate the trash.
  • Safety — Controlling health and safety in a production setting is significantly easier.
  • Quality — Factory-controlled methods ensure that the items meet a set of standards. In addition, the indoor atmosphere protects the buildings and their components from the effects of extreme weather.
  • Clean – On-site wet trades are minimized or eliminated because elements are pre-formed and pre-applied at the factory.
  • Technology — The convergence of fabrication and rising computer-aided design is poised to change the construction industry.
  • Value – Shorter project completion times can result in earlier revenue for clients and lower site outlays due to less time on site.




Disadvantages of Prefabrication in the construction industry

Prefabrication, while its many advantages, is not without its drawbacks.

Risks Have Increased

To begin with, this methodology carries several dangers when compared to typical construction methods. Because most massive architectural elements are created off-site, the manufacturer is entrusted with producing precisely what is required. As a result, even minor flaws might jeopardize the entire framework.

Errors equal Rapid Completion Times.

When the pieces are on site, they must be bolted together and fastened. Workers on the job are working under tight deadlines to finish their tasks as quickly as possible, which might lead to more blunders.

The Breakdown

Because each site is distinct and distinctive, it has its traits and challenges. In principle, prefabricated buildings created for efficiency may appear ideal yet lack intricacy and personality. There is a big separation between the architect and the land because the bits and pieces are created off-site.

Significant transportation costs, high danger of breakages, the necessity for erecting equipment, specialized workers, and extra supervision are all evident downsides of prefab technology.

Applications of Prefabrication in the construction industry

Prefabrication is the process of designing and fabricating assemblies in a factory setting before transferring them to a construction site and putting them together approach is most commonly employed for concrete and steel sections in structures where a particular element or form is repeated numerous times.

Prefabrication is used in constructing bridges, highways, tunnels, and other structures in civil engineering. Prefabrication can be utilized for a variety of purposes, including:

  • cantilevered decks of elevated bridges in highway projects
  • parapets of expressways and road curbs
  • precast girder units and beams for elevated roadways, tracks, viaducts, and pedestrian footbridges
  • decks for long-span bridges
  • tunnel linings, especially for tunnels formed by tunnel boring machine
  • sea walls
  • railway platforms
  • noise barrier panels
  • overhanging ducts and service channels for underground facilities
  • stormwater discharge culverts




Prefabrication scenario in India

During the projection period, India’s prefabricated building market is expected to rise at a CAGR of around 8.5 percent, owing to programs such as “Digital India,” “Smart Cities,” and others. The following decade will be dominated by Prefabrication, with the Indian construction sector predicted to grow to USD 1 trillion in size and contribute over 15% of the country’s GDP.

In the Indian construction business, the notion of Prefabrication is gaining traction. Prefabricated homes have paved the way for innovative and technologically advanced construction and design methods for all types of buildings, including high rises, low rises, villas, and mass townships in India.

India is lagging in introducing prefabricated structures into the real estate industry. According to an industry source, prefabricated houses account for approximately 1-2 percent of India’s more than USD 100 billion real estate sector. One of the critical reasons for India’s poor prefabrication penetration is a mindset barrier. Most developers are unwilling to invest in modular building technologies and reticently use Prefabrication in their new and continuing projects.

The government’s rapid infrastructure development has resulted in a strong demand for supporting materials such as concrete, which is also relatively high. Because of the increased off-site construction activities, precast concrete has the most significant market share. Due to increased urbanization, it is also predicted to grow, with an increase in non-residential and residential buildings.

One of the most promising methods for dealing with the increased demand for housing and infrastructure construction is precast concrete construction. Between April 2000 and December 2019, cement and gypsum products received USD 5.28 billion in FDI, according to data supplied by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). From April 2019 through January 2020, cement production was 278.79 million tons, up from 337.32 million tons in 2018-19.

Many reasons drive the India ready mix concrete industry, including increasing urbanization, population growth, and the government’s increased focus on infrastructure development. Currently, housing consumes the most cement and concrete (67 percent), followed by infrastructure (13 percent), commercial real estate (11 percent), and industrial real estate (8%). Cement businesses plan to boost capacity to over 56 metric tons in the next three years to fulfill the increased demand for precast materials.


Different job roles available in Prefabrication

Career responsibilities such as prefabrication project manager, engineer, supervisor, and plant manager are available in the prefabrication business. There are a few knowledge, skills, and talents that must be acquired to obtain a particular employment function in Prefabrication:

  • A bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or construction management is preferred, as is a PMP or Project Management certification.
  • 7-10 years of hands-on experience in a management role in ground-up residential, multi-family construction, or related trades, including 5-7 years of project management from conception to completion; modular construction experience desired
  • At least two years of experience working with high-end, custom residences is required.
  • Flowcharts, calendars, and step-by-step action plans can be prepared and interpreted.
  • Strong organizational skills, including time management and multitasking
  • Excellent written and oral communication abilities
  • Extensive knowledge of Microsoft Excel and Word
  • Expertise with estimating and takeoff software (e.g., Plan Swift, Sage, or similar)
  • Expertise in project management software (e.g., Microsoft Projects, PlanGrid, or similar)
  • A thorough understanding of blueprints, architectural plans, and structural designs is required.
  • Personal attributes of integrity, credibility, and commitment to Plant Prefab’s objective.

Final Thought

Prefabrication construction is virtually identical to conventional construction but with additional advantages. Significantly reduced construction time, more sustainable and higher-quality construction, and human and environmental benefits such as site safety, waste reduction, enhanced air quality, and quality management, to mention a few. However, in circumstances where volumes are small, this alternative is less viable because it may come at a high cost and with little flexibility. If you have all the necessary skills and abilities, a career in Prefabrication can open up new doors for you.




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