What is Prefabrication?
Prefabrication is a growing trend in many of the trades where parts of jobs that were once completely built and installed on-site by tradespeople, are now predesigned and fabricated off-site. This shift initially began as a solution to the labor shortage of qualified tradespeople, which is a rising issue in the construction industry.
Fortunately, there are many other advantages to considering prefabrication:
Safety: Prefabrication allows contractors to reduce the manpower required on-site. Inherently, fewer people on the job improves safety. Additionally, building assemblies in a controlled environment and not on a job site reduces potential safety hazards.
Cost and Quality Control: Typically there is a cost advantage in utilizing skilled labor over more expensive tradespeople to build assemblies that can be very repetitive in nature. At Faith Technologies, when we plan a project through our SmartStart approach, we also proactively address productivity to ensure our electricians are put in a position to use as much primary time as possible.
Utilization of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Detailing: Utilization of technology to identify what assembly is needed and exactly where it should be installed reduces the on-site labor requirements of tradespeople and improves the quality of the installation.
Consistency: Utilization of fixtures in a controlled assembly environment improves both consistency and efficiency.
Jobsite Logistics: When the need for prefab assemblies is coordinated with the job site, finished assemblies can be delivered to the job site ready to install with most of the typical packaging of raw material packaging already disposed of.
Incorporating prefabrication is most effective on a project where thorough pre-planning can take place. This allows for the prefabrication department to order materials most effectively and to plan assembly operations to maximize efficiency.
Also, if the contractor is also engaged in the design of the project, they can more effectively standardize on certain assemblies that will increase volume and reduce variation – always good in an assembly operation to maximize efficiency and contain costs.