Prefabrication is not a new concept to the construction industry; it has been around for centuries. However, it has reinvented itself with the growth of Building Information Modeling (BIM). BIM enables the increased use of prefabrication, making it more feasible to implement on projects.
Read on below to find out what prefabrication is and the six ways it can benefit your next construction project.
What is Prefabrication?
Prefabrication is the assembly of building components away from the face of the work. This includes items such as:
- structural steel decking
- structural wall panels
- brick ties
- brick arches
- bond beam lintels
- roof decking
- MEPF systems
- electrical rooms
- server rooms
- interior wall panels
According to a study published by FMI/BIMForum in February 2017, the construction industry is still struggling to adopt prefabrication at a broad level. It is not used by many in the industry, mainly due to resistance to change and the initial investment to develop the process. Most companies are prefabricating less than 1% of their work – at JP Cullen 35% of our work includes prefabrication.
Why Are We Prefabricating More?
We have seen an average of 10% savings in cost, 25% savings in schedule, a 5% reduction in re-work, increased safety, and an average of 16% decrease in hazard reduction cases. Coordination is improved as is site cleanliness and organization. Owners are getting a better, higher quality building in terms of how it is built.
Benefits of Prefabrication
We have seen an increase and improvement in safety. The most obvious is the reduction in fall hazard exposure since we can do more of the work close to the ground. On average we realize:
- 16% reduction in structural steel fall hazard exposure
- 17% reduction in MEPF racks fall hazard exposure
- 50% reduction in wall panel fall hazard exposure
- 50% reduction in roof decking fall hazard exposure
- 16% reduction in masonry arch fall hazard exposure
Prefabrication allows us to work in a controlled environment, utilizing standardized processes. It also allows us to set up standardized checks all the way through assembly allowing us to build better, higher quality buildings.
We have found that prefabrication typically has 25% schedule savings. Having knowledge of how long each component takes to design, fabricate, and deliver is a key element in these savings. This allows us to turn the building over to the owner sooner, enhancing the revenue stream to the owner; since the quicker they have use of their building, the quicker they can start generating revenue.
There is a reduction of labor on-site and indirect labor working on building has reduced congestion and eliminated labor shortages.
Fewer errors and greater efficiencies translate to an average of 10% cost savings for our clients. When combined with BIM, change orders are significantly reduced with the use of prefabrication.
Our project teams are always looking for ways to streamline a project, standardize our work, and define repeatable tasks. Prefabrication allows us to do that. It provides a controlled environment in which to work, where the weather does not affect us and we can work at an ergonomic height. It also allows us to design efficient assembly processes and material flows specifically suited to the project. Prefabrication provides precise measurements, preventing material waste allowing unused materials to be recycled.
Virtually any project can benefit from prefabrication no matter the market and can range from small repeated units like door trim assemblies, up to complete modular rooms with furnishings in place prior to installation.
Interested in Learning More?
To learn how prefabrication can be used on your construction project, contact Scott Borroughs, JP Cullen’s Prefabrication Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also check out our video and website for more information.