Why is Prefabrication So Important?

As subcontractors, we tend to be forced to take on the heaviest risk on each  and every project.  We are at the mercy of the GC and other trades in order to complete our work.  This Industrialization of Construction® that is happening is also causing other shockwaves throughout the industry. 

Things like the labor shortage, diminishing margins, tighter timelines are all a direct result of this movement.  Smart contractors understand this and have already been putting plans in place to bridge the gap.   Technology and forward thinking is very much your friend during this period of change.  Several resources are linked below to help you prepare and take back control of your projects and more importantly, your business.

As a construction consulting company, we field all kinds of questions.   For the past few years, nothing has been front and center more than prefab.  Today, we will take a dive into what Prefabrication means, and most importantly discuss why it’s become so prevalent lately. 

Prefabrication, in and of itself isn’t new to the construction industry, it’s been around for decades, so why is it becoming so prevalent now?  To understand that, you must first understand what is meant by prefabrication.  In our definition, Prefabrication means Externalizing Work®.  What we mean by that is taking something that is traditionally accomplished on the job site and moving it into a controlled environment.  A basic example of this is snapping together conduit, or assembling fixtures off site and delivering them fully assembled ready to install at the job site.

So, why do we do this?  This question tends to draw the most polarizing responses.  Some feel that they should take on Prefab because it “is faster”.  Interestingly enough, our research indicates that is a false statement.  The amount of hours spent doing prefab is pretty equal to doing the same task in the field.  In some instances, in fact, a well trained electrician will be faster in the field than someone in the prefab shop.   

So, why, then, is prefabrication becoming such a hot topic?  The simple answer is that the interest in prefab is a direct result of the Industrialization of Construction® that has been slowly taking shape over the last 2 decades.  As construction companies, we must produce more with less than ever before and thus we must work to control our process as much as we  possibly can.  This is one of the main benefits of Prefab.  Using the concepts of Externalizing Work®, we regain control over factors that were previously out of our control  No longer will GC Schedule issues, area not ready or absenteeism derail our efforts. Instead, we will be in full control of our projects and, in turn, will reap the rewards!

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