There is a common perception that construction is a slow and unproductive exercise!
Maybe, maybe not, but with the rising global demand for additional construction, one thing is hard to ignore – that the whole of the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry has to up its game by building more quickly, shrewdly, economically, and sustainably.
Enter prefabrication and modular construction – two state-of-the-art techniques that construction professionals are increasingly relying on to build safe and long-lasting structures, that too in less time!
Prefabrication, also known as prefab, is the technique of assembling structural parts or components in a factory or a manufacturing location before transporting the finished assemblies to the construction site.
This method lowers construction expenses by saving money on labor, materials, and time.
Doors, wall panels, floor panels, staircases, windows, walls, roof trusses, room-sized parts, and occasionally even complete buildings are considered prefabricated units.
Builders all over the world are employing industrial efficiency and precision to build high-quality structures thanks to the growing popularity of this building approach.
The work is primarily completed in two stages:
● Manufacturing of the components in a specified location other than the project site
● Erection of the structure in its final position at the project site
Prefab construction is anticipated to register a 6.5% CAGR from 2023 to 2032.
Currently, factory owners guarantee a structure built using prefabricated construction will last 150+ years and will have much longer lifespans, ranging from 50 to 60 years, which is higher than a structure built using traditional construction methods.
This construction style takes place in a factory setting where many of the inconveniences of on-site construction such as weather delays and safety hazards are eliminated.
Modular Construction is a particular type of prefabricated construction. Modular construction involves producing standardized components of a structure (called modules) in a factory, which are then assembled at the project site.
The modules act as rooms in the buildings they are part of. They are usually very similar as they are subjected to the same factory process.
At least 70% of modular structures are prefabricated.
Hence, all modular buildings are prefabricated, but not all prefabricated buildings are modular.
This results in speeding up construction by 50%, saving money by 20%, and reducing labor expenses by 25% approximately.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) combined with fabrication has made it possible to create integrated processes for engineering and architects that can use these technologies.
The digital model goes on to become the finished product in industrialized production.
In the prefab construction of commercial and residential buildings, BIM decreases field time, improves building quality, increases safety, and is environmental-friendly by decreasing material waste.
The following are a few benefits of BIM integration in prefabricated and modular construction.
● In the preconstruction stage, each trade contractor can have confidence that their system will fit and install following the design, thanks to the intricate and coordinated BIM 3D models of numerous architectural, structural, and MEP systems
● Project stakeholders can use the virtual 3D models to finds conflicts, fix mistakes, improve scheduling and simulation, and better observe the assembled pieces
● Contractors can produce a fabrication-level 3D file using specialist software, which is then used in a Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) machine to produce the construction component
● BIM can be used by firms for information sharing and collaboration that helps the project managers from beginning to end, coordinating operations across sites and ensuring smooth adherence to the project schedule.
● It brings together all the project's stakeholders, which speeds up the communication process and, ultimately, the project's completion.
● By using BIM to standardize prefabricated components, construction schedules can be expedited. Drawings that are retrieved from LOD 400 BIM structural models that are clashfree and coordinated are accurate, allowing for precise installation of prefabricated components.
● BIM makes it possible to create virtual representations of the building that help with flaw correction, improved material selection, and—most importantly— decreased execution costs.
● BIM enables businesses to improve the efficiency of their pre-fabrication processes, cut waste, and even identify the best partners for lowering insurance premiums and tender risk premiums.
● Concrete casting is improved by off-site fabrication and precast construction of diverse building equipment, backed by precise and thorough BIM deliverables.
● Prefabrication and modular construction cut down on high-volume work and final prices.
● Creating drawings that are accurately dimensioned and spaced, supporting improved manufacturing reliability, resulting in zero rework.
● If done properly, using prefab in high-performance building structures with BIM and VDC will continue to promote increased output, improved quality, predictable costs, higher client satisfaction results, and a higher return on investment for projects.
● Precast and prefab using BIM reduce the amount of time needed to prepare component assemblies with complicated elements.
● Improvisation of the design process by enabling designers to automate some difficult modelling and documentation tasks that don't require any special design knowledge.
● Columns, walls, beams, staircases, slabs, façade walls, and other precast components can be designed and saved as BIM Revit families, which can then be used as and when necessary for upcoming projects or cross-utilization.
● The time-consuming process of getting a building component or assembly ready for production depends on many intricate elements. Building component shop drawings and other related design/construction operations, such as digital manufacturing, are made easier by BIM.
● BIM makes it possible for all building disciplines to use digital design for fabrication workflows. It enables the decision-makers to reach more accurate conclusions.
● Making 3D models or virtual replicas of the building with BIM enables problem-solving and improved voice of materials.
● Stakeholders benefit from better multidisciplinary coordination free of conflict, detailed 360-degree visualization, supporting data-driven decision-making.
● Construction goes towards end-to-end digitalization by using the process of BIM. This will assist in resolving some of the key issues that project delivery is now dealing with, such as ensuring a coordinated, trustworthy, and continuous flow of information between all participants.
● Throughout the many stages of the project lifecycle, BIM may maintain an integrated repository of all the information pertinent to a building or construction project. Simply said, it offers a digital simulation of a real building or business.
● Information from the early design stage, followed by building and maintenance, is utilized via the process of 4D project scheduling and 5D cost estimation.
● To spur innovations and alter working practices, data from 3D models are populated and integrated with other data.
● Digitizing and automating these building processes can increase efficiency, provide accurate cost estimates, decrease the need for rework, encourage project transparency, and preserve quality.
● Sub-Assemblies are carried out in a controlled setting where the weather won't affect the components in any way. This raises the caliber of the materials employed.
● Compared to those on-site, the tools available in a plant provide additional quality assurance. Each sub-assembly in prefabrication is carried out by a qualified team in a controlled setting. There are no additional disturbances like noise, pollution, etc. here that might lead to an improvement in the quality of the produced.
● Ensures the material accuracy of components that have been prepared at a factory, cutting down on waste and boosting output. Additionally, it reduces the amount of time needed for field installation while improving execution and site security.
The built environment can greatly benefit from prefab and modular construction in terms of financial savings, reduced time of construction and safer conditions. Add to it the quality improvement, innovation and data-driven decision making enabled by BIM, and it becomes hard to ignore.
Click out how Illumine-i’s BIM solutions can help you maximize project profitability and bring all of the immense benefits listed in the article to life.