Advancing Prefab: An Interview with Amy Marks
Written By EVOLVE
Amy Marks is a thought leader in the construction industry, VP of Industrialized Construction Strategy and Evangelism at Autodesk, and an experienced prefabrication consultant. As the former CEO of XSite Modular, Marks is often called the “Queen of Prefab”. Marks supports the use of optimized prefabrication across a variety of building types such as high tech, healthcare, hospitality and data centers, as well as residential and commercial buildings.

Amy Marks recently joined the MEP Masters podcast to share her thoughts on the state of the construction industry and what contractors need to look at in order to thrive in the next decade. Here’s a few highlights from the conversation.

Prefab Problem Solving

When Marks meets with CEOs, one of the questions she asks them is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” She does this to open their minds and help them to dream bigger. “I want to talk about what the people really want to hear. I love hearing challenges, and I love evolving my own thinking based on those challenges.”

When asked about some of the biggest challenges MEP contractors face, Marks explains that a big challenge is the volume of projects out there and the ability to articulate what you create. “At the end of the day, you truly have to understand the pressures of going against the manufacturers that are making the majority of the things on your assemblies.” The work is out there, but it’s a matter of who’s able to create the operations, accept the work and leverage their assets - their people, technology, and data. Ultimately, it’s a competition, and Marks explains that, “if you don’t know it’s a race, you’re probably not in it.”

“This is the era of manufacturing and form design. If you’re not thinking about your operation like you want to change your fab shop to a manufacturing facility and start creating data and digitizing like manufacturers, you might just miss it.”

Looking Towards the Future

When asked what she expects business to look like for the trade contractor a few years from now, Marks has two words. Expected experience. “I think we have to start using that expected experience in our space to know that technology exists and will be implemented in short order as we start connecting this digitized world.”

The world is changing. Times are changing and as the world becomes more and more digitized, it is important that trade contractors are able to keep up. The technology already exists, and you probably already use it in other areas of your life. So, it’s time to start taking advantage of this technology within the construction industry too. “We have a highly instrumented world where I can know on a computer screen where things are and when it’s coming without even talking to a human being. And we have to use that expected experience in our future state coming forward, because it’s here. And it’s coming even faster.”

You may be wondering what you can do to move in this direction and start now. It is important to remember that it takes time. Marks explains that “you’re going to have to start now, foundationally, to get ready. Learn about manufacturing and form design, and start learning about it now.”

“[People] will enable those companies that can understand the data to configure the pieces and parts in a better and most effective way, and articulate. Those teams that are able to articulate these things will end up being the winners.”

As a consultant, Marks wants to see success amongst trade contractors in the future. “I just want to see them succeed and I think everyone has a great attitude about helping each other succeed and seeing what’s out there, and being really realistic about the world.”

If you’d like to hear more from Amy Marks and gain industry insight, be sure to register for MEP Force 2022. The event will take place on November 14-16 at the Grand Hyatt in San Antonio, Texas. As one of the keynote speakers for the event, Marks plans to discuss the current state of the industry, challenges and opportunities of nearterm future, and long term opportunities and concerns that could have a big impact on construction businesses.

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