We are an industry where machine and computer power enhance the work of the person, in many cases, making the very jobs we undertake possible. Modeling wouldn’t be feasible if not for the computing power of today’s equipment, from Robotic Total Stations (RTS) units to laptops and cranes.
In the Dodge Data & Analytics 2020 SmartMarket Report on prefabrication and modular construction, survey responses were obtained from companies who currently use prefab and modular processes. The report gives first-hand input about their insights into the impacts on productivity, materials waste, schedule certainty, quality, cost predictability, safety, and client satisfaction.
Respondents to the survey identified the three biggest challenges they perceive are preventing them from increasing their use of prefabrication.
- Prefab is not part of the project’s design.
Design firms in general report they get significant benefits from prefab construction, with 80% or more of architects and engineers reporting that prefab improves labor productivity, reduces waste, increases schedule certainty, and improves quality. In addition, 75% report better client satisfaction, and 78% report better cost predictability. However, they don’t get to cash in on those savings if the project is not designed to enable prefab. As the report points out, “this should be a strong message that they need to develop design solutions that more effectively enable it.”
2. Project delivery method prevents effective prefab planning; project types are not applicable for prefab.
Delivery method and type of project are challenges for architects, engineers, general contractors/contract managers and trades – basically every type of survey respondent. Prefab processes are not used so much now because they are not standards. As prefab moves more into the mainstream of construction, more prefab mechanical assemblies and electrical content will be developed for use in more and different types of projects.
3. Availability of local prefab facilities and availability of a trained workforce to install prefab components.
Although design firms cited a lack of accessible facilities and skilled labor as major concerns, general contractors, contract managers and trades report they do not, in reality, experience obstacles from these situations.
The respondents from the skilled trades are the group that is least concerned with whether the owners want prefab. Many mechanical, plumbing and some electrical contractors use prefab, whether it is specified by the owner or not. The companies that recognize the inherent savings in prefabrication are using it as an internally-driven business practice whether they are encouraged to or not. Respondents that already use prefab indicated they continue to use the processes “regardless of owner permission or awareness.”
Survey participants identified the benefits they think will drive more prefab in the future. They included, in order of influence: improvement of schedule performance, decreased construction costs, improved project quality, help with labor shortages, and improved project safety.
The experts of eVolve MEP have worked in the construction trades, so they know the challenges you face and the innovations that can make a difference. Contact eVolve MEP today and learn how the industry-trained eVolve mechanical and electrical consultants can partner with you to keep your business relevant and competitive in the years to come.
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