Prefabrication—or off-site manufacturing—can accelerate construction projects, reduce costs, and improve health and safety, with some reports suggesting modular construction accounts for 30-50% time savings over more traditional counterparts. So, then, why isn’t the use of it more widespread? Let’s take a closer look at the future of it, and how technologies can help move the needle forward.
The global modular construction market size was valued at $84.4 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 6.4% from 2021 to 2028, according to Grand View Research. Much of the demand comes from affordable housing and increased investment in the development of healthcare and commercial.
One of the leading markets for modular construction is the United Kingdom. In countries such as Sweden, Canada, and Finland, modular has emerged as a logical alternative, due to cold weather and shorter daytime, which makes traditional methods more difficult.
This is a conversation I recently had with Alan Jeffreys, founder of ADDA. With more than 30 years of experience in the reinforcement industry under his belt, he creates differentiation for clients by ensuring the ADDA suite of products continually evolves to meet the changing demands of construction. When he started the company, he was working in the United Kingdom, and found it was typically ahead of where the rest of the market was. Thus, he developed a 3D reinforcement solution.
“We started to develop a software, which was ADDA Construct, ADDA Estimate, and ADDA Insight to enable ADDA Consult to provide services to the construction industry,” he explains. There is a significant benefit with time with this technology. As one example, the quicker a power station is built, the quicker the project owner generates income from the power.
The United Kingdom has a BIM (building information modeling) mandate in place, and ADDA aligns itself with what that requirement is. The company is also seeing growth of adoption in places like Australia, Canada, and the United States.
When it comes to off-site construction across the globe, it is very nuanced in different areas, but generally speaking he says prefabrication has a way of providing acceleration while also reducing cost. Also, from a health and safety point of view, it is a much simpler, better, and safer method of placement.
But what I really loved is our discussion about waste. Jeffreys says, “Waste is a commodity product like steel, but waste is also time, and process, and duplication of work and change, and these things should all be under waste.”
I would tend to agree. We need a combination of process change and new technology adoption in the construction industry if we want to solve some of the challenges that currently exist. A combination of change in process and innovation are, in my opinion, the only ways we are going to speed project delivery and reduce costs—while still maintaining a safe working environment. Do you agree?
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