Prefabrication is Set to Revolutionise the UK Construction Industry

At the beginning of 2016 we reported on some of the new technology that appeared in the construction industry in 2015 and this included the use of prefabricated building components.  Since then, the use of prefabricated modules on construction sites has increased, probably as a result of the benefits that this technology offers and the revelation that prefabricated homes from the post-war years lasted a lot longer than expected.   The Ecobuild Exhibition, Britain’s foremost event for progressive professionals in the built environment featured speakers on a wide range of subject, including the issue of offsite construction which we reported in March of this year and we’ve come across more news on the increasing use of prefabrication when it comes to building.

It seems that prefabrication is stimulating a bit of a revolution in the construction industry right now, just as we’ve been predicting.  Recent advances in offsite manufacture are streamlining the procurement process and disrupting this traditional industry to such a degree that creating buildings is becoming a function of logistics, rather than construction and architecture could be delivered by lorry in future! 

Offsite construction is being hailed as the future of the construction industry because it offers economies of scale which provide increased accuracy, efficiency and certainty, together with an attractive reduction in construction costs.  The UK construction industry’s burgeoning skills shortage has led to a new focus on factory assembly methods and is fast becoming the most efficient method of delivering the volume building necessary to address Britain’s housing crisis. 

Despite the fact that none of the current prefab initiatives have had no noticeable effect on national building stock, offsite manufacture is considered by industry movers and shakers to be the “next big thing”, despite the fact that offsite construction suffers from the social stigma attached to poor quality prefabricated housing from the 1960s.

Construction industry clients are increasingly frustrated with how everything in the construction process has to be designed from scratch meaning that the speed and efficiency apparent in other manufacturing industries are unavailable in building.  The visionaries in the construction industry believe that offsite manufacture could lead to the development of common platforms for construction across all government departments.  This means that public buildings such as hospitals, schools, etc., could be constructed from the same manufactures components and customised for their specific use by the installation of the correct functional fixtures and equipment.

There is also a move towards the adoption of an open source approach to ensure that all of the customised components in offsite manufacture conform to the same parametric design and manufacturing standards which would make assembly and installation a much easier (and cheaper) process.  This is likely to involve changes to the procurement process to ensure that the manufacturers and suppliers of components are involved much earlier.  This should lead to a much simpler, more streamlined procurement process with suppliers producing systemised construction components that can be easily and rapidly assembled. 

We’ll be bringing you more news of this exciting development in future so why not bookmark our website or, better still, follow us on Facebook or Twitter where we post links to new articles as we publish them.