5 trends shaping the future of offsite construction (from Construction Dive)
The construction industry has found itself at a crossroads. While the industry has been resistant to change, the built world around it has not been — and the need for additional housing, offices, schools, hospitals and more in shorter timeframes is only growing. As product manufacturers of all kinds have retooled with replicability and expediency in mind, construction companies are taking note of their success.
What they've learned is taking shape in offsite construction, a method that is gaining steam in the U.S. Here, the industry is grappling with a widening gap in its skilled-labor channel and a need to complete project schedules quickly and with fewer resources.
A 2014 report from the National Institute of Building Sciences found that 93% of respondents in the AEC industries had used offsite methods to some degree over the past year. Of that share, respondents said the main benefit of offsite was its ability to reduce project timelines and its cost effectiveness. Those kinds of paybacks are expected to drive use of the method going forward.
The following five trends show where offsite building techniques are today, and where they’re headed.
Today’s productivity needs will fuel the move offsite
Today’s construction activity is at 2007 levels, but with 100,000 fewer skilled workers on the books. General contractors and developers are facing challenges filling their worker pipelines and, in turn, keeping up with tight schedules and even tighter budgets that make it increasingly difficult to maintain their margins.
“It is much more efficient for an owner, developing properties in multiple regions, to contract with one or two modular factories rather than trying to find workers in several labor markets — and likely at differing rates,” said Tom Hardiman, executive director at the Modular Building Institute.
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Started on July 24, 2017 by Tom Hardiman