In the past several years both residential and commercial construction has undergone some major changes in how buildings are being constructed. Thanks to improvements in technology, one area that has seen tremendous growth, in both residential and commercial construction, is modular/prefabricated construction.
According to Construction Dive, the prefabricated construction market is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 6.9% from $112.4 billion today to $153 billion by 2023. As little as three years ago, prefabricated, modular building height was restricted to 5 or 6 stories. Today, advances in technology have enabled prefab buildings to get taller. A perfect example is the recent opening of the CitizenM Bowery Hotel in New York. This hotel boasts 21 stories, 100,000 square feet of space, 300 modular guest rooms, and a rooftop bar, lounge, and co-working space.
Prefabricated Construction Defined
Typical job sites located in urban centers are busy, and often cramped. Those located in untouched rural areas can be difficult to reach and getting materials, machinery, and men to these job sites can be problematic, raising costs, and increasing timelines for projects of all sizes.
Prefabricated construction is the act of making building components in another location better suited to their construction, and then transporting these components to the final site. Once they arrive, they are set in place, secured, tied into utilities, and handed off to the owners.
In the case of the CitizenM Bowery Hotel, the three hundred modular units were completed offsite in Gdansk, Poland, including finished flooring, most of the furniture. Electronics, bathrooms, and fixtures, transported by container ship to New York and craned into place. This significantly reduced the time of construction as the modular units were being constructed in Poland, as workers in NY simultaneous built the four-story lobby and prepared the site for the modular units.
The Many Benefits of Prefabricated Construction
While you do lose some flexibility in the final design of a building using prefabricated construction, when properly planned and implemented prefabrication offers contractors, commercial projects, and investors massive benefits. These include:
These benefits are driving the growth in prefabricated construction as a tool to streamline the process while saving contractors and investors time and money. With the number of projects and investment in prefabricated construction growing, it’s safe to say that prefabrication is entrenched in the industry, and is likely here for the long haul!