The construction industry has been changing rapidly over the past several years, which is unusual for a sector that prefers to stick to traditional or tried and true methods. By necessity, there has been a need for more offices, schools, and hospitals in less time. This is happening at the same time that this sector is struggling with labor shortages and higher supply costs.
The National Institute of Building Sciences reported in 2014 that 93% of the architectural, engineering and contracting respondents had used offsite construction in the past year and a majority planned to continue this practice. The main benefits touted for this switch were lower costs coupled with increased efficiencies on projects.
Since offsite construction is continuing to evolve, here are five trends that illustrate both where the industry is at today as well as where it could be in the near future.
1. Productivity Demands Drive More Offsite Construction
The demands for construction continue to skyrocket, yet there are fewer skilled laborers to do the work than in the past. When the last recession hit, many construction workers left this industry and have failed to return.
Developers and contractors are meeting the escalating labor challenges by opting for modular building, some of which can be accomplished through automation. As much as 60% of labor is taken off of the job site with this type of construction.
2. Increase in General Contractors Partnering With Prefab Firms
One of the biggest trends in this industry relates to more general contractors choosing to partner with offsite construction companies. Again, this has much to do with labor. An offsite fabricator can complete the work with fewer man-hours. This also improves project scheduling as well as safety because there are fewer construction workers on a job site for an extended period.
3. A Key Element Will Be BIM and Early Collaboration
No client enjoys making dozens of changes to a plan, which causes further delays in a traditional construction project. Likewise, problems with engineering or other issues on a job in progress could result in plans having to be redrawn midstream. This is time-consuming and expensive.
Early collaboration is one of the best ways to ward off these issues, which many offsite construction companies accomplish through design-build processes. Another solution is to use building information modeling (BIM), which will ensure that the process is more seamless from start to finish.
4. More Major Companies Will Want to Use Offsite Construction
When a large corporation does something that was once considered questionable, it soon becomes mainstream. This is precisely what is happening with offsite construction. Modular buildings will lose their stigma once others see that larger corporations have jumped on board.
Google is planning to create 300 modular apartments as short-term employee housing in San Francisco. Retail chains such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell have used offsite construction for some of their new locations. Marriott plans to use modular construction for 13% of its new hotel projects in North America this year.
5. Education Is Used as a Tool by Early Adopters to Generate Offsite Interest
Not everyone knows or understands what offsite construction is or the many benefits that it can provide to a company that chooses this option for their next project. Fortunately, there are some early adopters that can help educate the rest of the construction industry as well as those looking to spend construction dollars in the coming years.
Marriott is just one example. The company has been one of the most prominent big-name trailblazers when it comes to using modular construction. It has been successful in maintaining its brand and quality while also completing its new projects on schedule and with significant savings over traditional methods.
Choose K-Con As Your Offsite Construction Partner
Once your company has decided to use offsite construction, you will want to choose a reputable firm that will be by your side from plan conception through project completion. K-Con, Inc. is a design-build contractor that specializes in offsite construction and onsite installation of metal buildings.
We work extensively with government entities as well as commercial clients throughout the U.S. and abroad. Contact us now to speak with someone about your next project or get answers to your questions about completing an offsite project.