According to a 2018 survey from The Off-Site Construction Council (OSCC) of the National Institute of Building Sciences, modular construction is no longer the new kid on the block.
The OSCC survey found off-site construction is now used by the strong majority of AEC firms, reporting that 87.6 percent of participants used some type of off-site prefabrication method over the last year (this remains consistent with the OSCC’s initial 2014 off-site construction industry survey). What’s more, the results indicate prefab construction use is expected to remain strong into 2019 and beyond. In fact, over 80 percent of survey respondents said they expect to utilize off-site construction more often or the same amount in the next 12 months.
In an industry reluctant to accept new methods—even those with myriad advantages like prefab—it’s important to ask what’s finally driving the adoption of off-site construction. The survey listed a number of benefits supporting the trend, from reduced overall scheduling to quality and cost-effectiveness. But the answer may very well boil down to one thing: the skilled labor shortage. As the survey states, “With the ongoing shortage of skilled craft workers (which exceeded 2 million in 2017), prefabrication in a controlled, off-site environment may become a necessity for many U.S. contractors attempting to remain competitive with a lower-skilled workforce.”
Or, as Modular Building Institute Executive Director Tom Hardiman put it in an earlier Forbes article, “When things were going well, developers and general contractors may not have felt the pain or need to change. Now they do, and there’s no turning back.”
While the way forward is clear, changing the status quo is never easy. The OSCC survey sheds light on current challenges, citing “the construction culture and late design changes” as the most significant barriers to use. As off-site construction grows in prominence, the good news is AEC professionals who are struggling to engage stakeholders or conduct design analysis don’t have to do it alone. A number of building experts are now available to help construction pros understand the prefab/modular process and how to be successful.
For example, at Oldcastle SurePods, if we’ve done work in your geographic region, we’ll bring subs or contractors to the table that have modular experience to help guide you through the first project. We’ll also perform a Revit conflict analysis to ensure there are no MEP conflicts, and can assist the architect with the drawings to ensure all design needs are met.
As we’ve seen time and again here at Oldcastle SurePods, your first modular project is usually the hardest. The benefits then speak for themselves. To learn more how to get started with prefab bathroom pods or get your GC on board with modular, contact Bill Seery, Oldcastle SurePods vice president of business development: Bill.Seery@oldcastle.com.