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What is a Prefabricated Building?

What is a prefabricated building?

A prefabricated building (also known as a “prefab” or “modular building”) is a building that is constructed off-site at a climate-controlled facility. They are manufactured using factory-made units or “modules”. Then, the parts are delivered to the building site and assembled, using cranes and other construction machinery.  Prefabrication allows companies to spend time building parts in advance – such as walls, light fixtures, and more. Then, they can quickly and easily construct them on-site. Unlike traditional construction, the assembly of prefabricated buildings requires minimal skilled labor, foundation requirements, and special equipment. Learn more about Modular Construction here.

Prefabricated construction infographic

Why are they gaining popularity?

Prefabricated buildings are becoming very popular options – for both construction companies and building buyers. There are many reasons why companies and buyers are starting to prefer prefabrication. The top reasons include:

Quick construction time

For building buyers, there are tons of advantages to choosing a prefabricated building over a traditionally-constructed building. First of all, prefabrication is a turn-key solution to space needs. Since companies can manufacture building parts off-site prior to building, the actual project time gets cut in half or more. These days, many businesses and homeowners need their buildings to be erected very quickly. Some simply don’t have the time to wait a year or more for traditional construction to be finished.

Verified, consistent quality

Prefabrication is an organized process that leaves little room for error. Companies follow strict regulations that assure high quality, code-compliant products. The result is well-constructed units that are high-grade, follow building codes, and look attractive once assembled on-site.

Cost Savings

One of the biggest perks to prefabricated buildings is their cost efficiency. First of all, with less needed labor and time to build, you’re paying less in labor costs. Plus, since the parts are made in a factory, it allows construction companies to control costs. When you think about it, it’s a no-brainer! Prefabricated building customers save an average of 25-50% compared to traditional construction. This opportunity is so enticing that corporations like Marriott vowed to use prefabricated construction for 13% of its hotel deals in 2017 “to bring down building costs.”

Labor efficiency

For construction companies, there are many reasons to turn to prefabrication. Tom Hardiman of Modular Building Institute told Forbes that during the last recession, the construction industry lost many skilled laborers. The industry needed greater efficiency, which made prefabricated buildings a great opportunity. There is still a shortage of skilled labor in the construction industry. Prefabrication eases this issue by offering more controlled, flexible labor that is also time conducive.

Who uses prefabricated buildings?

The short construction time, high quality, and cost savings make prefabricated buildings desirable for many industries. Plus, the quality of prefabricated buildings is becoming better year over year. Prefabrication is more about how the building was made rather than the kind of building it is. Therefore basically any professional company can make use of a prefabricated building.

With that being said, some industries may need a turn-key construction method due to a variety of limitations. For instance, they may be on a tight budget. Additionally, they may need the space to be up and running very quickly or need uniformity in structure that prefabrication provides. For those reasons, the top industries that have been turning to prefabricated buildings are:

The number of large, well-known companies choosing modular buildings speaks for the value! Marriott, Google, McDonald’s, and even Yale University are among the large companies that have been choosing these kind of buildings.

Related: Top Commercial Modular Building Companies

How are prefabricated buildings designed?

There are many different choices when it comes to designing prefabricated buildings. They can be built using:

  • Panelized framing
  • Steel framing
  • Wood framing
  • Concrete systems
  • Modular systems
  • And more 

Additionally, one of their perks is that they are can be customized in a number of ways - in terms of appearance and functionality. Since the parts are prepared off-site, you can talk with your supplier about your building’s design. Have any climate, geographical, or other location-based needs? Suppliers can easily construct the parts to withstand those conditions.

Nowadays, prefabricated buildings are associated with a “modern” look that is becoming popular. Plus, prefabricated buildings are associated with the “green movement,” since they’re made with environmentally friendly, sustainable materials.

Ready to see if a prefabricated building is the right choice for you? We connect you with up to 5 trusted suppliers in your area. They get in touch and give you free quotes on the building you need. To get started, check out our complete buyer's guide or visit our modular building quote page to get in touch!

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