What is Prefabrication in Construction?

Fousiya Zaker F

Prefabrication is the process of bringing together different components of a house that are manufactured in a factory setting to the site of construction. This process saves time, wages and material costs.

Common prefabricated units include doors, windows, wall and floor panels, roof trusses, and sometimes even single rooms and whole buildings.

Prefabrication is a technology that is highly updated in terms of performance and quality control. The prefabricated units are usually manufactured in bulk and are sent to different construction locations.

In this method, the weather conditions do not interrupt the construction process anymore. Concrete units are often cast and hardened in separate locations before they are brought to the site.

It is becoming more and more popular in the construction industry and is constantly improving in quality and cost. Commercial construction is found to prefer this technology more.

Image by 2211438 © Pixabay

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Prefabrication Technology

The advantages of prefabrication include the following.

  • Prefabricated structures help to achieve sustainability in the construction process with high-speed construction, energy-saving means and environmental protection.
  • It minimizes noise and other disturbances on the construction site.
  • It reduces the cost of labour, which balances out the burden of the increasing costs of construction materials.
  • Prefabrication reduces the risks involved in cutting and welding steel sections.
  • Prefabricated glass and steel sections are highly in demand.
  • The technology proves to be highly efficient for structures with repeating elements, such as multi-storey buildings, office blocks, factory buildings, repeated housing units etc.
  • Using prefabrication in building bridges have numerous benefits in terms of time, safety and environmental impact.
  • It eliminates the mess of mixing concrete on site. 
  • Mobile and radio towers are commonly made of prefabricated sections due to the ease of erection.

Prefabrication also has a few disadvantages. 

  • Prefabrication does not take into account the uniqueness of each site. The prefab elements may be ideal in theory, but it lacks the customisation required for different projects.
  • Bigger units cost more to transport, create a risk of breakage, and require erection equipment and extra supervision.
  • Modifications cannot be done once the unit is fabricated.
  • The manufacturer is trusted to produce the precast systems with all the required properties precisely. The smallest errors can cause the entire structure to become vulnerable to failure.
  • The rapid time of the erection of prefabricated structures burdens the workers to attach and bolt the elements together under pressure. This creates room for mistakes.

On a Final Note

Prefabrication in India has not become a widely practised construction method yet. In addition to the disadvantages mentioned above, this could be mainly because if the magnitude of the project is not very big, the option is not feasible for an average person.

However, in many countries, the formation of smart cities and such have increased the demand for modular constructed products and the commercial construction industry benefits immensely from this technology.


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