The best building materials are no longer measured, cut and applied on the construction site. Instead, wall panels and even entire rooms or buildings are constructed in a factory and shipped to the site when the builders are ready. Some traditionalists might view this as an infringement on the tried-and-true building process, or something that will inhibit aesthetic appeal, or even a technique that will yield a lower-quality structure. Not only is that line of thinking untrue, but the reality is the exact opposite.
More and more architects have found prefab to be a better way to build. It isn't just for convenience – though that is one benefit. More specifically, prefab is all about efficiency throughout the entire building process. Here are four ways prefabrication promotes more efficient architecture.
1. More efficient material sourcing
Rather than using unsustainable, expensive or difficult-to-transport materials, builders can use prefab panels that are often created in a high-efficiency manufacturing plant. Traditional brick, cement, wood and metals may be heavier, harder to find and pricier options than the modern, sustainable materials provided by prefab providers. For example, Sto Corp offers thin brick, metal and synthetic concrete claddings that prove more optimal than those other products. Additionally, these limit reliance on cement and wood as resources. That means more cement for projects that really need it and more trees still standing.
2. More efficient construction
Once the prefab materials are shipped to the construction site, their implementation as part of the building is also easier than with other supplies. That's because each panel, plane or cut is precisely built to the specifications of the architect. Factory-precision eliminates human error and takes care of any measurements on the front end so the workers on-site don't have to.
3. More efficient energy consumption
The end user also feels the benefit of efficient practices, because these prefab materials can contain the best insulation and air and moisture barrier systems available. Modern prefabricated structures are high-performance, meaning their tenants save on utility costs and enjoy a better overall quality of life. Companies like Sto Corp offer prefabricated insulated wall panels that are not only easy to construct, they're also among the highest-performance building materials available.
4. More efficient pricing overall
All of these steps lead to a more cost-efficient process for everyone involved. The Portable Cabins – prefab cabin manufacturer for Mumbai – suggested 40 percent of business owners it corresponded with found prefab to have reduced project budgets by more than 10 percent. Cabins tend to be simpler than, say, high-rise apartments. For more complex construction, prefabrication offers even greater savings than on-site building. There is also the waste reduction to factor in. The Portable Cabins estimates 15 to 20 percent of materials go to waste in on-site construction, whereas there is virtually no excess building material in the case of prefabrication.
As the construction industry moves toward more efficient practices, prefabrication will only increase as the preferred method for builders everywhere. As society becomes more advanced, it finds better ways to provide shelter for its members – prefab is poised to be that next step.