In the rapidly changing construction world, innovation is critical to meeting the increasing customer demands for efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable building solutions. One such innovation that has been gaining widespread recognition is prefabrication. This construction method involves manufacturing building components off-site, which are then transported and assembled at the construction site. Learn why construction companies should embrace prefabrication because its revolutionizing construction projects.
Speed and Efficiency of Construction Projects
Time is money in the construction industry, and prefabrication offers a significant advantage regarding project timelines. With components being manufactured concurrently with on-site preparations, construction projects can be completed in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. This accelerated schedule satisfies clients and allows companies to take on multiple projects simultaneously.
Cost Savings in Construction Projects
Prefabrication is a cost-effective solution for construction projects. By streamlining the manufacturing process and reducing on-site labor requirements, companies can cut down on labor costs and minimize material waste. Additionally, the controlled environment of a fabrication shop ensures greater precision and quality, reducing the likelihood of costly errors and rework.
As a leader in Washington D.C.’s mechanical engineering and construction market, Shapiro & Duncan excels in providing innovative design-build, fabrication, installation, and maintenance solutions, emphasizing sustainability throughout a building’s life cycle.
An early adopter of MSUITE since 2017, Shapiro & Duncan has significantly improved efficiency and productivity at their 51,000-square-foot fabrication facility. By going digital and eliminating paper usage in PreCon, VDC, Fab Shop, and Field, the company estimates annual savings of $100,000. MSUITE’s role in transitioning multiple departments to a digital environment has been crucial, streamlining administrative tasks like weekly Time Sheets from up to 10 hours of weekend overtime to a quick 15-minute task per department on Fridays.
The shift to digital eliminated misapplied time and timesheet inaccuracies and provided access to the production time on the floor, leading to a remarkable 60% efficiency improvement by optimizing workflows.
Quality Control & Quality Assurance
Prefabrication enables meticulous quality control throughout the manufacturing process. Each component undergoes rigorous testing and inspections in a controlled factory environment, ensuring that it meets or exceeds industry standards. This results in structures with higher quality and consistency than those built using traditional methods, ultimately enhancing the reputation of construction companies.
Atlantic Constructors, Inc. (ACI) traces its origins back to 1957 as Hungerford Mechanical. More than six decades later, the company has grown into multiple divisions and locations across Virginia and North Carolina.
MSUITE’s superior tracking and production reporting features have proven invaluable for our team. According to Earl Harris, VDC QA/QC, using MSUITE is a much-improved alternative to spreadsheets for monitoring activities. Alex Colgin, VDC, highlights MSUITE Fab’s benefits for QA/QC reports and material handling, clarifying what’s available and missing.
On the QA side, MSUITE empowers teams by providing comprehensive information on assigned tasks. This visibility enables ACI staff to understand what needs to be completed and how to achieve it, fostering a more efficient workflow.
“Integrating MSUITE into shop equipment, such as TigerStop saws, reduces the risk of cutting errors. This success in the plumbing department has led to the implementation of MSUITE in the pipe shop on the Vernon cutter, aiming to minimize human error and enhance quality and consistency in the workflow process,” as stated by Scott Mezza, Fabrication Manager.
Mr. Mezza emphasizes the necessity of keeping up with the speed of fabrication and utilizing technology. Tracking production rates on paper and entering data into spreadsheets proved too cumbersome for the fast-paced work environment, prompting the adoption of MSUITE for a more precise and consistent fabrication process.
Safety First Construction Projects
Construction sites are inherently risky environments, and safety is a top priority for any responsible construction company. Prefabrication minimizes on-site activities, reducing the exposure of workers to potential hazards. This can decrease accidents and injuries, contributing to a safer working environment and lowering insurance costs for construction companies.
The construction industry significantly influences environmental impact, and prefabrication aligns with sustainable building practices. The controlled manufacturing process allows for optimized material usage, minimizing waste. Additionally, recycling and reusing prefabricated components contributes to a more environmentally friendly construction approach.
Adaptability and Design Flexibility
Prefabrication does not limit design possibilities; in fact, it enhances them. With technological advancements, architects and engineers can create intricate and innovative designs that are efficiently translated into prefabricated components. This expands the creative possibilities for construction projects and allows for greater flexibility in adapting to changes during the construction process.
Predictable Construction Project Schedules
Predictability is crucial in construction, and prefabrication offers certainty in project timelines. Since most construction work is done off-site, the risk of weather-related delays is significantly reduced. Construction companies can provide clients with more accurate completion dates, fostering trust and satisfaction.
Using MSUITE and prefabrication, joint venture Barton Malow-Christman and Limbach completed the hospital project two months before schedule.
Limbach, a prominent MEP contractor with 1500 employees and 10 branches nationwide, recently completed the McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital project two months ahead of schedule. Leveraging MSUITE, Limbach provided integrated building systems solutions, showcasing expertise in design, fabrication, installation, management, service, and maintenance of HVAC, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and control systems.
The project emphasized collaboration among trade partners, with only 14 people in the Shop handling all trades. This efficient approach resulted in a 30% reduction in on-site trade labor during the installation of racked systems, taking approximately one hour per rack and totaling 220 hours. Compared to traditional stick-building methods, the on-site assembly proved extraordinarily efficient, significantly saving time and cost. MSUITE played a pivotal role in enabling real-time status and productivity metrics tracking for on-site and fabrication teams.
“The 2-month schedule savings resulted in a $5.6 million direct return to the owner. Two months of unexpected operational time for the healthcare facility can mean an indirect revenue impact of $60M.”
Mark Lamberson CPD, National VDC Manager| Limbach
In conclusion, adopting prefabrication in construction is not just a trend but a strategic move towards a more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable future for the industry. Construction companies that embrace this innovative approach stand to gain a competitive edge by delivering projects faster, with improved quality, and at a lower cost. As the construction landscape continues to evolve, prefabrication is proving to be a transformative force reshaping how we build.