The rise of prefab(also referred to as modular) building has been steadily growing over the years with no signs of slowing down. The global market is expected to generate $175.15 Billion by 2025 and offers a wealth of opportunities and efficiency improvements if the construction industry can adapt and adopt this new shift quickly.
Appeal of Prefab/Modular Building
In the past, when the word “prefab” was used, it conjured up images of ugly and cheap housing made out of poor materials. This is no longer the case. Nowadays, prefab projects/products are becoming a popular sustainable alternative to regular construction with firms using technology to streamline the process, using “green” materials, and designing them to be more aesthetically pleasing. Indeed, a recent McKinsey & Co. Report found that modular projects are accelerating timelines by about 20%, with it rising to 50% in some areas. The same report found that while large savings for prefab projects were currently outliers, in the future, with the continued rise of modular projects, they could save up to 20% in construction cost savings.
With the current decrease in labor force coupled with the increased material costs currently trending in the construction industry, prefab building is offering construction companies an attractive way to meet demands.
Making Most of the Shift
Prefab building is still on the rise but it is not gaining traction quickly all over the world. The most demand for modular construction is in Australia, UK, Singapore, and the West Coast of the United States, where skilled labor is available and there are housing shortages (source). But that’s not to say that prefab buildings will not become more prevalent globally. So, what can the construction industry do to maximize the potential of the prefab trend and equip itself to be at the head of the shift?
Construction firms will need to work on their business models to incorporate modular building in a way that ensures efficiency and quality. This means understanding the benefits and mechanics of modular building and training relevant team members on it as well. As the demand grows, working sustainable prefab solutions into pitches may appeal to clients.
Embracing the Shift
Prefab building is growing and not looking likely to stop any time soon. The construction industry will need to make changes to adjust to the shift. But those that do, have the chance to maximize the potential of modular building to be a green, efficient, and cost-saving practice.