According to the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) Off-Site Construction Council, off-site construction is “the planning, design, fabrication and assembly of building elements at a location other than their installed location to support the rapid and efficient construction of a permanent structure.” In other words, it is completing elements of a project at a different location than where they will be permanently located. Some examples of off-site construction methods are modular systems (parts or entire buildings constructed off-site and then transported to a permanent location); structural insulated panels or SIPS (thermal insulation sandwiched between two panels); and pre-assembled components (taking materials that would otherwise be constructed at a site and assembling them in a factory.)
Off-site construction has been an ongoing trend for years and provides numerous productivity benefits, especially with issues pertaining to scheduling, labor, quality and cost. The NIBS council recently released results of its 2018 survey that provides information on who is using off-site construction, how it is being used, as well as its benefits and challenges. This survey is an update to one initially conducted in 2014. The respondents included contractors, architects, engineers and developers.
So, what were the results? Of those surveyed, just over 87% said they had used off-site, prefabricated components at some point over the past year and nearly 82% planned on using them in the future. Much of the off-site construction was utilized for commercial, healthcare, industrial and multi-family residential sectors.
Respondents listed the primary benefits as increased cost-effectiveness, better quality products with fewer changes and shorter, more efficient production schedules. Despite these advantages, the survey also revealed a few barriers to off-site construction, mainly in last-minute design changes and the challenge of transporting prefabricated components from the factory to the construction site.
Safety and security naturally improve when there are fewer workers and deliveries on a site. After all, a factory provides a more predictable setting with controlled temperatures. It is, however, important to safeguard the equipment and people that are there. Stealth Monitoring’s customized security solutions work in real time, to catch events as they happen. Our team of trained operators can watch for theft, damage and liability issues in even the most remote locations. We also provide gate and access control solutions so you can control who enters your site, as well as verify delivery driver credentials and inspect their trailers. We do it all for up to 60% less than the cost of an on-site security guard.
Greater efficiency, safer conditions, predictable costs and improved quality are many of the reasons why off-site construction is gaining popularity and will continue to play a big role in the future.