Date: 1 October 2018
Written by: Sarah Morton, Initiative Framework Director
Construction clients have switched their mindset around modular construction in the past five years. Until recently it was still tarred with the negative image it gained during the post-war prefabrication boom and there is still work to be done to change perceptions. However, we’re already seeing the start of its renaissance.
Thinking about the coming years, the construction sector’s challenges boil down to three core themes: margins, skills and energy efficiency. Modular building tackles all three.
Clients want projects that are on time and completed as specified. The process is slicker than traditional builds and can cut project timeframes down dramatically. Off-site has also proven itself at delivering large-scale projects exactly as intended. It means that there’s a closer relationship between what clients specify and the product. For contractors, it means quicker builds, better client relationships, fewer disputes and safer margins.
The industry’s skills challenge will undoubtedly rage on for the foreseeable future. Off-site releases some of the pressure the skills shortage has created. Of course, tradespeople are still important when it comes to on-site assembly and fit-out. But, in simple terms, fewer people-hours are needed to complete projects.
Finally, the method can help improve energy efficiency. The built environment is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Using off-site is helping the entire industry become greener. Because modular units are planned with millimetre-precision the end building often has fewer imperfections and is more air-tight. This makes it less expensive to run and reduces CO2. It’s also fostering the use of timber, a key off-site material, which is completely renewable and a net-absorber of carbon dioxide.
When you couple the benefits that the industry can gain with off-site’s ability to deliver client projects months faster than traditional builds, I think it’s safe to say that the method is here to stay and is something we’re embracing.