Minimalism and affordability at their best, that’s the mantra modern architecture follows in the 21st century. Prefabrication has been a buzzworthy trend in modern architecture just because of that.
It’s a very cost-effective and highly efficient approach to the construction of a building. This technique allows architects to construct large structures quickly and at relatively low costs.
The Role of Prefabrication in Modern Architecture
By definition, prefabrication is the construction of a structure using pre-built and assembled components, i.e., the components of a structure are manufactured at a location and then transported to the site where the structure is to be built.
Modern architecture involves large-scale constructions of buildings and structures often at not-so-ideal sites. As prefabrication involves the transportation of assembled components to the desired location instead of constructing the whole structure at the site itself, it makes the on-site problems practically irrelevant.
Also, significant advantages such as reduced costs and increased efficiency have allowed prefabrication to quickly gain importance and popularity in the world of modern architecture.
Moreover, the tremendously increased population requires affordable housing solutions; prefabrication helps a lot in that part too. This affordable and sustainable housing that modular construction provides has allowed prefabrication to pave its way towards being one of the most crucial construction techniques in modern architecture.
It has created new opportunities for architects to innovate their designs. All while skyrocketing the efficiency and reducing the cost and time required to finish the construction.
Modern Architecture: Why Prefabrication is a Better Choice These Days?
Prefabrication creates a win-win situation for both customers and businesses.
Allowing efficient and reliable construction while keeping the costs low is the reason for prefabrication’s tremendous popularity. Let’s see what prefabrication has to offer and why it’s changing the face of modern architecture for the better:
- Better Quality Control
Unlike conventional construction techniques, prefabrication offers consistent quality assurances. The sub-assemblies in prefabrication are manufactured in controlled environments to ensure tremendous quality in each component.
Each component goes through multiple quality checks before its release in the market, talk about reliability! Moreover, the workers involved in the process have exceptional skills and are highly competent.
- Accelerated Progress
Since the manufacturing of components is done in a factory with expensive machinery and a highly efficient workforce, the process is relatively faster than the conventional construction techniques.
Also, there is no need to stop the construction due to unfavourable weather conditions as it’s only the assembly that is done outdoors. The same is not possible with normal construction techniques where the whole construction of the building is done outdoors.
- Reduced Wastage of Materials
On-site construction requires the raw materials to be delivered to the project site in approximate quantity. This results in a huge wastage of material and costs. Also, these raw materials (for ex- bricks) don’t undergo strict testing and inspection, resulting in wastage due to damaged materials and incorrect use, for ex-broken bricks and tiles.
Also, the direct and constant exposure to the weather can damage the raw materials, turning on-site construction into a wasteful process. Prefabrication, on the other hand, encounters no such issues which make prefabrication a highly sustainable, energy-efficient, and environment-friendly construction practice.
- Reduced Costs
First up, the use of custom-made components is not the reason for the cost-efficiency of prefabrication, it’s the huge discounts that manufacturers offer.
Along with other factors like reduced material waste, faster construction, and reduced man-hours, these tremendous discounts on components greatly influence the overall costs involved in prefabrication and make consumers choose prefabricated buildings over normal ones.
It’s the most significant benefit of prefabrication and the main reason for all the excitement around it.
As prefabrication is a portable construction technique instead of on-site construction, it eliminates most of the interfering factors such as unfavourable weather, on-site problems, etc.
Moreover, architects can work on multiple projects simultaneously, increasing the overall time-efficiency of prefabrication. Being extremely time-efficient makes prefabrication one of the best construction techniques out there.
Prefabrication allows businesses to take multiple projects at once while getting the job done quickly, a win-win for both customers and businesses.
- Flexibility at its Best
Since prefabrication involves the transportation of assembled components to the site instead of constructing the whole structure at the site itself, the transported parts can be dismantled and relocated to a new location with little effort.
This allows architects to offer a wide range of design options that can be easily modified if needed. This flexibility in construction allows prefabrication to be used for any building type.
- Minimized Disruptions
Conventional construction practices use noisy machinery and frequent material deliveries that disrupt the peaceful environment around the construction site. However, by moving the construction off-site, prefabrication causes minimal disruption around the construction site and less truck traffic as it doesn’t involve frequent deliveries of raw materials.
However, it still requires the assembled components to be delivered to the construction site which is relatively convenient and easier.
- No Losses due to Material Theft
Conventional construction techniques require the raw materials to be left unchecked at the construction site for days which increases the chances of material theft.
Prefabrication involves no such risks as the assembled pieces are delivered in bulk to the project site, allowing a faster construction of the building. This quick construction makes the construction site less vulnerable to vandalism and theft.
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Is Prefabrication Worth the Hype?
There is a simple and straightforward answer to this question: Yes, it is! Prefabrication has proved its worth many times, and in situations where any other construction technique would have failed relentlessly.
Let’s look at some past data and statistics to understand the importance of prefabrication in modern architecture:
- 138 million tons and 600 million tons, that’s the amount of construction waste that ended up in landfills instead of buildings in the year 2015 and 2018, that too, in the United States alone.
That’s a whopping 334.783% increase in just 3 years! Also, as a very little percentage of this amount gets recycled, the number is expected to rise if appropriate actions are not taken. Prefabrication plays a great role in keeping down these horrifying numbers; otherwise, the situation would have been much worse.
- A prefabricated building saves lives in China: When the Covid-19 pandemic struck China hard, the country utilized prefabricated structures to assemble a two-story hospital in just 10 days!
So effectively, in 10 days, China created 1000 new patient beds, 30 intensive care units, and several isolation wards. Can any conventional construction technique deliver the same outcome?
- The quicker you can get a return on your investment the better: According to the National Institute of Building Science, 71.4% of enterprises saw a noticeable speed in the market when they utilized prefabricated structures.
- Experts suggest we’re going to see a tremendous increase in modular construction market size- from $82.3 billion in 2020 to $108.8 billion in 2025. Along with supporting government initiatives and increasing awareness towards environmental impact, affordability and rapid urbanization are going to be primarily responsible for this increment.
The modular construction approach has gained immense popularity because of the numerous benefits it has to offer. In modern architecture, we expect affordable, time-efficient, and reliable housing to be widely available.
Prefabrication excels in each of these aspects. It has changed an architect’s approach towards the design of modern buildings by providing them with a much cheaper and innovative way. Moreover, the best part of all is that it’s eco-friendly.
Prefabrication has a great influence on reducing the amount of construction waste produced every year.