Prefabrication is the act of producing buildings or building modules at an off-site location while leveraging a factory type setting, better suited for construction. Prefab modules are often produced with an automobile assembly line type production methodology. Upon completion, large modules are transported to construction sites for installation. The modules are then connected with site built foundations, water, gas, electric utilities, etc. to create completed buildings. Offsite, manufactured, modular, etc. are all variations on Prefab type structures. The common thread is the off-site manufacture of buildings, typically assembled with repetitious components, material applications and processes, and then delivered to a project site for final installation and connection. The following benefits have prompted a new generation of forward thinkers to adopt and employ Prefab:
Prefabrication enables increased efficiency, reduced timelines and also eliminates construction errors – all of which results in a better building dollar value and often, a reduction in overall construction costs. This is the Prefab game changer. In general, consumer costs for prefab construction can be les expensive than stick-built projects by an average of 10 to 20% and sometimes more. Inherent to each Prefab process, there are specific cost and timing impact pros/cons. Prefab factories purchase materials in bulk, labor costs are typically less expensive because of highly controlled factory work conditions and a reduced time frame fuels a more cost efficient project. Design solutions often include interior finishes, appliances, lighting, etc. – a complete and finished building. Local governing agencies will dictate requirements for soft costs - building permits, neighborhood review, licensed architect drawings, soil testing, site surveys, utility hookups, etc. Selection and preparation of the job-site/property is critical to the overall budget. Flat vs. steep sloped property often determines inexpensive vs. expensive foundation costs. A good command of local labor, install and construction costs leads to a realistic project budget.
Prefabrication can reduce project schedule by 50% compared to traditional construction. From “concept to keys”, the collective process is ideally coordinated under one umbrella/factory roof. The bulk of prefabricated buildings are pre-designed, pre-approved by governing agencies and efficiently assembled in factories – collectively resulting in tighter project timelines. The benefits of a reduced construction schedule are numerous with major advantages that ultimately translate into financial savings and/or gains.
Prefabrication employs various levels of tightly controlled factory settings, processes and tools resulting in quality control that is unsurpassed. Indoor fabrication facilities eliminate the negative impact of adverse weather/climate conditions on production. Prefab’s streamlined assembly processes reduce construction errors, re-work and even injuries. Construction site theft is non-existent and reliability of tools/logistics enables workers to focus on a product of the highest quality. A controlled setting, optimized for product manufacturing and on-going value engineering, captures efficiencies otherwise unachievable in traditional construction. Factory fabrication enables tighter tolerance of joints, connections and seams - improved precision and quality.
1. Reductions in construction Waste - more efficient factor controlled fabrication can reduce waste by over 50%
2. Materials are deliver in bulk resulting in less frequent deliveries to a factory - with streamlined transportation, gasoline consumption is largely reduced
3. Shorter project time translate into reduced carbon emissions across the entire spectrum of material supply & construction labor
4. Material waste is largely reduced, by at least 70% compared to conventional construction.
5. Less frequent demolition of inferior quality buildings - increased strength of modular buildings provides for a longer building life cycle
6. Energy consumption is reduced - factories control energy use/emissions in a superior manner to conventional construction sites
7. Reduction of site deliveries by up to 90% and a decrease is gasoline consumption - the average travel distance of workers to the site is reduced by 70%
8. Higher quality & installation of spray foam insulation translates into a reduction in energy consumption directly related to air conditioning and heating
9. High levels of moisture as a result of rain at site built projects is eliminated. Factory produced modules are immune to rain, snow and inclement weather
10. Requiring less space around the project site for workers, vehicles, construction materials & equipment, the on-site portion of the construction process is minimized. Factory based production results in greatly reduced disruption/noise/air pollution for adjacent neighbors:
An enviro-conscious prefab process can speed up timelines, increase productivity and improve quality - all at an affordable price-point.
The most impactful companies offer the most comprehensive services, DESIGN + FABRICATE + INSTALL. A multitude of companies offer several of these services and even more offer a singular portion. This is the initial and primary criteria to explore when determining which Prefab system is best for your project:
Prefab companies typically provide a "finish/material" palette. Pallet options can be viewed as restrictive but with the influx of new enviro-conscious materials, Prefab companies offer a wide variety of excellent quality finishes. In general, Prefab companies are forward thinking. Redefining building systems is part of their DNA and very often, this attention to detail, provides consumers with the highest design solution options/finishes. Enabling better quality at an affordable price-point is a driving factor behind material palettes and maximizing your budget dollars.
More and more prefabrication company pricing is comparable to traditional construction costs however project delivery schedules are a major departure point from the norm - the residual effect of an accelerated project delivery schedule is a significant cost savings. Accelerated project delivery schedules are of keen interest to developers and consumers who understand the carrying costs of a construction project. The cost of interest on construction loans, job-site security, extended move-in dates that translate into delayed rental income and/or additional costs for temporary accommodations during construction, saddles the consumer with additional undesired "soft-costs". A faster completed project enables more predictability with regard to project sales, rental and market conditions. Timing is a critical component that Prefab engages on many levels. Prefabrication companies should provide you with a project delivery/critical path schedule - far more detailed and accurate than a traditional construction project timeline.
Prefab is more of a rebirth than it is innovation. Our current digital and global era has provided an influx of building materials, digitally controlled/managed fabrication facilities, the ability to outsource services and benefits of precise information transfer resulting from the internet. The perfect storm for prefabrication is in motion. Prefab pioneers maximized the available technology of their era but efforts were unable to expand beyond a minimal number of buildings produced. Paxton, Wright, Eames, Sears, Lustron, Prouvé....all met various levels of success and failure. Concurrently, and ironically, industries who implemented prefab principles - automobile, aerospace, product design, food service - flourished. In the past twenty years, increasing numbers of prefabricated companies have sprung up across the US. In part, this long awaited revolution is pitted against the entrenched status quo of the traditional construction industry. Compounded by a generation of educated consumers who are committed to creating a healthy planet with a frugal budget mindset, prefab companies are on an upward trajectory - producing residential, educational, hotel, office, retail, agricultural and special purpose buildings.
Prefabrication has come of age with the merging of architecture, product design and construction. Pondering "which Prefab company is best for me?" is similar to asking, "which automobile is best for me?" - these types of questions, because of the numerous options, create a consumer with even more questions than answers. Empowered with knowledge of cost, timing, quality, environmental impact, etc., a priority list can be generated and thus the consumer can make a final determination as to which system best subscribes to their respective projects. One of our over-arching goals at TEAM Prefab is to provides you with the tools, knowledge and confidence to create a strategy to attain your Prefab goals. Kickstart you knowledge by reviewing our complimentary PREFAB Provider Guide - it will save you a tremendous amount of time and energy.
TEAM Prefab can assist you in making your Prefab dream and vision a reality. Providing you with a downloadable Preliminary Worklist, is our way of "priming the pump." This road map will enlighten you to the primary form givers to your project. Each of the listed items will need to be satisfactorily addressed in order for your project to move forward on any level. If you're proactive and resourceful, it's possible that you'll be able to gather the required info and establish a timeline, budget, etc. Conversely, if you're in need of assistance, TEAM Prefab can provide you with three different service options/guidance:
Visit our CONTACT & ABOUT US page for additional info on how to commission these services.
Navigating the permit process in your locale can be as simple as filling out an application and paying a small fee or, it can require applications, design review committees, neighborhood input, compliance with state energy mandates, etc. - all of which can sometimes take over a year for approvals. The realities of bringing a building to fruition are typically analyzed with heavy emphasis on cost, schedule and aesthetics - feasibility studies should clarify the project/property entitlements as well the local governing agency approval process.
Prior to selecting a prefab company and/or your property, it's important to establish a project program and budget. If a construction loan will fund the cost of construction, soft costs, planning, hard costs of construction and the overall project cost will need to be established. Your lender will guide you through their respective process and will require that you define your project scope/program. It's critical to remember that you are not proposing a "portable" or "mobile" home/building. Portable buildings are often classified as H.U.D. (Housing & Urban Development) type projects (trailer & mobile homes) and require little, if any, permanent foundation. This is a "red flag" for your lender! H.U.D. projects require a different type of funding process - one that is to be avoided if you are building a permanent type prefab structure. Nearly all prefab buildings are anchored to a permanent foundation - H.U.D. homes are typically on a chassis and thus easy to drive away. Financing of a prefab project is similar to conventionally built projects however a prefab solution often require larger payments, earlier in the process - typically 20 percent or more to begin fabrication. Milestone completion dates and phases will be outlined by the Prefab company along with a payment schedule to facilitate the consistent flow of fabrication. At completion of the project, most banks will transfer the construction to a permanent mortgage. Details for lending will vary from one lender to the next but every lender will ask you to commit to a budget, timing, property location and prefab solution as process. your construction loan application. Your Prefab company should assist with specific lender requested info related to your project.
A shorter the construction period translates into less construction period carrying costs. Real estate taxes, insurance, interest and other construction related costs accumulate during construction, and the sooner the building can be completed and/or start generating revenue, the quicker the return on investment. This is of keen interest for the multi-family investor. Prefab schedules enable projects to be completed during a more predictable time frame that is less impacted by changing economies. Complimented by tax incentives, parking reductions, increased density, affordable housing units, etc.- Prefab solutions can be even more profitable and/or less expensively constructed.
Prefab companies typically provide a liaison who will work with the property owner to plan for a smooth delivery and install however, community outreach is undertaken long before the modules are delivered. A seasoned Architect, well versed in Prefab, should champion the project with the community and provide guidance and a strategy towards successful approval of the project. Property owner's should seek a Prefab company that has an in-house Architect who is versed in the macro and micro of Prefab systems. Initial design studies, renderings, neighborhood analysis of pedestrian traffic, vehicular traffic, open space, height, setbacks, etc. all contribute to a successful project. You have the ability to make positive change in a community - treat your project with as much care regarding the fabric and culture of your neighborhood as you do when working out the on-site specifics for your project.
Creating excellent design solutions of better quality, within faster time-frames and/or at more affordable price-points, Prefab has moved well beyond the esoteric or theoretical stages of early development. The benefits derived from completed multi-family and mid-rise projects has unveiled a new and limitless range of prefab possibilities. Prefab applications have expanded far beyond the single family residential threshold to a world of larger construction projects. Collaboration of Prefab companies with successful industry partners will create additional opportunity in the business, enviro-conscious and humanitarian sectors. The motivation to employ Prefab is expanding rapidly. Companies/organizations like Google, Marriott, Starbucks, Addidas, Target, RedBull and a growing number of others are all employing Prefab innovative solutions. System that are easily and affordably adapted and re-adapted to evolving needs and business strategies.
Prefabrication has come of age with the merging of Architecture, Product Design and Construction. A collective understanding of the past, present and future of this hybrid methodology fused with ever expanding digital tools is providing forward-thinking clients with a clear business advantage. Narrowing down your support Team and prefab company options should be heavily weighted on the outlined topics above.
TEAM Prefab will occasionally communicate via phone however the preferred method of communication is via email. Once you get in touch, an emailed response will reach you within 24 hours. In addition, tune into our monthly TEAM-LIVE sessions that will enable realtime questions, answers and dialogue via podcast and/or video presentation. More info to follow on TEAM - LIVE.
Yes. This FAQ page is in a constant state of evolution and will be updated with the most popular/frequently asked questions by our visitors. If you have a basic question, send it to us. There is a strong chance that we'll either add it to this page or make it the focus of one of our Blog topics. We encourage you to share your questions and answers and contribute to our BLOG - we're in this together. As for site specific questions and unique inquiries, consider booking a CONSULTATION - we'll provide you with the Prefab related info you're looking for.