The prefab structures can be put up quickly, expanded, adjusted internally to meet the different needs of its inhabitants and can also be transported to alternative locations without too much effort. These benefits definitely make prefab construction a concept to follow and track closely in the coming years!
Explore the projects in the pages that follow and may be you will find a few ideas that could be put to work in your upcoming projects to add speed and economy!
Recent prefab projects have seen teams of designers, engineers and technologists collaborate and work on projects that fuse different digital technologies like: 3D printing, robotic arm construction and prefab construction.
The former two enable architects to conceptualise and build customised prefab structures. Several such experiments are being conducted by university research teams to validate the appropriateness of different materials and technologies in the construction space. Focus is also on how these structures can be net zero energy, use sustainable building materials and have a minimal carbon footprint while providing the inhabitants the luxury and feel of a traditional home.
On the commercial front, prefab construction has established itself in the industry and is being known for meeting high standards of quality, consistency, speed and economy of production and simplicity of structure. The finishes in these units is far better than what is achieved in in situ construction as the moulds used are high quality, are meant for mass industrial production; unlike in the conventional construction where moulds are typically developed for specific projects.
The prefab projects offer real estate builders and developers economic solutions for construction, that can be pre-built with required finishes, electrical and plumbing fittings and even furniture. These ready to assemble units can be easily transported to the construction site – either as flat panels or fully assembled pieces.
The timeline for putting such structures together onsite varies from 1 day to a few weeks at the most, as compared to months and years that conventional in situ construction process normally involves.
The downside of prefab construction: This concept works best in panel format and in straight lines, making it easier for transportation and assembly (think IKEA furniture). The challenge for designers then, is to make these boxy structures interesting. This issue has led to innovations in facades, in terms of design, material, texture, form and colour.
The most appealing aspect of prefab projects is that they can be constructed to fit into the narrowest of dimension – allowing utilisation of several odd-sized dead plots of urban land where conventional construction is not feasible.