Prefabrication and the Construction Industry

Construction is a high-demand, high-stress, and even high-risk industry. However, it’s a very necessary industry as the need for more homes and buildings is always increasing. Luckily, the construction industry is also an industry of innovation and adaptability.

One area of innovation is the process of prefabrication. Prefabrication is a very different way of approaching the building process. With different techniques and methods come different needs and requirements. From availability, timeline, cost, and even commercial auto insurance, prefabrication offers a number of different advantages and abilities.

What is prefabrication?

You may be wondering what prefabrication is and why or how it’s used in the construction industry. Prefabrication is simply the process of constructing the necessary components for building a structure offsite. 

This means large sections of the home’s structure are put together before they are brought to the building site. Rather than waiting for raw lumber and nails to be delivered, construction crews await full sections of walls. 

The idea of prefabrication isn’t new. In reality, prefabrication has been around for many years. The difference now is the advancement and innovation of the technology needed to fabricate on a large scale.

The technology needed and used for prefabrication has progressed to a point that allows the materials and elements to be created faster, more efficiently, and at a lower cost. So the term may be foreign, but prefabrication is more common than you may think.

Prefabricated houses and buildings don’t look strikingly different from more traditional builds. In fact, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between a prefab home and a traditional home. Luckily, the benefits of prefabricated homes don’t stop there.

Benefits of Prefabrication

The process of prefabrication offers many benefits both to the construction industry and the consumer. This means both sides of construction can and do see the benefit of prefabricated building projects.

Lower Cost

The most appealing benefit might be the cost. Simply put, prefabrication saves money.

Building a home or building through prefabrication cuts the overall price by about 10 to 25%. This much savings is possible because of the process. Prefabrication buildings and companies often get substantial discounts on products, which cuts costs for the consumer. 

And because these homes and buildings are built mostly in a factory, there are few delays and unexpected situations. The streamlined process of prefabrication ultimately leads to less time and less money for everyone involved.

Shorter Timeline

Prefabricated homes and buildings are also available more quickly. These prefabricated projects can be built in as little as three months. The average time it takes to build a prefabricated structure is between four and six months. These builds are almost 50% faster than the traditional builds. 

The shorter timeline doesn’t mean a decrease in quality or craftsmanship, though. The savings in time are a result of the prefabrication process itself. There are fewer weather delays, change orders, or scheduling conflicts to deal with because the structures are built offsite in a factory. It makes the building process more efficient overall. 

Better Durability

Some people might question the durability and longevity of prefabricated materials or builds. The good news is that prefabricated houses are often more durable than traditional builds. 

The materials and pieces of a prefabricated house have to withstand the hustle and bustle of transportation, sometimes over great distances. This means they are made of strong, long-lasting materials. Statistically speaking, there is little to no difference in longevity between a prefabricated home and a traditional build. 

Customizable

Some worry about the cookie-cutter appearance of prefabricated homes. If these things are mass produced on an assembly line somewhere, then they must all look the same. 

The truth is, however, that most prefabrication companies offer different packages and upgrades. This means you can pick and choose layouts, finishes, and materials so you can get what you want and need in your prefabricated home.

The customizability also doesn’t translate to a higher expense. In fact, prefabrication offers more bang for the buck because of the bundles and packages available. There are options available for almost any home-building budget. You can get the look and feel of custom without paying an arm and a leg.

More Eco-Friendly

For those who are worried about sustainability, prefabrication offers benefits to the environment as well. The prefabrication process produces much less waste than traditional builds. Less waste means a greener environment. Prefabrication companies are more likely to reduce, reuse, and recycle their materials, so it’s a much more sustainable approach to construction. 

Additionally, prefabricated homes and buildings offer tighter seams. These tighter seams mean there is the potential for less energy waste. Less heat and energy is used to keep a prefabricated house comfortable because less is escaping into the environment outside. This also adds extra savings for the consumer because less energy waste means lower energy bills.

Positive Effects of Prefabrication

Some might be concerned about the construction industry. Is the addition and increase of prefabrication going to negatively affect the industry? The answer is no. The increase in prefabricated buildings has only produced positive effects on the construction industry as well as other industries.

Construction Industry

Currently, the construction industry is suffering from a shortage of skilled laborers and trades workers. Having fewer workers is causing a massive increase in prices and delays in construction time. The increase in prefabrication might be the solution to these problems. 

The prefabrication process requires smaller crews to complete the same amount of work. This means more construction projects can get back on track and be completed with a switch to prefabrication. 

The positive effects on the construction industry don’t end there. Prefabrication also creates safer working environments. There is less strain on individuals during the prefabrication process. More work is completed indoors and under more controlled conditions, so there is less danger to construction workers themselves. 

Prefabrication also offers faster building timelines for construction companies themselves. The process allows for shorter build times, especially on projects that are highly repetitive.

Housing Market

The benefits to the construction industry directly benefit the housing market. The shortage of home builders and construction workers is solved with prefabrication. And, in a housing market with high demand but low supply, prefabrication gets more houses on the market more quickly.

Prefabrication and Insurance

The only question is how these prefabricated homes affect insurance both for the consumer and the construction companies or individuals. The good news is that consumers who choose to purchase and build a prefabricated home have little to worry about. 

Prefabricated homes are protected by traditional, standard home insurance policies. The type of construction doesn’t change the functionality or needed coverage. There are no more or greater associated risks with a prefabricated house. 

You might have to consider additional coverages for detached structures, like garages or shops. However, these are still very similar to the coverages offered by many of the typical home insurance providers. 

Prefabrication and Commercial Auto Insurance

For construction companies, however, there are a few more considerations when it comes to prefabrication and insurance needs. The most important consideration is actually auto insurance.

Because prefabricated builds require a higher level of transportation, any construction company needs to evaluate their commercial auto insurance. These types of policies are required by most states and fleet vehicle companies to protect against commercial liabilities. It also helps protect the employees who will inevitably be driving to deliver prefabricated materials to build sites.

The construction industry presents a higher level of risk and liability than other lines of business. Commercial auto insurance covers a portion of these areas and gives you and employees peace of mind.

Commercial auto insurance, much like prefabrication, is highly customizable. The needs and requirements of your business can be met through a commercial auto policy. 

Laura Gunn researches and writes for the auto insurance comparison site, BuyAutoInsurance.com. She comes from a long line of construction workers and contractors and is passionate about sharing the ins and outs of the industry.

 

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