Industrialized Construction Road Map Being Developed – part 1

6 December 2021All, Architecture and Engineering, Construction, Digital Transformation, Electrical, Fabrication, Manufacturing, Mechanical, MEP, Offsite, Plumbing, Uncategorizeddigital transformation, modular, prefabrication



Offsite construction is gaining traction in the construction industry, and it requires a shift in fundamental business strategies.

Making the shift to from traditional onsite “stick-built” to industrialized (offsite) construction (IC) requires changes in a company, starting with top management and extending through the entire organization to the production crew.

white modular unit being lowered into place next to two others by construction crane cable guided by person in red jumpsuit, white hardhat and yellow safety vest

Builders that have made the transition report that finances, technical competence, institutional expertise, and patience are needed. Besides employees, the key partners and stakeholders to involve include trades (especially framers) and product designers. Inhouse talent or a new outside partner is needed to handle the role of technology.

For insights on technology implementation from today’s construction leaders, download the free new Bridging the Gap eBook, “Foundational Building Blocks for Successful Tech Adoption.”

The modular market is attracting people who are locked out of homeownership because of rising prices, and it is growing. Many interested builders considering the transition could benefit from a guide on the process. Thus, a working group of home builders, suppliers and researchers has been collaborating to assemble that guide. The effort is being led by ProBuilder Media and Pittsburgh-based Housing Innovation Alliance. The planned comprehensive “IC Road Map” will outline a successful transition of a builder’s business model to fully integrate IC.

graphic of map with green and white markings and five green pins and one red pin marking different spots

The group has identified key steps that will be included in the guide for making IC productive, sustainable and profitable:

  • Rethink and retool the process – Every detail of a project must be worked out in advance. Decisions cannot be left for the jobsite as they were in the old days.
  • Analyze comparative costs – Compare the costs that are similar between traditional processes and IC. Be aware that the large up-front investment required to acquire a facility means significant returns are long-term.  
  • Reassess the role of subs, espcially framers – Training for subcontractors is essential. If framers are brought into the workflow early and the process is efficient, they can build more homes and make more money. Discipline and organization are imperative. 
  • Understand production capacity – More IC construction is currently taking place in non-residential and multifamily projects than single-family. Demand exceeds the number of IC factories available, distance from factories to jobsites can cause transportation challenges and some local zoning regulations are not modular friendly.
  • Regard the limits of technology – Automation is more prevalent in the realm of large builders, with robotics and precision modular manufacturing. Although these options may not be the best answer for most companies, standardization may be the best interim step for your company.
  • Consider modular methods thoughtfully – The suggestion by HIA is to start out manufacturing components first before jumping into full modular construction.
  • Celebrate offsite construction – Much of the success of IC in the industry depends on people knowing what is being accomplished, liking what they see, favoring the cost to buy it, and the builder making a profit from that decision.

As more successful IC projects are showcased, panelized and modular practices have the potential to gain in popularity by both buyers and builders. Builders who make the investment of finances, technical expertise, planning, and patience can look forward to long-term gains for decades to come.

For insights on technology implementation from today’s construction leaders, download the free new Bridging the Gap eBook, “Foundational Building Blocks for Successful Tech Adoption.”



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