Understanding Offsite Construction

Introduction

The dream of industrially producing homes and buildings has inspired architects and engineers for a very long time. We have come a long way from building the structures and facilities in a traditional process. Modern problems need modern approaches and solutions. Modern problems are getting solved through design thinking and design innovations.

The traditional construction practices/methods in the building industry have over time turned out to be labor-intensive and come with so many concerns such as health and safety, procurement cost, changing weather conditions, quality, etc.

What is Offsite construction?

In general, off-site construction is the process of planning, designing, fabricating, and/or assembling a structure at a location other than where the final structure will ultimately be installed.  

It involves the process of planning, designing, fabricating, transporting, and assembling building elements for rapid site assembly to a greater degree of finish than in traditional on-site construction.

Types of offsite construction

In general, offsite construction elements are prefabricated either constructed as non-volumetric components or as volumetric units.

Non-volumetric

Men working with offsite construction project, image

Volumetric

off-site prefabrication of individual three-dimensional units, image

Volumetric construction involves the off-site prefabrication of individual three-dimensional units of enclosed space that are then connected on-site to form a single building. For example, volumetric construction is often used for

  • Dormitories,
  • Apartment buildings
  • Patient rooms,
  • Multi-Unit residential projects like hotels,
  • Bathroom pods, and
  • Sections of elevator or stair cores etc.

Non-volumetric construction involves the off-site prefabrication of building elements (sub-assemblies) that are then connected once on-site. Common examples of non-volumetric building elements include:

  • Wall panels and interior partitions
  • Structural elements such as frames, beams, and columns
  • Sections of the building facade and cladding
  • Floor cassettes and planks
  • Roof trusses etc.

Offsite projects may be composed of a combination of volumetric and non-volumetric components, and projects may utilize a combination of both depending on the specific requirements of the design, program, and standard guidelines.

How BIM enables Offsite construction

Site manager checking Digital Methodologies for the progress of work, image

The BIM (Building information modeling) combined with fabrication has enabled integrated architecture and engineering workflows that can embrace prefabrication which has become increasingly significant in building design and construction management where the digital model becomes the product and it directly informs both the architectural designers and the prefabrication machinery in their language.

Digital Methodologies are the future for all Prefabrication projects. May it be Digital twins or the BIM & Virtual Digital & Construction which are acting as the integration for Modular Construction, enhancing the communication flow among project participants.

We at Desapex are at the forefront in supporting the Digitization of the Construction Industry & all the services we provide are in line with the term Digital, which is the future.

The Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) facilitates 4D and 5D Simulations for better planning, clash coordination, scanning the facility and continuous progress, control accuracy and quality monitoring, etc.

Clash detection is the process of finding the interferences between two services. To resolve the interferences, should coordinate with multiple stakeholders including architects, structural engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and engineering services providers. BIM provides a way to reduce the time and costs associated with the site execution process by resolving them before construction begins.

We can use advanced laser scanning to capture the site condition to develop the 3D model. This helps to do an optimistic design and will reduce the number of site walks, rework at the site, and material waste and time involved during the execution process.

4D planning is used to create realistic simulations of the construction process in terms of time management, Can visualize their progress over time, and to offer stakeholders the opportunity to identify, analyze and prevent problems related to the sequential, spatial and temporal aspects of the construction process.

Digital Construction progress monitoring replaces the ineffective project documentation process of taking daily photos and uploading them to asset repositories. This old method of creating project transparency wastes valuable time at the Jobsite and makes it difficult to make informed decisions. Using the latest digital technologies we can make it easy.

Digital construction progress monitoring tools help us to provide great quality work at our job sites consistently. The ability to see the Jobsite status remotely from your central corporate office is a gamechanger. Top-level management can overcome the challenges they face to manage projects remotely.

Benefits of offsite construction

Much research has been performed and a lot is ongoing regarding the improvements so that we can derive more benefits from offsite construction. Through offsite construction, it is believed that the construction industry can become a leaner, smarter, and more sustainable machine capable of producing reliable results that are consistently on time and within budget.

  • Productivity improvement
  • Reduction of site disturbance, better environment, an increase of safety and security of laborers and trade equipment.
  • Reduction of onsite manpower
  • Shorter construction schedules
  • A greater degree of predictability in cost.
  • Reduced material waste
  • Better quality control

Reduced carbon emissions due to transportation to and from sites associated with on-site construction and many more.

Barriers to offsite construction

Though offsite construction offers many advantages and some flexibility still there are certain barriers slowing the rate at which the approach is adopted. For instance, there is still a very limited supply chain related to offsite construction. These facilities and markets are not available in many places. Lack of skilled people and lack of familiarity may stand as a reason for it and with this, the designers and manufacturers are not feeling comfortable in this business.

Some architects and engineers may also believe that offsite/modular construction limits their design options or restricts their control, but in fact, it can accommodate a wide range of forms and styles through mass customization methods, offering a lot of design freedom.

Conclusion

Definitely, Prefabrication should be seen as an opportunity to increase the efficiency and productivity of the current construction industry.

Prefabrication is said to be the first step in achieving industrialization in the construction industry and the benefits that have already been realized in many manufacturing industries.

Though the External factors including the availability of finance, land supply, public perception, and demand will affect the success of prefabrication, Higher degrees of industrialization are being achieved through mechanization, automation, and robotics.

And Although the traditional construction methods may be able to satisfy current demands, Companies that continue to be successful into the future must develop innovative products and processes and must address the growing environmental concerns associated with construction. There is a growing need to change the way we build and prefabrication is a step in the right direction.

Naveenkumar Nagipogu, image
Author : Naveenkumar Nagipogu
Reach us: sales@desapex.com
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