As per a McKinsey & Company article, construction has lagged behind other sectors for decades in terms of productivity. Prefabricated construction offers a welcoming change – shifting several aspects of building activities away from conventional construction sites into factories. According to Inkwood Research, the global prefabricated construction market is set to reach $269.02 billion by 2032, projecting a CAGR of 8.70% during 2023-2032.
Prefabricated construction, with its origins in post First World War period and European colonial period, is not a novel concept. However, changing mindsets, economic demands, and technological advancements have enabled unprecedented investment and interest in prefabricated construction.
If optimized, prefabricated construction could facilitate an enormous productivity boost in the construction industry, solving major and minor housing crises.
Our blog examines two interesting success stories of prefabricated construction from around the world.
Time is Life: Wuhan Huishenshan Hospital China built in Seven Days
Wuhan City, Hubei Province, bore the largest brunt of the pandemic in China. The Wuhan municipal government proposed to follow the ‘XiaotangshanHospital‘ model built in Beijing during SARS 2003.
The Huishenshan Hospital project adopted the integrated reinforced concrete movable slab house equipped with bathing and toilet facilities and the pre-processing standardized production mode. The project was designed by CITIC Architectural Design Institute. It was designed in 24 hours and delivered in 7 days. Over 500 construction machinery and equipment and 1500 construction personnel were put together with a reserve team of around 2000 people to ensure the construction was carried out 24 hours a day.
Built between January 23 and February 2, 2020, Wuhan Huoshenshan Hospital became a national attention project due to its construction efficiency, recognized and acknowledged by international communities. The project reflected the resilience of the construction industry alongside healthcare during COVID-19.
Further, the project adopted the ‘three sides’ mode, i.e., survey, design, and construction, significantly reducing each stage’s processing time. It adopted the prefabricated movable board house method to produce installation, transportation, and prefabrication. Keeping time constraints in check, many semi-finished materials or products were used. For instance, a prefabricated movable board equipped with basic decoration, reserved wires & cables, and suspended ceiling and ground PVC.
The first batches of box-type prefabricated houses were upraised from January 27, whereas the hosting of prefabricated houses was completed on January 31. Over 600 box-type prefabricated houses were installed in approximately 100 hours.
Moreover, China Construction Third Engineering Bureau used Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology for Huishenshan Hospital construction. The central application points were the use of BIM for modular design and construction site layout. Also, the BIM model simulated the project’s complete picture through its visual characteristics conveniently for design clarifications and finding design errors.
Standing Tall: Avenue South Residence –The Tallest PPVC Residential Building Worldwide
Singapore’s architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry faces several challenges. Among these are manpower shortages and limited land. As a result, there is a growing need to streamline work, minimize construction-related disruption and waste (to reach carbon targets), and accelerate construction time.
The Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) approach was considered, which the government targets to reach 70% by 2025. Prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC) is the most efficient method under DfMA today. It is the Lego-like assembly of 3D volumetric modules that are completely built in off-site factories before being transported to the installation site.
One such PPVC project is the 56-story Avenue South Residence, initiated in February 2022 and to be fully completed by 2023. At 192 meters, it is estimated to be the tallest PPVC residential development globally. The two apartment towers comprise over 3000 modules stacked atop one another on Silat Avenue.
Yet again, Building Information Modeling (BIM) was crucially aligned with the residence’s architectural, structural, and mechanical services. Approximately 31 different room modules were manufactured and cast together to make up a single floor.
Furthermore, PPVC is evaluated to meet most environmental criteria compared to other construction methods like assembling 2D prefabricated panels or cast-in-place concrete. It also had the lowest impact (around 6%) with regard to cycle assessments of the greenhouse gases released, the toxicity of chemicals emitted, and the impact on ozone layer depletion.
Moreover, the PPVC method minimized noise and pollution for Avenue South Residence since the apartment modules were built off-site, thereby enhancing the safety & health of construction workers working and living near the project. Additionally, the method facilitated higher quality control since the modules were made in a controlled factory environment. Besides, the project boosted productivity by 40% due to time & manpower efficiency.
Developing Economies: Booming Centers for Modular Construction Market
Developing countries in regions like Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, Southeast Asia, South America, and Latin America are lucrative pockets for prefabricated construction. Governments in these countries are introducing policies to enhance public service infrastructure, develop affordable housing, and facilitate reduced down payment. Similarly, some important factors driving the global modular construction market growth in these countries include increasing urbanization, improving economic aspects, and growing renovation activities.
By Akhil Nair
Which developed country offers lucrative growth opportunities in the global prefabricated construction market?
The United Kingdom offers lucrative growth opportunities in the global prefabricated construction market.
Which is the fastest-growing material in the global prefabricated construction market?
Concrete is the fastest-growing material in the global prefabricated construction market, projecting a CAGR of 8.85% by 2032.