The meaning of Offsite Construction?
Offsite construction involves producing predesigned modules at different offsite locations. These modules are transported to the actual construction site and assembled as planned. The factories producing offsite modules are state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities designed to manufacture components to given specifications.
Global Overview and Growth of Offsite Construction
The construction industry is following the trends from large markets like the U.S. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences Off-Site Construction Council, surveys were conducted in 2014 and 2018 to understand the landscape for off-site construction in the U.S. A shift from on-site to off-site was observed due to the reduced length of the overall construction process. Other advantages cited in survey results, included the consistency of the constructed modules and cost-effectiveness. This hints towards the growing demand for the offsite construction process globally.
Key global trends include:
- Demand for offsite construction has led to the deployment of creative construction techniques to accelerate the completion of construction
- Designing, manufacturing, and assembling are now connected through advanced AI (artificial intelligence) based solutions facilitating smooth coordination among processes within project timelines
- Specific attention towards environment-friendly constructions has made the design and development of offsite modules important
- Fast-paced construction requirements are causing rapid changes to the construction industry worldwide
Why is Offsite Construction Crucial to Fulfil Infrastructure Gap
Onsite construction projects go over budget and are often unable to match project timelines. Many businesses have pursued different approaches to minimize costs, increase efficiency, and improve quality. Despite such attempts, they have had little success in improving efficiency and project stability. Onsite construction is unable to address the challenges related to skill shortages in this sector. Offsite construction proves to be a feasible alternative to onsite construction techniques.
Measurable improvements are offered by offsite construction, transforming the entire lifecycle of the construction in terms of quality, timeline, health, and safety. Offsite designs are instrumental in enhancing the predictability of the project lifecycle and budget.
Considering these aspects, the Governments around the world are favouring Offsite Construction. Governments are investing in developing smart buildings and structures to solve the housing shortages within short timelines and tight budgets. The conventional onsite building techniques are failing to handle such demands.
Prefabrication is a method of constructing buildings by assembling components produced offsite. The most prevalent techniques involved are:
- DfMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) is often used in off-site constructions to minimize time and cost. DfMA is a design approach that focuses on ease of production and assembly efficiency.
- The BIM building modularization technology helps reduce waste of improperly prefabricated parts. It is an approach involving 3D modelling that improves the planning, design, and construction of buildings for offsite construction.
There are different components of the offsite construction. These are:
Volumetric Construction- In this process the units or modules are manufactured in a factory, brought to the site, and assembled. The frames can be constructed from steel, wood, or concrete. Volumetric construction is often referred as modular construction.
Panelled Construction-These are flat-panel units used in the form of wal ls, floors, or roof panels to create a complete structural shell. These panel units are assembled in the factory and transported to the site for installation into three-dimensional structure. Built-in floors and roofs are also referred to as “cassettes.” These “cassettes” can be either a load-bearing structure or a non-load bearing structure.
Hybrid Construction-Hybrid design combines both volumetric and panel approaches for constructing a single building. That’s why this construction is also called semi-volumetric. Hybrid systems are either fully assembled or prefabricated in the factory. Hybrid structures, also known as pods, are transported to the site once their finishing is complete.
Sub-Assemblies/Accessories System- Sub-assembly process is the method by which the building components are initially assembled at the off-site location before they are permanently mounted at the site. These include components for building, materials, machinery, and prefabricated parts. This method of construction involves the manufacturing of small building components such as roof trusses, pipe floors, stairs, precast concrete beams, and columns.
Offsite Construction Benefits
- More regulated environmental conditions, quality management, improved labour monitoring, and easier access to equipment
- Less impact on the environment around the site
- Improved project timelines
- Reduction in job-related disputes across the scheduling and sequencing of work
- Improved control of requirements due to reduced waste and reduced material losses
- Improved protection at work for employees
- Elimination of waste materials
- Products not subject to weather conditions
- Away from any disruption, such as traffic
- Versatility and adaptability in tweaking procedures
- Built to the specifications to minimize construction times
There are also some barriers to Offsite Construction:
- These projects need a large inflow of funds right at the outset
- There are certain limitations levied by the government on the transport of large and bulk products. This affects the size of the module and panel that can be assembled off-site
- Design configurations are mostly uniform
Breaking the Barriers
Certain factors are proving Offsite Construction as a promising and one of the most viable ways of modern construction. These are:
- Long running skill shortage: Since the construction workforce is declining gradually and importing skilled workforce from other countries is costly and less viable due to tight immigration policies. Offsite construction is offering more employment opportunities to the local construction workers while increasing overall productivity at a lesser cost.
- Use of digital technology in construction: Through digital tools like BIM (building information modeling), it has become easier to integrate offsite components into conventional builds.
- Government Support: Considering serious housing shortage and tight budgets, governments around the world have started backing Offsite Construction.
Offsite construction is enabling projects to be on-time and within budget. It is helping to resolve the skill shortages. Offsite building strategies are making the construction process greener by reducing waste, and environmentally sustainable structures are getting constructed using this approach. Governments around the world are also committed to promoting building projects that are sustainable, cost-effective, and safer for workers.
Although some challenges remain, Offsite construction will solve the labor shortage issue, but it requires new skill sets and training programs, which need to get in line. BIM will help to integrate offsite into the planning and building process, but that needs to be adopted by major players. Robotics and 3D printing need considerably more investment and R&D before they can realize their full potential.
It is a well-suited solution to control project timelines and budgets while increasing quality and sustainability.
Notable Offsite Building Ventures (Katerra.com)
Infosys Phase 2, Bengaluru – Infosys Phase II is a commercial space in Bengaluru, Karnataka. A modern office building, it is part of Electronic City’s rising software and technology park. The vibrant and spacious office has more than 300 seats and has been completed in 8 months. The building was finished 50% faster than conventional construction.
GKNM Hospital, Coimbatore-Established in 1952, GKNM Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu run by the Kuppuswamy Naidu Charitable Trust. The new wing will be the extension of the existing hospital premises, with the inclusion of a specialist women’s and children’s medical center.
Lulu Mall, Lucknow-Around 2 Million Sq. Ft., Lulu Mall is Katerra’s single largest construction project. Every part and every part of the retail store is manufactured off-site at our factory in Lucknow, India. Using our integrated approach, the Lulu Mall will be completed in 2 years, 50% faster than other similar malls constructed in the country using conventional construction.
GEMS Education, Kerala-GEMS Education is an international school brand catering to children from kindergarten to grade 12. The 130,000 square. Uh, ft. The Kerala campus is the newest addition to its 70+ school chain. The building has a distinctive circular shape and was designed entirely with precast concrete components manufactured off-site.Back