Some of the most important aspects for the adoption and continued adaptation to utilisation of prefabrication in the construction industry are in the areas of education, skill requirements and organisational change.
While many university construction management courses provide a wide spectrum of training that addresses the design and construction processes of prefabrication, there appears to be a gap in organisational systems to facilitate increased adoption of prefabrication.
At the tertiary education level, construction courses typically include programs which include content related to prefabrication, current trends in using prefabrication in buildings, and different types of offsite construction methods. This includes content addressing the logistics and methods of installing prefabricated units in buildings.
“While many university construction management courses provide a wide spectrum of training that addresses the design and construction processes of prefabrication, there appears to be a gap in organisational systems to facilitate increased adoption of prefabrication.”
AIQS CEO Grant Warner.
In recent years, prefabrication has become one of the favourite topics of students’ honours thesis. The related research outputs of undergraduate students have been recognised as world class, with one student’s work being published in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Journal of Construction Engineering and Management.
At the construction company level however, it appears that organisational structures and systems are one of the greatest impediments to accelerating increased adoption of prefabrication. Recent research suggests that a whole of organisation approach to prefabrication will drive improved outcomes. Construction company feedback indicates that change implementation strategies, which could assist in the uptake of prefabricated components, are not being fully communicated throughout and between companies.
Perhaps an increase in an integrated development approach to construction projects, through increased utilisation of Building Information Modelling (BIM), with an open source Execution Plan, would assist in delivering a more collaborative approach to increased use of prefabrication in construction projects.■
Grant Warner – CEO, Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS)