Offsite Construction Delivers Many Benefits
Off-site construction brings cost, efficiency, quality and sustainability benefits to a surprisingly large portion of the entire Built Environment. “Lean construction” accepts that off-site construction will be a major contributor to an urgently needed transformation of the construction industry. Disappointingly construction is the only business category in North America that experienced a decline in productivity during the last quarter-century. Today, some of the most dramatic and rapid applications of off-site construction are found in Asia (particularly China) and Europe, while North America lags. Canada is progressing more rapidly than the United States, propelled in part by developments in the arctic and sub-arctic.
By definition, off-site construction involves building components of a structure within a controlled industrial environment, with individual modules transported to the building site. The constraints presented by transportation place some limits on the range of designs which can be accommodated, but this is a limitation that should not be over-emphasized. The project team must consider the trade-offs between the off-site and on-site scope-of-work in order to determine whether a particular design is amenable to off-site construction.