Can Off-Site Construction & On-Site Demolition Work Hand-in-Hand?

modular-home-architectureThe Portland demolition industry is constantly evolving as construction trends and technologies emerge. One of the most recent trends making waves is off-site construction, a building process that occurs away from the final point of installation. It includes modular and prefabrication construction. With construction processes happening off-site, will demolition still have a place? Absolutely. As communities prepare plots and remove existing buildings to make room for modular solutions, they’ll depend on demolition companies to ensure the land is safe and ready to go.

Off-Site, Prefabrication & Modular Construction: What the Terms Mean and the Differences

  • Off-site construction: Off-site construction is a process involving the planning, designing, manufacturing and assembling of building parts outside the construction site. Prefabrication and modular construction are types of off-site construction.
  • Prefabrication construction: Prefabrication is the creation and assembling of building parts and systems at a manufacturing site before they’re incorporated into a structure. The parts are later assembled at a construction site. Common prefabricated components include doors and windows.
  • Modular construction: Modular construction is a type of prefabrication process in which manufacturers construct building components—rooms or building sections—in box-like modules before they’re transported to a building site.

Benefits of Off-Site Construction

  • Save time: Portland demolition and construction can occur at the same time as pre-construction engineering.
  • Safer construction processes: Off-site construction makes it possible to reduce and control several dangers found on construction sites.
  • Consistent quality: Working in a factory allows for more quality control and supervision. Because workers perform the same tasks repeatedly, they become more proficient and efficient.
  • No weather worries: Most off-site construction processes are done in temperature-controlled environments, so work doesn’t stop when the weather is bad.

A Look at Off-Site Construction Trends

pacific-northwest-portland-oregon-signBy 2022, off-site construction is expected to grow across the globe by 6 percent with countries like Sweden and Japan leading the way. Portland demolition contractors are also witnessing an increase in off-site construction throughout the Pacific Northwest.

An increase in off-site construction processes will also increase the amount of foreign content in construction projects. At the time of publication, about 95 percent of construction projects use local firms that source local materials.

Off-site construction is increasing the demand for custom, large-scale components that are globally sourced. As a result, the foreign content within building projects will increase by 20 percent by 2023.

Big brands are already sold on off-site construction. Google, for instance, recently purchased 300 modular housing units it will likely use as short-term housing for Bay Area workers. Global hotel chain Marriott has six off-site manufacturers working on its hotels and residences. It plans to add up to seven more firms by the end of 2018.

Labor Shortages Forcing a New Look at Efficiency

construction-workers-on-roofWhile recent construction activity in the U.S. matches the rates seen in 2007, there are 100,000 fewer skilled workers. An aging workforce paired with labor and skills shortages are making contractors and developers improve efficiency. This is particularly true in urban communities where demand for space and development is high.

As off-site manufacturing increases, construction sites will often be the last step in the final assembly process. Construction-integrated manufacturing could also make up to 10 percent of traditional contractors obsolete if they don’t adapt. Off-site construction trends will accelerate construction possibilities, which could disrupt the traditional construction industry.

General Contractors Will Partner with Off-Site Manufacturers More Often

Collaboration between traditional general contractors and off-site fabricators is on the rise. In 2010, construction projects tended to use either conventional or modular building techniques. Today, more projects use hybrid methods to improve project scheduling and maximize the talent available.

Challenges to Adopting Off-Site Construction

A challenge the off-site construction industry faces is perception. Some associate modular and prefabricated construction with being cheap, of poor quality, and unattractive. While modern off-site construction produces attractive, quality results, the mindset still exists.

Another challenge is the construction industry favoring conventional methods and the status quo. Turning this around will necessitate teaching construction and architecture students about alternate construction methods and how they can be integrated into traditional building techniques.

Off-Site Construction and Portland Demolition Coming Together for a Good Cause

railroad-ties-recycleUp to 40 percent of the solid waste stream in the nation is related to construction and demolition processes. Only about 20 percent of the respective waste is recycled. Green demolition companies in Oregon go to great lengths to change the statistics by recycling up to 80 percent or more of the materials removed from project sites.

Using traditional construction methods, a new building produces an average of 3.9 pounds of waste per square foot. This figure increases dramatically to about 155 pounds per square foot when a project first includes demolition. Off-site modular construction isn’t just more affordable and efficient, it’s also more sustainable. The process reduces waste by up to 90 percent because:

  • Building components are assembled in a controlled environment, which reduces waste associated with theft and poor weather
  • Workers can repurpose excess materials on other buildings instead of discarding it
  • Modular units delivered to construction sites are up to 90 percent complete
  • Off-site components are designed with deconstruction, not demolition, in mind
  • Many modular buildings can be relocated to new sites and repurposed when they’re no longer needed

Much of off-site construction is adaptable, flexible and ready to be deconstructed. When paired with green demolition techniques, like those offered by Elder Demolition, the construction and demolition industries can take strides to divert and reduce the waste that ends up in landfills. Discover more about Elder’s waste-reducing tactics that help the environment and reduce expenses by contacting us today.

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