LISTEN: Prefabricated VS. Brick and Mortar. Is One Cheaper, More Reliable, and More Efficient?

Construction industry trends are causing a comeback for an age-old process: prefabricated construction. Not always a favorite within the industry, conceptions on prefabricated construction have slowly become more positive. Our guest today on this episode of Building a Better Bond explains why this is opening doors to safer, faster and cheaper construction.

“With the original mindset thinking about conventional construction versus prefab, the first thing that goes through someone’s head is that prefab is a little shed in the backyard that’s holding a lawnmower,” Sean Black, business development manager at Fibrebond, said. “As the years have gone on, and people like me educating the industry and showing them we’re not talking about this little thin-gauge shed. We’re talking about a substantial building with a 14- to 11-gauge steel, heavy weight.”

Black, a former electrician who’s been in the construction industry for more than 20 years, discusses what’s making this trend stick and what the advantages are over brick-and-mortar. He usually points to three particular aspects of prefab as why it’s been gaining a growing interest in recent years.

The first advantage is protection against inclement weather delays, which can wreak havoc on a tight timeline. Even when a project uses overtime to help catch up, that cost affects the bottom line. Black said prefab manufacturers work indoors all the time, so delivery times are not affected by the weather.

Black said the second advantage is how gear is handled in a prefab environment. In a traditional construction site, switchgear motor controls require large amounts of dedicated space where it’ll be housed. If that building is not totally secure, costly damage can occur — again affecting the bottom line.

“The third and for me most important advantage is safety,” Black said. The priority for site managers or superintendents is always the safety of its workers. “But it’s hard to have eyes and ears everywhere,” he said.

Prefab materials assembled off-site help reduce the likelihood for accidents to occur on-site. Fibrebond’s plant has multiple supervisors on site, walking about to ensure safety measures are being followed. “Also, just the sense that everybody is looking out for everybody else helps keep people safe,” he said.