Prefabrication in Civil Engineering Construction


No doubt Prefabrication is the Boom in the modern world. It should become the present and future of construction industry that too with the advancement in the 3D printing, Material Science and other technologies, it will revolutionise the industry and can solve many problems. Young minds of this generation should look forward to adopt these techniques and young intellects should collaborate with each other to build start-ups, business models and companies in the prefabrication Technologies and Methods.

What is Prefabrication

Prefabrication is the method of designing and manufacturing of the assemblies and component of a building or structure at a location other than building site under factory conditions, then transporting them to and assembling them on construction site. Prefabricated units may include components like doors, window panels, steel frames and structures, wall panels, floor panels, trusses, or sometimes even rooms and buildings.

With the advancement in in the technology and transportation systems, prefabrication methods have great scope in modernising the construction process.

Though prefabrication existed in practice from long back, they were only limited to the small scale precast concrete slabs and steel structures but with the advancements in field of material science and new technologies like 3D printing, it has gained the potential to revolutionise the construction industry by decreasing the time taken for the construction, by providing the environmental benefits such as minimising the construction wastes and carbon emissions and less interruption to the neighbours and building sites by minimising the noise and dust.

As the main construction work is done in the assembly line and under factory conditions, numerous activities can be carried out parallelly thus increasing the efficiency

The quality of construction is much superior when components are manufactured in a steady and stable environment The wastes and left out materials can be reused ensuring the efficient usage of the resources

Useful Applications of Prefabrication Method

  • This method comes in great use when something should be built within a very small span of time. For example, in the time of covid crisis, many isolation wards were built within days or week which could accommodate large number of people and could serve the purpose. Similar buildings can also be built during floods, earthquakes Tsunamis etc. So, prefabrication construction method plays a major role in disaster managements
  • A company which built a full-fledged 10 storey apartment building within 24 hours in China became famous talk throughout the world. This was made possible by assembling the prefabricated rooms, frames, walls and other components by cranes and skilled labours at the construction site. These buildings proved to be more efficient economically and structurally than convectional methods. In fact, they showed more structural strength, stability and durability than the convectional buildings.
  • Prefabrication has the great potential to solve the problem of housing crisis. On 25th June 2015 The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna (PMAY) was launched which involve manufacture of about 20 million houses by 2022 for urban poor while rural housing which envisages 10 million houses in next three years was launched on 1st April, 2016. In order to attain this enormous task, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Government of India has adopted numerous innovative pre-fabrication construction systems, developed within the country.
  • As it requires the proper planning and collaboration between businessmen, manufacturers, architects and civil engineers, it provides the space for further research and development and tackle the scarcity of the labour at construction site.

Why prefabrication is unpopular in India

  • Most of the people and civil engineers prefer to go by traditional method of construction for which lack of knowledge about modern technologies and methods is also a reason
  • Lack of appropriate transport systems and undulating topography of the country is one of the main hindrances to the booming of pre-fab construction methods in India
  • Contractors prefer to employ low-cost labours as against high capital investment
  • Lack of advancement in technology and administrative support

Disadvantages of Prefabrication Construction

  • Prefabrication technology method requires high initial capital investment, it works as a business model and increased production volume is necessary to make sure the affordability through prefabrication
  • It needs skilled labour and heavy-duty cranes with accuracy and precision to assemble the components at the site.
  • Transportation costs may be high for huge prefabricated sections
  • It requires high levels of collaboration among project parties, and manufacturers, architect, civil engineers etc.