Offsite manufacturing in the construction industry - Essay Example

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Offsite Manufacturing in the Construction Industry A Management Report Preamble This report discusses the prospects and considerations attending the possible strategic decision to embark on an offsite construction facility in Zenith PM, a small traditional contracting company…
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Offsite manufacturing in the construction industry
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Download file to see previous pages Introduction and Context Too often construction projects conducted on site have exhibited inefficient project processes, low integration among team members, poor productivity levels, and poor performance in safety and health. In comparison the manufacturing sector does not normally experience these repercussions which has led some innovative mind in the industry to consider a better way. This turned out to be off site building, which has been noted to have many advantages over traditional construction (Ogden, 2007). In the light of the need for Zenith PM to develop a new strategy to improve its revenues and retain its skilled personnel, the company has identified off-site construction as its most viable option. Current thinking on offsite manufacturing New developments The off-site construction trend grew significantly in 2006 in various countries worldwide, partly because clients and contracts have come to realise its benefits in terms of lower cost, better quality, predictability of outcome, sustainability, and better compliance with health and safety standards. The off-site industry is still in its infancy despite the rise in the demand for its products; at this point, the industry is still a diverse and fragmented group of technologies and off-site producers. There is certainly room for further development which, as the sector matures, will enhance standardisation and regulation so that clients and contractors could benefit from more reliable products and also more options per product. There are currently four off-site construction techniques where the manufacturing or fabrication is performed away from the project site and before the installation. Na and Bausman (2008) identified these as: (1) Offsite preassembly, referring to the process wherein different building materials, equipment, and prefabricated components are assembled at a remote location for later installation. It is focused on a system instead of a product. One example is roof trusses, or preassembled vessels complete with installations, platforms piping and ladders. (2) Hybrid systems are prefabricated building facilities, i.e. they are building units that are fully factory finished, complete with internal furnishes and building services. An example is a factory finished bathroom with interior finishing, plumbing, electrical service, and factory completed office rooms. (3) Panelized Building Systems are comprised of the structural frame, or building envelop, employing factory manufactured building panels. These consist more of factory-built components rather than completed modules – usually including the factory based fabrication like finished wall panels with cladding insulation, internal finishes, doors and windows. They are brought to the site and are there assembled and permanently secured (4) Modular buildings are popularly known as the factory-built homes of one or more units completely assembled or fabricated in a manufacturing plant far from the jobsite. They consist typically of multi-rooms with three-dimensional units, that are constructed and pre-assembled and already include installed trim work, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing. After fabrication, they are transported and assembled on site. Benefits and core challenges There are a host of benefits brought about by off-site construction that have been long-recognized by the HSE and other monitoring agencies. These include ‘predictability, quality assurance, faster construction times, less waste, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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