Unlike in the world of human interactions, popularity is equated with quality in the world of technology. The AEC industry is firmly supported by the technological advances of our age, and prefabricated housing is becoming increasingly popular. The emergence of prefabricated or modular construction in the housing industry is an affordable and reliable solution to the challenge of quality housing worldwide. Prefabricated housing, sometimes known as prefab homes, prefabs or modular homes, are manufactured off site in sections, from just bathrooms to entire floors, that can be transported, placed or assembled to form housing units. Prefabricated housing can be independent dwelling units for individual families (houses) or single units which have been stacked on top of each other to form multi-storey housing or apartment blocks. How useful prefabrication is in the housing sector, why it is so and who can deliver services key to accurate prefabrication design are some of the things we will explore.
So, what are prefabricated buildings?
Prefab buildings can be built from components (such as panels), modules (in the case of entire modular homes, houses on wheels) or sections (parts of manufactured homes) constructed off site and transferred to the site when they are ready to be installed. A team of technical experts attach the different services to the building layout. These can include double-storey homes and customised homes. Modular or prefabricated homes can be created in sections and then transported on site to be put together as part of the construction process or installed. Whole rooms, such as bathroom pods or kitchens, can be created in a factory setting as prefabricated units. Steel frames can be erected on site to ‘slot’ in the prefabricated units or entire concrete foundations can be laid into the ground in readiness for the new home to arrive. Financing, construction and appraisals of these homes are carried out in the same way as for regular homes. Prefabricated houses can also be assembled on production assembly lines, which are transferred in complete sections or floors to the site, where these complete home units are connected floor by floor and then also connected to the location’s main water supply, sewage system and electrical lines.
How are they constructed?
They are usually constructed in factories that are some distance away from the actual housing site, indeed they could be in a different country. These purpose-designed factories effectively consist of assembly line environments, where different elements and trades come together at different stages of the assembly line to add the various components to the building. Starting with floors, walls and ceilings, the structure moves along for internal fixtures and MEP elements such as piping, plumbing, boilers, bathrooms and entire kitchen fittings, before being moved across to finishing areas such as glazing, doors, electrical fittings and even bathroom tiling. Once the house is assembled, it passes through final QA checks before being handed over to logistics teams for transport to its permanent site casas prefabricadas bogota.
Plumbing and electrical lines are connected to the city’s water and electrical connections and the prefabricated sections are sealed. Prefabricated homes can have a number of rooms and be of different designs. These homes can be set on a permanent foundation, blending in seamlessly with other regularly constructed homes. Repairs on the homes are conducted by the real estate company involved in its sale.
During the settling-in time period, a prefabricated home ‘settles’ in to the location, after which some cracking of the drywall could occur. Appliances that were incorrectly installed can be repaired by changing the wiring or plumbing, and the ventilation, heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems can be properly installed by a set-up crew.
One of the driving forces behind a successfully assembled and reliably functioning prefabricated home is the effectiveness of its design. Increasingly, architects, engineers, contractors and trade contractors use BIM (Building Information Modelling) construction drawings at some point as part of DfMA (Design for Manufacture and Assembly). DfMA is a design process that groups the design for manufacture, or the ease with which parts will be made for a product, with the design for assembly, which refers to the ease with which parts will be assembled. DfMA helps the design team reduce manufacturing and assembly costs by identifying, analysing and removing waste and inefficiency from a product’s design. DfMA modelling and drawing is fast becoming synonymous with design for prefabrication.