The average productivity of manufacturing companies has risen steadily from 1990´s whereas the productivity of construction companies has stayed flat or even declined. Faster building projects lead to faster revenue, thus saving money and time are the main drivers for increased usage of prefabricated elements.
Compared to manufacturing industries, the construction sector is still suffering from poor economic performance. McKinsey* reports that the productivity gap between the two industries is currently 1.7-fold. The next 15 years will be crucial, since urban land area is estimated to triple between 2000 to 2030, and by 2050 almost 70% of humankind will live in urban areas.
“Construction companies are typically operating with thin profit margins, thus relatively small reductions in costs can produce significant positive impacts. Utilizing prefabricated elements could be a solution for reducing construction costs without compromising quality. Depending on the size of the investment, different degrees of prefabrication may pay off even if their prices would be higher than those of building on site”, says
Matti Kuittinen, architect and researcher from Aalto University.
Construction professionals: prefabrication helps keep the schedule
Construction projects are often finished late. When delays in the construction projects are compared to budget over-runs, time plays a much greater role in the profitability of a project. According to construction professionals interviewed by McGraw-Hill Construction**, nearly 70% of projects that used prefabricated elements had shorter schedules and 65% had decreased budgets.
“Utilizing every prospect in reducing overproduction, transportation, rework and waiting times helps in decreasing construction costs. Lean construction through prefabrication is an opportunity to meet the future needs of the global construction sector”, says Vice President, responsible of Business Operations in Finland
Juha Toimela from construction and development company SRV.
How can prefabrication increase productivity?
The economic status of construction companies benefits from the use of wooden modular building products. In Sweden, the lean approach to managing prefabricated house factories was found to hold a potential for boosting productivity from 10% to a staggering 230%. Waste generation, greenhouse gas emissions and claims during construction process decrease the productivity of the construction sector. Construction professionals reported that almost 80 % of projects where prefabricated products were in use produced less waste.
“We should be focusing more on the speed of the process without compromising quality. Shorter building time and easier design leads to faster revenue, but is also an opportunity to meet the rapidly growing needs of urban construction and sustainability demands at the same time”, Toimela notes.
Modularity improves assembly process – and saves time and money
Perhaps the greatest potential for reducing construction costs and improving building time and quality simultaneously lies in smart construction process shortcuts.
Metsä Wood’s Kerto® LVL prefabricated roof and floor elements are based on the concept of erecting the roof or floor rapidly from prefabricated products. Modularity and standardised details improve the assembly process. Also the risk of accidents and consequent delays on the construction site could be avoided by assembly of prefabricated elements. In addition, prefabrication can provide a fast and robust solution for temporary weather protection.
- Lean approach to construction is needed: by 2050 close to 70% of humankind will live in urban areas.
- Time is money: almost 70% of projects using prefabrication had shorter schedules, 65% had decreased budgets.
- Less waste: almost 80 % of projects using prefabrication produced less waste.
- Fast and robust weather protection: up to 1, 500 m2 Metsä Wood’s
Kerto® LVL roof elements can be assembled in a single day.
Learn more about how using prefabricated elements can improve construction process and lead to
* S. Changali, A. Mohammad and M. van Nieuwland, “The construction productivity imperative,”McKinsey&Company, 2015
** McGraw Hill Construction, “Prefabrication and Modularization - Increasing Productivity in the ConstructionIndustry,” McGraw Hill Construction, Bedford, 2011
For more information, please contact:
Henni Rousu, Marketing Manager, Metsä Wood, mobile: +358 (0) 405548388,