The Benefits of Reusable and Modular Constructions

The economic, social and environmental impact of construction has driven to industry transformations, both looking to increase productivity and to contribute to more sustainable constructions. Within these transformations, there are some construction methods related to prefabrication, modularization and reused constructions.
In this text, ater listing some advantages and challenges of those construction methods, are presented some cases that illustrate their main characteristics.

Actual global megatrends motivate a rethink of the construction classical practices. Although this industry accounts for about 6% of the global GDP, construction has continued operating the same way for the past decades. As a result, productivity has stagnated. Climate change, resources depletion, a widening talent gap, and actual rapid urbanization are but a few of these trends.

Is in this context, where over 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced by buildings and construction is the first consumer of global raw materials, this industry is undergoing profound transformations. Among others, there is robotization and 3D printing, which require also new business models and new construction methods for productivity increase. Modular construction and prefabrication play an important role here, and so does the concept of reuse, which follows modern trends by allowing more efficient and sustainable constructions. Reuse is a larger term and, with prefabrication and modularization, the concept could also be extended to the reuse of construction components, which is at a higher level of efficiency and sustainability.

Prefabrication and modularization are processes that were used for centuries by the construction industry, and its reemergence as a “new” trend is tied to the rise of BIM and green building.

The benefits of using prefabrication and modularization on key industry productivity metrics include project schedules savings, fewer onsite resources, costs, safety, quality, eliminating waste, and creating green buildings. Besides the benefits, these methods have some challenges associated, like the early commitment to engineering and design work, increased transportation requirements, and the limited number of providers.

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