Prefabrication of structural and non-structural components in various forms has been a part of construction for many decades. However, offsite manufacturing is increasingly becoming a necessity in modern methods of construction, mainly due to the decreasing availability of resources, especially in the form of skilled labor, while the demand for faster outputs is on the rise.

The design, fabrication, and installation of offsite manufactured building systems demonstrate many unique characteristics that are clearly different from traditional practice. As a result, the ‘best practice’ for their design and function are still not sufficiently represented in building standards around the world. This effectively highlights the need for extensive research on every aspect of offsite manufactured buildings. In that regard, this book aims to collect entries for its first collection within the following topics:

  • Structural design of offsite manufactured building systems and connections (including modular, panelized, and hybrid types);
  • Lean manufacturing, automation, and robotics for offsite manufactured buildings;
  • Design for manufacturing and assembly—DfMA;
  • Design optimization, modularization, and generative designs;
  • Design for transportation, lifting, and handling;
  • Prefabricated building services;
  • Indoor environmental quality of prefabricated buildings;
  • Fire and acoustic performance;
  • Innovative materials for offsite manufacturing;
  • Rapid prototyping and additive manufacturing.

A Topic Collection entitled Offsite Manufactured Buildings has been set in Encyclopedia journal:

Please click here to find Guidelines for Submissions.

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Tharaka Gunawardena

Institution: Department of Infrastructure Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

Interests: modular construction; offsite manufacturing; modular connections; design of tall buildings; wind effects on tall buildings; upcycling waste materials; prefabricated structural systems; earthquake engineering; shear behaviour of concrete; acoustic performance of buildings

Priyan Mendis

Institution: Department of Infrastructure Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia

Interests: safer and sustainable infrastructure; prefabricated construction; design of tall buildings and bridges; advanced construction materials

Keerthan Poologanathan

Institution: Department of Mechanical and Construction Engineering, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK

Interests: steel structures; thin-walled structures; optimisation of steel sections; innovative steel products and systems; fire safety of buildings; aluminium structures; lightweight concrete; enhanced plasterboard; modular building systems; advanced numerical modelling; fibre composites for retrofitting and rehabilitation of structures

Topic Review Peer Reviewed
Impacts of Prefabrication in the Building Construction Industry
Interest in sustainable construction has been increasing due to recent events. The limitations of natural resources and the scale of global impacts, specifically as a result of the effects of global climate change, have consequences for the construction sector. These changes are giving rise to a need to reassess the way we face the built environment and rethink new solutions for construction systems or methods that contribute to mitigating negative consequences, among which we highlight the prefabrication method. This new scenario, characterised by the need to meet the decarbonisation goals set for 2050, as well as the effects of the spread of the pandemic crisis, emphasizes the importance of understanding the impacts that may occur in the construction industry, which are essentially understood as increases in sustainability, productivity, quality and, consequently, as reductions in deadlines, costs, and dependence on labour. Therefore, this entry seeks to study on the existing literature on prefabrication, seeking to gather relevant information on the new advances, challenges, and opportunities of this construction method whose approach has been mostly focused on partial or specific aspects for case studies, both highlighting the potential and identifying the gaps and opportunities of prefabrication in this new context. The prefabrication method brings benefits compared to the conventional method, and may be an alternative, as it has more positive global impacts on the environment, the economy, and society, and consequently on the sustainable development of construction, despite some limitations that have been reported and that should be looked into in the future.
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  • 02 Feb 2023