How Does BIM Application Favor Prefabrication?

By Sebastian Sanabria

The term ‘Prefabrication’ refers to the manufacturing of project elements (typically large project portions) in a factory/workshop prior to being transported to site, for final assembly. This process can also be referred to as ‘Industrialized Construction’.

Prefabrication can be utilized for various construction systems, such as Steel Frame, Wood Frame, Cross Laminate Timber Panels, Precast Concrete or Containers.

What are the advantages of BIM for Prefabrication?

Reduce Re-Work:
BIM modelling for prefabrication demands precise coordination between all MEP systems. By understanding how MEP systems interact with Architectural & Structural elements, complicated and costly conflicts are avoided.

Shopping Accuracy:
By modelling each entity and incorporating assembly codes, accurate ‘material take-offs’ can be generated. This ensures proper quantities are acquired.

Full/Correct Manufacturing Plans:
Shop Drawings (or Fabrication Drawings) are produced with little to no errors.

Reduction in Time Deviations:
Digital coordination enables materials and all necessary information to be on site at the appropriate time, ensuring the success and alignment of work plans.

Cost Reduction:
The combination of all of the above mentioned advantages increases working conditions and productivity, resulting in an overall cost reduction.

4 Key Requirements to Successfully Execute Prefabrication Systems:

1. Design from the beginning with intent; consider the desired type of construction system. If the construction system type is not considered during the initial design phase efficiency is drastically reduced.

2. Work with advisors who specialize in your chosen system type. By utilizing the appropriate expertise you can avoid conflict derived from lack of experience and can increase overall efficiency.

3. Involve the factory management in product design and in establishing information requirements. This fosters a healthy and cohesive working relationship.

4. Standardize the design and process; both from the drafting stage as well as in defining the documentation to be extracted and in the constructive resolution.

Prefabrication is no longer limited to smaller scale projects. This advanced construction system is being utilized on various project types and sizes. From small apartment developments to large scale industrial complexes.

As building cost continue to increase, prefabrication is becoming an increasingly viable alternative. When done correctly, prefabrication can reduce costs while increasing efficiency and productivity.

Sebastian Sanabria, PMP©,DASM©
Studio Principal, Link Studios