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Propel Prefab: Serving a Growing Need in the Construction Industry

In recent years, FSG has taken every opportunity to incorporate the many economies available through the use of prefabrication on electrical construction projects.  On every project, our designers and engineers look for ways to improve efficiency and deliver higher quality to our customers.  When that search points toward prefabrication, we routinely turn to our prefabrication partner, Propel Prefabrication.

From its home in San Antonio, Texas, Propel Prefabrication delivers quality products and services to construction project teams working throughout Texas and across the country.  

Serving a Need in Construction

Propel Prefabrication (“Prefab”) was established to serve a growing need in the construction industry.  As awareness of the value of electrical prefabrication has risen, Propel Prefab has invested heavily to provide the core benefits construction professionals expect from each project.  

Modern construction practices routinely incorporate prefabrication whenever possible.  No longer an emerging trend, the use of prefabricated components on large construction projects has become more of an accepted, standard practice in recent years.  

Those industry professionals who routinely incorporate prefabrication options into their electrical or structural work scopes have come to expect the following benefits for their project when working with a prefabrication partner like Propel Prefab:

  • Use of the latest CAD, BIM, and project management tools
  • Interactive design review
  • Lean construction practices
  • Controlled, modern work environments
  • Standardized procedures
  • Expert training
  • Professional safety and risk management
  • Quality control
  • Reliable transportation and delivery logistics to meet Just-in-Time (JIT) project schedules

Mastering the Margins with Prefabrication

Architects, engineers, and designers understand that the difference between a completed project and a project that delivers excellent results for all stakeholders can be found in the margins.  Profit margins, scheduling margins, and margins of error all tell the true story of how a project turns out.

With the focus on productivity at an all-time high across all trades, the need to mind these margins has never been more critical for project success.  When considering the current, well-known labor shortage that has impacted every skilled trade involved in the construction industry, it is hard to believe old methods of construction practice still stand a chance.

Electrical Construction Plans

This awareness of both the savings associated with prefabrication and the very real need to evolve industry practices has led to the growth of businesses like Propel Prefab.

Prefabrication – A Major Trend in Construction

According to a 2020 industry survey conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics, the architects, engineers, and contractors who took part in the study confirm that the critical drivers, obstacles, and benefits of using prefabrication all point to a growing reliance on prefabrication solutions in the construction industry.  The survey, titled Prefabrication and Modular Construction 2020 SmartMarket Report, highlighted trends and pointed to a growing consensus among industry professionals.

Among the study’s findings, the following data stood out.

With regard to current methods employed: 

  • Prefabricating single-trade assemblies (such as Patient Care Units [PCU] behind the wall in hospital rooms) is widely practiced, with 62% of respondents reporting the use of prefabricated single-trade assemblies in the last three years.
  • 48% of those doing modular construction are using panelized modular components (such as wall or floor panels).
  • Usage of each of these methods is expected to increase in the next three years, with the percentage of respondents anticipating the use of these methods on 10% or more of their projects nearly 15 points higher than for present use.

When looking ahead to the future of prefabrication:

  • Prefabricated multi-trade assemblies, which involve the work of several trades combined (such as a corridor rack in a hospital) will be used by 58% of those doing prefabrication in general—up dramatically from the 33% using this approach now.
  • 61% of respondents expect to employ full volumetric modular construction on at least 10% of their projects in the next three years, up from just 44% of respondents who currently use this method.

On the benefits of prefabrication:

  • About 90% report that they achieve improved productivity, improved quality, and increased schedule certainty when using these methods compared to traditional stick-built construction.
  • 80% or more also report that they see improved cost predictability, reduced waste, and increased client satisfaction.
  • Improved schedule performance, decreased construction costs, and improved quality are also the top drivers for increasing their use of prefabrication and modular construction in the next three years.

Prefab Goes Better with BIM

The survey found that for those respondents who routinely use building information modeling (BIM), the prefabrication experience is even more fruitful.  60% of BIM adopters and practitioners report improved schedule performance on their prefabricated or modular projects, and 50% reported improved budget performance

Because BIM data can be used to instantly generate production drawings or databases for manufacturing purposes, survey respondents are increasingly incorporating the tool to allow for the increased use of prefabrication and modular construction technology.  When designing, detailing, and building offsite in a controlled environment, waste is decreased, efficiency is increased, and labor and material costs are much easier to manage.

Prefabrication Trends by Project Type

According to the Dodge Data & Analytics survey, the greatest growth in the use of BIM and prefabrication construction methods will take place on projects similar to those that currently employ these time- and money-saving approaches.  Project types likely to see rapid growth in the use of prefabrication include:

  • Hospitals
  • Hotels
  • Multi-family housing
  • Universities

Importantly, survey respondents also predicted other areas of future growth, according to their experiences and expectations.  The construction projects they feel are most likely to more fully embrace prefabrication techniques in the near future include:

  • Low-rise office buildings
  • K-12 school facilities
  • Municipal buildings
  • Commercial warehouses

Propel Prefab Taking Off

Propel Prefab was founded on the belief that electrical and structural prefabrication, when considered proactively as part of a total project execution strategy, can positively impact bottom line profits for electrical contractors, general contractors, and other project stakeholders.

With recent trends in construction supporting that foundational belief, it is no surprise that Propel Prefab is planning for expansion.  Having already outgrown its space twice in the first two years of its existence, the business is rapidly gearing up for growth.

For a business that was built to be in place and ready to go when the future arrived, the time has apparently come.  Today’s shortage of skilled labor available to work on construction projects, and the cost and schedule overruns associated with that fact, have only added fuel to the fire. The realities of today’s construction industry have transformed prefabrication from an interesting idea into a fact of modern construction project management.  

For FSG, the association with Propel Prefab has already made a big difference in cutting costs, ensuring quality construction, and helping projects stay on schedule.  A recent hospital project in Denton, Texas provides an excellent illustration of one of the many ways the team at Propel Prefab has worked with FSG to consistently deliver customer satisfaction.  

Propel Prefab helped this Hospital Expansion in Denton, TX

Let San Antonio Be Your Prefabrication Hub

One of the best parts about working with Propel Prefab is the convenience offered by its San Antonio location.  With its facility located moments away from both I-10 and I-35, as well as the San Antonio International Airport, shipping and delivery of prefabricated products is prompt and reliable.

For a rapidly growing list of customers who have seen the future of construction practices and have already discovered the values to be gained through prefabrication, Propel Prefab makes perfect sense.

For anyone else interested in learning more about how prefabrication can take the razor-thin margins on an upcoming construction project and transform them into a winning strategy, contact Propel Prefab today

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