A large proportion of the costs associated with the construction of civil structures, particularly housing, corresponds to the labour cost associated with site work. Site work often takes place in difficult conditions which can lead to poor quality.
The fabrication of modules, within the controlled environment of a factory, is seen as a way of overcoming these problems. Prefabrication of parts of buildings, e.g. roof trusses, has been carried out for many years. The next development was the building of specific modules, e.g. bathrooms and toilets, for slotting into the frameworks of larger structures and developments.
The most recent development has been for the housing market. In a factory, steel framed modules are completely fitted out with fixed furniture and all services. Site work then consists of preparing a suitable foundation (also prefabricated in many cases) and providing services with quick-fit connections. This approach allows the building to be installed and occupied within days of work starting on the site.
Through its knowledge of joining, engineering and manufacturing technologies, TWI has supported member companies in the development of both module framework and its contents.
An introduction to TWI services for the construction industry.