We welcome submissions on Construction and building technologies.
NVolve is a “technology” company that focuses exclusively on developing new technologies that allow us to build better, energy-efficient buildings very cost-effectively. We operate in the U.S. within research and sustainable technology partners in Finland. We have global partnerships with the leading green/eco/sustainable universities and research centers.
Many companies, sustainable research centers, and universities are calling for a value debate on Finnish construction. The goal is to make responsibility the new norm in Finnish construction by creating uncompromising principles in “healthy” construction; that is fully accessible and an optimally healthy building, thereby also saving society’s expenses by reducing heath and mobility-related issues.
Finnish construction is worrying. Indoor air problems cause illnesses and financial losses, and buildings are demolished way too soon. Most industry experts agree that this is the result of poor product development, incompetent design and substandard building materials. These also take their toll on natural resources and human health and are unnecessary. It is believed that all buildings can be designed and erected in such a way that they are durable, remain safe, and meet the needs of future generations.
These are macro-dynamics that directly point to long-term benefits such as prefabrication. Prefabrication is gaining popularity among contractors and developers looking to cut down on construction costs. We believe that prefabrication may be nearing a breakthrough to mass acceptance. Many construction companies in Finland are using this growing trend to address several industry issues while addressing some obstacles to overcome before prefab becomes commonplace.
Using Prefabrication to Create a Future Building Model
Conventional construction s becoming very limited as the industry moves into the digital age. Prefabrication holds many advantages to the way buildings are currently constructed. It can save on costs, speed up construction schedules, reduce the need for rework, improve safety, and cleanliness on a job site and lead to higher-quality buildings and a greater ability to win jobs.
In Europe, prefabrication has become more mainstream and innovative, prefabricated construction methods continue to be seen in more and more projects. The construction sequence efficiencies in producing prefabricated elements in a controlled environment are trending to justify this practice, and in many instances, it represents significant savings. Prefabrication has been an important player in parking garages, glass-unitized systems, formwork, mechanical systems, miscellaneous concrete works, miscellaneous steel elements, etc. Prefabrication has been a great tool in improving the schedule of projects like office buildings, where there is a lot of repetition in the space.
The main obstacle may be a construction industry reluctant to embrace innovation, even as prefabrication is becoming a growing component of the sector overall. The average use of prefabrication was 35% in 2016, compared to 13% in 2010, according to a 2017 report by the Fails Management Institute (FMI). This is despite potential benefits: For every dollar spent on prefab, contractors realize a nearly 13% return on investment as a quantifiable benefit to the project, according to a 2014 survey from Chicago-based Mortenson Construction.
For construction companies, adopting prefabrication requires a significant upfront investment, a long-range strategy to convince developers of the benefits, and patience, While company leaders seek to eliminate inefficiencies in the existing, fragmented construction model, with manufacturing, design, and construction separated from each other. The first critical step is applying assembly line principles to its prefab manufacturing plant.
There has been a recent shift toward centralizing multi-trade prefabrication planning, notably at the general contractor level. In addition, other technologies that are available such as using advanced Building Information Modeling (BIM), sets the stage for in-depth coordination in the design-assist process. Centralizing multi-trade prefabrication planning allows for all disciplines to become involved in the process and participating in the active solution of any clashes. This enables contractors and consultants to work together in resolving issues in advance of fabrication and construction, which ultimately facilitates better performance in the field while creating safer environments and producing a higher-quality control.
Nvolve Technologies, like many others, has at its heart transformative and massively deployable innovation. We create new technologies and processes to help this industry to transition to a new global economy, one that is shaped by green, sustainable materials, better-built structures using ordinary labor, decarbonization, design/architect/build digitization, mass customization, servitization, greater use of a circular economy methodology and resource efficiency.