Call it what you may, prefab, KD kits, etc. More and more, we are seeing these practices in the building industry. Walls, trusses, and full modular homes are being built in factories and installed onsite! Take our prefab Versatex PVC window surrounds, for example. They come fully assembled, or as a knocked down kit, so they can be installed on-the-spot which saves on time, labor and skill.
Why is prefabricated the future might you ask? A couple of reasons, in my own opinion. The first is due to both the lack of available labor and limited skills in the workforce. I'm sure you've read the articles about labor shortages across the country. The even bigger question is - How do we get young people interested in working with their hands again? I'm not going to lie, not everyone I knew growing up had the same passion about building stuff that I did. A lot of schools pulled shop classes and other trade courses to focus more on computers and programming. I'm all for computers, but not everyone is going to be a computer programmer. In fact, a class in high school for CAD (Computer Aided Drawing) laid the foundation for my future in CNC manufacturing a couple years later. I genuinely think they need more trade-related courses in high school, so kids understand the sense of accomplishment you feel when you create something with your own two hands.
With that being said, we must identify ways to make up for the shortage of labor. Prefabrication of building product is the start. Numerous contractors have told me how much time and labor they have saved on site because of prefabricated products. It allows the contractor to use workers with limited skills. Take a prefab window surround, for example. They just need someone to install it around the window, not someone that has to breakdown a window list, create a cut list, fabricate the pieces, and assemble. On smaller jobs where it's an owner operated company, this might not be an issue, but on larger jobs with multiple employees and deadlines, it is an issue.
The other main factor is - as technology advances, it makes it easier to reproduce items precisely the same every time. For example, you have a housing development where every home has oval or circle windows. Executive Architectural Millwork can CNC cut sheets of Versatex to produce the window surrounds to the same specs every time. The surrounds can be onsite ready to be installed as the windows are going in. Thus, saving a tremendous amount of time. Another advantage of prefab is that products are produced with CNC equipment indoors in a quality-controlled environment. They are built to the same standards as a contractor in the field. Everything we do is to make the contractors install onsite faster and easier because we know they have a long list of other projects they must get done every day!
If you would like to learn more about prefabrication and how Executive Architectural Millwork can assist you with your labor shortage, email me at email@example.com