There are few kinds of structures as varied in their use – and as efficient to deploy – as prefabricated buildings. From industrial complexes to construction sites, energy plants or events worldwide, there’s often the need to get a structure that’s sturdy, secure, and set up fast – yet also easy to take away once its purpose has been served.
However, it would be remiss to disregard the possibilities of prefabricated buildings and their business applications so simply. In truth, the more business leaders and entrepreneurs explore the possibilities of prefabricated buildings, the more likely they are to encounter terminology, jargon and application potential that they might not find simple to understand.
Fortunately, gaining some deeper insight into how prefabricated buildings work – and where best to make use of them – need not be a complicated task. Today, we will explore what prefabricated buildings are, how they are put together, the benefits of using them and the applications you can take advantage of.
What are Prefabricated Buildings?
Prefabricated buildings, also known as ‘prefabs’, are highly efficient yet highly secure and sturdy structures. You have likely seen them countless times, perhaps without realizing – little huts at music events, a prefab building for the foreman on a construction site, and so on.
Active sites that change rapidly, such as oil & gas sites and construction projects, cannot rely on temporary structures like canvas tents to sustain security and safety. Yet the idea of such sites committing to fully building a structure simply to serve a purpose during the interval of the project is simply unrealistic and uneconomical.
This is where prefabs shine – yet they are far from their only use. As we will explore, there are several applications for prefabs, depending on your strategy – and they can be a semi-permanent addition to a given premises too, if the need arises.
How are Prefabricated Buildings Made?
Frequently, people who visualize prefabricated buildings picture corrugated metal sides or hardy plasterboard walls with little windows and a flat roof.
In fact, prefabs come in far more forms than that, and use plenty of different materials besides. It’s now possible to construct prefabricated buildings out of brickwork and hoist them into position via crane, for example.
Prefabricated buildings also often take advantage of ecological and circular economic thinking in how and why they are put together. For example, many prefabricated buildings are built out of shipping containers which have passed their service life – and thus go on to serve a far greater purpose than lying abandoned and ruining the environment.
What are the Benefits of Prefabricated Buildings?
The level of innovation that goes into prefabricated buildings today – both in design and in deployment – demonstrates their growing range of practical applications.
However, the core principles behind why entrepreneurs, businesses and heavy industries make such prevalent use of prefabricated buildings remains relatively unchanged.
Broadly speaking, the advantages can be summed up as follows:
Prefabricated buildings use space intelligently
On many industrial worksites, space is at a premium. Areas not occupied by vehicles, professionals hard at work or materials in need of storage and conveyance are few and far between.
Prefabricated buildings are designed to be compact – yet simultaneously spacious and with plenty of storage within.
Prefabricated buildings are cost-effective
Establishing a structure at any given operational site could be unfeasibly costly, were it not for prefabricated structures.
Whether folded out and erected onsite, or hoisted into place via crane or truck, prefabricated structures give tremendous flexibility for very little capital outlay.
Prefabricated buildings are sturdy and secure
Despite being relatively lightweight and simple to transport using most industrial equipment or vehicles, prefabs do not compromise on security or structural integrity either.
Most prefabricated structures can weather even the most imposing climate conditions, in some of the most demanding access sites and energy extraction projects around the world.
Similarly, their unassuming outward appearance and strong resilience to tampering means that the storage of valuables and assets within prefabricated buildings is always going to be safe from crime.
How Many Kinds of Prefabricated Buildings are There?
In truth, this is a figure that is likely to increase all the more as time goes on – innovations are happening in the prefab industry all the time.
However, the most commonly deployed and utilized prefabricated buildings today often stick to common structural best practices that make them efficient and reliable to use – while also matching the expectations and intended use-cases of their buyers.
Here are some popular examples of prefabricated buildings:
Most often constructed of metal, standard buildings are created to create portable and highly versatile prefabricated structures, utilized in numerous industrial sites.
It could be as simple as a security booth and a place for important project papers to be kept, right up to server rooms, communications centers or onsite medical and first aid facilities.
Little ever gets done on any industrial project without the right kind of power – and the right place to put it. E-houses are prefabricated buildings specifically designed to house, protect and safeguard the operation of sophisticated electrical equipment.
That includes not only servers and advanced networking infrastructure, but also the bedrock power utilities of a given industrial site – control panels, switchgears, substations and distribution nodes.
For prefabricated structures that emphasize customization and versatility in function, modular buildings are an extremely popular option.
Prefabricated buildings like this are designed to function independently, yet also to connect onsite – creating a scalable solution that is ideal for protecting sensitive equipment, housing vehicles overnight or accommodating staff as they safely move between active onsite areas.
Not every industrial undertaking has the luxury of space – even enough to let in a truck with a prefabricated building. In such exceptional circumstances, knock-down buildings are utilized to keep projects running smoothly.
Boasting the same resilience and versatile functionality of any other kind of prefabricated structure, knock-down buildings are frequently put into use in extremely constrictive or demanding project areas – such as rooftops, densely clustered corporate sites or multilevel work locations.
Modified shipping containers
As one of the best known kinds of prefabricated building, modified shipping containers have nevertheless become a staple of project sites around the world.
Able to function as efficient control rooms, onsite headquarters and planning areas, medical facilities, storage units, break rooms and utility spaces means that shipping containers specifically modified for industrial use are an evergreen innovation, suitable for almost any project.
Under certain circumstances, project leads and industrial managers may need to have the components of their prefabricated building constructed directly where the action is. That’s where on-site buildings come in.
Often able to get up to speed well within a workday upon arrival, onsite buildings can be ordered and specified to precisely meet the needs of the ongoing industrial project underway at the location.
Which Industries Make Use of Prefabricated Buildings?
While prefabricated structures are active in a range of commercial applications today, their sturdiness, reliability and ease of deployment mean that industrial projects and intensive construction sites are where they are seen the most.
Here are some examples of where prefabs are able to add versatility and value to an ongoing industrial undertaking.
Oil & gas projects
The energy market is becoming ever more demanding, as resources are being consumed across the globe at an increasing rate. The pressures on oil and gas industries have never been higher, and this means research, extraction and reparation projects are often undertaken in barren or inhospitable environments – places where prefabricated buildings add welcome comfort and operational security.
Data & communications
It could be an event in a city center packed with media attention, a music festival in a vast meadow that needs good cell data, or anywhere else where people expect their communications technologies to function without a hitch.
Data centers and telecommunications arrays are housed safely and effectively by prefabricated buildings in all such instances – without intruding on events or existing infrastructure.
From the next great skyrise to the humblest home extension in the suburbs, construction projects are demanding and complex affairs. Fortunately, prefabricated buildings are able to ease the load – from onsite storage and team break rooms, through to planning centers, first aid facilities or power generator enclosures.
Learn More About Prefabricated Buildings
The more you explore the possibilities and potential offered by prefabs, the more applications and use cases are certain to spring to mind for your latest industrial endeavors.
Understanding which is the best prefabricated building to use, under which circumstances and for what industrial application, is a nuanced undertaking – but not one in which you need to act alone.
Get in touch with our team today, and we will discuss the needs and expectations of your current industrial project – and advise on a solution that best fits the operations you have in mind.