Pros and Cons of Off-Site Modularization (OSM)

What is Off-Site Modularization (OSM)

Off-Site Modularization ExampleOff-site modularization is the process where a building, or sections of a building or structures, are built in a location outside of the final job. A company then transports the modules to the job site for final installation.

Despite the thought of OSM being a relatively new idea, the Modular Building Institute reports prefabricated buildings being shipped by boat clear back in 1670 (FAQ – Modular Building Institute). The recent increase in modularization sweeping the industry shows a recently increased adoption of this method. Our goal in this article is to outline some of the key benefits, any areas to be cautious of, and how OSM has impacted the way EZARC is doing business. 

What are the Benefits of Off-Site Modularization

Expedited Timelines for Project Completion:

Completing modules off-site helps in multiple ways. We gain more control over our environment and timelines. This comes by prefabricating, testing, inspecting and modularizing components prior to having them shipped. Since the majority of OSM can happen in warehouses, weather becomes less of a risk for causing delay. Common estimates highlight between 20 and 50% faster completion when using off-site construction vs “conventional construction”.

Cost Control:

We involve multiple team members throughout each step of the process from preconstruction through modularization and final installation. In doing so, we think through the logistics of every step of the process from day one. This allows us to mitigate future change orders, control our costs, and map out each step of the process. Through these steps we provide clear expectations and accurate estimates. Benefit #1 also speaks for itself in the decreased cost coming from quicker project completion.

Increase Safety:

Performing less construction on the final job site lowers the risk of on-the-job accidents. Teams work in a familiar and consistent environment that is controlled and gives less room for outside factors and decreasing safety risks.

What to be Cautious of

Logistical Precision

Timing and execution of OSM need to line up perfectly and must be properly coordinated throughout the entire process. If companies don’t address issues early and often, they run the risk of OSM causing the project to take longer than if they had just erected on site. You need to ensure everything is properly coordinated and transferred carefully when being as damage could occur during transit as well.

Design Changes

A company must lock in designs early as any late changes could cause a lot of work to be re-done. We’ve all encountered situations where plans change, and with off-site modularization, the timing of those changes can be more impactful than a standard on-site construction.

We’ve strategically structured our team and processes to address these areas of caution. Our highly-skilled team of engineers and BIM modelers work closely with our superintendents. Together they make sure every situation is thought through from the beginning. They can generate more accurate designs with multiple viewpoints already taken into consideration. OSM is, and will continue to be, a way that we increase our project efficiency to complete projects on time and on budget.

Off-Site Modularization – Conclusion

Most of EZARC’s projects emphasize a speed-to-market approach and off-site modularization is the key to a faster and less expensive way to accomplish this. When possible, EZARC seeks to utilize OSM on our jobs. We have found a ways to effectively execute Off-Site Modularization and have seen significant benefits in the projects we’ve completed. The opportunity and upside are amazing and can be seen as quoted below from the article “Gazing into the Crystal Ball” (Gazing into the Crystal Ball – Insulation Outlook Magazine),

The rise of module assembly yards—strategically located sites for fabrication and assembling building elements that can then be transferred to a building site for rapid assembly—borrows some of the cost-efficient practices of manufacturing for the construction industry. Modularization has potential to significantly affect productivity and margins for E&C firms.

Speed-to-market and cost efficiencies, while maintaining a safer working environment, are the name of the game. Are you ready for it?


Contact us today for more information on how we can utilize OSM on your project.

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