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Prefabrication: Precision and efficiency

Prefabrication in construction refers to the process of manufacturing building components, such as walls, slabs, beams, pillars and structural elements, offsite – in a factory or controlled environment – before they are transported and assembled on site. The components are manufactured based on detailed and precise designs, so that they then fit together perfectly on site.

What’s all the fuss about? What are the advantages in terms of efficiency and sustainability for companies and society in general?

  1. Time efficiency: Prefabrication allows activities to be carried out simultaneously at different stages of construction. While the parts/components are manufactured offsite, the foundations and infrastructure on the construction site can be prepared, significantly reducing the total time needed to complete the project.
  2. Controlled quality: Manufacturing in a controlled environment allows for greater quality control. Prefabrication means that stricter standards are followed, ensuring greater precision and consistency.
  3. Reduced waste: In a factory, it is possible to better plan and optimize the use of materials, achieving “made-to-measure” manufacturing, reducing the need for on-site cuts and minimizing material waste.
  4. Less impact on the construction site: Factory production reduces the level of noise, dust and noise pollution on the construction site, which is especially relevant in densely populated urban areas.
  5. Greater safety: Prefabrication allows certain dangerous processes to be carried out in a controlled and safe environment, reducing the exposure of employees to risks associated with on-site construction, such as falls from heights and accidents related to heavy equipment.
  6. Easier hiring: Prefabrication offers several advantages in terms of hiring and managing human resources, including better working conditions – centralized location, safer environment and more regular hours, increases in efficiency and productivity, and attracting new talent who are interested in working with more sustainable technologies and practices.

In fact, prefabrication is still in its infancy in Portugal, for a number of reasons. First of all, you have to invest in building these spaces or factories. Not only is this a huge investment, which most construction companies can’t afford, but it also requires a minimum quantity of production to make the investment profitable. From the outset, this is limited to the few companies that can guarantee a turnover of this size. It’s a problem of scale, which is not the case in countries like the United States.

What’s more, in Portugal we’re still stuck with more traditional ways of building, either because it’s difficult to accept innovations – from the end client or the studio – or because there’s still a perception that the initial investment is more expensive.

Internationally, we already see several examples of this model, and we expect to see continued growth and evolution in this direction. For everyone’s benefit!

The discussion about prefabrication is not just a technical issue limited to the construction sector, but is also a vital conversation for the sustainable and efficient development of society in general. By adopting more advanced and conscious construction practices, we can make a significant contribution to preserving the environment, improving economic efficiency and raising everyone’s quality of life.

At Beelt, we are aware of these trends and are committed to being at the forefront of innovations in the sector. Our commitment goes beyond adopting existing technologies; we are on a continuous journey of learning and innovation, aiming not only to keep up with, but to lead the changes in the construction sector. We invite you to read Beelt’s vision in a message from partner Miguel Batista, published here.


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