May 19th, 2020 | Our lens

Sustainable construction: the prefabrication opportunity

by Ambienta

Humans have been constructing shelters for nearly six thousand years. With new and exciting developments in prefabrication, as well as global issues such as climate change impacting business, the construction industry is finally moving into the digital era. Today the construction industry is one of the sectors which takes the greatest toll on the environment. It is possibly the largest contributor alongside the food sector, to climate change with this situation expected to deteriorate further in the next decade. Moreover, it is one of the few industries which has failed to significantly improve its labor productivity in recent decades.

At Ambienta, we believe construction has the potential to be part of the wider solution to climate change. The built environment has evolved based on the local availability of materials, the procurement of tools and skilled labor. With growing demands to improve the environmental impact of materials, a shortage of skills and an ageing workforce, the industry must now adapt to become more sustainable in itself, productive and resilient to the effects of climate change and extreme weather events.

Prefabrication can play a central role in this evolution. Used as a catch-all term for assembling all or part of a building in a factory, and then transporting it to a construction site where the building is to be located, prefabrication has not always had the best of reputations. However, when employed effectively, prefabrication has the potential to reduce the frequency of design changes, increase productivity and improve final product quality which can help significantly improve the environmental impact of the construction industry.

In this “Ambienta Sustainability Lens” newsletter, we consider the evolution of the construction industry, current industry practices and how prefabricated construction methods, materials and approaches will bring this slow-moving giant of the global economy into the digital era.