- KEF Infrastructure India Pvt. uses myriad construction technologies such as sensors, connected devices and various software and applications to further hone its position in the modular and prefabricated construction markets, according to Livemint. The company, which merged with KEF Katerra earlier this year, refers to the components of the digital-led, collaborative manufacturing regime as Industry 4.0.
- An average KEF Infra project employs up to 18 consultants, with the internal team working with the client’s concept architect. The internal team includes structural design, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and more. Each team member primarily uses BIM, operating at Level 500, which means they can produce building elements directly from the drawings.
- Robots contribute to the process as well. BIM drawings are interfaced to robotic lines, which directly read the designs to begin manufacturing built components. KEF Infra also uses robotic welding rather than binding wire commonly used in India.
The use of modular construction is growing rapidly. The market segment is set to grow nearly 6% CAGR through 2023, with the Asia-Pacific region claiming a 46% market share and North America a nearly 28% share.
Modular offers a wealth of benefits in many building sectors and regions. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits is the ability to erect a structure quickly. KEF Infra, for example, claims to have built the first modular construction project in India five years ago when a government school wanted a new building completed within the 60-day summer vacation so as not to inconvenience students and staff while school was in session.
The building method also is breaking the image of boxy, utilitarian buildings. Magued Eldaief, CEO of BIM hardware and software technology company Prescient, told Construction Dive earlier this year that the standardization of modular refers simply to the speed, efficiency and precision of the construction process — not to the buildings themselves. "The digitization of the construction industry has unlocked the ability to create unique and architecturally challenging buildings using prefabrication," he said.
Prescient is just one company investing in prefab. Katerra regularly makes headlines with its funding wins, and others like Skender, which recently announced its intent to begin production in a new Chicago facility, are emerging players. In addition, Autodesk last year invested in Project Frog to create a cloud-based connected system that links architectural design and industrial fabrication to further bolster the prefab market.
Big companies also are embracing modular. Marriott, for example, announced in 2017 that it was expanding its use of modular construction and would employ the method on 13% of its North American hotel deals. Google and Starbucks also are exploring modular.