- Modular construction, also known as offsite, is expected to take off in 2018, contributing to its projected global increase of 6% by 2022, according to ForConstructionPros.
- The rise in offsite manufacturing and construction will be driven by a number of factors, including contractors' difficulty filling skilled labor positions and the need to complete projects faster and with fewer resources.
- New technologies, like 3-D printing, and a growing number of globally sourced custom components and elements are also expected to ramp up offsite's global market presence.
Less than 10 years ago, construction projects were either modular or conventional. Now, the rise of offsite construction has been a key trend for U.S. construction companies in recent years — and that trend doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.
Though offsite is a defined market segment in European and Asian markets, the delivery method is starting to gain steam in the U.S. as more contractors turn to offsite. Some big-name contractors like Turner Construction and Gilbane have even created project manager positions for offsite, marking a vote of confidence for the method's long-term staying power. Suppliers, too, are placing their bets on offsite and building out their operations with the method in mind.
And investors are taking note — offsite startups like Katerra and FullStack Modular collected millions in funding last year alone. That pattern will likely continue as big-name adopters, including Google and global hotel chain Marriott, continue to tap the method for their developments. Marriott, which already has six offsite manufacturers as contractors, expects to add seven more to its operations this year, contributing to its goal of delivering more hotel projects through offsite construction.
A growing body of work pointing to offsite's benefits will likely continue to stoke interest in the coming years alongside growing demand for new developments and stagnation in industry productivity. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, the method's key benefit is its ability to compress project timelines and lower costs. And though 93% of AEC professionals surveyed by the organization reported having used offsite methods in 2014, that number stands to rise as companies and organizations work to more clearly measure and promote offsite projects' outcomes against site-built projects' outcomes.