From Marriott’s modular construction initiative for its hotels to Google planning 300 modular apartment units in San Francisco, forward-thinking companies are turning to off-site construction to get projects completed despite a tight labor market. Even fast food outlets like McDonald’s and Taco Bell are beginning to use modular construction, reports Construction Dive.
A survey by the National Institute of Building Sciences unveiled that as far back as 2014, 93% of U.S. AEC industry respondents had used offsite methods “to some degree” in the prior year. And now, Market Research Future, an India-based firm, predicts the worldwide modular construction market will grow at a 6% compound annual rate through 2022.
A key driver of this growth in the U.S. is that construction activity is at the peak levels of 2007, yet 100,000 fewer skilled laborers are available. In light of this ongoing labor squeeze, “It is much more efficient for an owner, developing properties in multiple regions, to contract with one or two modular factories rather than trying to find workers in several labor markets — and likely at differing rates,” says Tom Hardiman, executive director at the Modular Building Institute.
Just as industries ranging from consumer products to food and vehicles rely on factory construction to produce their goods, the building industry is steadily making the shift with off-site construction.