Once thought of as a low-budget, cheap alternative compared to building parts and components on-site, prefabrication has grown to become one of the most reliable construction techniques in the world today. The widespread use of prefabricated parts reduces bottlenecks in construction, improves safety, and keeps unnecessary clutter out of jobsites. However, there will always be inherent challenges involved in making precision-cut parts and shipping them across cities, states, or even countries.
Thanks to the combination of MSUITE 3D BIM software and TigerStop hardware, prefabrication can be more reliable and more efficient than ever before. Let’s look at some of the benefits Gallo Mechanical achieved while using TigerStop machines and MSUITE’s BIM software to prefabricate.
Benefits of Prefabrication
Prefabrication, in general, refers to the off-site production of any product or piece of a construction project. While it is commonly considered synonymous with modular prefabrication—where entire sections of a building are built off-site then shipped to the work site to be slapped into place—the two are not always the same. Modular construction is just one type of prefabrication, but there are many others.
In some ways, prefabrication is one of the oldest construction techniques in existence. The iron rails on the cross-continental railroad weren’t forged on-site, after all, and the massive stones of Stonehenge were quarried 160 miles away (quite the distance to ship in the pre-industrial era). But en masse prefabrication of basic building components—piping, lumber, beams, and braces—is fairly new. Historically, these materials would be produced off-site but then cut into the relevant sizes on the work site itself.
Outsourcing the bulk of this work to off-site production has had many concrete benefits for workers, companies, and neighborhoods:
- Better-quality materials. When materials can be produced in controlled conditions, they’re more likely to be made up to spec and without defects. (Just ask any carpenter who’s tried to cut wood while it’s raining.)
- Less cluttered jobsites. When you need the pipe cutter, the pipe cutter’s machinery, and all of the raw pipes on-site, that’s space that could be used by something else—or just could create a safe pathway to walk. Keeping production personnel and materials off the site means a site that’s less cluttered, and ultimately safer.
- Fewer annoyances to neighbors. Anyone who’s ever lived near a building going up knows how loud it can be. Outsourcing part production to factories and workshops makes the process slightly less of a nuisance, and it can reduce traffic too.
- Safer projects. Even when all parties are abiding by all relevant safety standards, a circular saw is always going to prevent some form of danger. People are human and make mistakes—or lose their balance. Keeping potentially dangerous machinery off your work site is never a bad idea when there are alternatives.
However, producing parts off-site has one major drawback compared to on-site production: measurements must be exact. On a jobsite, it’s very quick to “measure twice, cut once”—you can immediately measure wherever a piece is needed then tell the part producer what dimensions are required. Things can be produced to-order on the spot.
Fortunately, thanks to the precision of MSUITE 3D BIM software and the reliability of TigerStop, prefabrication can be every bit as reliable as on-site work.
MSUITE BIM and TigerStop: Prefabrication Made Exact
3D BIM (building information modeling) is an excellent way to create models of projects as they are and as they are expected to be. It is an invaluable tool for construction projects, as detailed 3D models combined with regular LiDAR scans can show how real-world production is proceeding compared with the plans. But ultimately, even if you have a computer model showing the exact specifications of every part, humans still make mistakes, right? There’s no way to guarantee exact measurements every time, even in prefabrication, right? Wrong. That’s where TigerStop comes in.
Through our powerful yet easy-to-use equipment setups, TigerStop guarantees precision and consistency in prefabrication. When paired with the information from 3D BIM software, projects will be more efficient than ever. Here are five benefits of TigerStop-powered prefabrication.
1: Reduce Scrap & Waste
Many project managers think that it’s not a problem to have scrap byproducts since they can be sold and repurposed. This is blatantly wrong. Excess scrap costs your company money you don’t have to spend. When you’re accurately cutting your materials, you’ll save money.
2: Lower Material Costs
On the other side of the scrap problem, budgeting a certain percentage of your material to excess waste means you’re simply buying more raw materials than you need to be buying. When you have the precision of a TigerStop, you can buy fewer materials since you know you won’t make as much waste. This doesn’t just reduce your overhead, it reduces your bid quotes, helping your company land more work.
3: Ensure Accuracy, Even When Plans Change
Imagine a world where a pre-construction survey located something about the work site that meant plans had to change. The architect drafts up revised plans, but human error means these plans don’t get sent to the prefabricators, or the prefabricators don’t make the changes themselves. Either way, all materials produced are for the old building, resulting in delays and costly fixes. With modern cloud-based BIM software, all teams are connected: design, shop, and field construction. An update in the site plan is instantly forwarded to the machine shop, which can easily adjust the TigerStop numbers.
4: Reduce Production Time
We’re proud to have created a product at TigerStop that’s intuitive and easily usable, even by newer or less-skilled workers. Our integrations with popular 3D BIM products mean that the process is even further streamlined, with specifications being sent to our products automatically. This saves time, effort, and ultimately money.
5: Eliminate Paper Clutter
Any veteran machine shop worker remembers the days where no matter the parts you were producing, the most common material filling the shop was paper. Job orders, blueprints, notes on part dimensions—stacks of paper as far as the eye could see. Using 3D BIM software turns this paperwork digital, and TigerStop loves digital. Clear your workshop floor from paper clutter, make sure your paperwork is digitized and tracked for accountability, and make sure your workers have a safer space.
When you pair 3D BIM software and TigerStop like Gallo Mechanical, you get a more efficient, more cost-effective, and safer workshop and construction site. Any construction manager interested in realizing these benefits should contact TigerStop today.