Tips for How to Reap the Benefits of Prefabrication
with Superintendent Tony Soddy
In today’s market, prefabrication can make the difference for a successful project. The Haselden team is well-versed in prefabrication, from exterior wall panels to fully finished bathroom pods that simply need to be set in place and connected to utilities. Currently, we are working on a project that takes exterior panels one step further by completing the exterior masonry finishes in the warehouse.
Prefabricated, prefinished exterior wall panels can have a myriad of construction benefits including higher quality, more consistent finishes, lower costs, and a reduction in the schedule by 30 to 60 days. To take full advantage of all the benefits these prefab panels provide, great teamwork and project management is crucial.
Precision is key with curtain wall systems and panels coming together at the exterior of a building. If any component is not coordinated or is fabricated incorrectly, the rework can set the schedule back significantly, adding costly labor time. Our superintendents are all trained to set their own layout off surveyed gridlines, eliminating the need for a third party surveyor to layout each panel. This helps us to maximize construction speed by reducing the steps needed to begin and gives our team complete ownership of the process. Having the layout of the masonry finish planned prior to fabrication gives our team the opportunity to coordinate the coursing of the exterior panels and carefully sequence the installation. In doing so, we are able to avoid awkward joints or abrupt finishes so that the final product is identical to traditional masonry methods. The lead superintendent understands how to guide the entire project team creating a direct line for any questions, minimizing delays.
Partnerships are essential to success with prefabrication. Even though this is no longer considered a new method, working closely with subcontractors and the building officials is key to ensuring the project capitalizes on time and budget savings. We meet with subcontractors early on to understand their challenges and facilitate coordination with the prefab panel installers. When the structure and exterior are coordinated early, it identifies any potential challenges and ensures construction is a smooth and speedy process. Our team defines quality control methods months in advance with each subcontractor to ensure that the panels are built correctly and are ready to be installed on the scheduled date. They are built in a controlled environment which removes several factors that could contribute to quality issues. Additionally, inspections are performed at the prefabrication warehouse, as coordinated with the building officials, removing another step in the installation process on site. This also makes quality control reviews more effective because each panel can be inspected on the ground for mistakes or issues, creating a more uniform finish and better overall quality.
An experienced team is crucial to fully utilizing the benefits of prefabrication. Building partnerships with the subcontractors and taking ownership of the installation ensures the final finish is seamless and elegant. If you are considering this method for your next project, don’t hesitate to reach out!