We've all heard the industry rumblings from different teams trying to tackle to prefab problem, but how much of that is marketing and how much is reality?
Historically, prefab construction dates back to about 3800 BC but really didn't take off until the turn of the 20th century with Sears Roebuck & Co's house kits. Sears sold over 100,000 of these simple cookie-cutter houses during the first half of the 20th century after which they fell mostly out of popularity. Over time, the US instituted very strict building codes for prefab construction and states and local municipalities piled on their own rules which made it impossible to design a kit that could be built in any location without severe modification.
With the advent of BIM (Building Information Modeling) designers have refocused on prefab as a possible path again. BIM allows designers to collaborate swiftly and seamlessly to achieve prefab designs that can be more modular. We're now able to swap out components to adhere to local codes and regulations without disturbing the overall design. A new approach with allows architects to focus on design, and structural and MEPF engineers to focus on what they do best.