The challenges confronting the growth of sustainable prefabricated building construction in Australia: Construction industry views

Satheeskumar Navaratnam*, Aarani Satheeskumar, Guomin Zhang, Kate Nguyen, Srikanth Venkatesan, Keerthan Poologanathan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The construction industry has played a huge role in sustaining the economy of Australia during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. However, construction activities tend to be limited due to the restrictions on travel, transport, and workforce availability which in turn affects the lack of materials and workforce for construction. On the other hand, the prefabricated construction method is known to provide a sustainable solution to reduce the labour and material demand. However, prefabricated construction methods are less preferred over traditional construction in Australia. This is due to the lack of knowledge on the benefits, limitation, design and construction of the prefabricated construction. Therefore, in this study, the authors have conducted a survey to identify the construction industry views on the prefabricated construction in terms of sustainability, technical, cultural, economic, practical and other aspects. A total of 310 construction professionals responded, and the data were analysed using both qualitative (thematic) and quantitative (Severity index) analyses. Results revealed that reduced construction time, high levels of quality control, and reduced on-site noise and disruption were the major benefits when using prefabricated construction compared to traditional construction. The restrictions and limitations of transport; reduced on-site design flexibility; and shortage of specialised workforce hindered the growth of prefabricated construction. These survey results also highlighted that production and manufacturing of prefabricated construction are not affected significantly by the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, significant amount of traditional, residential and commercial construction projects were replaced by prefabricated construction during Covid-19 pandemic, suggesting a future growth in prefabricated construction in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103935
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
Volume48
Early online date1 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022

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