Taking Advantage of Prefabrication Techniques

Taking Advantage of Prefabrication Techniques

How to make prefabrication work for you and your electrical company

In a technical session this morning at the NECA 2016 Show, Mark Federle, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Marquette University, shared some insights on how to better leverage a prefabrication program at your contracting company.

The information he presented was based on a project led by ELECTRI International, Bethesda, Md. It focused on prefabrication tactics being used among the following case study participants:

• 2 non-union electrical contractors

• 10 NECA electrical contractors

• 3 mechanical contractors

The results were grouped into three categories:

• Contractors looking for basic tactics to get started

• Contractors using prefab now but looking for tips to kick their program up to the next level

• Seasoned prefab contractors looking to fine tune their programs

Beginner Tactics

For those of you that are just trying to get started down the prefab path, here’s a list of best practices to get started:

• Smart small — pick a project with a high likelihood of success

• Clean up your storage space throw things out and sell or donate excess inventory (but don’t expect to get more than 15% on the dollar for the items you sell off)

• Use your own warehouse space to increase productivity

• Buy prefab materials directly from vendors

• Assign one of your best foreman to oversee the prefab group

• Use apprentices in your prefab shop, if allowed (this is good training ground for new workers)

• Measure your success by cost code category tracking

Advanced Tactics

For those of you that have been doing prefab work for a while now, here’s a list of some ideas to improve your current situation:

• Place your materials into bins for specific jobs

• Reduce your equipment packaging as much as possible (don’t make your electricians deal with unpacking and disposal practices)

• Provide more time for planning when it comes to analyzing what prefab options you might have on a specific project

• Set up long term purchasing agreements with your suppliers

• Develop software to support productivity measurement/productivity

Highly Advanced Tactics

For those of you that have been doing prefab work for a while now, here’s a list of some ideas to improve your current situation:

• Increase modeling to support prefab

• Look for additional ways to modularize focus on activities that fall in the critical path

• Employ prefab techniques right on the jobsite this will probably require you to perform work on night or weekends when other trades on not on site

The bottom line on the prefab front is that if implemented and managed properly it will deliver labor savings in the range of 15% to 35%.

TAGS: Construction
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