The Future Is Prefab

Laura M. Porinchak / October 2019

Although prefabrication has been around for a while, the current shortage of skilled, qualified workers has made some contractors look twice at both prefab and panelization. For the article that begins on page 29, we asked AWCI member contractors to tell us about their prefab experiences. Some tell us they’re not using it or seeing any sign of it, but everyone is aware of it and the difference it can make. Several are so involved with it that they have set up prefabrication divisions within their own company.
    
Our members discuss the pros and cons of going in this direction, but I can’t help but see more pro than con to this business strategy. We have discussed robots, artificial intelligence and virtual reality in past articles, but those seem far in the future. Regardless of when these future trends become reality, the human touch is always going to be needed. It seems to me that prefabrication may be the trend to dive into—now. Give the article a read and let me know if you agree.
    
For those who don’t interact with the writer of this article on a regular interview basis, I should point out that this is the last article that will be penned by Ulf Wolf. Ulf has been writing for us for at least 10 years (I’ve lost track!), and he has forged great relationships with some of our members. But if you have enjoyed his work, you don’t have to give him up completely. Ulf’s writings, which include poems, songs and other stories, can be found on the internet at wolfstuff.com and on Twitter at @Ulfku. Check him out!
    
The next feature starts on page 37 and is about branding, including the single worst brand-building mistake your company can make. Our author, who wrote a book called “Forging an Ironclad Brand: A Leader’s Guide,” give great examples of failed branding but also delves into what makes it work. Here’s a hint: It’s all about your customers.
    
Finally, bid alternates are the subject of the article on page 40. Steve Saucerman, our writer, provides advice on this subject based on his 40-plus years as a commercial construction estimator. You’re going to want to read this article because Saucerman discusses “the adverse economic effect that bid alternates have on not only the commercial construction bid process itself, but also (and far more importantly) on the building client’s bottom line.” It’s sound advice, I think, with a little humor thrown in, as is his style.
    
Other highlights in this issue of AWCI’s Construction Dimensions include the Fall New Product Guide (page 23) and all your favorite columnists. Enjoy!