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Prefab components catching the attention of residential developers

Photo courtesy of Ontario Construction Secretariat via Twitter

Ontario Construction Secretariat recently held an innovation in construction seminar, with David Moses as a panelist, exploring prefabricated component design in multi-unit residential construction.

Daily Commercial News writes:

Modular and prefabricated component designs are catching the attention of more residential developers in Toronto — particularly for five- to 15-storey projects because a shortage of available trades that do conventional construction in concrete, for example, can leave developers waiting up to 18 months for trades.

“A lot of these smaller developers are looking for alternative solutions and one of those is prefab,” Zenon Radewych, principal, WZMH Architects.

Radewych was one of three panelists at a innovation in construction seminar presented at the Ontario Construction Secretariat’s recent State of the Industry and Outlook Conference. The panel was moderated by Mike Yorke, president, Carpenters Local 27.

Radewych said WZMH has made modular and prefab component design a key focus. Ontario “has an amazing opportunity” to develop a prefabrication industry in Ontario, the country and international markets….

David Moses, of Moses Structural Engineers, told delegates that prefabrication is in “poly-controlled” conditions of factories where safety standards are a priority and quality is paramount. “In terms of worker satisfaction, I hope that these are good jobs to have.”

Moses said there is a shift from a focus on energy efficiency in buildings to a movement that accounts for the embodied energy of all the materials in a building’s construction.

He said it is why wood “is a great option” for structures but some other materials used in facades, for example, can come at an environmental cost. “We need to be thinking about a whole system.”

Mass timber designs have become an important part of Moses’ firm’s work. He said around the world the production of cross-laminated timber for structures doubled between 2010 and 2015 and then doubled again in the next three years.

Providing mass timber products to keep up with the demand might be a challenge but Moses said several plants opening soon in North America will “basically double our capacity.”

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