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A Preliminary Overview of Emerging Trends for Industrialized Construction in the United States

TitleA Preliminary Overview of Emerging Trends for Industrialized Construction in the United States
Publication TypeTechnical Report
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsPullen, T, Hall, D, Lessing, J
Date Published02/2019
Keywordsindustrialize construction, modular, offsite, preassembly, such as prefabrication, volumetric construction

This paper seeks to capture and analyze the recent growth in industrialized construction in North America from new and existing companies. The concepts and technologies of industrialized construction (IC) - such as prefabrication, preassembly, modular, offsite, and volumetric construction - are relatively well-established. However, the sudden attraction of large-scale investments for entrepreneurial firms adopting these strategies is unprecedented in the AEC sector. The causes of this interest are varied and outside of the scope of this paper. Instead, , this paper provides an  overview for the current status and potential future of practitioners in this space. To do so, we compare the orientations of industrialized construction firms in the United States across a broad  spectrum of categories comprising target markets, business models, and basic strategic details. This white paper reports on high level trends for industrialized construction spreading across the AEC sector in the United States. Specifically, we find nine distinct trends evident in the data across the last two decades:

1. IC companies are growing in number
2. IC is attracting investor funding
3. IC companies emerge from different origins
4. California is leading the United States market
5. The majority of the companies are building volumetric modular
6. Structural system type correlates with building height; mid- and low-rise leads the market
7. IC companies are vertically and horizontally integrated
8. Most IC companies are targeting housing
9. The affordable housing market is active despite a lack of investment

Overall, we find that industrialized construction companies are generating the investment, strategic variety, capacity, and ambition to be worthy of serious attention across the AEC sector. The white paper concludes with future opportunities and strategies yet to be taken that may be important in achieving meaningful differentiation. These include the role of city governments, investment in operations and maintenance, the use of factory automation, and possibilities for more business integration. As old and new firms expand, business models mature, and effective technologies are implemented, more in-depth research can build upon this white paper to yield additional insights and trends for industrialized construction in the United States.

Citation Key1761