Current challenges in bringing architectural design to the prefab space often lead to discussion on the restrictions that this process will place on architect's designs.
There are many building components like structural and decorative steelwork, balustrades, joinery units, doors, windows, precast concrete and facade cladding, that have been prefabricated off site and installed or assembled in place. There is no good reason why the approach to these building elements cannot be extended to include walls, bathrooms, laundries, parts of or even entire buildings. Technology is now making this possible.
Construction technologies today are helping to transform the way New Zealander's build by:
- Creating high quality, innovative buildings
- Increasing efficiency, precision, productivity and affordability
- Decreasing timeframes and costs
- Reducing construction waste
- Embracing new technologies
- Advancing the New Zealand manufacturing sector
Greater participation from architects and designers would help ensure that the sales pitch for modular, off-site or prefab buildings is not only directed at breaching negative public perception of the process, but also promoting its potential advantages.
This is where Metra Panel Systems Ltd has become part of the move towards more accurate, sustainable, safer and smarter building technologies — where prefabrication can play a significant part of the future built environment in New Zealand.
The adjustment to prefabrication and off-site manufacture may not be prohibitively hard, as Metra Panel see it as simply another stage in the design evolution.
The Metra Panel system lends itself to the prefab technology currently seen more in the residential housing market, but some of the best examples are schools, accommodation, retirement villages and age care facilities. Given the standardised nature of these buildings, prefab or off-site construction can offer innovation, design quality, construction quality, sustainability and value.
Successful prefab or off-site construction is made easier when all parties are at the table in the early stages of the design process. Early stakeholder engagement allows Metra Panel (with its in-house design team) to talk to clients, architects, designers and builders about simplified, solution-based options that prefabrication with its panel system can bring to a design.
Exciting times ahead!