Deep 3D features in the facade were created in the white panels

Changing the Construction Narrative

By Greg Otto, Project Executive

“To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often” – Winston Churchill 

Our world is changing rapidly. Industries across sectors are constantly evolving as they shift to meet the growing consumer demands. However, although it is the largest industry in the world, Construction remains the last major industry to change. While this has been allowed to continue for a large period of time, COVID has drastically altered the landscape. Rather than encouraging change, it is forcing an exponential amount of change upon every sector, not excluding the construction industry. Whether we are ready or not, change is upon us.  

Inside the manufacturing plant of Clark Pacific located in Woodland California
Off site prefabrication production plant

COVID is not the only factor calling for change. The combination of costs skyrocketing, a housing crisis in California and a burst in population has created an urgent need for a social response. However, these problems are not new to the construction industry. In a study conducted in February 2020, the Lean Construction Institute found that average projects were behind schedule 35% of the time and overbudget 42% of the time. Best projects showed little improvement with results displaying 26% of the time behind schedule and over budget 38% of the time. LCI goes on to explain that prefabrication solutions solve these problems in multiple ways, yet it remains less popular.  

PARC Prefabrication Approach

The solutions exist, so why the hesitancy? Clark Pacific has been doing off site construction for over 60 years and witnessed firsthand the evolution of the industry as it balances the fight between comfortable traditional construction and intimidating innovational solutions. The reason comes down to the fact that we are creatures of habit. Although a McKinsey study states that prefab is expected to grow exponentially, the industry remains the same. Additionally, Prefabrication remains untaught in universities and a field one must learn on the job rather than in the classroom, adding to the comfort associated with traditional construction. The industry is old and although it has blaring flaws, there is a degree of beauty in the disaster and disorder that comes with something that has fought the test of time for so long.  

Clark Pacific provides the industry with the needed switch to prefabrication, but one of the largest concerns exists in the change in work structure. Rather than the typical linear “ramp-up” with traditional construction, in prefab you must switch into a parallel work structure, creating a larger emphasis on teamwork in the work environment. For owners, a 100% commitment is necessary to achieve all of the benefits in this cost-effective solution that mitigates risk.  

While COVID is indeed forcing change, it is also allowing a space for change. Whereas before, people were comfortable with where construction was at because the economy hurried on unaffected, now the world has slowed to a pace unimaginable just 10 months ago. We can use this unique time period to reshape the construction industry, create an industry that doesn’t improve only when absolutely necessary, but strives for perfection through changing often.   

ENR: A New Approach: Using Prefabrication Methods and Technologies To Transform Business Models​

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Clark Pacific discusses how they adopted technology throughout the whole life cycle of a project to build better with accelerated schedules and reduced costs for their customers. 

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Presenter: Greg Otto – Project Executive

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