Pre-fabricated construction is finding a small but growing niche in commercial real estate.
Using CAD (computer-aided design), it's now possible to build the components of an office building, a retail store, or even a hospital in a factory and then assemble the parts on site. Doing so yields much lower costs, little downtime, and a higher degree of architectural detail.
Why pre-fab construction?
I saw an article in Forbes about the snap-together construction of office buildings, schools, and even convenience stores like 7-Elevens. The giant health care provider Kaiser Permanente is now even building some of its medical buildings in factories.
These kinds of commercial buildings are built in components and shipped IKEA-style in flat crates. Then all the pieces are hooked together onsite and you get a more solid and environmentally-friendly building than you would with traditional sticks-up building.
I've long been fan of commercial prefab. But right now, this only accounts for 1.5% of commercial construction. Yet it will grow slowly over time. And there will come a time when there will have to be very special circumstance for anybody to consider doing a building sticks up!
This is a massive rethink of how construction is done and it will save so much energy, money, and time.