It is no secret that prefabrication can be a gamechanger on any project, and that is why Newport Industries has invested heavily in personnel, space, and equipment for prefabricating materials. Newport Industries began prefabricating materials for jobsites more than a decade ago. This initial prefabrication operation was used sparingly and only for certain projects. Since then, there has been a gradual, but colossal growth in sophistication for the entire operation.
Leadership and employees worked to standardize processes and procedures throughout the Prefabrication Department, and this has allowed Newport Industries to improve the scale in which materials are assembled. The department has a permanent warehouse in Gurnee, Illinois, and two satellite locations available on-demand in both Rockford and Rolling Meadows. The team ranges anywhere from six to twenty electricians depending on the season. The Prefabrication Department services more than forty Division Managers and diligently tracks yearly output and assembly quality.
What is prefabrication?
In the simplest terms, prefabrication is the assembly of materials in a different location than the jobsite. There are numerous benefits to this process, but each benefit ultimately affects one of the following: safety, efficiency, and quality.
The most important factor on a job of any size, location, value, and complexity is always safety. The conditions of a jobsite are very unpredictable due to weather, foot traffic, noise, and other factors. Prefabricating materials in a controlled environment away from the jobsite removes many risk-increasing factors from the process. When using prefabrication on a typical Newport Industries project, electricians are assembling products in our prefabrication warehouse in Gurnee, Illinois. Men and women working in the warehouse are:
- Sheltered from the elements of a hot Summer, harsh Winter, or wet Spring
- Wearing the proper safety gear and equipped with the necessary tools
- Commonly trained and supervised with factory-like procedures and processes
- Free from jockeying for jobsite space with other trades
- In a clean environment with designated receptacles for shipping and handling debris
Prefabricating materials counts as labor for the respective project, but it saves an enormous amount of time at the jobsite while installing devices. Many projects have slim windows for a trade to finish their work before the next trade has to step in and take care of their business. Prefabrication allows Newport Industries to install devices and complex electrical systems within the confines of a lean construction schedule. In addition to making the actual installation process quicker and more efficient, prefabrication also cuts down on the time it takes to assemble materials due to the controlled and factory-like conditions of the prefabrication warehouse. Several electricians in the warehouse repeatedly assembling the same device are going to be much faster than electricians in the field battling the elements and other jobsite obstacles. Repetition and controlled environment are two major factors increasing efficiency in the prefabrication operation.
In addition to safety and efficiency, the usage of prefabrication also improves the quality of devices assembled. Assembling devices in a controlled environment allows for more precise measurement and additional quality control. Electricians in the prefabrication warehouse are often building the same device several times in a row. This repetition and the controlled environment lead to increased precision. Before leaving the warehouse, items are checked to be sure they are exact in measurements and functionality. In 2020, 148,889 devices were checked before leaving their respective warehouses. The Prefabrication Department had an outstanding 99.98388% good count in the second half of 2020 in terms of production issues.
There are virtually no downfalls to using prefabrication on projects. Newport Industries has gone as far as renting satellite warehouses to utilize prefabrication for projects far from the permanent prefabrication warehouse. Additionally, trucks have been used to transport prefabricated materials to out-of-town projects. Ultimately, Newport Industries’ prefabrication capabilities allow for the job to be completed within the predetermined lean construction schedule AND with increased safety and quality control.