What is the history of pre-fabricated structures?
History of pre-fabricated structures changes the need of today’s industrialization with easy to install & easy to access components. This pre-fabricated Building components and Units are made in a factory and then transported and assembled on-site to make a complete structure. In short, units are made in a factory and assembled on site. The structures are also called ‘prefabs.
When a pre-fabricated building is preferred?
- Unavailability of suitable material-
A Prefabricated building is preferred when the material required for construction is unavailable locally. The required material is made available at the factory and building units and components are made from that material. Then the units are transported and assembled on site. Thus, the problem of the unavailability of a material locally can be overcome.
- Speedy construction Requirement-
A prefabricated building is preferred when there is a requirement of speedy construction. As components and units are manufactured in a factory much time is saved on-site and the building gets erected quickly.
- Shortage of skilled labor-
If there is a shortage of skilled labor for the construction of building then a prefabricated structure is the best solution. It saves construction costs sufficiently.
History of Prefabricated structures
In early history, there are several examples of prefabrication technology which was used in defense and housing. From ancient Roman forts to French Eifel tower they are all prefabs.
Cape Ann is considered as first prefabricated building in history which is built in 1624 in England. The building was made from wood which was subsequently disassembled, moved and reassembled many times.
In 1837 Henry manning, a British carpenter made portable cottages which can be considered as a good example of prefabrication structure. The cottages were known as ‘Manning’cottages. Cottages were transported to Australia for British emigrants. After this experiment export of prefabs was increased to Australia. In 1853 hundreds of prefabricated structures were arrived at Australia which was exported from Boston, Liverpool, London. They were all made from Chinese driven prefab technology.
In 1851, The crystal palace was erected at Hyde Park is an excellent example of a prefabrication structure. The palace was erected for exhibition and built by cast-iron columns and girders. The frames were made from wood and glass. The structure could be reassembled and disassembled completely.
During the Crimean war in 1855, Isambard kingdom Brunel constructed 1000 patient capacity hospitals in prefab technology which was known as Renkoi hospital in just 5 months. The hospital was well equipped with toilets, ventilation, and sanitation. This was the first time where sanitary units were also designed in the prefabricated building.
In late 19th century German company Christoph and Unmack started manufacturing timber prefabricated homes and exported to Australia and Asia.
A British engineer John Alexander Brodie is considered a pioneer in the promotion of Reinforced concrete pre-fabricated structure. The precast technology in reinforced concrete was cheap and quick therefore it got famous all over Europe especially in Eastern Europe. John also constructed the first experimental house in Eldon street in 1903. He was also a city engineer for Liverpool. Later he made a model for cheap cottages and exhibited in many places.
In California during Gold Rush mass migration happened. Due to mass migration, there was a requirement of accommodation to be built quickly. Multiple prefabricated homes were built during this period.
Prefabricated buildings became popular during the second world war. It was needed for military personnel to build their accommodation quickly. Many types of prefabricated structures were built during this period.
- Quonset hut
It is a lightweight prefabricated structure that was built by semi galvanized steel. It has a semi-circular cross-section. It was designed and manufactured by the USA navy for the first time. Later, Huts were manufactured by independent contractors in many countries in the world.
- Nissen hut
Nissen hut was designed in the British army by American born engineer Peter Norman Nissen. The shape of Nissen hut is half-cylindrical and covered by corrugated steel sheets. It was invented by the first world war but extensively used in the second world war.
- Bellman hanger
Bellman hanger is a prefab was invented by N S bellman in 1936. He was a structural engineer in the Air Ministry of the United Kingdom. It is a roof and wall structure made from rolled steel sections. The roof trusses were assembled at the ground and then lifted and placed on the wall structure.
Prefabricated housing was used extensively by the USA for military troops in the 1950s and 1960s. Also, Prefabs were used in Britain for constructing classrooms during the baby boom in this period. Many prefabricated structures were designed for the life span of 5-10 years but many of them have survived till now. For example, Bristol city has 700 numbers of prefabs that have survived till now.
Housing scheme by the government of the United Kingdom
Ministry of Works Emergency, United Kingdom drafted scheme under Housing act 1944 under the provision of the Burt committee. Under this scheme, thousands of prefabricated structures were built for people who became homeless due to war. Also, structures became useful at the time of slum clearance too. Almost 16000 structures were built under this scheme for the spent of 216 million Euros (£216).
After the second world war, European countries faced huge losses physically and economically. Many cities were destructed during wartime and economies went into a poor state. There was an instant need for the construction of accommodation for people who became homeless due to war. At that time Prefabricated structure became a revival for both people and the economy.
Today Prefab technology is commonly used in building partially or fully. Currently, many countries are building multi-storeyed hospitals, schools, residential and commercial buildings by using prefab technology.
McDonald’s uses prefab technology to build its infrastructure. McDonald’s holds the record of constructing and opening their building for business within 13 hours by using prefab technology.
Prefabricated structures manufacturers in Delhi
RituTech is one of the leading and best-prefabricated structure manufacturers in Delhi and prefabricated structure manufacturers in Noida. RituTech offers solutions like Colour Coated Metal Roofing & Cladding Sheets, Turbo Ventilators, Ridge Ventilators & many more. The service offered by the company to the clients is unmatchable and delivered on time.