China Saw Decent Growth in Prefabricated Building Exports into the EU

Builders' Carpentry And Joinery July 27, 2015
Author: Olga Minchina
Account Manager

China and the U.S. were the main suppliers of prefabricated buildings into the EU, with a combined share of 39.8% of total extra-EU imports in 2013. However, the fastest growing suppliers from 2007 to 2013 were Ukraine (+7.7% per year) and the United Arab Emirates (+7.6% per year). China significantly strengthened its position in the extra-EU import structure, from 16.3% in 2007 to 28.8% in 2013.

In 2013, Norway (27.7%), Switzerland (20.1%), the Russian Federation (11.1%), Japan (6.1%) and Mexico (3.3%) were the leading destinations of extra-EU exports, together making up 65.0% of total exports in physical terms. While the share of Norway increased, the share of the Russian Federation illustrated negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.

Taking into account intra-EU trade, Italy dominated in EU prefabricated building production and it was one of the leading EU countries in the trade. In 2013, Italy exported 4.7% of its total prefabricated buildings output. Of this amount, 11.9% was supplied into France, where Italy's prefabricated buildings held 1% share of total France's consumption.

Prefabrication is applicable in construction projects where the majority of the construction work is effectuated off-site in a factory. Ready-made pieces are delivered and assembled on site, ultimately forming a completed house. Prefabricated buildings bridge the gap between manufactured housing and traditionally built homes, offering many of the benefits and opportunities of each.

Fabricating a building at a central location is less time consuming than building a house on-site from scratch. Depending on the type of construction, a job that normally takes months to complete on-site can be finished, using the prefabricated method, in days or even hours.

In addition, components produced off-site can often be manufactured to tighter specifications and from better raw materials. And since manufacturers are able to use specialized tools and control the manufacturing conditions, the result often exceeds the quality of what is built on-site.

The prefabrication method is also environmentally friendly. Since on-site work is reduced to assembling only prefab components, much less waste is generated at the job site than during common construction methods.
In recent years, architects have been paying more attention to prefab as a legitimate construction method.

Hoping to avoid the mistakes of past attempts to popularize prefab, some architects have been teaming with builders and entrepreneurs to focus not only on the design of finished buildings, but also to create improved processes for generating buildings. Their goal is to productize architecture, just as other commodities.

Source: EU: Prefabricated Buildings - Market Report. Analysis And Forecast To 2020