Talent and Tech: The Keys to Unlocking Prefabrication Success 

prefabrication construction people and technology

In the race to meet surging construction demand and reduce risk, the industry is turning to innovative solutions such as prefabrication and modular construction to increase productivity and protect margins.  

This shift isn't just a passing trend; the prefabricated buildings market is expected to surpass $227.7 billion by 2023, with a steady CAGR of 6.85%. Across the pond, 95% of UK construction companies plan to embrace emerging technologies like prefabrication and 3D printing by 2027. 

Prefab and modular construction are clearly making waves but going from traditional construction practices to these new methods isn’t as easy as just flipping a switch. There's a significant learning curve when it comes to using prefab for construction, and you need to ensure that you equip your teams with the right tools to get the most out of prefabrication.  

In other words, you need the right combination of people and technology to execute prefab and modular construction.  

In this guide, we'll shed light on worker upskilling best practices to help you recruit talent who can effectively harness the power of these innovations. We'll also discuss some of the top prefabrication technologies accelerating this trend.  

Let's dive in.  

Upskilling the workforce 

Investing in methods like prefabrication gives firms the opportunity to level up their talent pool and close the labor gap—but only if their workforce have the proper skill set.  

Most construction companies recognize this today. In fact, more than 90% of respondents to the Autodesk 2023 State of Design & Make report say that upskilling is important to their companies. What's more, over half of the firms in the study indicate that they are hiring employees who lack the skills needed for their positions and plan to train them. 

This naturally leads us to wonder: what skills and expertise should organizations encourage and advance in their teams? 

There's no one correct answer to this question, of course, as every firm is different. Here are some areas in which we recommend upskilling your staff, particularly regarding prefabrication and modular construction.  

Design and BIM 

Prefabrication is all about building a structure's elements offsite and assembling them on location. While this methodology is quite different from traditional construction, prefab requires detailed planning to ensure all components fit together at the final assembly point. 

This is where design and BIM training comes in.  

Teams well-versed in BIM and design platforms can take project specifications and transform them into detailed digital representations of future structures. They can also use BIM to spot design flaws and issues early so they can be addressed before the prefabrication process.  

Additionally, firms can leverage BIM to gain a more comprehensive view of the project to coordinate various components and make sure the project stays on schedule. This is especially crucial for prefabrication and modular construction, where efficiency, time, and cost savings are paramount.  

BIM is such an important component that nearly half (45%) of companies are using BIM for prefab—and we'll likely see this number increase in the coming months and years.  

To get the most out of BIM, training is critical. Investing in design software capabilities is critical, but it's also about developing the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that allow teams to leverage BIM to its full potential. 

Estimation and quantity takeoffs 

Estimation and quantity takeoffs are crucial to the success of prefab construction due to its inherent demand for precision and efficiency in these areas.  

Prefab and modular construction require tightly controlled planning and coordination, so there's very little room for inaccuracies. To be successful, teams need a clear understanding of material needs, labor requirements, and scheduling.  

Ultimately, those who can accurately estimate and allocate resources can bring prefab projects to life on time and with minimal waste. That's why estimation and quantity takeoff skills are vital for driving ideal outcomes in prefab and modular construction projects. 

Interested in taking your preconstruction workflows to the next level? Watch our on-demand webinar: Powering Preconstruction and Prefabrication workflows with BIM and Assemble


Material and resource logistics and management 

There are so many logistical factors involved in prefabrication. While it's true that prefab enables you to build a structure in a more controlled environment (i.e., the offsite facility), manufacturing these components still requires tremendous logistical skill.  

Teams must coordinate with suppliers and be accountable for quality control and timely delivery. This isn't an easy lift; it's a complex orchestration that involves organizing and executing the transportation, storage, and handling of modular components.  

And when it comes to on-site assembly, project teams must see to it that all components arrive on schedule and are put together flawlessly. Again, not an easy lift, especially as teams must navigate site-specific factors like weather conditions, spatial constraints, and integration with other trades. 

All this to say that effective material and resource logistics and management are integral to prefab construction success—so you’ll need a workforce prepared to meet these challenges. 

Manufacturing for preassembly 

Since workers will primarily be offsite, they need to possess trade-specific knowledge, as well as know-how in areas like welding, joinery, machine operations, steel fixing, and quality assurance.  

A background in manufacturing is hugely beneficial, so hire or train your workforce accordingly. Focus on developing their knowledge and skills around production lines, assembly, and safety in a factory setting. 

Beyond that, set your sights on team members who can keep up and evolve when new technologies and methods are introduced. This blend of technical skills and adaptability is critical to thriving in a continually evolving construction landscape. 

Top technology for prefabrication 

Earlier, we mentioned that prefab success hinges on two things: people and technology. Now that we've covered the human side, let's look at some of the prefabrication technologies to consider in your firm.  

Autodesk Architecture, Engineering & Construction Collection  

The Autodesk AEC Collection equips your prefab team with BIM and CAD tools backed by a cloud-based, common data environment. With a collection of tools to facilitate multiple phases of your prefabrication projects (from design to construction), the AEC collection enables stakeholders to design, collaborate and manage multiple elements of project delivery—all from one unified workspace. 

Autodesk Build 

Coordinating the many moving parts of prefab projects is best done with a powerful solution like Autodesk Build. With powerful project management features that can connect your teams and workflows, Autodesk Build streamlines project management, cost control, quality assurance, and more.  

Teams appreciate how Autodesk Build supports the entire project lifecycle. Take, for example, Modular Power Solutions (MPS), which manufactures large-scale, fully integrated modular power systems offsite. Before Autodesk Build, the teams at MPS used spreadsheets and other manual processes to manage and track information and components like RFIs and submittals.  

They've since switched to Autodesk Build and have seen a massive increase in efficiency. Instead of relying on tedious processes and tools, they use Autodesk Build to streamline their RFI and submittals process and keep all the data they need in one system.  

Allied BIM 

Allied BIM enables firms to assemble, spool, and fabricate remotely, saving teams time, money, and reducing material waste. Plus, it seamlessly integrates with Autodesk Construction Cloud, so users can access their project files and Revit models to streamline their prefab projects. 


MSUITE is a cloud-based suite of management software to connect BIM, Fab, and field construction teams. Their seamless integration with Autodesk Construction Cloud streamlines prefab workflows by utilizing 3D Revit models published to Autodesk Build, Autodesk Docs, or BIM 360. 

Users can view digital 2D or 3D drawings and complete work in the shop, including integrations with machines, track data, and productivity through the fabrication workflow. 


STRATUS is a construction procurement, manufacturing, and coordination solution that integrates with Autodesk Build, Autodesk Docs, and BIM 360. Project managers can develop advanced work packages, on-demand reporting, and job tracking from a digital environment. That way, key stakeholders can stay on the same page and access accurate, updated data for more intelligent decision-making. 


Teams can track materials, inventory, tools, assets, and equipment with SiteSense. The platform's inventory management feature digitizes supply chain and materials management, while its Track and Trace capability gives the exact location of materials and equipment in real-time.   

With SiteSense, construction firms can plan and track installation packages, material availability and update stakeholders using dashboards or notifications. Plus, the solution works on mobile and desktop, enabling users to stay on top of assets no matter where they are.  

Evolving the mindset around prefab and modular construction 

Prefab has undoubtedly come a long way, but there are still some misconceptions and outdated mindsets that need to be addressed. Maximizing ROI and outcomes from prefabrication requires us to evolve our thinking and working methods.  

For example, many people think that prefabrication is all about modular boxes and boring buildings that lack innovation and beauty—but this is far from the truth. 

As Amr Raafat, VP of VDC & Technology at Windover Construction, explains in an episode of the Digital Builder podcast, teams can prefabricate attractive and well-designed buildings cost-effectively. 

 "With our prefabrication techniques and our focus on data and technology, we can really produce beautiful designs that could be flexible and respond to client needs," shares Amr. 

He adds, "Our design teams can actually innovate and be more creative in terms of functionality." 

It also helps to broaden our perception of prefabrication. We need to recognize that prefab isn't just about assembly; it's about strategically planning, designing, and innovating for efficiency and quality. 

Bringing it all together 

Implementing prefab and modular construction calls for a holistic approach: upskilling the workforce, adopting innovative technologies, and shifting our mindsets around these building methods. This combination lays the groundwork for a future where construction professionals fabricate beautiful and innovative structures in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.  

Interested in taking your workflows to the next level? Watch our on-demand webinar: Powering Preconstruction and Prefabrication workflows with BIM and Assemble


Jeremy Wallin

As Manager of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships at Autodesk, Jeremy has been instrumental in driving market presence and sales revenue for nearly a decade. His expertise lies in aiding both budding software startups and established Fortune 1000 companies in their growth journeys. Jeremy joined Autodesk 2018, following the acquisition of PlanGrid. He has since been at the forefront of managing go-to-market strategies, overseeing the Autodesk Build App Gallery, and fostering ecosystem growth. He currently collaborates with over 275 integration partners at Autodesk Construction Cloud, ensuring seamless operations and strategic alignment. Passionate about enabling growth, Jeremy's focus extends beyond business objectives to helping customers maximize their data utility. His commitment to customer success is reflected in his continuous efforts to provide innovative solutions that allow construction teams to do more with their data.