From Onsite Construction to Offsite Modular Solutions

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Cross-Sections brings to you bite-size conversations with host Anthony Gude as he chats with colleagues and leaders in the construction and industrial ecosystem. Gude spoke with Brandon Searle, The Innovation Director of the Offsite Construction Research Center at the University of New Brunswick, which studies the “Current trends in the construction industry reflect the need to adopt technological advances and initiate a transformational shift from conventional on-site construction to a Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) approach.”

This episode touches on private/public partnerships, private/academic partnerships, funding research, and some other exciting things Searle has on his plate. First, they touch on a topic Gude is passionate about: offsite and industrialized construction. To Searle, offsite and industrialized construction have similarities, while modular pre-fab is somewhat different.

“If you go to certain countries, they’re going to refer to everything as modular”, Searle said. He noted the differences in the lingo of what England and Australia refer to as modular or offsite construction.

They dug into the difference between micro and macro level projects. At the research center, Searle and his team try to scan and improve the whole industry. Micro is specific to an organization’s need, which is most likely applicable to its competitors. He elaborated on how to partner with research centers and how it works at the University of New Brunswick. “Macro would be something we would partner with the modular building project on,” Searle said.

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