As health and safety standards on construction sites expand to include social distancing measures, the tried-and-true method of prefabrication is helping projects move forward while keeping workers safe. A proven timesaver, prefabrication allows essential elements such as structural steel, piping, control panels and conduit paths to be built off-site in a controlled environment, like in AZCO’s pipe and metal fabrication facilities. When complete, the pieces are shipped to the job site for assembly or installation.

Right now, access to job sites is limited and crews are looking for ways to reduce man-hours while still advancing projects. Prefabrication is a fast, safe and quality-driven solution:

Fast — Prefabrication boasts an efficient process of precutting materials and assembling sections within streamlined workflows to reduce hours in the field. To further increase efficiency, prefabrication teams can also rehearse job site installation within the controlled environment to simplify the process and limit hours needed. The off-site nature of prefabrication also eliminates necessary pauses for weather events, helping to reduce delays.

Safe — Prefabrication reduces the amount of on-site man-hours by shifting work to a controlled indoor environment. This provides a safer work environment during the coronavirus pandemic by maintaining a consistent workforce committed to the same safety-first culture, with access to necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and allowances for social distancing. The well-lit, climate-controlled environment is also safer ongoing because it removes the need to build pieces on-site, often at great heights or in potentially hazardous outdoor conditions.

Quality — Prefabrication allows specialized workers to concentrate on a linear production process when creating components while adhering to frequent checks and balances. Overall, this repetitive, concentrated process results in high quality output.

By leaning on the benefits of prefabrication, construction sites can limit the frequency of outside influences, from the amount of craft laborers needed on-site to unpredictable weather, while also continuing to safely advance these necessary project builds.


Keep projects going within essential critical infrastructure sectors during challenging times.

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Patrick Choudoir is the director of fabrication at AZCO, a wholly owned subsidiary of Burns & McDonnell. As the lead for pipe and metal fabrication services, he plans, directs and coordinates projects to meet safety standards and customer objectives.