Introduction and materials for prefab house




A prefabricated house (prefabricated house) is a special house in which the components are constructed off-site with standard components, and assembled and completed on-site. As an alternative to traditional construction technology, this is a faster construction method, reducing waste and reducing the negative impact on the environment. There are many names for prefabricated houses, including prefabricated houses, modular houses, and modular houses.
For example, the waste generated by the construction industry in Hong Kong accounts for 40% of the total waste in landfills, and the use of prefabricated buildings is expected to reduce waste by about 85%. This is also a faster construction method. In 2015, a Chinese construction company used this method to build a 57-story building in 19 days.
Due to the essential requirements of prefabricated houses, the materials used need to meet certain standards, such as durability and light weight. However, not every building component needs to be prefabricated. Only the main components and interior accessories that constitute the building structure can be prefabricated, such as walls, floors, roofs, closets and shelving units.

What is a prefab house?
A prefabricated house refers to a house where components have been manufactured off-site before assembly and installation to the final location. The manufacture of these components is carried out in a controlled environment; usually a factory. The driving principles behind prefab houses are:
1. Industrialization and mass production
Prefabricated houses can be mass-produced because the components can be manufactured relatively faster than on-site construction. This will represent a shift in the focus of construction and infrastructure, from the production of raw materials such as cement, sand and I-beams to the production of modular components such as prefabricated panels and plywood.

2. Speed ​​and affordability
Prefabricated houses are cheaper than ordinary houses because they save a lot of time and energy compared with traditional buildings. The time spent is often focused on manufacturing components, rather than assembling them.
 
3. Customization and sustainability
The design of prefabricated houses requires components to be adapted in a way that allows a reasonable degree of customization. In addition, the processes used in the construction and assembly process need to have as little impact on the environment as possible.
In short, the advantages of prefab houses include:
-Relatively low total cost
-Simple quality control
-Faster and safer construction
-Reduce waste and reclaim value by dismantling instead of dismantling
 
Materials for prefabricated houses
Some materials are used in prefabricated houses, such as concrete, wood, and metal. Here, we will study some of these materials and their effects.

Concrete:
The use of concrete as a building material has been well documented. However, due to other considerations involved, it uses a different size for the use of prefabricated houses. By using a mold, a strong structure with a very complex contour can be achieved. Precast concrete slabs can also be used in larger multi-storey buildings to form building blocks. The formulation of the material itself can meet specific requirements, such as light weight (there are concrete formulations that can float on water) and resistance to temperature fluctuations. Additives such as graphene oxide can be added to concrete to make it a more sustainable material.
  
wood:
Wood is another commonly used material in prefabricated houses. It can be used as it is, in the form of "heavy wood", which refers to column and beam structures, or in the form of "chunk of wood", which refers to its use as a panel system (combination of wood and other materials). The fire resistance of wood is usually a subject of concern, but due to the ablative charcoal formed by exposure to fire, wood systems can be designed to have good fire resistance. Bamboo is a common building material and can also be used for prefabricated houses. Wood can also be made into composite materials, with good material properties, even comparable to steel. Examples of such wood materials include cross-laminated timber (CLT), glue-laminated timber (GluLam), and veneer laminated timber (LVL). They are essentially several pieces of wood glued together so that there is no continuous pattern to cause the initiation or propagation of faults/cracks.
Steel
Steel is a commonly used building material for modular buildings that support frames (I-beams and columns), floor slabs and walls. It can be used with other materials, and can also be used as the main body of building materials, for example in the modification of shipping containers. Studies have shown that steel structure houses can be built up to 10 stories or more.
The advantages of steel are relatively low weight strength, convenient transportation, and recyclability. In contrast, its disadvantages include poor insulation, poor acoustic performance, and the use of steel for this purpose may make it out of the recycling cycle.
 
grass:
Glass is a highly customizable multi-functional building material. There are several types of glass used in construction, including tempered glass, laminated glass, heat-reinforced glass and steel wire glass. Glass can bring some useful properties such as high strength, insulation, chemical resistance and fire resistance. Glass also has a unique aesthetic quality and is completely recyclable, which is the common theme of prefabricated houses.
 
Recycled and recycled materials:
Recyclable materials include some traditional building materials such as concrete, gypsum wallboard and steel. They also include other materials such as cellulose insulation, ceiling tiles, plastic, ceramic or ceramic tiles, and fiberglass insulation. All these materials can be used to build prefab houses.
The challenge in using these materials is that some of them do not have a stable supply and cannot rely on continuous use. Some of these materials may be toxic or harmful to residents for a long time, so careful research must be made if they meet the purpose.
 
Prefabricated houses contribute to sustainable development:
Compared with traditional methods, modular prefabrication has proven to be a process with many sustainable benefits. In addition to the obvious aspects of reducing waste and reducing energy consumption on site, there are many factors that play a role in the sustainability of prefabricated houses, especially during the construction phase. Its sustainable performance in dealing with construction waste, aesthetic choices, construction site destruction, water use and pollution generation is obvious.
In order to correctly assess the sustainability of prefabricated buildings, in general, all stages of the construction, operation and maintenance of the entire life cycle of the building should be considered.
In 2019, a study on the sustainable performance of prefabricated modular buildings extracted 16 indicators of economic, social and environmental dimensions and compared them with traditional building performance. The results show that prefabricated buildings have significantly less impact on the environment, especially in terms of emissions, energy and water consumption. The prefabricated structure also shows economic advantages because it reduces the amount of steel, concrete and formwork used in traditional buildings by 60%, 56% and 77%, respectively.
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