China sees rapid development of prefabricated construction

Prefabricated units are being manufactured in a workshop of a new construction material company under the SCEGC. (Photo from the official website of the management committee of the Xixian New Area, northwest China's Shaanxi Province)

At a workshop of a new construction material company under the Shaanxi Construction Engineering Group Corporation (SCEGC) in Qinhan New City, part of the Xixian New Area, northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, prefabricated units such as walls, floor slabs, beams and staircases were rolling off four automatic production lines.

These prefabricated units, going through standardized production and strict quality check, feature much better quality than those produced with concrete placement, and have a millimeter-level precision.

These “spare parts” were later transported to a construction site of a residential complex five kilometers away, where constructors were building houses just like building blocks. Prefabricated parts accounted for 63 percent of the total construction.

The wide application of prefabrication saved 70 percent of energy and 50 percent of water consumption, and improved efficiency by three times, said Liu Xinlong, chairman of board of the new construction material company under the SCEGC. Prefabricated parts also significantly reduced dust and noise during construction, and basically no construction garbage was created, he added.

What’s behind the speed and precision of prefabricated construction is continuous innovation made by enterprises. “Secondary design is usually what we do after receiving construction drawings, so that we can make what can be prefabricated in the factory,” Liu introduced, adding that this is a key link that demonstrates the competitiveness of an enterprise.

With a tailwind in the prefabricated construction industry, the Xixian New Area is working for a transformation in traditional construction. Statistics indicated that the total area of prefabricated structures has hit 2.78 million square meters there.

While prefabricated constructions are soaring above the ground, changes are also taking place in underground structures. Municipal engineering projects such as subways and tubes now make up half the revenue of the SCEGC’s new construction material company. Prefabricated tubes have largely improved construction efficiency in a municipal power pipeline project in Qinhan New City. It only took 12 days to complete the construction of a 1-kilometer section of the project.

Xu Jianping, assistant to the president of the Sany Group, a leading Chinese enterprise of high-end equipment manufacturing, told People’s Daily that the core of prefabrication is smart construction. In three years, the group will develop over eight construction robots and five will be massively produced, to further improve mechanization and automation of the construction industry, Xu said.

The development of prefabrication is only a part of Xixian New Area’s efforts to build a modern industrial pattern. At present, the area is in full swing to develop advanced manufacturing, airport economy, electronic information, sci-tech R&D, cultural and tourism and headquarter economy. Each of the above six industries has a value of over 100 billion yuan ($15.27 billion). Last year, the GDP of the area increased 7.2 percent year on year, ranking the first among all cities and districts in Shaanxi Province.

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