Modular Building Institute

Firms Using Modular Construction Report Increased Levels of Safety


Most contractors would agree that safety is one of the most important factors on a construction site – for worker health, as well as insurance and liability issues. As construction projects become more complex with the use of new technology, safety issues have become more multifaceted.

How does a construction company continue to ensure that there are minimal worker injures while its buildings are going up? A new report from McGraw Hill Construction, based on a survey of hundreds of construction contractors, suggests that there is a connection between prefabrication/modularization and safety.

According to the Safety Management in the Construction Industry SmartMarket Report, "Firms using prefabrication … have significantly higher adoption levels of nearly all the safety practices measured in the survey." Seventy-three percent of prefabrication/modularization users report having a fully inclusive and widely observed safety program, compared with 48 percent of those not using prefabrication.

A higher percentage of contractors using prefabrication/modularization employ all 15 safety practices measured in the survey than those that do not. The report notes that this may be influenced by the firm’s choice of modular/prefabrication as a means to improve safety, since the survey participants report that modular and prefabrication have a positive influence on safety.

According to the survey, the top two practices for improving safety are "developing a site specific health safety plan" and "appointing project safety personnel" – both of which fit well with a factory construction process.

The report goes on to say that, "While prefabrication offers many opportunities to improve project safety directly, its use also encourages contractor involvement in projects before construction begins, a key factor for improving safety."

The report also identifies an increasing interest in prefabrication as one of the key trends that make the present moment an opportune time to evaluate the use of safety programs in the construction industry. Other reasons to reexamine safety issues include the use of new and unfamiliar products and technologies to achieve green goals on projects, the use of BIM and collaborative design, and the proliferation of mobile tools onsite.

The news in the latest report is consistent with earlier data on the relationship between modular construction and safety.

An earlier report by McGraw Hill Construction – the SmartMarket Report on Prefabrication and Modularization – indicates that 58 percent of current modular users say that increased project safety is a key factor driving them to use modular construction. Forty-nine percent of modular non-users indicate that they would be likely to turn to modular because of a safer construction site.

For more information on this smart construction method, please visit the "Why Build Modular?" section of






© Modular Building Institute. Modular Advantage eMagazine Summer 2013.  All media copyright of their respective owners and no portion of this story may be reconstituted or printed without owner permission.


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