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Prefab Lands in the US

We’ve talked about the prefabrication of the tallest building in the world that is planned for China next year and ways that it might impact construction in this country.  We are about to find out what prefabrication might mean for the industry in the first of a 15-building mixed use project in Brooklyn called Atlantic Yards which is being developed by Forest City Ratner Companies.  The first project, a 363 unit residential development, designed by SHoP Architects will be totally modular and will be prefabricated at the Brooklyn Navy Yard by union labor.  The project is being joint-ventured by Forest City and Skanska USA Building through a new company created to enable the two companies to develop projects throughout the United States.

According to an article published in the New York Daily News, the modular project will break ground next month.  One of the most interesting changes evident in the project is the fact that the unions are providing labor to prefab the units on the factory floor in the old Navy Yards for $55,000 per year, less than half of the rate that they would charge on a standard building site.  The article quotes Gary La Barbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, who said:

“The industry is evolving and we have to evolve with it.  This is an area that we are not actively involved in.  It opens up new markets for us and allows us to make inroads with residential and affordable building, two areas we need to do better.”

And the pay cut?

“It's not a pay cut,” said La Barbera.  “We're trying to create jobs for our members.  I mean this is a 125-person modular job and we have 100,000 members.  Also, the first six months of this job are no different than a regular job with site excavation and building the steel structure.  This whole thing is a win-win for everyone.”

Read the entire article and tell us what you think.

Image courtesy SHoP Architects


Construction Citizen's picture

We have noticed that not everyone is happy about the project.  Here is a blog you may find interesting: Atlantic Yards Report

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