Onsite versus Offsite Construction – The Impact of Offsite Construction on the Workforce

RT-371 Topic Summary
RT 371


By focusing on people, process, and technology, Research Team 371 proposed a framework for continuous organizational improvement. The framework recommends which practices companies should implement to maximize and capitalize on the benefits of offsite construction. This project provided a proactive and forward-thinking roadmap to track and evaluate an organization’s progress as it moves to, and leverages, offsite construction.

The outcomes of this project make construction organizations more competitive by driving real benefits, reducing risks, enhancing construction predictability, promoting consistency, improving project execution, and enabling future performance improvements. The findings of this research quantified the state of practice of offsite construction, and the team recommended a list of technologies that companies should invest in to take advantage of the growth in offsite construction and to succeed in both current and future offsite construction.

This project helps companies in planning and managing their workforce, prioritizing training needs and programs, improving the quality of the workforce involved in offsite construction operations, having more accurate identification of shortcomings in their offsite construction projects, and identifying which capabilities the organization needs to acquire to improve offsite construction performance and how such improvement might be achieved. Final Report 371 addresses the following topics associated with offsite construction:

  1. The current state of practice and future prospects
  2. Key technologies
  3. Affected workforce occupations and the needed skillset
  4. Factors that affect labor productivity
  5. Workforce strategies
  6. Lessons learned
  7. Needed improvements
  8. Strategic solutions
  9. Pain points
  10. Recommended practices
  11. Maturity model
  12. Scoring tool


Related Academic Publications (not published by CII)
CII does not review or endorse this publication, which was published independently, but added it here because it was directly or indirectly supported by the CII research project. Users may need to pay to access this piece.

Assaad, Rayan, El-adaway, Islam H., Hastak, Makarand, and LaScola Needy, Kim (2020). “Commercial and Legal Considerations of Offsite Construction Projects and their Hybrid Transactions.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 146(12).

Assaad, Rayan H., El-adaway, Islam H., Hastak, Makarand, and LaScola Needy, Kim (2021). “ Smart and Emerging Technologies: Shaping the Future of the Industry and Offsite Construction.” Proceedings of the ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering 2021 (pp. 787-794). Reston, VA: American Society of Civil Engineers.

Assaad, Rayan H., El-adaway, Islam H., Hastak, Makarand, and LaScola Needy, Kim (2021). “Opportunities and Challenges of Offsite Construction.” Proceedings of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering Annual Conference 2021 (pp. 555-568). Singapore: Springer.

Assaad, Rayan, El-adaway, Islam H., Hastak, Makarand, and LaScola Needy, Kim (2022a). “The Impact of Offsite Construction on the Workforce: Required Skillset and Prioritization of Training Needs.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 148(7).

Assaad, Rayan, El-adaway, Islam H., Hastak, Makarand, and LaScola Needy, Kim (2022b). “Quantification of the State of Practice of Offsite Construction and Related Technologies: Current Trends and Future Prospects.” Journal of Construction Engineering and Management 148(7).

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Needed Offsite Construction Skills

RT-371 identified which key offsite construction skills the workforce needs to acquire by through properly designed and implemented offsite construction training and workforce development programs (FR-371, in press).

The team identified offsite construction skills in the following three workforce categories, which also appear in the accompanying figure:

  1. Design and Engineering
  2. Construction and Fabrication
  3. Administrative
Reference: (FR-371)

2 : Needed Changes in Offsite Construction Processes

RT-371 found that future offsite construction processes will be different from the current state of practice. As the figure shows, the industry needs to move in several ways to deliver efficient offsite construction:

  • From single-trade prefabrication to modularization
  • From customized offsite components to standard offsite components
  • From permanent offsite construction structures to portable/relocatable offsite construction structures
  • From reliance on single-skilled labor to multi-skilled labor

On the other hand, as the bottom trend shows, the team found that there would be no change in the industry’s reliance on highly skilled labor (FR-371, in press).

Reference: (FR-371)

3 : Key Offsite Construction Trends and Technologies

RT-371 identified the key trends and technologies that were being used by offsite construction in 2020, as the figure shows (FR-371, in press).

Furthermore, RT-371 identified the top 10 technologies with the highest potential to be of greater use and benefit in the future (2030) as compared to their current use (2020):

  1. Drones and remote monitoring
  2. Smart sensors
  3. Artificial intelligence interface
  4. Extended reality
  5. Integrated real-time project management information systems
  6. Wireless technology
  7. Big data and data ecosystem
  8. Robotics
  9. Internet of things
  10. nD printing and additive manufacturing
Reference: (FR-371)

4 : Offsite Construction Maturity Model

RT-371 developed and validated an offsite construction maturity model comprising five levels (i.e., initial, repeatable, defined, managed, and optimizing) as well as three areas (people, process, and technology), as the figures below show (FR-371, in press).

Organizations in the “initial” or lowest maturity level have disorganized offsite construction development. By contrast, organizations that have reached the “optimizing” maturity level realize the full potential of offsite construction and constantly look for improvements.

Reference: (FR-371)

5 : Offsite Construction Scoring Tool

To help organizations in implementing the proposed offsite construction roadmap, RT-371 developed and validated a maturity scoring system (FR-371, in press).

The scoring system provides the five main outputs shown in the figure. The first three outputs show individual scores (out of 15) for three areas: People, Process, and Technology. The other two outputs include an overall score that combines the three individual scores into a single weighted metric that reflects the organization’s offsite construction maturity level or capabilities, and the percentage of practices the organization implemented when the tool evaluated its offsite construction maturity.

Reference: (FR-371)

Key Performance Indicators

Presentations from CII Events

Session - Getting Ready for 2030: A People, Process, and Technology Roadmap for Offsite Construction

Publication Date: 08/2021 Presenter: Number of Slides: 35 Event Code: JC21