Interview with Amy Marks: Advancing Prefabrication 2018

As an MMC consultant, what are the main challenges that you see stakeholders facing with regards to off-site work in the current market?

Prefabrication techniques and expertise are growing in the market, but what’s holding the industry back are internal roadblocks. The current processes of how construction companies conceptualize, estimate, and procure work preclude the use of prefabrication, or stop companies from realizing the full benefits of prefabrication. The current processes and mind-set must change for the industry to get more productive through prefabrication.

Since being involved with Advancing Prefabrication 2017, what do you perceive to have been the greatest advancements in the use of prefabrication on projects and the way that stakeholders are approaching collaboration?

Construction is one of the most resistant industries to new technology. However, change is happening, slowly but surely. The greatest advancement has not been in terms of a new technology, but a realization among an increasing number of builders and owners that if they don’t soon start investing in prefabrication, the industry will leave them behind.

One of the biggest barriers to efficiency on projects is lack of communication and collaboration between stakeholders. What innovative solutions are XSite exploring at the moment to help tackle this problem?

Purposeful and meaningful collocation (big room) including key project participants is a method XSite uses, and as a company, we have developed a process that includes and encourages productive big room collaboration. CoreClarity is another tool we use to understand team members’ talents, communication styles, and team dynamics, and something we consult on for projects. Additionally, we have found that CoreClarity makes the big room communication much more effective and productive. In general, collocation, combined with a structured process of integrated teams, team members working within their talents, and software that encourages collaboration are some of the key items needed for success.

Many parties are finding that as they advance their capabilities in off-site work, and the demand for greater complexity in prefabricated assemblies increases, it is becoming much harder to find partners with the same level of skill. What advice would you give to companies trying to get ahead of the curve at the moment in the competitive market?

In our experience, where a solution doesn’t exist, there is always a potential partner willing to join the builder on an innovative journey. Usually, the problem is not the lack of a supplier, but that builders do not involve potential suppliers/partners soon enough, or share enough information openly about performance and commercial requirements. Builders also don’t often reach out to others that have the expertise to assist them in this journey, but continue to reinvent the wheel.

If engaged early, and truly made a partner in the process, experts and suppliers can achieve amazing and unique solutions that would place any builder well ahead of the curve, providing them with a competitive advantage while building on their knowledge base.

There are also a range of issues faced with finding software and tools with the capability for mass production in off-site work. What do you think is causing the greatest problems for architects, contractors and trades at the moment?

I think the number one problem is that it isn’t anyone’s specific responsibility to enable and optimize prefabrication on projects. Owners don’t always know how to ask for it in their selection process of architects and builders. Architects mostly don’t know how to design for manufacturing and assembly (DfMA). Builders don’t often conceptualize projects with prefabrication in mind, since their process and training doesn’t make that very easy. Also contributing, is the fact that the supply chain needs to grow and offer more prefabricated elements, potentially more standard elements, and increase their internal design/engineering and cad-cam capabilities. In general, the entire ecosystem must grow and work together to create a more productive industry, with prefabrication as a powerful tool.

About the conference

Advancing Prefabrication 2018 is a gathering of leading contractors, designers and owners to benchmark best practices across multi-trade and single-trade prefabrication opportunities in the building industry.

From planning and design to manufacturing operations, 40 speakers will showcase how they utilize prefab to consolidate schedules and reduce costs.

Whether you’re a prefabrication leader, or just getting started on your journey into prefabrication and off-site construction, this is an essential event.

Use the below website and code for discounted registration:


Discount Code: For a 10% discount on all bookings, use the code XSite10