Offsite vs Onsite Construction

Often when you picture construction, all the materials and workers have come together right on the job site to construct the building. This is the case because onsite construction is the most popular form of construction (compared to offsite construction). However, recently there has been growth in the popularity of offsite construction. 

When you compare onsite construction and offsite construction, each technique has benefits based on your building project’s goals and design. Therefore, weighing the pros and cons against your project is important to ensure you have the best outcome.

What is offsite construction?

Offsite construction is an overarching term for different types of construction. Prefabricated and modular construction are examples that fall under offsite construction. Precast concrete also falls under the offsite category of construction.

Many stages of construction, including planning, designing, fabrication, and assembly, are completed at a site other than the building’s location, whether it is a warehouse or a construction yard. 

Offsite construction is best suited for:

  • Projects with tight deadlines
  • Locations that don’t have surplus land available for trades to use
  • Locations with poor weather that may delay construction
  • Buildings that include repetitive interior structures in the design
  • Areas that may be at risk of theft and vandalism

What is onsite construction?

Onsite construction is just as it is described; all the work before and during construction is done right on site. All materials are delivered to and assembled at the final location. The construction process varies from construction project to construction project based on the purpose and design of the structure.

Onsite construction is best suited for:

  • Sites with more available space for trades to use
  • Projects that are more likely to experience changes during construction 
  • Buildings with unique designs or varying features

Benefits of offsite construction

When weighing offsite and onsite construction techniques, you want to look at the benefits of each process to see how it stacks up against the design and goals of your build project. 

There are many benefits when it comes to offsite construction. To start, the process involved in offsite construction is less time-consuming. Because the building is essentially already constructed, it allows for rapid assembly of the components at the site.

It is also sustainable as a lot of pre-planning is involved, and the building is constructed in a controlled environment. And because it is built in a controlled environment, the construction team can monitor the quality of every section of the structure, producing precise outcomes.

You are quite flexible when it comes to the building design when constructing offsite. Also, if you have repetitive features within the building design, it can save you time and money to go with offsite construction. It is easier to repeat these design components with prefab or modular techniques.

Also, offsite construction is less disruptive to neighbouring residents and businesses as most of the construction is done in a factory or another site.


Benefits of onsite construction

While there are many benefits to offsite construction, there is a reason why onsite construction is the go-to for most building projects. 

Onsite construction offers more options for customization in terms of design and details; it is almost limitless what your construction team can create. It is also easy to renovate and expand your building down the road.

Another benefit is that late design and structure changes are possible because the components do not have to be assembled ahead of time. This is also due to the sequential nature of the onsite construction process. 

And because all construction is done at the final location, you don’t have to worry about moving large modules. 

Why Is Offsite Construction on the Rise?

While the adoption of offsite construction has been slow, there has been a rise in offsite builds. There has been a shift in the mentality of how construction is approached. “This is the way we have always done it” has been making way for the time and cost benefits associated with offsite construction. Many healthcare facilities, hotels, schools and office projects have seen the benefits of offsite construction. You will likely see more buildings erected using offsite construction techniques in the near future. 

Upcoming Modular Offsite Construction Project

Stretch has implemented offsite construction techniques in some of our buildings through materials like precast concrete. We also have an upcoming project that will largely be constructed offsite. Our team is excited to be working on a 160 unit modular hotel build project in the northern BC community of Prince Rupert. This project is so exciting for our team because it allows us to work with a unique modular construction style, and it will be the most remote BC location we’ve worked on to date. 

Upcoming Projects

We are also utilizing creative strategies with wood framers, and mechanical and electrical trades to include certain components are fabricated off-site fabrication for our other larger projects. 


If you have any questions regarding onsite or offsite construction processes, contact the Stretch team.

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