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prefabrication. Manufacture of parts or all of a building in a factory before they are brought to the site. Industrialized buildings have as many prefabricated parts as possible. Units such as complete bathrooms may be made in factories before they are built in and connected. Prefabrication is not new, for timber frames were often prefabricated and then removed to their site (e.g. early C17 frames constructed in Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, then shipped to the west of the county for erection). Paxton's celebrated Crystal Palace (1850–1) was an excellent example of a prefabricated structure. Yet there is an argument that there is a prefabricated element in all buildings in that they are made of components manufactured offsite (e.g. bricks, window-frames, etc.), so the line between a prefabricated and non-prefabricated house is often blurred.


Arieff & and Burkhart (2002);
J. Curl (1986);
G. Herbert (1978, 1984);
B. Kelly (1964);
Klotz (ed.) (1986);
R. White (1965)

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prefabrication, in architectural construction, a technique whereby large units of a building are produced in factories to be assembled, ready-made, on the building site. The technique permits the speedy erection of very large structures. It has been applied to urban housing for more than a century. Major architects, including Walter Gropius, Konrad Wachsmann, and Buckminster Fuller, have been involved significantly in the development of prefabrication. See also module.