The state of prefabrication in Canada

A market study of mass timber, panels, and volumetric modular construction

Canada has a long history of using prefabricated construction, and current market and societal conditions are driving a greater push toward industrialization and prefabrication across the country to offer solutions to the lack of affordable housing, supply and demand pressures in the construction sector and a shift towards sustainability and green buildings.

Drivers of prefabrication in Canada

The construction industry in Canada is being challenged to build more efficiently and look to innovative methods to develop infrastructure, facilities and housing. Additionally, time and cost considerations position prefabrication as an optimal alternative to traditional construction by providing owners with an accelerated construction schedule as well as cost certainty. As the prefabrication of major components takes place in a climate-controlled facility, QA/QC processes can be executed more thoroughly and deficiencies can be addressed in a timely manner.

This report written by BlackBox Offsite Solutions explores the three forms of prefabrication—mass timber, panels, and volumetric modular construction. It was conducted through a broad-based literary review examining both Canadian and international academic studies, industry papers, and government reports; in addition to in-depth interviews with key industry stakeholders.

Topics include

  • Sections on mass timber, panels and volumetric modular construction.
  • Why prefabrication and why now?
  • Market background of prefabrication in Canada.
  • The advantages of prefabrication.
  • Opportunities to grow prefabrication.
  • Recommendations and areas for further study.
The state of prefabrication in Canada

This report by Black Box Offsite Solutions explores the three types of prefabrication and provides recommendations to promote the adoption of prefabrication.

Internal view of Brock Commins Tallwood House, showing mass timber columns, light frame construction, and prefabricated wooden panels.

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Interior view of BC Passive House Factory showing worker using crane to move mass timber beams
Mass timber in British Columbia

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Drone view of the Cowichan Tribes rapid housing project construction site
Cowichan Tribes Rapid Housing Project

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Exterior afternoon shoreline view looking up at modular passive house / high performance Bella Bella Staff Housing, built with 12 prefabricated modules including solid-sawn heavy timber and oriented strand board (OSB)
Bella Bella Staff Housing

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