Proposal for new SC on prefabricated building

Proposal for new SC on prefabricated building

ByKari S. Borgos


The proposal to establish a new subcommittee in ISO/TC 59 on prefabricated building is out for ballot until 17 April.

Proposal from China

Statistics show that, at present, half of the world’s population, namely 3.5 billion people, is living in cities and the number is expected to increase to 5 billion by 2030. About 8.83 million people are living in slums, most of which are located in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Therefore, the UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 proposes to build cities and human settlements that are inclusive, safe, disaster-resistant and sustainable. By 2030, it shall be guaranteed that, everyone shall have the access to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and slums shall be properly transformed. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 9 suggests that infrastructure featuring resilience to disasters be built to promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and innovation. Therefore, the development of prefabricated buildings is one of the effective ways to achieve those global sustainable development goals while relieving the pressure brought by urbanization to housing. An important means to develop industrial processing and manufacturing and create more employment opportunities, prefabricated buildings are simultaneously an ideal solution to providing quality, reliable, sustainable and disaster-resistant housing for areas suffering poverty.

Characterized by standardized design, industrialized production, prefabricated construction, integrated decoration, information management and intelligent application, prefabricated building highlights innovations in technology, management, mechanism and products, making itself the core of the modern construction industry. It covers a long industrial chain from the production and processing of raw materials to the components, materials and technological systems involved in the entire process of housing and maintenance, organically integrating the relevant departments, research and design institutions and companies of the entire industrial chain. Prefabricated buildings are highly systematic and integrated for their composition of systems of building structure, outer enclosure, electrical equipment and drainage pipeline, and the interior. Such systems cooperate with each other and will affect the quality of the building and the stability of the structure once an individual system is under improper control. Therefore, the standardized connection between each system is the key to standardized prefabricated components and prefabrication process as well as the main way to improve the quality of installation.

At present, the development of prefabricated buildings in countries worldwide is not at the same pace, leading to different quality, safety and product standards, descriptions of technical indicators and performance, size modulus and pipe diameters, and performance of mechanical processing and hoisting. As a result, international trade and cooperation across the entire industrial chain of prefabricated buildings are highly affected. The standardization of prefabricated buildings is an important means to the problems existing in the current international prefabricated building technology. The ISO Strategy 2016-2020 has proposed 6 major strategic directions, of which 2 directions are:

  1. ensuring a coherent and credible collection of standards that are used effectively by industry and bring recognized benefits to economies; and
  2. developing market-relevant standards that address the needs of industry, regulators, consumers and other stakeholder groups.

Therefore, it is necessary to establish an international technical subcommittee regarding prefabricated building to comply with the ISO Strategy 2016-2020.

Through ISO's global membership, the technical subcommittee on prefabricated building will make contributions to standardized prefabricated buildings in such aspects as design, material quality, processing quality of components and parts, and construction quality, in a bid to solve the problems existing in the current standards and ensure the universality and unity of global prefabricated products and technologies while promoting the effective use of relevant ISO standards in the world. By gathering global experts and academics involving prefabricated building, the committee, including its leaders, will reach a consensus with stakeholders from different countries, cultural backgrounds and segments to jointly promote the rapid development of standardized prefabricated buildings in the world.

Proposed scope

The new subcommittee is proposed with the following scope:

Standardization in the field of prefabricated building, of:

  • general terminology;
  • basic principles of design of prefabricated buildings, including integrated design, industrial production and integrated decoration;
  • general requirements for geometric and performance of prefabricated building components and connectors;
  • general requirements for construction and installation of prefabricated buildings, including hoisting technology and construction process.


  • performance requirements for structural concrete (ISO/TC 71/SC 4);
  • fire tests and fire safety engineering related to building materials, components and structures (ISO/TC 92);
  • bases for design of structures (ISO/TC 98);
  • bases for design and construction of timber structures (ISO/TC 165);
  • bases for design and execution of steel and aluminium structures (ISO/TC 167);
  • environmental management related to eco-design and material efficiency (ISO/TC 207);
  • additive manufacturing related to 3D printers (ISO/TC 261).

If approved, the new subcommittee will establish liaisons and collaborate with a range of existing ISO and IEC committees. The subcommittee will also seek collaboration with relevant CEN committees through the Vienna Agreement as appropriate.

Proposed initial work programme

The SC will take a life-cycle perspective in the design, production and construction of the prefabricated parts. The plan is to

  1. set up a working group of design standardization, which may cover such items as modular design of buildings and structures, modular design of sub-projects, design of new techniques and nodes, application of new materials, information sharing and simulation testing;
  2. set up a working group of production standardization, which may involve processing of structures and nodes, process monitoring, testing of finished products and processing of mechanical equipment assembly line;
  3. set up a working group of construction standardization, which may focus on hoisting construction technique, construction process, installation of enclosure system, prefabricated decoration, technology integration of equipment and pipeline, waterproof structure and materials, and node connection.

Approval criteria

Approval of the proposal requires

  • a 2/3 majority decision of the P-members of the parent committee voting;
  • that at least 5 members of the parent TC have expressed their intention to participate actively in the work of the subcommittee; and
  • ratification by ISO's technical management board, ISO/TMB.

Anyone interested in this item are encouraged to express their views to their national member body before the ballot closes on 17 April.