The Difference Between Panelised and Volumetric Construction


BlueSky Modular Buildings uses volumetric construction methods in building prefabricated site sheds, offices, ablutions and other modular buildings. These buildings are constructed using steel frames and are relocatble.

Panelised construction involves crafting building panels, including walls, floors, and roof sections off-site. Each panel is then transported to site for assembly. Where as volumetric construction builds entire sections off site which are then joined together. Each section is fully finished with interiors, including plumbing and electricals, before reaching the site. The buildings are delivered to site almost complete, so the final steps in the construction process require only nominal tradespeople on site and typically only takes a few days or less. This significantly reduces the overall construction timeline. This is particularly important for sites such as schools where it’s important to keep time on site to a minimum to reduce disruption and safety risks.

Australia finds itself in the midst of a skilled trades shortage – at the same time as there is high demand for construction. Most state governments are adopting legislation and providing incentives to leverage these construction methods to meet demand. Homes NSW is currently promoting the use of prefabricated, volumetric building techniques as the way of the future for residential construction by creating a ‘pattern book’ of preapproved prefabricated building designs.

Australia’s path forward will depend on a ‘best case’ approach that leverages both construction methods and selects the most appropriate method for a project on an individual basis.


Both constructions methods improve sustainability by reducing waste and improving energy efficiency. However, volumetric construction’s reduced on-site activity can lead to lower carbon emissions during the construction phase, offering an edge in environmental performance.

As Australia looks to the future, the construction industry must embrace innovative methods to meet growing demands for efficiency, sustainability, and quality. Both panelised and volumetric construction offer viable pathways, and their adoption will likely depend on project-specific requirements and industry advancements.

When would you choose volumetric versus panelised construction?

Volumetric construction often provides more design flexibility, allowing for complex architectural features and custom layouts. BlueSky Modular has designed prefabricated buildings for schools, churches, site offices, mining sites and as portable ablutions for event hire companies. Each building offers fully customisable options. In contrast, panelised construction may be more suited to more basic shaped buildings, and repeatble designs. This may be more efficient for larger, repeated projects where there is less customisable required.


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