Nearly 800 families will be the next batch of beneficiaries of the government's subsidized housing program when they move in early next year. But theirs will be a bit different from other housing projects, the new homes in Baoshan district being prefabricated-using factory-made components and assembled on-site.

Completed in November, the two 18-floor structures, which cover a total gross floor area of 26,000 square meters, proudly stand alongside others built using conventi onal construction. The new buildings were produced by Shanghai Baoye Group Corp Ltd, a wholly-owned unit of Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd (MCC Group).

"There is no difference between the buildings and the traditional ones in terms of appearance and functions, but the prefabricated ones are more efficient, environmental friendly and cost saving," said Ye Hua, chief engineer of Shanghai Baoye Group Architectural Engineering Company.

The company said that using more machines instead of manpower, the prefabricated building saved costs and energy, with an enhanced building quality.

A second prefab project, involving 190,000 sq m, is currently under design and construction work will kick off next year, Ye said.

Shanghai Baoye said construction using the prefabrication technique was in line with the central government's strategy. According to a guideline issued by the State Council in late September, mega city clusters such as Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, the Yangtze River Delta region, and the Pearl River Delta region, are required to promote the construction of prefabricated buildings.

The guideline also set a goal of having 30 percent of the newly built buildings prefabricated in the coming decade.

Starting in 2013, MCC Group set aside more than 10 million yuan ($1.45 million) in research and development of assembly-type structures.

The assembly-type structure project was part of MCC's strategy of restructuring and transformation, to drag it from a previously severe financial situation. In 2012, group losses exceeded 7.3 billion yuan and liabilities were more than 170 billion yuan.

It took three years to bring the group back to positive growth and a profit of 6.86 billion yuan in 2015, with the company restructuring subsidiary units and shifting focus to research and design, to deepen its technological innovation.

Editor: Zeng Yunheng