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Efficient on‐site construction: learning points from a German platform for housing

Christian Thuesen (Planning and Management of the Built Environment, DTU Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark)
, and
Lars Hvam (Operations Management, DTU Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby, Denmark)

Construction Innovation

ISSN: 1471-4175

Article publication date: 12 July 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This research aims to analyse the implementation of a German platform for housing projects through a successful case on modern methods of construction featuring efficient on‐site construction. Through continuous development, the platform has been carefully designed to suit a carefully selected market – optimising cost and value. Based on the platform, the company has managed to create a high‐quality product at low cost. In fact, they have managed to reduce costs by more than 30 per cent, enabling the company to sell houses to people that normally would not be able to afford a house of their own.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopts a case study approach combining a qualitative collection of empirical material with an analytical framework drawing upon classical modelling techniques for development of product platforms.

Findings

The paper identifies some central learning points from the German platform such as: platform does not imply that “off‐site manufacturing” is the most optimal production method, rather it is a matter of handling complexity; strong commitment and loyalty from the whole organization is needed; importance of having a specific customer focus (target costing); and incremental rather than radical innovation.

Originality/value

The findings challenge the predominant understanding of industrialisation of the construction processes, illustrating how substantial improvements can be achieved through platform thinking, on‐site production and traditional construction practices.

Keywords

Citation

Thuesen, C. and Hvam, L. (2011), "Efficient on‐site construction: learning points from a German platform for housing", Construction Innovation, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 338-355. https://doi.org/10.1108/14714171111149043

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited