Following the increasing need for faster construction, improved quality and evidence value propositions, offsite construction is increasingly being proffered as a viable contender to “traditional” construction approaches. However, whilst evidence supports the move towards offsite, its uptake has been lower than expected. Whilst the precise reasons for this seem to be influenced by a number of issues, including contextual drivers and market maturity; some project stakeholders also view offsite as carrying greater risks. The purpose of this paper is to report on the quality of information flow, in particular, the impact and influence of this on design risks in offsite construction projects.
An existing design risk framework is used as the point of departure for this research. This is further expanded into a specific model for evaluating offsite construction projects design risks, the rubrics of which were informed by two case studies of offsite construction projects in Australia and the UK analysed with a process-tracing technique. Whilst these cases were geographically separated, the constructs were aligned to uncover fundamental design information requirements and concomitant risks associated with offsite.
The findings of the research reported in this paper include the crucial information feeding into the design process emanating from the lifecycle of offsite construction projects, namely, design, offsite (manufacturing), handling and transporting, site works and installation and also occupancy. These are contextualised within the four categories, namely, client requirements, project requirements, regulation aspects and social aspects and the final outcomes were summarised into a holistic diagram.
Given that the offsite construction has shifted the working paradigm into assigning a significant level of efforts and emphasis at the front end of the construction projects, the importance of its design process and hence design risks management has gone up significantly in construction projects delivered using this technique. This research and paper contributes significantly to the built environment domain by identifying the crucial aspects along the project lifecycle to be considered to minimise the potential occurrence of design risks and hence increasing the confidence of project stakeholders in adopting offsite construction techniques in their projects.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support from Ausco Modular and Elliot UK for providing the data sets from these case studies.
Sutrisna, M. and Goulding, J. (2019), "Managing information flow and design processes to reduce design risks in offsite construction projects", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 26 No. 2, pp. 267-284. https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-11-2017-0250Download as .RIS
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