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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2007

Vivian W.Y. Tam, C.M. Tam and William C.Y. Ng

The use of prefabrication has been considered as one of the most effective waste minimization methods in the construction context; however, the industry has found…

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5407

Abstract

Purpose

The use of prefabrication has been considered as one of the most effective waste minimization methods in the construction context; however, the industry has found difficulties to implement it. Contractors lack experience in using prefabrication and they do not know how to implement prefabrication to their projects effectively. The purpose of this paper is to present the findings of a study on the implementation of prefabrication in the context of different project types and procurement approaches.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper examines possible project types and procurement methods to maximally gain benefits of using prefabricated building components. A questionnaire survey and structured interviews have been conducted.

Findings

From the results, it should be noted that residential projects and design and build procurement methods are the most effective project types and procurement methods, respectively, in using prefabrication. In the interview discussion, one of the governmental employees highlighted that about 65 percent of projects are residential projects. The high supply of residential housing suits fast population growth in Hong Kong. The interviewee also explained that shortening construction period is one of the main goals in their projects. Furthermore, an interviewed main contractor highlighted that the involvement of contractors at the early design stage in a project can bring advantages in considering construction methods before project commencement on site and to improve project constructability. An interviewed subcontractor also explained that the involvement of construction organizations in the design stage can effectively improve the use of prefabrication in major activities including concreting, plastering and formworking, rather than wet‐trade construction activities. Therefore, the use of standardized designs and prefabricated building components are highly encouraged.

Originality/value

This brings early considerations and suggestions to project parties to improve prefabrication implementation. The effects of prefabrication implementation are also considered.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 February 2021

Tong Lin, Sainan Lyu, Rebecca Jing Yang and Linda Tivendale

Prefabricated housing has become a boom industry across the world; however, the uptake of offsite construction (OSC) approaches in Australian low-rise buildings is rather…

Abstract

Purpose

Prefabricated housing has become a boom industry across the world; however, the uptake of offsite construction (OSC) approaches in Australian low-rise buildings is rather low compared with high-rise buildings in other countries. This study aims to investigate and analyse the adoption of different levels of OSC approaches and the selection of different procurement options in Australian low-rise residential buildings.

Design/methodology/approach

The research objectives were pursued through a mixed research method. An empirical questionnaire survey was carried out with 35 professionals in the Australian building and construction industry. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 interviewees and analysed using thematic analysis method in NVivo software.

Findings

The research results found that the most suitable OSC level for Australian low-rise buildings is components-based prefabrication and identified the barriers to OSC uptake for each OSC level. The study also showed that the best option of procuring prefabricated products is from Australian manufacturers, followed by Australian suppliers/dealers and overseas manufacturers. Panelised prefabrication and components-based prefabrication are ranked as the most suitable OSC approaches for Australian manufacturers. Modular prefabrication is regarded as the most suitable for overseas manufacturer, while components-based prefabrication is the most suitable for Australian suppliers/dealers.

Originality/value

The selection of various OSC approaches and different procurement options in the low-rise residential buildings are scarcely explored topic, and thus, this study provides knowledge of interest for both researchers and practitioners.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 29 March 2021

Rita Lavikka, Krishna Chauhan, Antti Peltokorpi and Olli Seppänen

Systemic innovations emerge and create value in an inter-organisational context. However, innovation studies rarely investigate the role of value creation and value…

Abstract

Purpose

Systemic innovations emerge and create value in an inter-organisational context. However, innovation studies rarely investigate the role of value creation and value capture among multiple organisations in successful innovation implementation. This paper aims to understand the role of value creation and value capture in the implementation of systemic innovations in construction which is by nature, an inter-organisational context.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical research focused on the barriers, enablers and opportunities for value creation and value capture of the Finnish construction project parties when trying to implement mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) prefabrication, which is a systemic innovation. Data were collected through interviews, observations and action workshops.

Findings

The empirical study identified interaction patterns on how social, political, technical and economic barriers lead to uneven value capturing, lack of value-based procurement and unclear value creation between MEP design and installation. They hinder the implementation of MEP prefabrication. The results point to enablers leading to fairly shared value to all parties, procurement of value and collaborative value creation, thus increasing the usage of MEP prefabrication, a systemic innovation.

Originality/value

The study adds new knowledge by demonstrating that the identification of barriers and their interaction with enablers and opportunities for value creation and capture lay a baseline for suggestions on how to implement a systemic innovation. This study stresses the importance of enabling value creation and capture for all construction project parties when implementing a systemic innovation.

Details

Construction Innovation , vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-4175

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 13 April 2012

Thomas Linner and Thomas Bock

The Japanese prefabrication industry not only has automated its processes to a high extent, but it also innovates due to the fact that it delivers buildings of outstanding…

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3463

Abstract

Purpose

The Japanese prefabrication industry not only has automated its processes to a high extent, but it also innovates due to the fact that it delivers buildings of outstanding quality accompanied by a multitude of services. In order to explore and specify the concepts and parameters that have driven this industry, Japan's prefabrication industry, its cultural, economic and technological surrounding, as well as the applied processes, technologies and economic strategies, have to be illustrated and analysed. The purpose of this paper is to identify, describe and analyse these concepts and their related parameters, as well as to recognise the most influential drivers for the future that provide an indication into which direction the industry could evolve.

Design/methodology/approach

Being aware that literature does not provide relevant information and data, which would allow the authors to explore concepts and parameters explaining the success of the Japanese prefabrication industry, the authors performed field surveys, visited factories, R&D centres and sales points of all major Japanese prefabrication companies. In some cases the authors also interviewed general managers, researchers and developers, and academicians at Japanese universities. Based on an extensive literature review in the area of product development, production technology, modularisation, mass customisation, and innovation, the authors qualitatively and quantitatively analysed all major prefabrication companies according to a fixed scheme.

Findings

The concepts and parameters identified and analysed in this paper demonstrate that the Japanese prefabrication industry, which is leading in large‐scale industrialization, nowadays focuses towards services that are related to the building's utilisation phase, rather than delivering products. By involving customers it enhances the companies' customer relations, thus creating competitive advantages.

Originality/value

Overall the paper identifies that Japanese prefabrication industry acts rather like a “production industry” than a “construction industry”. Similar to many other high‐tech industries, Japan's prefabrication industry incorporates the latest product and process technologies and combines automation, products and services into complex value‐capturing systems.

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Article
Publication date: 28 February 2019

Xiao-Long Gan, Rui-Dong Chang, Craig Langston and Tao Wen

The purpose of this paper is to identify the interactions of factors impacting the widespread adoption of prefabricated building technologies and the intervention…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the interactions of factors impacting the widespread adoption of prefabricated building technologies and the intervention strategies to facilitate the development of prefabrication based on fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs).

Design/methodology/approach

Through in-depth interviews with six stakeholder groups, namely, the government, developers, designers, contractors, manufacturers and researchers, 13 critical factors were identified and used to construct stakeholder-grouped FCMs, which were further aggregated into a collective FCM. The complexity and density of the collective FCM and the centrality of factors in the FCM were examined. Subsequently, a series of “what-if” simulations of the collective FCM were conducted to analyze the effectiveness of different interventions in promoting prefabrication.

Findings

The results show that three factors including market demand, cost, and policies and regulations have been mentioned by all stakeholder groups. However, these factors were ranked differently by stakeholder groups, implying that different stakeholder groups perceive the barriers to prefabricated building technologies differently. FCM simulations show that strengthening policies and regulations yield the strongest overall effect stimulating prefabrication, alleviating the organizational and environmental barriers more than the technological barriers, while improving the knowledge and expertise alleviate the technological barriers more. These measures need to be accompanied by other approaches, such as reducing cost and improving quality.

Research limitations/implications

It is a tough task to promote prefabrication as it is affected by numerous barriers with complex interactions, which have been overlooked by previous studies. This study clearly shows which strategy could tackle which barriers to prefabrication through the FCM simulations. This provides valuable references for the enterprises’ decision making and the governments’ policy making to facilitate the diffusion of prefabricated building technologies.

Originality/value

Few studies aim to analyze the interactions among the barriers to prefabrication, while this study specifically investigates this issue by illustrating the complex interactions using FCMs. Few studies also aim to identify the intervention strategies promoting prefabrication based on a quantitative approach, while this study employs FCM simulations to directly simulate the effectiveness of different strategies to facilitate prefabrication in a quantitative manner.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 13 September 2018

Abbas Elmualim, Sherif Mostafa, Nicholas Chileshe and Raufdeen Rameezdeen

This chapter discusses the profound and influential impact the construction industry has on the national economy, together with the huge negative effect it has on the…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the profound and influential impact the construction industry has on the national economy, together with the huge negative effect it has on the environment. It argues that by adopting smart and industrialised prefabrication (SAIP), the Australian construction industry, and the construction industry globally, is well positioned to leverage the circular economy to advance future industries with less impact on our natural environment. It discusses aspects of the application of digital technologies, specifically building information modelling, virtualisation, augmented and virtual reality and 3D printing, coupled with reverse logistics as a proponent for advancing the circular economy through smart, digitally enabled, industrialised prefabrication. It further postulates a framework for SAIP for the circular economy.

Details

Unmaking Waste in Production and Consumption: Towards the Circular Economy
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-620-4

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

Daniel O'Neill and Samantha Organ

The purpose of this paper is to explore academic papers and reports and present a chronology of the evolution of British low-rise prefabricated housing. The paper provides…

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2928

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore academic papers and reports and present a chronology of the evolution of British low-rise prefabricated housing. The paper provides chronological information for construction and surveying researchers undertaking research in associated areas.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a qualitative literature review, providing an exploration and analysis of academic papers and reports on low-rise prefabricated housing.

Findings

A substantial literature was discovered. However, there are gaps in the available literature. The history of British construction technology is a rich research area but is under-researched. Prefabricated housing has a long history dating back to the eleventh century. Stigmatised from the failures of housing in the twentieth century, it is being increasingly used again in the twenty-first century when considering mass housing supply.

Research limitations/implications

This paper provides researchers with an overview of the history of low-rise prefabricated housing in Britain. It is not a comprehensive in-depth study; such would require numerous larger individual studies.

Originality/value

From reviewing literature it was evident that there was a broad literature, but there was no single journal publication exploring the evolution of British low-rise prefabricated housing. The research provides an overview, exploration and analysis of the literature while providing a chronology. The evolution of prefabricated housing is chronologically presented. Areas for further research are also recommended.

Details

Structural Survey, vol. 34 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-080X

Keywords

Open Access
Article
Publication date: 16 March 2021

Hongjuan Wu, Queena K. Qian, Ad Straub and Henk J. Visscher

The recent promotion of prefabricated housing (PH) in China has resulted in a prosperous period for its implementation. However, transaction costs (TCs) cause low economic…

Abstract

Purpose

The recent promotion of prefabricated housing (PH) in China has resulted in a prosperous period for its implementation. However, transaction costs (TCs) cause low economic efficiency to stakeholders and hinder the further promotion of PH. No relevant study has yet been made to investigate the TCs and their causes in the PH field. This paper identifies critical TCs and explores the influencing factors from the developers' perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire survey were used to collect data about TCs and influencing factors. The most influential factors are identified with their impacts on particular TCs, yielded from correlation analysis and logistic regression.

Findings

From the developers' perspective in China's PH market, this study identified that the most concerning sources of TCs are: hidden costs arising from disputes, extra workloads from design changes, learning costs, intensive communication and coordination in assembly and unexpected information costs in decision-making. The use of an ordered logistic regression approach indicates that the four most influential factors are: qualification of the general contractor, mandatory local policies, owner type and competitiveness of the developer.

Practical implications

To reduce the TCs, experiencing learning and ensuring the design scheme's complicity are recommended to save information searching and exchanging costs. The implications for the PH developers are for them to: (1) professionalize their own organization and (2) procure high-qualified general contractors. For the policymakers, this means they should improve the clarity of the mandatory local policies for PH step-by-step.

Originality/value

By applying the TCs economic theory, this study explores factors that influence TCs in the PH industry. It sheds light on the influencing mechanism behind the TCs in the context of prefabricated housing.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2021

Sheryl Staub-French, Angelique Pilon, Erik Poirier, Azadeh Fallahi, Mohamed Kasbar, Francisco Calderon, Zahra Teshnizi and Thomas Froese

The purpose of this paper is to present the construction process innovations that enabled the successful delivery of the hybrid mass timber high-rise building in Canada…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the construction process innovations that enabled the successful delivery of the hybrid mass timber high-rise building in Canada, the Brock Commons Tallwood House at the University of British Columbia. It is one of a set of papers examining the project, including companion papers that describe innovations in the mass timber design process and the impact of these innovations on construction performance. The focus of this paper is on innovation in the construction phase and its relationship to innovations implemented in previous project phases.

Design/methodology/approach

A mixed-method, longitudinal case study approach was used in this research project to investigate and document the Tallwood House project over a three-year period. Both quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis techniques were used. Members of the research team observed prefabrication and construction, conducted periodic interviews and reviewed project artefacts.

Findings

The research identified three innovation “clusters,” including the use of innovative tools, techniques and strategies in the design and construction processes and the role they played in delivering the project. The “clusters” were further characterized according to the type of “connectivity” they afforded, either facilitation, operationalization or materialization. These two perspectives support a compounding view on innovation and help to understand how it can flow throughout a project’s life cycle and across its supply chain. Three process-based innovations were initiated during the design phase, integrated design process, building information modeling and virtual design and construction and flowed through to the construction phase. These were seen to enable the creation of connections that were crucial to the overall success of the project. These innovations were operationalized and enacted through the construction phase as design for manufacturing and assembly and prefabrication, staged construction and just-in-time delivery, integration of safety and risk management and a rigorous quality control and quality assurance process. Finally, a full-scale mock-up was produced for practice and constructability assessment, materializing the radical product innovation that was the mass timber structure. These strategies are used together for a synergistic and integrated approach to increase productivity, expedite the construction schedule and develop an innovative building product.

Originality/value

This paper details an in-depth investigation into the diffusion dynamics of multiple systemic innovations for the construction process of a unique building project, the tools and techniques used by the construction manager and team, and the challenges, solutions and lessons learned.

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Article
Publication date: 17 November 2021

Yudan Dou, Xiliang Sun, Ankang Ji, Yuna Wang and Xiaolong Xue

Owing to multiple superiorities to traditional counterparts, prefabricated construction (PC) has gained increasing attention worldwide. The development of PC projects…

Abstract

Purpose

Owing to multiple superiorities to traditional counterparts, prefabricated construction (PC) has gained increasing attention worldwide. The development of PC projects reflects the effects of both policy supervision and PC practice, which aids the government in reasonably identifying the key issues of PC's promotion and rationally improving the policy deployment. However, existing studies fail to address this aspect, especially lacking quantitative exploration. This study explores the micro mechanism of PC's promotion, from the perspective of developing PC projects.

Design/methodology/approach

A tripartite evolutionary game model based on prospect theory of the government, developers and contractors is constructed. After rigorous theoretical deduction, this study adopts Changchun in China as a case city and collects the data using the Delphi technique, policy documents and literature analysis.

Findings

Results indicate that contractors are generally willing to implement PC projects and the government chooses to actively supervise PC's promotion. The negative investment behavior of developers is the main obstacle to promote PC in Changchun currently.

Practical implications

The conclusions are applicable to other comparable regions. This study is of value to promote PC with high efficiency and effect.

Originality/value

The tripartite evolutionary game model based on prospect theory proposed in this study is conducive to reveal the essence of PC's promotion. This is an important breakthrough in extant studies, with a broad applicability in the PC domain beyond China.

Details

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0969-9988

Keywords

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