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Article
Publication date: 25 March 2021

Genevieve Darlow, James O.B. Rotimi and Wajiha Mohsin Shahzad

Automation facilitates production activities within offsite construction (OSC) projects through computer-controlled and mechanised systems that can be programmed to…

Abstract

Purpose

Automation facilitates production activities within offsite construction (OSC) projects through computer-controlled and mechanised systems that can be programmed to deliver various products in a self-regulating sequence. Despite known benefits of automation to offsite production, the level of automation adoption in New Zealand is low. This study is an effort to understand the current status of automation within the New Zealand construction industry and to identify the barriers and enablers to its uptake.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilises the qualitative approach of semi-structured interviews (open-ended questions). Using a referral sampling strategy (snowballing), fifteen New Zealand industry experts were interviewed, and the data collected were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Findings

The study found that there is a weak business case for full automation. Four main categories of barriers to the uptake of automated OSC were identified, including requirement of high capital cost, lack of education about automation and OSC and non-existence of regulations to support OSC. It was noted that financial supports to the OSC sub-sector in form of subsidies, tax waivers, and enhanced leasing model could enhance the uptake of automation. Further to this more awareness about OSC's automation and regulations suitable for OSC could enhance the confidence of business owners to invest in this area.

Originality/value

Originality of this paper stems from the fact that, not much attention has been paid to investigating the uptake of automation for OSC sub-sector of construction industry in New Zealand context.

Details

Built Environment Project and Asset Management, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2044-124X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Jasper Mbachu, Temitope Egbelakin, Eziaku Onyeizu Rasheed and Wajiha Mohsin Shahzad

This study aims to answer the ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions about the key role players’ influence on the overall productivity outcomes in the lifecycle of residential…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to answer the ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions about the key role players’ influence on the overall productivity outcomes in the lifecycle of residential buildings procured through the traditional route.

Design/methodology/approach

A mix of exploratory and descriptive research methods was used to obtain feedback from 179 role-players involved in various phases of the residential building lifecycle (RBLC) in New Zealand. Empirical data were analysed using content analysis, multi-attribute method and Friedman’s two-way analysis of variance.

Findings

Results showed that designers, building owners, main contractors and project managers were the greatest influencers of the productivity outcomes in the RBLC. The priority drivers of these key role-players’ influences on the RBLC productivity outcomes comprised poor brief interpretation, inclination to lowest tender, inadequate prior risk analysis and miscommunication of owner’s requirements and preferences to service providers, respectively. By taking proactive steps to redress their productivity inhibiting acts/omissions as identified in this study, the various role-players could contribute to significant improvement of productivity outcomes in the building lifecycle.

Research limitations/implications

It was not possible to interview all participants that made up the representative random samples from each role-player group due largely to workload related excuses. As a result, the findings and the conclusions may not be generalised beyond the study scope. However, the study achieved its purpose, as the main intent was to provide hypothetical constructs that could guide further confirmatory/experimental studies for residential buildings as well as for other building types.

Practical implications

A succinct and easy-to-follow model was developed as implementation pathway for operationalising the key findings of the study in the industry. The model highlights the Owner-Architect-Contractor Influence Triangle (OACIT) as the 20 per cent of the solutions that could deliver 80 per cent of the productivity improvement in the RBLC.

Originality/value

This study re-examines productivity issues not only from a life-cycle perspective but also from the perspectives of the majority of the key role-players. In addition, the OACIT concept offers a novel productivity improvement tool; it stresses that productivity in the traditionally procured building lifecycle could be optimised if the architect could focus greater attention on brief articulation and the issuance and review of design and specification information. Also, the owner should adopt productivity-enhancing procurement and contract strategies and emphasise more on value-addition and less on lowest tender price.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

Keywords

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