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The Challenges of Standardization of Products and Processes in Construction

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Construction has been blamed for its low performance and productivity, and high amount of waste, for years, especially when compared with the manufacturing industry, which is mainly based on well-managed and standardized processes. This ongoing discussion about problems, such as low profitability and high construction costs, results in demands for higher value, cost savings, better quality, and longer guarantees in construction. However, construction is not manufacturing, but it does provide elements that can be exploited to improve processes and reduce waste. Moving towards better quality and more homogenous construction can be achieved by standardized processes and by using standardized products in those processes. Thus, this study aims to analyze what the major challenges for the standardization of processes and products in the construction industry are and how the challenges can be beaten. The results indicate that the challenges of standardizing the processes are that the importance of accurate planning and front-end activities are not completely understood and the projects are still considered as unique entities. Additionally, the standardization of products has the following challenges: construction projects and solutions are still perceived as unique handwork, designers do not understand the benefits of standardized products, and planning processes do not support using standardized products.
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The Challenges of Standardization of Products and Processes in Construction
Industrialisation, prefabrication, assembly and open building 983
THE CHALLENGES OF STANDARDIZATION OF
PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES IN
CONSTRUCTION
Aki Aapaoja1 and Harri Haapasalo2
ABSTRACT
Construction has been blamed for its low performance and productivity, and high
amount of waste, for years, especially when compared with the manufacturing
industry, which is mainly based on well-managed and standardized processes. This
ongoing discussion about problems, such as low profitability and high construction
costs, results in demands for higher value, cost savings, better quality, and longer
guarantees in construction. However, construction is not manufacturing, but it does
provide elements that can be exploited to improve processes and reduce waste.
Moving towards better quality and more homogenous construction can be achieved
by standardized processes and by using standardized products in those processes.
Thus, this study aims to analyze what the major challenges for the standardization of
processes and products in the construction industry are and how the challenges can be
beaten.
The results indicate that the challenges of standardizing the processes are that the
importance of accurate planning and front-end activities are not completely
understood and the projects are still considered as unique entities. Additionally, the
standardization of products has the following challenges: construction projects and
solutions are still perceived as unique handwork, designers do not understand the
benefits of standardized products, and planning processes do not support using
standardized products.
KEYWORDS
Standardization, prefabrication, standardized products, standardized processes, Lean,
construction
INTRODUCTION
For years, the construction industry has been blamed but also suffered for its low
performance and productivity, and high amount of waste and variability, especially
when compared with the manufacturing industry, which is mainly based on well-
managed and standardized processes (Höök 2008). In addition, there have been only a
few improvements in construction compared with manufacturing. These problems
appear as low profitability, and the high construction and error costs result in
demands for higher value, cost savings, better quality, and longer guarantees in
construction.
1Doctoral student, Industrial Engineering and Management, Univ. of Oulu; Finland.
aki.aapaoja@oulu.fi
2 Professor, Industrial Engineering and Management, Univ. of Oulu; Finland. harri.haapasalo@oulu.fi
Aki Aapaoja and Harri Haapasalo
984 Proceedings IGLC-22, June 2014 | Oslo, Norway
However, construction is not manufacturing, but it does provide elements that can
be exploited to improve processes and reduce waste in production (Ballard & Arbulu
2004). The movement towards the manufacturing industry and culture has been called
“industrialization,” that is, the interface between the culture in traditional construction
and the culture in the manufacturing industry. Because industrialized construction
requires more accurately controlled processes than on-site construction (Koskela
1992), industrialization is mainly implemented through prefabrication which is
defined as “making all or part of an object in some place other than its final position”
(Ballard & Arbulu 2004).
The greatest benefit of prefabrication is in changing the mindset of the
construction industry from a project focus with unique and one-of-a-kind projects
towards a standard repetitive process focus, which prevails in the manufacturing
industry. Hence using the standardization of products and processes can be
considered as an essential, and even the most important, factor when it comes to the
prefabrication. The ability to measure, understand, and manage variability is essential
to effective project and process management (Ballard & Arbulu 2004). If there is no
agreed upon standard, a new way of doing is simply one more version by some
individual, and it is only practicing (Lander & Liker 2007).
However, defective planning and the haphazard development and implementation
of standardization initiatives have led the industry to miss the possible benefits of
preassembly and prefabrication (Gibb 1999 quoted in Alves & Tsao 2007). This study
aims to analyze what the major challenges for the standardization of processes and
products in the construction industry are and how the challenges can be beaten. To
reach the objective, the following research questions must be answered:
1. How is standardization connected to current challenges of construction and
Lean construction?
2. What are the most important characteristics that standardization has an impact
on?
3. What are the major challenges for implementing the standardization of products
and processes in construction?
To answer these questions, a literature review on standardization was conducted,
while the main focus was kept on standardization. The empirical research consists of
a survey that analyzed the major challenges of the standardization of products and
processes in the construction industry. The last section proposes managerial
implications, presents conclusions, and suggests areas for further research.
INTERCONNECTION OF LEAN AND STANDARDIZATION
Generally, the construction industry is suffering from problems in developing the
means to increase productivity and quality and decrease costs (Höök & Stehn 2008,
Winch 1998). Construction activities have traditionally been carried out at the final
site of the constructed product, which is causing, at the very least, the following
process control and improvement problems: variability, complexity, transparency,
and benchmarking (Koskela 1992).
Variability arises from the lack of protection against intrusion and operations that
are exposed to interruptions. Moreover, permanent safety fixtures are difficult to take
The Challenges of Standardization of Products and Processes in Construction
Industrialisation, prefabrication, assembly and open building 985
care of in the evolving environment and many times local materials and labor have to
be used, which may increase variability as well (Koskela 1992).
Compared with the stable circumstances at factories, where only the material flow
through workstations must be planned and controlled, the spatial flow of workstations
and construction teams has to also be coordinated on site, which increases complexity.
The rapidly changing working environment makes visual control and layout planning
challenging, and hence causes transparency problems. Together these three
aforementioned problems and decentralized production rule out benchmarking and
improvement activities.
In the automobile industry, the Toyota Production System (TPS) developed Lean
thinking and a production philosophy that has been proven to bring benefits to several
other industries as well (Höök & Stehn 2008, Lander & Liker 2007). Lean thinking
and its principles can be implemented in any industry (Womack et al. 1990), but
implementing it in new environments is only possible when the purpose of particular
tools and of TPS in general is understood and assimilated (Lander & Liker 2007).
Applying Lean in construction has since been verified (e.g., Höök 2008, Howell 1999,
Koskela 2000). Diekmann et al. (2004), for example, argue that Lean improves the
cost structure, value attitudes, and delivery capability of the construction industry,
and hence seizes the problems connected with on-site production. According to
Womack and Jones (2003), Lean thinking can be summarized in the following
principles:
Product specified value
Identified value stream for each product
Value flow without interruptions
Pull production
Aim for perfection
Prefabrication (includes preassembly, and modularization) has been viewed as one
potential way to assist the development of construction (Koskela 2000) and increase
value for money (Pasquire & Gibb 2002). Additionally, it can be argued that there is a
potential way to put Lean principles, or at least some of them, in practice. In
particular, enables smooth value flow (Koskela 2000) by reducing the waste of on-
site production (Warszawski 1990). In their research, Tam et al. (2007) calculated
that wastage generation (concrete, reinforcements, plaster, and tiles) and its cost can
be reduced up to 84.7% by adopting prefabrication.
However, the full benefits of prefabrication cannot be achieved unless the
standardized processes and standardized products or components are used (CIRIA
2001). Despite that, it is surprising how poorly standardization and its benefits are
understood by many involved in construction and its processes (Gibb 2001). Liker
(2004) has said that the right processes produce the right results. Thus standardized
tasks and processes are the basis for continuous improvement and employee
involvement, revealing problems, and using only reliable technology that serves your
people, processes, and products.
In addition to Liker, Höök (2008) found that standardized and predictable
processes are the most essential to obtain if a Lean culture is aimed for. Moreover,
Aki Aapaoja and Harri Haapasalo
986 Proceedings IGLC-22, June 2014 | Oslo, Norway
“unique” projects should be managed as a repetitive process, because
“standardization is dependent on specific projects being managed within a recurrent
(and standardized) production process, with a smooth and standardized production
pace” (Höök 2008, p. 66).
STANDARDIZATION
A standard is something set up and established by an authority as a rule or norm for
the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality (Merriam-Webster
Dictionary 2014). Briefly a standard defines what something should do or perform.
Standards are created by bringing together all of the interested parties, such as the
manufacturers, consumers, and regulators, of a particular material, product, process,
or service. All parties benefit from standardization through increased product safety
and quality as well as lower transaction costs and prices. (European Committee for
Standards 2009.)
Standardization is the wide use of components, parts, procedures, or processes in
which there is regularity, repetition, and a successful practice and predictability (Gibb
& Isack 2001, Pasquire & Gibb 2002). Some of the items can be standard by their
nature (generic standardization) or as assigned by the legislation of a country
(national standardization). Both clients and suppliers may have standard processes or
products. As a minimum, project teams should standardize their actions whenever
they can. (Gibb 2001.)
However, there has always been a problem between maximum standardization
and flexibility – in other words, similarity and customization – which may lead to
design impotence, but should be used to ensure optimal implementation and
compatibility. Hence, the focus of standardization in construction is the interfaces
between the components, rather than the single components themselves. However, the
standardized processes are the most crucial things in construction, because there is no
use for standardized products or components if those processes are not used properly
and effectively. (Gibb 2001, CIRIA 2001.) Therefore it can be argued that in
construction, standardization is not about the standard systems or products, but the
systematic approaches to perform things. Only by that can the benefits of standard
products or components be exploited effectively.
Generally, process standardization may vary from absolutely standard
documentation and procedures at the detailed level, to a more strategic approach. The
former represents a coercive approach (e.g., legislation or regulations) that points out
what you should and should not do, while the latter is more like a directional and
proactive approach that emphasizes the identification and assessment of the risks. At
the moment, the strategic approach is perceived as producing better results. (Gibb &
Isack 2001.)
THE BENEFITS OF STANDARDIZATION
The standardization of both products (which also includes modularity) and processes
has been shown to bring many benefits. When it comes to process-related factors,
Gibb and Isack (2001) found that standardization decreases the cost, and naturally has
a positive impact on processes as well. In addition, a positive impact on people issues,
and quality and design were noted. Standardized processes also allow the project’s
parties to understand what is required, from whom, and by when. Standardization has
The Challenges of Standardization of Products and Processes in Construction
Industrialisation, prefabrication, assembly and open building 987
led to fewer claims, conflicts, and change orders, and therefore less unplanned cost.
(Gibb & Isack 2001, Tam et al. 2007, Pasquire & Gibb 2002.)
By using standardized products or components, customers believe that saving
costs is the most important thing, but there are also shorter lead-in times, higher
quality, and operational benefits (Gibb & Isack 2001, Li et al. 2008, Pasquire & Gibb
2002). Basically, the operational benefits become apparent when less time is spent on
having to re-train people to use a new design of a product or machinery (Gibb &
Isack 2001). However, it can be assumed that there is a cause-effect relationship
between processes and operational benefits, because effective processes create a basis
for the effective use of products (CIRIA 2001). In other words, high quality,
reasonable costs, and effective product delivery are the results of repeatable,
predictable, and measurable processes (Gibb & Isack 2001, Li et al. 2008, Pasquire &
Gibb 2002). In addition, having standardized components and products means the
construction users and the end-user understand what they are getting and how it
should be used (Gibb & Isack 2001). Table 1 summarizes the benefits of
standardization for processes and products (e.g., Gibb & Isack 2001, Pasquire & Gibb
2002).
Table 1. The characteristics of standardization.
Characteristics of standardized
processes
Characteristics of standardized products and
components
Organizational interfaces Track record
More predictable on-site activities Increased productivity due to familiarization
Increased productivity Less waste
Less waste Use of the same products and components in
follow-on project
Less disruption Reduced lead-in times
Quality benefits Predictable and measurable quality
Cost benefits Off-site inspection
Process benefits Available replacement parts
People/operational benefits People/operational benefits
Time benefits
Design benefits
THE CHALLENGES FOR IMPLEMENTING STANDARDIZATION
The description of the challenges for implementing the standardization of products
and processes is based on information from Finnish construction experts. The analysis
is part of a research project, “LCIFIN2 – exploiting Lean in construction,” funded by
the Finnish Technology Agency.
The process of collecting and validating the information was comprised of a
survey and a workshop carried out during the research for late 2013 and early 2014.
The primary data was collected by the researchers through a survey. It was sent to 40
people who represent the partner organizations and companies in the LCIFIN2 project.
Because only eight responses to the survey were received, the authors decided to
validate the data in one project workshop (3-4 hours), which was attended by 30
people from 10 different LCIFIN2 (partner) organizations/companies from the fields
of renovation, design, construction, maintenance, consulting, project management,
software (BIM )provider and public authority.
Aki Aapaoja and Harri Haapasalo
988 Proceedings IGLC-22, June 2014 | Oslo, Norway
This research aims to understand the main differences in using standardized
processes and/or products and the current practices in the Finnish construction
industry, but also to show the challenges they impose. Tables 2 and 3 summarize the
findings of this research. In table 2 and 3, the first three columns (“characteristics,”
“standardized processes/products,” and “in construction”) are laid out mainly on the
basis of the literature studies and desk work, while the last column (“challenges”)
represents the main findings and the opinions of informants. In more detail, Table 2
shows a summary of the main differences in the standardized process (like TPS) and
the current process in the Finnish construction industry, plus the resulting challenges.
Table 3 is consistent with Table 2, but instead of processes it is concerned with
standardized products and components.
Table 2. The differences in the standardized and current processes faced by the
Finnish construction industry.
Characteristics Standardized
processes
In
construction
Challenges (in Finland)
Organizational
interfaces and
responsibilities
Defined and
straightforward
Vague Fragmented supply chain (i.e., lack of
collaboration).
On-site activities Predictable Non-
predictable
Hard to plan for and unlevelled schedule.
Productivity and
effectiveness
High Low High variability. No standard methods
(tacit work knowledge). No feedback
loops in production.
Amount of waste Low High Low process discipline, no standard
methods.
Disruption Low High Hard to plan, balance and standardize
work.
Quality High Low/Medium Low process discipline.
Value for money
(e.g., cost-benefit
ratio)
High Low/Medium The importance of front-end design is not
understood properly.
People/operational
benefits
Yes (standard
tasks,
activities)
No Hard to standardize the jobs of operators
and work knowledge.
On time/schedule Yes No Variable takt time and unlevelled
schedule.
Number of change
orders
Minimal High The importance of front-end design is not
understood properly.
The Challenges of Standardization of Products and Processes in Construction
Industrialisation, prefabrication, assembly and open building 989
Table 3. The differences in the standardized and current products faced by the Finnish
construction industry.
Characteristics Standardized
products
In
construction
Challenges (in Finland)
Track record Accurate No “Unique” products (inability to see
parts to be standardized).
Using standard
products in follow-
on projects
Yes No The value of standard
products/components (modularity) is
not understood. Hard to learn from
past actions.
Amount of waste Low High High product variety.
Lead-in times (e.g.,
production runs)
Short Long and
unpredictable
Many custom items. The value of
standardization is not understood
properly.
Predictable and
measurable quality
Yes No No standard methods (tacit work
knowledge). No feedback loops in
production.
Inspection Accurate and
off-site
Ad-hoc and
on-site
No standard methods and routines.
Available
replacement parts
Yes No “Unique and customized” solutions.
People/operational
benefits
Yes
No
The current design processes do not
support using the standard products
and components. The inability to
order (and offer) standardized
products and solutions.
RESULTS ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
In general, construction projects operate in a very different environment than that for
which standardized processes (such as TPS) are usually developed for and hence they
faces a set of challenges that make the implementation of standardized processes and
products more difficult. Moreover, both the characteristics and challenges of
standardization interact with each other, which make the implementation of
standardization a bit harder, but not impossible.
When it comes to the standardization of processes, the best results would be
gained if a holistic view was taken to resolve the problems that occur. In other words,
the purpose of standardization should be in finding the root causes that prevent the
implementation of standardization and by that create a hospitable environment for
implementing standardization effectively. On the other hand, it is also possible to
solve challenges one by one, but this probably would not solve the root causes and it
could even create new problems. And above all, such an approach goes against the
Lean philosophy, while the purpose is to use and understand Lean. However, Höök
(2008) emphasized that moving forward should be slow to ensure that all employees
get time to adjust and become loyal to the development and settled mutual objectives
and strategy, because an understanding and acceptance of Lean philosophy is
important to consider.
The results imply that a lack of collaboration between the project participants
consequent upon the fragmented supply chain (and the culture and habits in general)
may be one of the root causes that prevents process standardization. Aforementioned
Aki Aapaoja and Harri Haapasalo
990 Proceedings IGLC-22, June 2014 | Oslo, Norway
problem reflects in the design phase which essential role and the impact on project
value creation is not assimilated, and especially, the importance of front-end activities
and thorough planning should be emphasized in order to increase the buildability of
the end products. Similar kinds of results have also been found in previous studies
(e.g., Lessing et al. 2005, Björnfot & Stehn 2004).
Moreover, the company representatives also described how the construction
industry and its projects are still perceived as a handicraft profession that produces
unique and customized products. Unfortunately, the low productivity seems to
support that viewpoint. In that case, for example, the methods, the workers’ jobs, and
work knowledge are basically impossible to standardize. In sum, somehow it seems
that the scheme of things must be changed, and therefore construction projects should
be looked at a more repetitive process.
Due to their interconnected nature, the challenges of using standardized products
and components are partly consistent with the challenges in process standardization.
Hence, it can be argued that process standardization demands the use of standardized
products. At least, if we want to exploit all of the benefits of standardized processes.
However, construction, and especially its solutions, are seen as unique, with an
inability to see which parts and products could be standardized, and therefore the
value of standardized products is not understood either. When the variety of the
products gets high, most likely the amount of waste gets higher as well. At the same
time, when there are no standardized processes and products, quality cannot be
measured and is not predictable, which ultimately leads to the fact that continuous
improvement is basically impossible. However, the results indicate that these
aforementioned challenges are not the root causes of this lack of standardization, but
more or less consequences. According to the company representatives, the most
serious problem is that the current design processes do not support and enable the use
of standardized products and components, because their value is not understood and
therefore they are not offered.
Overall, the findings of this study indicate that the standardization of processes
and the use of standardized products is a kind of “a rat race” in that they support and
complement each other. In other words, processes must be defined in such a way (e.g.,
tacit work knowledge and methods) that they enable the effective use of standardized
products or components, and vice-versa. Naturally this leads to a conclusion that in
order to make the most of the benefits of standardization, product and process
standardization should be utilized in parallel in construction deliveries. Womack and
Jones (1990) have stated that the construction industry suffers most from variability.
Unpredictable and non-standardized processes and products cause all kinds of waste,
not just of long lead times and excess inventory but also it results in the fluctuation of
the production flow (Yu et al. 2009).This is why we recommend that construction
industry should focus more on prefabrication and takt time –thinking, because
prefabrication (i.e., modularization) relies on standardized homogenous products and
off-site production (i.e., low variability and good quality) while the takt time
thinking is based on standardized and synchronized on-site processes (i.e., value flow
and pull production). Pasquire and Connolly (2002) have emphasized that takt time -
thinking removes multi-layered time contingencies to reduce process waste by using
real time planning and drive just-in-time delivery. Ultimately the implementation of
prefabrication and takt time –thinking leads to more industrialized and “Leaner”
The Challenges of Standardization of Products and Processes in Construction
Industrialisation, prefabrication, assembly and open building 991
construction (Figure 3). Björnfot & Stehn (2004) especially, but also by some other
studies (e.g., Höök 2008, Lessing et al. 2005), which have summarized:
applying Lean in construction promotes buildability and a buildable process
(top-down approach),
product modularity promotes the Lean construction process (bottom-up
approach),
product modularity (i.e., exploiting standardized products and components)
promotes buildable designs, and
Lean construction and philosophy advocate modularity.
Figure 1: Towards industrialized construction.
The previous studies and theories have mainly considered the development of
processes and enhancing the exploitation of standardized products equally.
Alternatively there is an option that product and process standardization is done at
different time. In that case, the process development and standardization is more
important and hence must be done first. Just like in the manufacturing industry, fine
and expensive machines are useless if no one knows how to use them properly (i.e.,
process management). In addition, our argument is confirmed by the fact that,
especially in Lean philosophy, the top-down approach is essential when change is
pursued. However, exploiting products and process standardization prefabrication
and takt time –thinking – at the same time is recommended.
CONCLUSIONS
The construction industry is well aware of waste, productivity issues, and
technological advancements, and at the same time the customers have started to
demand more value for their money. The development of production methods has
been found to be a potential way to fix some of the defects, and in particular, the
standardization has received a lot of attention during the past ten years. It aims at
shifting the “one-of-a-kind” perspective and construction processes towards the
perspective and methods of the manufacturing industry, which has trusted in
standardized processes and the use of standardized products for decades.
Aki Aapaoja and Harri Haapasalo
992 Proceedings IGLC-22, June 2014 | Oslo, Norway
This paper focused on revealing the major challenges for process standardization
and why the use of standardized products and components is so difficult and
relatively rare. The study was conducted through a literature review and empirical
research. The findings imply that the standardization of processes and using
standardized products go hand in hand. At the moment, there is a shortage of using
standardized products because the processes do not support taking advantage of them.
In other words, why bother to use standardized products if they do not provide any
benefits. Based on that, it is argued that the construction industry must pay attention
to process development (the top-down approach) in particular, where the importance
of front-end design (for example, set-based concurrent design and collaborative
design) is emphasized. From that, it can be ensured that the design and plans are as
accurate and correct as possible. Further, front-end design enables and acts as a driver
for applying prefabrication in a larger scale. Product standardization (the bottom-up
approach) should not be forgotten either, but first there must be processes that are
able to exploit standardized products and modularity. However, it is expected that the
best results are obtained if the product and process standardization are used
simultaneously. In practice, it techniques like prefabrication/modularization (i.e.,
product standardization) and takt time –thinking (i.e., process standardization) should
be applied in a larger scale.
There are still a number of important questions to be addressed in further research,
such as how customers understand and react (positively or negatively) to
standardization and to prefabrication in a more general level. In addition, especially
projects where the takt time - thinking has used or is going to be used, would another
interesting issue to be studied.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Authors would like to thank Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and
Innovation for financing the LCIFIN2 research project. There is also the website for
LCI-Finland at www.lci.fi to raise awareness of the latest innovations in build
environment and national research projects focused on developing it.
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Model for housing construction using value stream mapping.” Journal of
Construcition Engineering and Management, Vol. 135, No. 8, 782-790.
... Standardization and optimizing work contents by using prefabricated, preassembled, and repetitively used construction components are among the important operational principles of LC (Diekmann et al., 2004;Tezel and Nielsen, 2013). Standardization of work components helps to mitigate the effect of one-ofa-kind peculiarity of the construction industry (Aapaoja and Haapasalo, 2014). Using prefabrication and off-site techniques, aiming to improve standardization and workflow reliability, helps to increase the productivity of labors because of the increased experience with repetitive works, decrease the need for quality control due to the less need for workers' supervision and less on-site inspection, eliminate the wastes of installation time, lead time, and defects, and increase the ability to use same products and procedures in upcoming projects (Aapaoja and Haapasalo, 2014;Ballard and Arbulu, 2004;Dulaimi and Tanamas, 2001;Low, 2014c, Mawdesley andLong, 2002). ...
... Standardization of work components helps to mitigate the effect of one-ofa-kind peculiarity of the construction industry (Aapaoja and Haapasalo, 2014). Using prefabrication and off-site techniques, aiming to improve standardization and workflow reliability, helps to increase the productivity of labors because of the increased experience with repetitive works, decrease the need for quality control due to the less need for workers' supervision and less on-site inspection, eliminate the wastes of installation time, lead time, and defects, and increase the ability to use same products and procedures in upcoming projects (Aapaoja and Haapasalo, 2014;Ballard and Arbulu, 2004;Dulaimi and Tanamas, 2001;Low, 2014c, Mawdesley andLong, 2002). Nevertheless, there are many reasons behind the limited use of off-site techniques and prefabrication; such as the cost of mechanisms, the poor performance of some prefabricators, the low flexibility to fit the changes in design and installation time, the need for early design information, the lack of incorporating standard elements in the planning process, and the lack of understanding the prefabrication benefits among projects' participants, especially the designers (Aapaoja and Haapasalo, 2014;Ballard and Arbulu, 2004;Low, 2014c, Höök andStehn, 2005). ...
... Using prefabrication and off-site techniques, aiming to improve standardization and workflow reliability, helps to increase the productivity of labors because of the increased experience with repetitive works, decrease the need for quality control due to the less need for workers' supervision and less on-site inspection, eliminate the wastes of installation time, lead time, and defects, and increase the ability to use same products and procedures in upcoming projects (Aapaoja and Haapasalo, 2014;Ballard and Arbulu, 2004;Dulaimi and Tanamas, 2001;Low, 2014c, Mawdesley andLong, 2002). Nevertheless, there are many reasons behind the limited use of off-site techniques and prefabrication; such as the cost of mechanisms, the poor performance of some prefabricators, the low flexibility to fit the changes in design and installation time, the need for early design information, the lack of incorporating standard elements in the planning process, and the lack of understanding the prefabrication benefits among projects' participants, especially the designers (Aapaoja and Haapasalo, 2014;Ballard and Arbulu, 2004;Low, 2014c, Höök andStehn, 2005). ...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to identify and theoretically explain the general barriers to adopting lean construction practices in the construction industry regardless of the country or the company size or specialization, and to suggest future research studies in this field. Design/methodology/approach Systematic literature review was conducted to identify and explain the list of the barriers from scientific sources that were published before May 2018. Findings Twenty-nine barriers were identified and explained, and a proposed model to classify the sources of the barriers was chosen. Seventeen barriers were classified as internal environment-related barriers, five were labor-related, three were materials-related and four were exogenous barriers. In addition, some directions for the future research studies were suggested. Research limitations/implications The barriers that are related to the advanced levels of lean construction (LC) implementations, to a specific location or to a specific LC tool were excluded. Originality/value This review will help to increase the understanding of the new concept of LC and might help to encourage the adoption of LC practices. Also, it might be useful for identifying the strategies to achieve successful application of these practices.
... The productivity of the manufacturing sector is to be 3.6 times the productivity of the construction sector [5]. The low productivity in the construction sector is due to the lack of standardized processes, the low adoption of technologies, the scarce availability of these new technologies as well as the low investment in research and development [6], [7]. In the construction sector, the prefabrication of components allows moving some of the on-site production to a controlled and safer environment [8]. ...
... The distances from the off-site factory to the construction site can also bring higher costs and more problems in the logistics [2], [32]. Ref. [7] argued that "in construction, standardization is not about the standard systems or products, but the systematic approaches to perform things". The authors conducted research concerning the challenges relative to the standardization of the products in the Finnish construction industry. ...
... The authors conducted research concerning the challenges relative to the standardization of the products in the Finnish construction industry. One of the challenges of automation is the low standardization and is due to many factors such as the lack of collaboration, the high variability, the variable takt time, and unbalanced schedules [7]. Ref. [25], through their literature review, argued that nearly half of the companies see less than 5 % saving on their prefabrication projects in the United States and the costs seem to be 26% to 70% higher than traditional building methods. ...
Conference Paper
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Off-site prefabrication in the timber-frame construction industry is a trending topic in the search for sustainable building and affordable housing. This paper aims to present, based on a literature review, the current level of automation and robotization in the timber-frame prefabrication industry, the existing layouts for this type of production, the tools and equipment used to support the production line, and the limits and barriers to adopting these technologies. Based on the analysis of these themes, a figure relating the degree of automation in relation to factors such as the level of machinery and technological tools involved, the business and workforce size, the level of lean and standardization, and the stage of prefabrication is presented and discussed.
... Boards 1 and 2 are for visual support on the construction site, where they normally enable the steel, as well as dynamic boards 3 and 4, with the exception that a device such as an iPod or cell phone that has Excel will be able to select the appropriate coating. and the replacement of rods according to the stock they have on site, or due to a special need, complementing the checklist ( check List ), according to the "Lean" philosophy, go to the production site called ( Gemba ) which is the work, as a contribution to the investigation if it is executed and complies, generating a metric that seeks continuous improvement, otherwise what is necessary to comply is executed, which is a great contribution to our field workers, as well as for their personal growth and a visual aid to verify what to consider, as a support to helpers to grow in their knowledge and to shorten their learning curve Even when there are articles as background to the subject, we must highlight the heading of Principle 6 in " The Toyota Way " that states: "Standardized tasks are the basis for continuous improvement and empowerment of employees" ( Liker , 2004), no research touches on the subject from the Visual Management approach, some authors stand out as ( Rybkowski , 2014), focused on documenting the methods and expected results in a simulation that illustrates the productivity of collective Kaizen , ( Polesie , 2009) in interviews identified that it is difficult to implement due to the lack of teamwork between senior management and field management, in the case of ( Aapaoja , 2014) reveals the main challenges for process standardization is difficult, processes should be focused on standardizing and modulating them, confirming that this research has a different approach to address the issue. It is a contribution thinking of the production staff, looking for teamwork and for them to take ownership of the process, to find a way to adapt it, to adapt it looking for Continuous Improvement. ...
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The importance of standardizing processes is one of the basic principles of "Lean" practices, it reduces the workload for the Construction Industry. It is important, particularly because of its artisanal process in Mexico. We can ask ourselves, how to adapt the standard with Visual Lean Management of a steel reinforcement work process that is used in Housing in the Construction Industry in Mexico? This attempt is still in its infancy, that is, the vast majority of the processes are not standardized. The studied process is based on the Mexican competency standard ECO-351-Manufacture of structural elements with reinforcing steel, as a spearhead to standardize the processes, of the concepts in general of the construction, to close the entire work cycle of the work, this article aims to highlight the importance and promote standardization, always seeking continuous improvement of the process by the user, but with a visual management approach (VM), so that production workers understand it faster and easier ; it was carried out through the cycle of continuous improvement of Deming (PDCA).
... The most recent evidence is the emerging paradigm of Construction 4.0, a term coined in reference to Industry 4.0, which encompasses automation, data exchange, and digitization in manufacturing [6][7][8]. Critical reviews of IBC were conducted that have identified the major research topics, trends, and challenges in this field [1,9,10]. Project planning and design, including workflow optimization and project delivery process, have been among the most frequently studied research themes in IBC over the past decade [11]. ...
Article
Industrialized building construction is an approach that integrates manufacturing techniques into construction projects to achieve improved quality, shortened project duration, and enhanced schedule predictability. Time savings result from concurrently carrying out factory operations and site preparation activities. In an industrialized building construction factory, the accurate prediction of production cycle time is crucial to reap the advantage of improved schedule predictability leading to enhanced production planning and control. With the large amount of data being generated as part of the daily operations within such a factory, the present study proposes a machine learning approach to accurately estimate production time using (1) the physical characteristics of building components, (2) the real-time tracking data gathered using a radio frequency identification system, and (3) a set of engineered features constructed to capture the real-time loading conditions of the job shop. The results show a mean absolute percentage error and correlation coefficient of 11% and 0.80, respectively, between the actual and predicted values when using random forest models. The results confirm the significant effects of including shop utilization features in model training and suggest that predicting production time can be reasonably achieved.
... First CLT project-Switzerland-Germany 1993 processes can be considered as an essential, and even the most important factor when it comes to the prefabrication. The ability to measure, understand, and manage variability is essential to effective project and process management [4]. In recent years, there has been strong interest worldwide in developing codes and standards for timber structures that are more design performance based. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This is a technical report that has been published in "TimberAid.com" : www.timberaid.com/calculator/articles/development-background-and-challenges-north-american-cross-laminated-timber-clt-design-standard/
... They form dataware methodological basics at solving various control and quality evaluation problems. Sampling methods allow estimating the product properties at various stages of a life cycle for a wide range of indicators [8][9][10][11][12][13][14]. However, according to the information from available references, despite the current development of statistical methods there is no method for a comprehensive evaluation of the industrial product quality at the stages of product manufacture design and control. ...
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The article develops a sampling method to control and evaluate the quality of industrial products. The method allows for a comprehensive quality evaluation at designing and controlling industrial product manufacture. The method is based on a set of mathematical and statistical models of forming a sampling frame of industrial product parameters. It takes into account the factors of the company’s external and internal environment, control over decision making process (DMP), quality evaluation by a sum of partial indicators of ten groups. The method developed is automated with the help of the software MathCad Prime. The industrial approbation of the method showed its efficiency for the solution of production tasks related to the evaluation and control of industrial product quality at various stages of product and manufacturing life cycles.
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In the Indian economy, the real estate industry is of significant importance as it contributes between 6-8% to the Indian gross domestic product (GDP). Indian real estate building has fantastic growth prospects. Some Challenges such as Waste generation, Lack of skilled labour, Time overrun, Cost Overrun, Low Productivity etc. Average cost of waste as Proportion of cost of the project, excluding the cost of Performance varied from 5.38% to 14.70%.for Waste reduction and improve the productivity construction companies have started improvement through Lean Construction. It is essential to recognize waste and its related root causes at Indian construction sites in order to adopt lean principles, in which a major focus is on waste minimization. To evaluate the goals and functionalities of each LC instrument, a systematic literature review will be carried out. The functionality of lean software must be consistent with the accompanying procedures in order to effectively implement LC. The work presented would assist construction project management in making informed decisions on construction sites to schedule, handle, and monitor work activities related to equipment.
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This paper formulates a concise, free-to-use Circular Construction Evaluation Framework (CCEF) based upon international design code guidelines to assess and quantify the circularity credentials of an existing or proposed construction project. Central to the principles of circular construction is designing for disassembly and adaptability - the ability of a building's elements and connecting components to be disassembled and reused, or rearranged, after the initial design life. Analysis of modern methods of construction and the compatibility of systems with the concepts of designing for disassembly and material reuse inform the development of the CCEF. Circular construction is facilitated by simplicity, standardisation and modularity in design, sustainably-sourced materials, transparent and accessible mechanical connections and the adoption of a manufacturing-style approach towards durable and reusable standardised components and materials. The CCEF allows users such as clients, consultants, contractors, local and national planning and infrastructure policy professionals to evaluate both whole building and elemental levels at the early design and planning stages in a new-build, refurbishment or renovation project. Implementation of a scoring system is demonstrated by the evaluation of example buildings with varying usage of conventional and bio-based materials. It is shown by use of the framework that a simple standardised construction using reversible connections and previously used material elements rates highly, demonstrating a greater extent of circularity in the construction.
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Ongoing discussion about sustainable building construction problems such as high initial cost caused by-green cost premium‖ supported by long-term and uncertain of return on investment (ROI) as well as long-term and low profitability, lead to passive involvement of construction practitioners to construct sustainable building even many benefits are well documented. Previous research finding revealed that, most of the construction practitioners are not willing to spend more just to implement sustainability in their project and some of them has no long-term interest in operating or leasing the buildings. Hence, the question arises on-how can this issue be resolved?‖. Therefore, this study presents a conceptual model aiming at reducing the initial cost of sustainable building construction project with the hope that this will encourage construction practitioners to invest in sustainable building construction project. Based on the analysis of existing literature (e.g.: conference paper, journal article) there are 19 cost reduction methods, that classified into six elements:technical approach, motivation, design management, project team characteristic, practical approach and management innovation. As there are limited studies conducted on methods to reduce sustainable building construction cost, the authors decided to gather an information on methods to reduce initial project cost not limited to sustainable building construction and in various industries. The components of this conceptual model were constructed based on theories and empirical evidence relating to cost reduction at which, the authors combine and conceptualized them into input-process-output (IPO) model to produce the proposed conceptual model of this study. At the end of this stage, the authors found 9constructs with 2 associations.
Chapter
The construction sector has difficulty in catching the rapidly developing technology era. While the sectors are rapidly adapting themselves to the new era, firms that do not invest in innovation lose their value at a fast pace. When we look at the Fortune 500 list, it is seen that the biggest leap is made by companies in the IT sector. However, the situation is observed to be the opposite for construction companies. Despite the enormous investment costs and the huge risks involved, construction companies are unable to compete with the leaders of the digital world and falling down in the list. The losses of time and cost are increasing in the construction sector which lags behind in the digitizing world. The systematic analysis of these losses with analytical methods remains limited and there are problems in project management approaches. The industry today invests into digital transformation with Building Information Modeling (BIM) to deal with these problems in the construction sector and to produce a solution according to their dynamics in the digital world. BIM is the digital twin model of actual construction consisting of data-rich 3D objects. Accurate management of a data-rich model is possible with data management techniques. In order to fully benefit from this digital reflection of construction projects, the sector needs to establish processes based on basic theories of digital data management. This study is designed to provide a methodology in which the BIM 4D and 5D processes are handled as integrated and business intelligence approaches. While approaching Information Modeling from Building perspective, some basic approaches to data science have been integrated with 4D and 5D processes. The main objective of the study is to contribute to the digitalization process and to present a proposal for the application of the business intelligence in BIM processes.
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This paper presents the results from interviews of 59 senior personnel from major construction clients. There are two main themes: client drivers for construction projects and their implications for standardization of processes and components. The client sample is described and reasons for procuring construction projects are established along with the extent of their involvement in the construction process and hence their ability to influence the outcomes. Their views on value for money, preconceptions of standardization and their opinion on its future potential are explored. Many clients recognize the need to involve constructors and manufacturers early, although fewer actually achieve this. Misconceptions about standardization exist, but many clients are recognizing the benefits possible from standardization. However, very few actually measure benefits and so are unable to truly evaluate success. There is a future for increased standardization, but only if the industry recognizes the unique aspects of each client and responds positively to meet those needs.
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This paper presents the results from interviews of 59 senior personnel from major construction clients. There are two main themes: client drivers for construction projects and their implications for standardization of processes and components. The client sample is described and reasons for procuring construction projects are established along with the extent of their involvement in the construction process and hence their ability to influence the outcomes. Their views on value for money, preconceptions of standardization and their opinion on its future potential are explored. Many clients recognize the need to involve constructors and manufacturers early, although fewer actually achieve this. Misconceptions about standardization exist, but many clients are recognizing the benefits possible from standardization. However, very few actually measure benefits and so are unable to truly evaluate success. There is a future for increased standardization, but only if the industry recognizes the unique aspects of each client and responds positively to meet those needs.
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There is an urgent issue on huge quantities of wastage generation in construction. There should not be lack of environmental support from construction stakeholders. The current implementation of prefabrication seems unable to provide satisfactory results to the construction industry. This paper provides a feasibility analysis in adopting prefabrication in construction activities. Advantages, hindrances and future development on prefabrication's applications are provided based on a questionnaire survey. The suitability in adopting prefabrication of various project types is also examined. Furthermore, a financial analysis is also investigated by a local case study. It found that wastage generation can reduce up to 100% after adopting prefabrication, in which up to 84.7% can be saved on wastage reduction.