Stepwise modularization in the construction industry using a bottom-up approach

Anders Kudsk, Martin O'Brien Grønvold, Magnus Holo Olsen, Lars Hvam, Christian Thuesen

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    The manufacturing industry has experienced a great deal of improvement in efficiency and cost reductions throughout the last centuries. But although there have been improvements in the manufacturing industry, the principles and work methods in the construction industry have stood still for more than a hundred years. Based on principles of mass customization applied in the manufacturing industry, two cases of successful implementation of mass customization and modularization have been investigated as a means of showcasing the possibility to incorporate standardization in parts of the construction industry. The investigation examined two different companies that have standardized parts of a construction. One,, standardized the method for constructing balconies; and NCC Skakt standardized the construction of shafts. standardized their balconies by studying the balconies they previously built and constructing solution spaces in which a configured balcony can be constructed. The information gathered from studying these balconies was then put into a Product Variant Master, so that an overview of the product was achieved. All the information gathered was put into a configurator in order to guide the entire construction process. NCC Skakt standardized their shafts by studying apartments already constructed and extracting different archetypes of toilets and kitchens. Much information was gathered, which was fed into a Product Variant Master, so that an overview could be achieved. This led to a standardization of the shafts. Three types of shafts that make up 95 percent of the investigated market were defined. Based on the findings and experiences gathered through the standardization, it is concluded that the principles of mass customization of a sub-part can be successful when implemented stepwise. The case shows that substantial benefits can be gained through implementing modularized construction. It is especially interesting to note that these benefits are achieved through the development of a module with focus on the internal interfaces. © Kudsk et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalOpen Construction & Building Technology Journal
    Pages (from-to)99-107
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Bibliographical note

    Open access


    • Computer aided manufacturing
    • Construction
    • Construction industry
    • Standardization
    • Modular construction

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