Industrialized construction - explorations of current practice and opportunities
Abstract: Industrialized construction has over the years taken different expressions and gone through different phases depending on where inspiration has come from. In this project, industrialized construction has been studied in two applications: timber house manufacturing and renovation of multi-family houses. In Sweden industrialized production of timber houses is relatively strong in the housing sector, it however resides somewhere between industrial production and the traditional construction sector, which has led to some ambivalence. IT support and product documentation largely reflects the traditional construction sector, which means that they find it difficult to use the potential of industrialized construction in full. The efficiency of production of timber houses could be improved by more effective use of IT support, as well as better coherence between internal processes and the business model. Further, they need to consider how to document products in an industrialized context. These changes will inevitably have an impact on how they are organized and would require new or changed processes. It will also have an impact on how product documentation can be used. In Sweden there are strong property owners who are able to take an active role in industrialized construction if they were provided with the right knowledge and tools. An increasingly interesting sub-sector of construction is the renovation of multi-family houses, today investment in renovation is larger than in new construction. The renovation need in multi-family houses in Sweden, as well as in the rest of Europe, is large. How it will be financed and implemented is a problem that many property owners struggle with and different strategies have been used. For example pipe renovation is a major and costly action and many buildings are in great need. Several Swedish property owners can altogether show volumes over 1000 bathrooms per year in renovation and new construction, this could justify investments in industrialized strategies. A case study company in the research project has adopted an approach that standardizes pipe renovation to a limited number of solutions. This can be seen as a first step of an industrial strategy. For further industrialization, clients need to implement a comprehensive approach to the development and standardization of solutions, as well as ensuring better control of processes for implementing pipe renovation projects. The effort to create industrialized strategies is not unattainable, but it requires investments and expertise that property owners today typically do not have. If property owners would act as concept owners for industrialized platforms for renovation and new construction, it has the potential to create a new market.
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