Industrialised housing design efficiency

Abstract: Industrialised housing has increased its Swedish market share the latest ten years from 2% to 15%. Prefabrication has developed into actual industrialisation, where factories produce not only elements for site assembly, but takes wholesale responsibility for the sales, design, factory production, and assembly of houses. A higher automation in housing production puts demands on the design department to become more efficient. Design is identified as a bottleneck to further increase the production rate. Information deliveries are not produced in the needed rate. With the change from drafting to modelling in building design, opportunities are given to work simultaneously for better efficiency. The focus on BIM-supported CAD-tools has lead ICT-developers to create systems that mainly support product modelling. But, in industrialised housing, support for process efficiency is just as important.In a case study at a Swedish industrialised housing company, during a three year period, interviews, observations and design activities at the company were recorded to study what components and functionality in the design support create business value. The results show that by defining design in stages with gates, by parallel planning of activities, and by using process visualisation methods, the efficiency increased about 41 % in information deliveries. Furthermore, the use of support systems has to create both internal value for efficiency in information deliveries and external value to meet and handle client requirements in a standardised way. By releasing time from project management activities to improvements and product development the focus on the product could increase. Product development theories with axiomatic design as the foundation for a support system combines product structures with BIM functionality and process support for planning, which secures quality between disciplines in a concurrent approach. Product life cycle management (PLM) is an umbrella that manages product development in a life-cycle perspective trough a defined framework that is applicable to industrialised housing design, both for software developers and industrialised builders.