Product Design for Improved Material Flow—a Multi-Storey Timber Housing Project

Anders Björnfot1 & Lars Stehn2

1Tech. Lic., Div. of Structural Engineering - Timber Structures, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden, Phone +46 920 492067, FAX +46 920 491091, anders.bjornfot@ltu.se
2Prof., Div. of Structural Engineering - Timber Structures, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden, Phone +46 920 491976, FAX +46 920 491091, lars.stehn@ltu.se

Abstract

Understanding of construction has evolved to include a deeper understanding of its mechanics; in addition to traditional on-site work involving the manufacturing of building products—industrial construction. One of the most important aspects of any industrial process is flow of materials and resources. Using empirical data from a unique multi-storey timber housing project, this paper aims at building a better understanding of how product design affects flow of materials in housing construction. Even though a high degree of prefabrication was used in the project, the amount of complementary site work caused delays, complaints, and a slow learning cycle. A standardization process was used to shift product ‘know-how’ from person to product, resulting in increased flow and a reduction of errors. Prefabrication was not the sole solution to the encountered problems, but the controlled and ordered environment in prefabrication provided solutions at early stages. Instead of working towards solving the main production issues, the management was instead observed working with minor changes (first-aid solutions) to control flow. If industrialized multistorey timber housing construction is to be successful, product design decisions should be thought through, thoroughly, from start to finish using standardization as a guiding star.

Keywords

Assembly, Logistics, Multi-Storey Timber housing, Prefabrication, Standardization

Files

Reference

Björnfot, A. & Stehn, L. 2005, 'Product Design for Improved Material Flow—a Multi-Storey Timber Housing Project' In:, 13th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Sydney, Australia, 19-21 Jul 2005. pp 297-306

Download: BibTeX | RIS Format