Prefabrication: A Lean Strategy for Value Generation in Construction

Anders Bjornfot1 & Ylva Sarden2

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
2Tech., Dr., Div. of Structural Engineering - Timber Structures, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden, Phone +46 920 492866, FAX +46 920 491091, ylva.sarden@ltu.se

Abstract

Despite a number of attempts to establish prefabrication as a Lean Construction method, there is still confusion of what prefabrication provides to the management of the construction process. It seems as if prefabrication can provide a means of dealing with value stream fluctuations in highly complex situations, such as a traditional construction project where it is difficult to define client value accurately. The prefabrication decision and the strategies for meeting customer demands have been studied for three Swedish producers of prefabricated timber components for multi-storey housing construction. The case study results indicate that the Swedish construction industry is slowly changing from a traditional project based generation of customer value to offering specific products, adaptable by the customer to suit their own view on value. A prefabrication strategy where a well defined and tested product is offered to customers has the effect of redistributing resources from the design process to the value stream. Such redistribution enables companies with a well developed prefabrication strategy to better control the value stream and to implement new and better ways of meeting customer requirements while continuously improving their work and eliminating waste.

Keywords

Lean Thinking, Multi-storey timber housing, Prefabrication, Product offer, Value generation.

Files

Reference

Bjornfot, A. & Sarden, Y. 2006, 'Prefabrication: A Lean Strategy for Value Generation in Construction' In:, 14th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Santiago, Chile, 1-. pp 265-277

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