Decreasing Complexity of the On-Site Construction Process Using Prefabrication: A Case Study

Johan Larsson1 & Peter Simonsson2

1Ph.D. student, Div of Structural Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, 971 87 Luleå, Sweden Phone +46 76 1096065, FAX +46 920 491913,
2Senior Researcher, Swedish Transport Administration, Phone +46 70 2900410,


Implementing prefabrication is by many seen as means to improve construction in terms of managing uncertainties and productivity. However, regarding Swedish civil engineering works this has not been adequately documented to date. This case study uses Value Stream Mapping (VSM) to document the construction of a semiprefabricated superstructure. The intention of the project is to investigate if the bridge construction process becomes less complex to manage and control when using prefabrication instead of traditional on-site construction. By relocating parts of traditional on-site construction to a factory, the time spent on site performing traditional work tasks such as constructing formwork, mounting and fixing of rebar and casting concrete, could be decreased. Nevertheless, mapping the process revealed shortcomings such as problems placing the prefabricated beams onto the on-site constructed plate structures and also that clear communication between actors tend to increase in importance when choosing prefabrication as construction method. Results from the VSM show that the semi-prefabricated superstructure, future state, became less complex compared to current state construction and also 75% quicker to construct on-site. By redesigning the bridge to eliminate some of the infant “diseases”, prefabrication will become more common in the future of small bridge construction in Sweden.


Prefabrication, Value Stream mapping (VSM), Complexity, Bridge Construction.



Larsson, J. & Simonsson, P. 2012, 'Decreasing Complexity of the On-Site Construction Process Using Prefabrication: A Case Study' In:, Tommelein, I.D. & Pasquire, C.L., 20th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. San Diego, USA, 18-20 Jul 2012.

Download: BibTeX | RIS Format