Use of Modularization in Design as a Strategy to Reduce Component Variety One-Off Projects

Ahlam Mohamad1, Gernot Hickethier2, Volkmar Hovestadt3 & Fritz Gehbauer4

1Ph.D. Candidate, Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Am Fasanengarten Geb. 50.31, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany, Phone +49-721 608-44124, ahlam.mohamad@kit.edu
2Research Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate, Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Am Fasanengarten Geb. 50.31, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany, Phone +49-721 608-44124, gernot.hickethier@kit.edu
3Dr. Engineer, digitales bauen GmbH, Augartenstraße 1, 76137 Karlsruhe, Germany, Phone +49- 721 5684 787-4, volkmar.hovestadt@digitales-bauen.de
4Professor, Institute for Technology and Management in Construction, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Am Fasanengarten Geb. 50.31, 76128 Karlsruhe, Germany, Phone +49- 721608-42646, fritz.gehbauer@kit.edu

Abstract

Standardization of work as an essential principle of lean management aims to improve the production process in construction. This paper describes a design strategy which aims to reduce the variety of building components, where this variety affects productivity negatively. The design strategy is based on modularization and standardization. We first review the roots of modularization and standardization, and distinguish the two concepts from each other. Then, we describe the design strategy, which is based on structuring of a building model and defining “modules”. The modeling strategy is implemented in two interrelated steps: (1) modularization, and (2) standardization. (1) The process of modularization defines 'chunks' in the building’s model and the interfaces between them. (2) The process of standardization aligns the structure of the modules to reduce the variety of components. Creation of these standardized modules during design improves application of standardized work and pre-fabrication. We present the described design strategy in two case studies: The first case study presents an example of implementing the design methodology, and the second case study describes the results of the design methodology in reducing the variety of the components. We conclude that modularization improves the potential for standardization in one-off projects, but it should be applied (1) early in design and (2) in an integrated team to identify customer value trade-offs.

Keywords

Product variety, Modular design, Modular construction, Standardization, One-off projects

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Reference

Mohamad, A. , Hickethier, G. , Hovestadt, V. & Gehbauer, F. 2013, 'Use of Modularization in Design as a Strategy to Reduce Component Variety One-Off Projects' In:, Formoso, C.T. & Tzortzopoulos, P., 21th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Fortaleza, Brazil, 31-2 Aug 2013. pp 289-298

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