Industrialization of Construction -a Lean Modular Approach

Anders Bjornfot1 & Lars Stehn2

1M.Sc. Div. of Timber Structures, Lulea University of Teclmology, 97187 Lulea, Sweden, Phone +46 920 492067, FAX +46 920 491091, [email protected]
2Ass. Prof., Div. of Timber Structures, Lulea University of Technology, 97187 Lulea, Sweden, Phone +46 920 491976, FAX +46 920 491091, [email protected]


The concept of industrialization and lean thinking in construction has drawn quite a bit of interest in recent years. Authors have recently begun to critically debate the direct · implementation of lean thinking in construction; instead the focus should be related to transformation, flow, and value. This paper is based on a literature review of modularity, lean construction, and buildability. Modularity is then extended to the production phase where simulated assembly scenarios are used to explore and exemplify modular effects during production of long-span timber structures. The literature review suggests that modularity is related to product management, with process management effects, while lean thinking is a process management principle. Both principles are focused on the creation of buildability which is argued to be more of a goal than a means of efficiency. The simulation scenarios indicate possible modular benefits associated with, e.g., organization, out-sourcing, preassembly, prefabrication, and development. Modularity is thus argued to advocate management of production in the form of lean construction. The focus for timber construction should be on modularity; i.e., a bottom-up product focused view enabling product value. Such a view has potential to be a driving force in the struggle for industrialization in construction.


Assembly, buildability, constructability, industrialized construction, lean thinking, modularity, production, timber structures.



Bjornfot, A. & Stehn, L. 2004. Industrialization of Construction -a Lean Modular Approach, 12th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , -.

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