Customer Value in Lean Prefabrication of Housing Considering Both Construction and Manufacturing

Matilda Höök1

1Tech. Lic., Div. of Structural Engineering - Timber Structures, Luleå University of Technology, 97187 Luleå, Sweden, Phone +46 920 491028, FAX +46 920 491913, [email protected]


Prefabrication increases standardisation and repetitiveness both in processes and products and yields a progress of a construction process that is more comparable to manufacturing than on-site construction. Previous research shows that house prefabrication reduces waste and resolves some of the peculiarities of construction (e.g. one-of-a-kindness, on-site production and a temporary organisation). However, the need for value creation by considering construction peculiarities in prefabrication is also discussed within the IGLC community. Hence, the aim of this research is to contribute to the understanding of how to obtain a lean prefabrication strategy, i.e., a strategy that considers both waste reduction and value generation. To find suggestions for development within value creation of a prefabrication strategy, a multiple case study of the total population of Swedish timber volume element (TVE) prefabrication, and a customer survey of 57 potential and previous real-estate trustees of the TVE building system was performed. The result shows that value generation is connected to meeting customer needs formulated within the deep-rooted culture of construction based on historical knowledge and attitudes. Traditional on-site production is still apparently perceived to allow a higher degree of control, trust and flexibility. To obtain a lean prefabrication strategy both waste reduction, through the use of manufacturing related project orientation, and consideration of the construction culture is therefore needed. Previous researches suggest flexibility, customisation and convincing design have to be met to obtain value generation and this is empirically confirmed by this research. However, the research also shows that a lean prefabrication strategy still has to meet the traditional needs of the process, as control and trust of the production process and the product, trust of the manufacturer together with information transfer, to obtain customer value. Control and trust can be supported by information transfer via strategic alliances and demonstration houses.


Lean prefabrication, Construction peculiarities, Customer value, Timber volume element housing



Höök, M. 2006. Customer Value in Lean Prefabrication of Housing Considering Both Construction and Manufacturing, 14th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction , 583-594.

Download: BibTeX | RIS Format