Product Development Through Lean Design and Modularization Principles

Patrik Jensen1, Emile Hamon2 & Thomas Olofsson3

1M.Sc., Div. Construction Engineering and Management, Luleå university of Technology, Sweden, Phone +46 8 566 414 61 , FAX +46 8 566 410 50, [email protected]
2M.Sc., Tyréns AB, 205 19 Malmö, Sweden, Phone +46 8 566 416 68 , FAX +46 8 566 410 50, [email protected]
3Professor, Div. Construction Engineering and Management, Luleå university of Technology, Sweden, Phone +46 920 491362, FAX +46 920 491091, [email protected]


Customers’ demands regarding quality and cost efficiency caused the Swedish construction industry to increase its levels of prefabrication. However, the main focus has been on the structural design and production in the development of these new building systems, and very little attention has been devoted to customer needs and requirements. This has created a situation where ad hoc solutions have been introduced to adapt the building system to match the project requirements, causing problems in the production process with waste and quality problems as a result. Therefore, a development project was initiated with the goal to design a new building system for multi-story timber housing that could match the client needs and requirements. This paper describes how this development process was pursued using lean design methods and modularization principles. A multi-skilled development team worked for over 6 months in developing a technical and a process platform for a flexible building system. The study shows that it is evident that modularization principles can be used in order to develop flexible building systems that better can match the requirements from an individual project. From a set of rules, the architect can configure and design a unique building which enables the manufacturability of the building system and ensures a smooth assembly process of the prefabricated modules on the construction site.


Lean design, modularization, configuration, prefabrication, product development.



Jensen, P. , Hamon, E. & Olofsson, T. 2009, 'Product Development Through Lean Design and Modularization Principles' In:, Cuperus, Y. & Hirota, E. H., 17th Annual Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction. Taipei, Taiwan, 15-17 Jul 2009. pp 465-474

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