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Paper w78_2007_34:
ICT support for industrial production of houses the Swedish case

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Helena Johnsson, Linus Malmgren, Stefan Persson

ICT support for industrial production of houses the Swedish case

Abstract:The Swedish construction sector is currently undergoing great changes. The large costs for labour have forced the construction companies to rationalise and minimise labour intense work operations. Therefore, the current trend in construction to adopt the principles of lean production and transform it into lean construction, suits the Swed-ish way of working and the entire Swedish construction sector has caught on. A growing market is the prefabrication of building elements that are transported to site and then erected. The development has been taken so far that modular houses i.e. vol-umes/rooms are prefabricated. Companies in the prefabrication industry within construction fall between two sectors; the construction industry and the manufacturing industry. In terms of IT support the contradiction between the two sectors become evident. Software developed for the construction sector seldom provide enough detailing to suffice as a basis for industrial production, while software supporting the manufacturing industry are incapable of delivering standard construction documenta-tion. The current study presents a multiple case study where six Swedish industrial manu-facturers of timber houses were studied. The process from tender acceptance to mod-ule delivery is described. Alongside, a survey of the building sys-tem revealed that much still needs to be done in terms of documenting a building system. The results show that the ques-tion of IT support is more a question of consequent information strategies than eloquent IT tools. The pressing need for a method for documenting building systems is stressed and different methods are discussed.

Keywords:timber houses, industrial construction, lean construction, timber buildings

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