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Energies 2017, 10(10), 1622; https://doi.org/10.3390/en10101622

Using Modularity to Reduce Complexity of Industrialized Building Systems for Mass Customization

1
Interdisciplinary Department, Campus Litoral Norte, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Tramandai 95590-000, Brazil
2
Project Production Systems Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-1712, USA
3
Building Innovation Research Unit (NORIE), School of Engineering, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre 90035-190, Brazil
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 September 2017 / Revised: 4 October 2017 / Accepted: 9 October 2017 / Published: 17 October 2017
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Abstract

It is widely known that industrialized building systems can positively impact construction projects in terms of efficiency, duration, safety, and quality. Although the use of industrialized building systems can potentially simplify the production process on-site, the complexity of the overall delivery system tends to be high, especially in engineered-to-order (ETO) environments, due to factors such as uncertainty related to goals and methods, conflicts between different trades on-site, and interdependence between supply chain members. This paper explores the concept of modularity, which has proven to be useful in different industries as a way of dealing with complex systems. The aim of this paper is to illustrate how modularity can reduce the complexity of ETO industrialized building systems, in companies that adopt a mass customization strategy. This investigation is based on two descriptive case studies on the development of modular structural steel systems for buildings that have adopted innovative beam-to-column connections. The main contribution of this research is demonstrating the need to adopt an integrated product and process-oriented conceptualization of modularity in industrialized building systems. Moreover, the comparison between the two case studies pointed out that the management of tolerances plays a key role in achieving high productivity and short lead times in structural steel building systems. This investigation also illustrates how the adoption of a limited set of modular components can be used to decouple design decisions, and standardize different types of processes. View Full-Text
Keywords: mass customization; modularity; integration; tolerances; industrialized building systems; steel structures; lean construction; connection mass customization; modularity; integration; tolerances; industrialized building systems; steel structures; lean construction; connection
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Viana, D.D.; Tommelein, I.D.; Formoso, C.T. Using Modularity to Reduce Complexity of Industrialized Building Systems for Mass Customization. Energies 2017, 10, 1622.

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