High capital cost is a significant hindrance to the promotion of prefabrication. In order to optimize cost management and reduce capital cost, this study aims to explore the latent factors and factor analysis evaluation model. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to explore potential variables and then questionnaire survey was employed to collect professionals’ views on their effects. After data collection, exploratory factor analysis was adopted to explore the latent factors. Seven latent factors were identified, including “Management Index”, “Construction Dissipation Index”, “Productivity Index”, “Design Efficiency Index”, “Transport Dissipation Index”, “Material increment Index” and “Depreciation amortization Index”. With these latent factors, a factor analysis evaluation model (FAEM), divided into factor analysis model (FAM) and comprehensive evaluation model (CEM), was established. The FAM was used to explore the effect of observed variables on the high capital cost of prefabrication, while the CEM was used to evaluate comprehensive cost management level on prefabrication projects. Case studies were conducted to verify the models. The results revealed that collaborative management had a positive effect on capital cost of prefabrication. Material increment costs and labor costs had significant impacts on production cost. This study demonstrated the potential of on-site management and standardization design to reduce capital cost. Hence, collaborative management is necessary for cost management of prefabrication. Innovation and detailed design were needed to improve cost performance. The new form of precast component factories can be explored to reduce transportation cost. Meanwhile, targeted strategies can be adopted for different prefabrication projects. The findings optimized the capital cost and improved the cost performance through providing an evaluation and optimization model, which helps managers to evaluate cost management level of prefabrication and explore key inducers for high capital cost.
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