In most emerging economies, there has been many incentives and high availability of funding for low-cost housing projects. This has encouraged product standardization and the application of mass production ideas, based on the assumption that this is the most effective strategy for reducing costs. However, the delivery of highly standardized housing units to customers with different needs, without considering their lifestyle and perception of value, often results in inadequate products. Mass customization has been pointed out as an effective strategy to improve value generation in low-cost housing projects, and to avoid waste caused by renovations done in dwellings soon after occupancy. However, one of the main challenges for the implementation of mass customization is the definition of a set of relevant options based on users’ perceived value. The aim of this paper is to propose a method for defining value adding attributes in customized housing projects, which can support decision-making in product development. The means-end chain theory was used as theoretical framework to connect product attributes and costumers’ values, through the application of the laddering technique. The method was tested in two house-building projects delivered by a company from Brazil. The main contribution of this method is to indicate the customization units that are most important for users along with the explanation of why those units are the most relevant ones.
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