Publications / 2017 Proceedings of the 34rd ISARC, Taipei, Taiwan

Evaluating Modularisation Tools in Construction

Tanawan Wee, Marco Aurisicchio and Ireneusz Starzyk
Pages 325-332 (2017 Proceedings of the 34rd ISARC, Taipei, Taiwan, ISBN 978-80-263-1371-7, ISSN 2413-5844)

The construction industry is undergoing a new wave of industrialisation driven by the shift towards off-site construction and the growing interest in mass-customisation of building systems. On one side the industry is acquiring new manufacturing and automation capabilities. On the other, it has a need to understand how to develop flexible yet efficient product systems that can be more adaptable to changing situations. To address this problem the industry is starting to adopt modularisation strategies. Modularisation is useful to handle product variations and effective at reducing redesign work. Research on the application of modularisation tools in construction has been limited. There is a need to examine how modularisation tools can be used to meet construction objectives and generate efficient solutions. This paper examines the application of three modularisation tools, namely the dependency structure matrix (DSM), the modular identification matrix (MIM), and the generational variance index (GVI). A case study of a modular plant-room has been used to determine the effectiveness of the three tools at addressing fifteen modular design drivers. Each of the tools was found to address a different set of modular drivers. DSM and GVI provide rigorous solutions but they address only specific modular drivers. MIM has a more holistic approach to modularity and supports a wider set of modular drivers. However, it lacks technical rigour in determining modules. Overall, DSM and GVI, compared to MIM, are more technical tools to handle modular drivers. This research sugests that the three tools can be used in an integrated manner. MIM can be used in the early phases of modular construction management because of its ability to capture multiple and interdisciplinary modular drivers. The application of DSM and GVI should be considered for more robust solutions in respect to their individual modular drivers.

Keywords: Systems Engineering, Mass-customisation, Modularisation, DSM, GVI, MIM, Construction