Building information modelling for off-site construction: Review and future directions

Xianfei Yin, Hexu Liu*, Yuan Chen, Mohamed Al-Hussein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

233 Citations (Scopus)


Building Information Modelling (BIM) and off-site construction (OSC) are increasingly applied in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry due to their many benefits to project stakeholders, such as enhanced design visualization, improved data exchanges, reduced construction waste, improved productivity, and higher product quality. Substantial research efforts have thus been devoted to these topics in recent decades, resulting in a large amount of literature regarding BIM and OSC. This research explores the state-of-the-art in BIM for OSC by means of a bibliometric-qualitative review method. The objective of this research is to uncover the synthesis between BIM and OSC and to identify research trends as well as gaps in knowledge that can be addressed in future research on BIM for OSC. Science maps are constructed by means of bibliometric analysis in order to objectively identify the main research topics of these two fields both separately and jointly based on identified academic publications from Scopus (i.e., 4395 publications on BIM, 2841 publications on OSC, and 113 publications on BIM for OSC). A qualitative review is further conducted on 77 screened research publications (including articles, reviews, conference papers) with a particular focus on BIM for OSC. Through quantitative analysis and in-depth discussion of BIM for OSC, research gaps are identified, and future directions are further proposed as follows: BIM-based generative design for prefabrication, cloud BIM-based data exchange for OSC, robotics and 3D printing for OSC, BIM-enabled big data analytics toward best OSC practice, benefits and its assessment model of BIM for OSC. This research contributes to the body of knowledge by synthesizing the state of the art of BIM for OSC and exposing the research needs in this area in order to improve AEC practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-91
Number of pages20
JournalAutomation in construction
Publication statusPublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bibliometric review
  • Building information modelling (BIM)
  • In-depth discussion
  • Literature review
  • Off-site construction (OSC)
  • Qualitative review


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