The development of a design-for-assembly method for construction and infrastructure projects

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Abstract

Building and infrastructure objects are no longer exclusively realized by processing materials at construction sites, but increasingly through on-site assembly of elements produced off-site. When designing an object whose realization is based on construction parts that are produced off-site, it is important to also consider the assembly of the components at the building location. Unfortunately, insufficient attention has been paid so far to interaction between the systems that are created through the realization of assembly processes. This inhibits achieving the full potential of using assembly processes. It manifests itself through issues such as dimensional deviations between the original design and the assembled system and also disappointing aesthetic results. These considerations have led to the general conclusion that the design and realization phases of construction processes are insufficiently aligned and that more attention should be given in the design phase to the on-site assembly of the various construction parts.
This article describes the development of a design-for-assembly methodology for construction and infrastructure projects. An initial version of this design-for-assembly method was applied in five construction projects and in one infrastructure project. Based on the results of the case studies conducted, further improvements were implemented leading to a final version of the design-for-assembly method. In addition, three validation workshops were organized involving thirty experts from the field of construction and infrastructure site management. A large majority of the experts concluded that the developed design-for-assembly method was a valuable addition to the design and realization process for building and infrastructure objects. Once these steps have been described, this article ends with a discussion on the scientific contributions made, the managerial implications, and offers directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-103
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Construction Engineering, Management & Innovation
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Design-for-Assembly
  • DfA
  • Assembly
  • Prefabricated construction
  • Geometric variations
  • Tolerances
  • Infrastructure
  • Construction management
  • system-to-systems

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