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Mapping the concept of industrialized bridge construction: potentials and obstacles
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Kartläggning av industriellt brobyggande : Potential och hinder (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Improving productivity is a central challenge in most industries and so also in construction. In many countries, such as Great Britain and US (Egan, 1998; Huang et al., 2009; Teichholz, 2001), governmental reports and research publications have highlighted the slow growth of productivity in the construction industry. In Sweden the urgency of improving productivity and client satisfaction in the construction industry have initiated a number of government investigations (SOU, 2002; SOU, 2009; SOU, 2012).A recent investigation of government clients' actions to improve productivity and innovation in infrastructure projects have recommended better planning regarding the procurements of projects, increased amount of turnkey contracts and that the sector must become more industrialized. As a response, the Swedish Transportation Administration has launched a research and innovation program where an increased industrial mindset and standardization of products is on the agenda. With the exception of the process-based housing sector, increased industrialization has however been difficult to achieve in the project-based construction industry.The aim of the research is to find the most important parts and processes that can be industrialized to make bridge construction projects more efficient. Empirical data has been collected through questionnaire surveys, workshop and case studies. The data has resulted in four appended papers with focus on mapping the concept of industrialization. Each paper contributes to the aim, but focuses on different aspects of the concept.An interesting aspect of the empirical results from the research is the multi-facetted view practitioners and industry experts have on industrialization, a concept involving elements like prefabrication, standardization and processes. Many of the identified core elements of industrialization focus on processes (long-term) rather than projects (short-term). Some major barriers for industrialization are identified involving: lack of repetition possibilities, strict norms and rules, Design-bid-build contracts, government regulations, and the existing conservatism in the infrastructure sector. Interesting is that out of the five largest barriers, three could be traced back to the client role. As such, the clients (i.e. STA in Sweden) must address these barriers in order to enhance increased industrialization. Launch of the long-term research and innovation program by STA, where increased industrialization throughout the value chain and standardization of products are on the agenda, is a first step toward breaking down barriers, hence possibilities for increased productivity. Standardization of parts and products is shown to be a possible way of decreasing complexity related to on-site construction. Case studies have shown that massive saving in terms of time can be achieved utilizing prefabrication instead of traditional on-site construction. But standardization and prefabrication will not be more common as long as identified barriers like aesthetics issues and assumptions that quality is decreasing are available among practitioners. Also the small chances for large-scale production and repetitiveness are hindering standardized parts and products to be more commonly used.The general conclusion of this research is that massive savings in terms of time can be achieved when utilizing more industrialized methods and techniques during construction of concrete bridges, but barriers have to be dealt with before long-term productivity increases can be achieved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2013.
Licentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1757
Research subject
Structural Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-17172Local ID: 207f8442-addc-496e-bd8b-b5059ad0ca88ISBN: 978-91-7439-543-3OAI: diva2:990171
Godkänd; 2013; 20121123 (ojajoh); LICENTIATSEMINARIUM Ämne: Konstruktionsteknik/Structural Engineering Examinator: Professor Mats Emborg, Institutionen för samhällsbyggnad och naturresurser, Luleå tekniska universitet Diskutant: Adj. professor, Senior proj. manager Christina Claeson-Jonsson, NCC AB, Göteborg Tid: Tisdag den 5 februari 2013 kl 10.00 Plats: F1031, Luleå tekniska universitetAvailable from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29Bibliographically approved

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