Factors influencing the implementation of off-site manufacturing in commercial projects in Western Australia: A proposed research agenda
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Purpose: Off-site manufacturing (OSM) application in vertically higher and spatially larger projects within Western Australian (WA) commercial sector has demonstrated the potential of benefitting from such a construction technique, but introducing a new methodology to a traditional sector such as commercial sector is not always straightforward. The acceptance of the new methodology, level of awareness of the stakeholders involved and the readiness of the supply chain to deliver, for instance, may influence the success of its implementation. Given the infancy of such methodology in the WA construction industry, this research project aims to analyse factors influencing the implementation of OSM construction method in WA.
Design/methodology/approach: Following a thorough literature review, an existing research agenda in OSM was used to inform the direction of this research, i.e. focusing on external macro aspects of the decision making to implement OSM. Three projects in WA were studied, and the data collection was facilitated through archival study and semi-structured interviews with construction practitioners who were the stakeholders of the three projects. Data analysis was conducted through content analysis to draw the findings and conclusion of this research. Findings: The analysis of the studied cases revealed relevant economic/financial, technological and regulatory factors, as well as social factors influencing the implementation of OSM, particularly in WA commercial projects. These findings were then used to develop an overall understanding of the external macro factors influencing decision making in implementing OSM that forms a formal research agenda aimed at enabling successful implementation of OSM in WA construction industry, particularly in its commercial sector.
Originality/value: The research findings presented in this paper identified factors that significantly influence the implementation of such alternative technology in a traditional sector. These factors were then structured to form the subsequent research agenda to continuously pursue the implementation of OSM in the sector. While the research agenda takes into account the unique characteristics of the WA construction industry, it contributes to the global and the Australian national research agenda, and the research methodology reported in this paper can be used to develop similar research agenda elsewhere.
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