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PhD research provides NZ evidence of productivity gains from prefab construction

Dr Wajiha Shahzad, SEAT, Massey University

PrefabNZ Member, Dr. Wajiha Shahzad, Lecturer in Construction Management, Massey University and a PrefabNZ Member... completed her wonderful PhD in 2017.

The research outcome provides solid New Zealand evidence of the productivity gains from prefab construction.

This study set out to fill the knowledge gap of evidential benefits of prefabrication by analysing cost savings, time savings, and productivity improvement achievable by the use of panelised prefabrication in place of the traditional building system.

Research was conducted on records of 151 completed building projects in three cities of New Zealand – Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington plus surveying industry experts.

The results showed that the use of panelised prefabrication in place of traditional building system contributed to:

  • 21 percent cost saving,
  • 47 percent time saving
  • and 10 percent average improvement in the productivity outcomes in the building projects.

Results further showed that 17 factors could significantly influence the levels of benefits achievable with the use of prefabrication technology. The two factors having the most significant influence on the benefits achievable by the use of panelised prefabrication in place of the traditional building systems are:

1. Building type’

‘2. 'Location’

Other factors that influence the benefits of prefabrication included (in diminishing order of influence):

3. Logistics

4. Type of prefabrication,

5. Scale

6. Repeatability,

7. Standardisation,

8. Contractor’s level of innovation,

9. Environmental impact,

10. Project leadership,

11. Type of procurement,

12. Whole of life quality,

13. Site conditions,

14. Site layout

15. Client’s nature.

Wajiha's thesis can be accessed through Massey University’s database (link below):

https://mro.massey.ac.nz/handle/10179/11207

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