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  • 1.
    Björnfot, Anders
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Prefabrication: a lean strategy for value generation in construction2006In: Understanding and Managing the Construction Process: Theory and Practice: Proceedings of the 14th Conference of the International Group for Lean Construction / [ed] R. Sacks; S. Bertelsen, Catholic University of Chile, School of Engineering , 2006, p. 265-277Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Despite a number of attempts to establish prefabrication as a Lean Construction method, there is still confusion of what prefabrication provides to the management of the construction process. It seems as if prefabrication can provide a means of dealing with value stream fluctuations in highly complex situations, such as a traditional construction project where it is difficult to define client value accurately. The prefabrication decision and the strategies for meeting customer demands have been studied for three Swedish producers of prefabricated timber components for multi-storey housing construction.The case study results indicate that the Swedish construction industry is slowly changing from a traditional project based generation of customer value to offering specific products, adaptable by the customer to suit their own view on value. A prefabrication strategy where a well defined and tested product is offered to customers has the effect of redistributing resources from the design process to the value stream. Such redistribution enables companies with a well developed prefabrication strategy to better control the value stream and to implement new and better ways of meeting customer requirements while continuously improving their work and eliminating waste.

  • 2.
    Chan, Paul W.
    et al.
    School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering, University of Manchester.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
    Editorial: Technology and innovation in construction2010In: Ph.D. Research Workshop on Technology and Innovation in Construction: Held at Department of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Porsön, Luleå, 29 September 2010, 2010, p. 1-3Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 3. Cigén, Sunna
    et al.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
    The effects of communication on timber suppliers' relations with a construction company2004In: Twentieth annual conference 2004: September 1-3, Heriot Watt University / [ed] Farzad Khosrowshahi, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2004Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Engström, Susanne
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Stehn, Lars
    Towards improving client-contractor communication in industrialised building2009In: Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference, 2009, September 7-9, Albert Hall, Nottingham / [ed] Andrew Dainty, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2009, p. 21-30Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Criticism of the building sector in Sweden, concerning for example high cost and poor quality, has lead to a growing interest in industrialised building. However, the effect on the sector and the overall building market is still quite insignificant. One business challenge for industrialised building companies to face in order to become more competitive is to further improve client/market interaction, improve mutual understanding and to reduce uncertainties in client relations. In this ongoing work the communication between industrialised building companies and building clients is examined. The aim is to identify important points of client-contractor communication that affect project outcome and present barriers to effective communication. In addition to a literature review, with the aim to define effective communication , the client-contractor communication in different building projects has been studied. Empirical data was collected through interviews and workshops, observations and project-specific documentation, addressing both clients and contractors. The results indicate that, in order to improve client-contractor communication, it seems important to assess if a barrier to effective communication is client uncertainty, and concerned with lack of information, or if it is client equivocality, which requires richer information rather than more information. The barrier must then be addressed accordingly. In the industrialised building context, client-contractor communication is probably distorted by lack of market/client knowledge concerning the industrialised building process, but also by previous experiences from traditional building.

  • 5.
    Engström, Susanne
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Stehn, Lars
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Competitive impact of industrialised building: in search for explanations to the current state2009In: Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference, 2009, September 7-9, Albert Hall, Nottingham / [ed] Andrew Dainty, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2009, p. 413-424Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Industrialised building has been proposed as a means of satisfying changes needed in the Swedish building sector. Over the last decade industrialised building has also developed as a niche within this sector. Given its potential, however, some stakeholders think that industrialised building has not yet had the impact they expected, and that the building sector is still in need of change to meet demands for cost reduction, quality improvement and longer managerial time-spans. Consequently, questions arise regarding the competitive position of industrialised building today, and the underlying causes for its present state. This study is based on a literature review, assessing industrialised building over recent decades, and on complementary interviews with researchers and practitioners. The findings are summarised in a conceptual model that outlines the sought effects of industrialised building, as well as the forces that drive and restrain change towards industrialised building. The demands on the building sector are the main drivers of change for the industry. However, the market itself is not actively driving change towards industrialised building, and the information and understanding required to support clients' decision on whether to enforce market power in one or the other direction is not readily available. How building clients value different building possibilities is also unclear. Suggested future challenges are to reduce client uncertainty, to improve client power and to facilitate the comparison of performance between traditional and industrialised building alternatives.

  • 6.
    Fredriksson, Ylva
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
    Samverkan mellan träkomponenttillverkare och stora byggföretag: en studie av massivträbyggnade2003Licentiate thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [sv]

    Under en lång tid har trä tappat marknad till stål och betong vad gäller stommar för flervåningshus, ett skäl till detta är att bristen på kundfokusering lett till att träindustrins sida halkat efter vad gäller framtagandet av effektiva systemlösningar för husbyggandet och helhetsåtagande gällande kvalitetstänkande. I dagsläget upplever träkomponenttillverkarna att byggföretag väljer att använda sig av andra material, framför allt betong, därför att de är vana vid det, även i situationer där massivträlösningar skulle kunna vara ett konkurrenskraftigt alternativ. Byggföretagen menar att det är för osäkert att bygga med massivträ, eftersom man inte vet vilka problem som kan uppstå och hur man kan lösa dem. Licentiatuppsatsen har ett praktiskt syfte att undersöka och visa hur en direkt samverkan mellan träkomponenttillverkare och stora byggföretag kan öka kommunikationen och materialflödet och därmed effektivisera utvecklingen av ett konkurrenskraftigt byggsystem i massivt trä. Ett sådant byggsystem förväntas leda till ökade förtjänstmöjligheter för både träkomponenttillverkare och byggföretag genom att utgöra ett alternativ till stål och betong. En direkt samverkan antas också öka konkurrenskraften för massiva träprodukter samtidigt som det på längre sikt ger större valmöjligheter och därmed också större möjligheter för byggföretaget att kundanpassa sin produktion. Studien ska också leda till en ökad vetenskaplig förståelse för vad som påverkar samverkan mellan tillverkare av massiva träkomponenter och byggföretagen. Företagen som deltagit i studien har visat ett stort intresse för att skapa en samverkansrelation mellan parterna. Resultaten visar att syftet med att samverka, för industrirepresentanterna, är att förbättra ekonomin för båda parter. Detta ska framför allt ske genom att man med ett gemensamt systemperspektiv utvecklar det massiva stomsystemet. Resultaten visar också att företagen måste utveckla nya typer av arbetsformer vilka stödjer kundfokusering för båda parter. Utvecklingen inom dessa områden förväntas bidra till en utveckling på en rad andra områden så som produktutveckling och miljöfokusering. Parterna tror att samverkan måste karakteriseras av en vilja att arbeta tillsammans och att göra det som är bra för båda parter, inte bara för den egna organisationen. För att upprätthålla viljan att arbeta tillsammans krävs effektiva sätt att ta hand om konflikter mellan parterna och att man tydligt definierar syftet med relationen och vilka åtaganden respektive part har, eventuellt genom skrivna avtal.

  • 7. Fredriksson, Ylva
    et al.
    Stehn, Lars
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Industrial difficulties and strategies for timber building system development in Sweden2003In: Construction economics and organization: proceedings of the 3rd Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization, 24-24 April 2003, Lund, Sweden / [ed] Bengt Hansson; Anne Landin, Lund: Lund Institute of Technology , 2003, p. 149-158Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 8.
    Johnsson, Helena
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Industrialised timber housing: from trial to production2008In: Proceedings 24th Annual ARCOM Conference: 1-3 September 2008, Cardiff, UK, Association of Researchers in Construction / [ed] Andrew Dainty, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2008, Vol. 1, p. 155-64Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Increased cost and declining quality within the construction industry has resulted in a growing interest in industrialised housing construction. During the past 15 years Swedish timber housing has been in a start-up phase where the frame system has been adapted to fulfil the demands of the building regulations. Still, potential clients and building owners are uncertain of long-term financial costs and functional performance of timber houses. To take timber frame housing from the level of unique experimental projects to competitive industrialised production, manufacturers will have to face the challenge of convincing the market that timber is an equally sufficient frame material as the more traditional concrete and steel. This paper presents a summary and analysis of the research conducted within the field of industrialised timber housing at Luleå University of Technology. The summary is made through a literature review of research reports, theses, papers and statistic references. The results are put in relation to lean theories and the development of industrialised timber housing in Sweden, with the aim of establishing current knowledge and identifying future research needs. Industrialised housing in Sweden is a growing market with good potential to provide low-cost housing of good quality. The results points out organising the design process to support production, working on customer interaction and to providing information that decreases the uncertainty for future customers as challenges for the industrialised house builders. Further research within industrialised housing should address the quality concept in housing, reduction of uncertainties in customer relations and new business models. Support of the technical development with efficient stabilisation methods for high-rise buildings and simple joining methods during assembly is another important issue.

  • 9.
    Levander, Erika
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Engström, Susanne
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Länsstyrelsen i Norrbotten.
    Stehn, Lars
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Construction clients' ability to manage uncertainty and equivocality2011In: Construction Management and Economics, ISSN 0144-6193, E-ISSN 1466-433X, Vol. 29, no 7, p. 753-764Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While risk and uncertainty management have received much attention within construction management research, management of information interpretation remains unexplored. Situations that are generally overlooked are those where increased amounts and flow of information are not the solution to the human problem of managing multiple meanings of information and conflicting interpretations, i.e. ‘equivocality’. The aim is to identify and differentiate between construction clients’ uncertainty and equivocality about industrialized construction in Sweden, and, in the light of those findings, to evaluate clients’ current information processing practice on investment decisions in new-build in order to assess and discuss clients’ ability to manage uncertainty and equivocality. Based on information processing theory, analysis of aggregated data from three previous studies shows that there is a need to manage both uncertainty and equivocality. At the same time, clients’ ability to do this is found to be limited. Consequently, when industrialized construction moves clients beyond their current frame of reference, clients’ information processing practice does not support decision making. It is also proposed that differentiating between uncertainty and equivocality will enable a more profound understanding of the sequential order for information processing, i.e. that one must define questions (reduce equivocality) before one can find answers to the questions (reduce uncertainty).

  • 10.
    Levander, Erika
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Maintenance and operating costs in off-site timber framed housing2009In: Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference, 2009, September 7-9, Albert Hall, Nottingham / [ed] Andrew Dainty, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2009, p. 1183-1192Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Nilsson, Anders
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
    Vidareförädling med snurr eller käppar i hjulet?: om affärslogik och samverkansmöjligheter hos fyra sågverk i Norrbottens län2006Report (Other academic)
  • 12.
    Sardén, Ylva
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
    Complexity and learning in timber frame housing: the case of a solid wood pilot project2005Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    An extensive governmental evaluation of the Swedish construction industry shows that it is possible to reduce production costs in housing construction through industrialisation, customer orientation, and a more efficient construction process. Today large construction companies are more and more focused on dealing with systems and coordinating large projects and the real production is getting less important. This means that the construction companies expect and demand that the suppliers handle a larger part of the production and that they can develop and deliver system based solutions. The focus on the earlier stages in the building process makes them more or less neutral to the material in building products, in contrast to their historical focus on concrete. From a general construction perspective, the construction companies handle the technical solutions, purchase of products and services demanded for the project, coordination of the project and the handling of the financial risk. Because of the strategic development in the building industry the supplier’s responsibility for the system development of prefabricated building component systems is increased. There are high demands on lowering the costs of construction and shortening construction time. One way of dealing with these demands is to use a higher proportion of prefabricated building systems, which involves a higher degree of industrialisation in construction. A strategy to increase the efficiency of Swedish housing construction suggests increased use of timber in housing construction. The cost of timber material does not make the most significant contribution to potential cost savings; rather, the main reasons for the cost reducing potential are, e.g. possibilities to increase prefabrication, improve logistics, and improve the construction process. Several scholars of construction have pointed out the lack of a theoretical foundation of construction as a barrier to economical and quality progress. One component of such a theoretical basis would deal with the understanding of the processes of planning, design and management that engineers use.. Another component would be the understanding of processes of knowledge creation and of the reduction of technical and social complexity. These processes are dependent of the strategic choices made by the managers of companies involved in construction projects, both for the company in total and for a single project. This study presents a pilot project where a timber frame is tested in a set of high rise flat buildings. The project has been studied by a case study methodology with the main purpose to describe and explain the construction process at hand. Another more practical purpose was to see how the actors in a construction pilot project handle the complexity and uncertainty introduced by the introduction of a new frame material and its producer and how the actors can learn and create knowledge from such projects. The choice of a single case study is based on a three different prerequisites. First, the Swedish construction market does not offer too many display projects at all, as the activity in the high rise apartment building market has been quite low. Secondly, this construction project offered a unique opportunity to follow the entire process from planning to completion. Thirdly, as I haven’t been the only researcher involved in the project I have had the opportunity to compare and discuss my findings with others and thereby increase my understanding of what is happening. The results indicate that complexity, in all important parts, is still handled by contractual agreements but also, to some extent, by building in larger time buffers, never the less this does not completely solve the problems encountered in projects with a high degree of complexity. At the time being the interest in learning is large at the timber frame supplier, who is striving to get a foot onto the market, but many of the other actors are more interested in manuals and handbooks than creating personal, or organisational, knowledge. Hence, to make the knowledge created in pilot projects, because there is for certain knowledge created within them, available and usable for the actors on the timber frame housing market, it is very important to transform the tacit knowledge, within the actors heads, into explicit knowledge, in handbooks and manuals. The conclusion is that complexity can be handled in more efficient ways than today maybe through other management practices and a different form of cooperation between the actors; this might also lead to higher incentives for writing down the knowledge encountered in single projects to, with time, some kind of iteratively working manual.

  • 13.
    Sardén, Ylva
    et al.
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
    Engström, Susanne
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Modern methods of construction: a solution for an industry characterised by uncertainty?2010In: ARCOM twenty-Sixth Annual Conference 2010, September 6-8, Leeds / [ed] Charles O. Egbu; Eric Lou, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2010, p. 1101-1110Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Modern methods of construction (MMC) are suggested to deal more effectively with uncertainties that construction commonly presents to clients and contractors, i.e. uncertainties inherent in traditional construction regarding e.g. time, defects, safety, environmental impact, costs, profits and lifecycle performance. But do MMC really reduce these uncertainties? Furthermore, MMC change stakeholders’ frames of references and they also carry their own inherent uncertainties from the previous century, e.g. poor quality and social exclusion. Perhaps MMC introduce more uncertainty than they reduce? These questions are addressed in this review that covers current research from the leading construction management journals as well as institutional reports from Sweden and UK. Uncertainties inherent in traditional construction are put in relation to the attributes offered by MMC, and the attributes are discussed with respect to their ability to reduce uncertainty, for clients and contractors respectively. Conclusions from the review are that the industrialized construction process, when fully implemented, does contribute to uncertainty reduction through its predictability regarding time schedules, costs, and improved working conditions. On the other hand, this implies standardized processes which also lead to a greater need for standardized components, early decision of the final design and a non-transparent production process that is hard to monitor for the client. These attributes of MMC challenge roles, responsibilities and put new demands on different stakeholders of the construction process, which contribute to uncertainty for both client and contractor.

  • 14. Sardén, Ylva
    et al.
    Stehn, Lars
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Industrialisation as tool for reducing uncertainty in construction2006In: Twenty-second annual conference 2006, September 4-6, UCE, Birmingham / [ed] David Boyd, Reading: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2006, p. 229-238Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Construction projects are complex and have become more so during the late 20th century. This complexity is due to the failure of planning mechanisms and the apparent inability of plans to represent the reality of on-site construction. The occurrence of unpredictable events disrupts site processes and site conditions sometimes approach that of chaos. One strategy to deal with chaotic site conditions is to increase industrialisation, i.e. a controlled construction process following a predicted plan. The Swedish government suggests that increased competition could be obtained by an augmented use of timber in housing construction through developed building systems for multi-storey houses, and by using the knowledge of single family house manufacturers as catalysts for increased industrialisation in housing. Timber is a relatively 'new' frame material in Swedish multi-storey housing. Hence, the knowledge, techniques and business relations needed for timber housing are lacking in many aspects. The increased competition and the absence of knowledge, techniques and business relations, together with a focus on industrialisation, gives the construction sector a great opportunity to develop general construction activities by engaging in timber frame projects. The case study results presented in this paper provide a broad view of the use of different prefabrication strategies used in the Swedish timber housing market and how these strategies decrease the uncertainty experienced by many stakeholders when choosing a 'new' material such as timber for their facilities. The aim was to examine the possibility to use industrialisation as a tool for reducing uncertainty in construction. To manage this, three Swedish, multi-storey timber projects that have adopted a high degree of industrialised production were studied. The conclusion is that the novelty, and uncertainty, of Swedish, high-rise timber housing do not lie in the material, but in the new products, new techniques and new actors. Introducing prefabricated system components with a high degree of built-in knowledge concerning design and assembly may reduce uncertainties. If these components can be industrially produced, e.g. controlled and standardised, the uncertainty can be reduced even further.

  • 15. Sardén, Ylva
    et al.
    Stehn, Lars
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Industriellt byggande i massivträ2006In: Bygg & Teknik, ISSN 0281-658X, no 4, p. 37-40Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 16. Sardén, Ylva
    et al.
    Stehn, Lars
    Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
    Managing transformation, flow and value generation: a solid timber frame housing case2005In: ARCOM: twenty first annual conference 2005, September 7-9, London, SOAS / [ed] Farzad Khosrowshahi, Salford: Association of Researchers in Construction Management , 2005, Vol. 1, p. 331-340Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A governmental evaluation of the Swedish construction industry indicates the possibility to reduce the production costs of housing through industrialisation, customer orientation and a more efficient construction process. A way to address this is through implementing the concept of lean thinking, which stresses the importance of improving and integrating design and production while eliminating waste. This paper analyses the design process of a recent Swedish solid timber frame housing project by using the concept of lean thinking. The aim is to suggest actions to improve the management of transformation, flow and value generation. For the timber construction process to become more effective (lean) and customer orientated, the timber frame supplier is suggested to increase the information flow and make the flow management more efficient. To establish a better control of the processes in timber housing in particular, the design process must be decomposed into small manageable pieces (time and cost specified) and evaluated within the project team. To increase value generation and make the construction process understood as a generation of value for the client, we think that active clients are the key.

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