Synchronising Off-Site Fabrication with On-Site Production in Construction

Main Article Content

Alan Mossman
Saad Sarhan


The aim of this study is to explore how offsite fabrication (OSF) can be tightly coupled with production and assembly on-site. Prefabrication is a production method that has potential to yield significant productivity and sustainability improvements in the construction industry. Failure to synchronise production in the factory with on-site production can lead to financial losses for the client/owner, main contractor and subcontractors as well as to delays in the construction schedule. The study draws on two case-studies and the authors’ experiences in the context of a critical review of literature on the concepts of flow and Just-in-time (JIT) construction delivery. The findings show the value of a buffer between suppliers, fabricators and the site as a way to help the whole supply team create production flow and more environmentally friendly results. A buffer can help while the team is learning to use collaborative short-term planning to create predictable production. The paper recommends ways to synchronise OSF with on-site production. The paper provides practitioners with ideas to reduce both work waiting for workers (or robots) and workers (or robots) waiting for work – and it contributes to theory by raising more questions for further research.

Article Details

How to Cite
Mossman, A., & Sarhan, S. (2021). Synchronising Off-Site Fabrication with On-Site Production in Construction. Construction Economics and Building, 21(3).
Special Issue on Lean and Sustainable Construction: State of the Art and Future
Author Biography

Saad Sarhan, School of Architecture and the Built Environment University of Lincoln. Brayford Pool, Lincoln, Lincolnshire. LN6 7TS

Senior Lecturer in Construction Management / Programme Leader