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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.
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