Exploring the challenges to industrialized residential building in China

Publication date: 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Type: 

  • Research paper

Producer: 

External to ACUI

Habitat International, Volume 41, January 2014, Pages 176-184. Industrialised building (IB) is considered by many to have an important role to play in China's residential construction industry due to its potential for improved quality, productivity, efficiency, safety and sustainability. It is surprising, therefore, that although a large number of construction programmes have been completed in the country in recent years, very few have been built in this manner. Quite why this situation exists is unknown. The well-known problems with IB, such as the constraints placed on designer freedom, may be the cause. It is equally possible that, as is typical with developing countries such as China, cost or government issues dominate. On the other hand, in comparison with other countries, the construction industry in China has been widely criticised for its lack of modernity. Either way, there is an urgent need to assess and understand the hindrances to the adoption of IB in residential construction in order to identify what corrective measures, if any, need to be taken.

Towards this end, we first identify a set of critical factors (CFs) for assessing the hindrances to IB adoption in China. This involves the analysis of research data collected by a questionnaire survey of experienced housing developers and professionals working in China's construction industry sector. Fuzzy set theory is used in the selection of the CFs. These CFs comprise, in rank order: higher initial cost; lack of skilled labour in IB; manufacturing capability and involvement issues and product quality problems; lack of supply chain; lack of codes and standards; and lack of government incentives, directives and promotion. The establishment of the CFs provides a basis for local construction sectors to better equip themselves for future implementation of IB. The findings also indicate a current need for formulating improved policies and strategies to encourage the further development of IB in China at present.