A Physical Internet-enabled Building Information Modelling System for prefabricated construction

Ke Chen, Gangyan Xu, Fan Xue, Ray Y. Zhong, Diandian Liu, Weisheng Lu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Prefabricated construction is believed to be energy conserving though opportunities for achieving higher energy efficiency have yet to be fully harnessed. From investigation of a prefabricated construction project in Hong Kong, two main problems have been revealed relating to energy consumption, including: (i) inefficient management of resources such as labours and machines, and (ii) inefficient production, transportation, and on-site assembly of prefabricated components. These problems are primarily caused by lagged information communication and human errors. This paper seeks to offer a solution by developing a Physical Internet-enabled Building Information Modelling System (PI-BIMS) that integrates Auto-ID technologies, BIM, and cloud computing. The PI-BIMS enables real-time collection, communication, and visualisation of information across the processes of production, transportation, and on-site assembly. Practical issues of the system implementation are provided through a pilot prototype. It is found that the PI-BIMS helps enhance the resource allocation efficiency and decrease human errors. Thus, an alternative opportunity to improve energy efficiency in prefabricated construction has become possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-361
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2017


  • Building Information Modelling (BIM)
  • cloud technologies
  • energy efficiency
  • Physical Internet
  • prefabricated construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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