Cost comparison between the construction of lightweight and conventional partitions in Chongqing, China

Y.H. Pan, K.W. Wong, Chi Man Hui

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic research


This paper presents a cost comparison of two methods of constructing interior partitions for housing, namely, conventional partitions (aerated-concrete-blocks) and lightweight partitions (gypsum board). The comparison demonstrates how substantial cost savings can be made by using lightweight partitions. The disadvantages identified in this study of the erection of conventional partitions include: (1) lower skill labour-intensiveness; (2) substantial use of wet trades; (3) excessive time-consumption; and (4) lack of flexibility for making changes to the layout during the life-time of the building. The data used in this paper were collected using field work sampling based on local conditions in the city of Chongqing on the Chinese mainland. A comparison is first made for 100m2 of partition walls and then for an entire apartment. The latter comparison shows that the direct cost of an apartment built with lightweight partitions is about 8.2% - 13.9% less than for one built with conventional partitions. The cost difference can be even greater if other factors such as the reduction in loading, enlarged net room area, simpler finishing and shortening of the project duration are taken into consideration. It is also shown that use of lightweight partitions can further save up to 24% of the workforce for an entire apartment. In a period of skilled worker shortages in the construction industry, this saving can be significant. As a result, the use of lightweight partitions on a large scale is recommended for housing developments both in Chongqing and throughout China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Construction Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Housing
  • Lightweight partition
  • Conventional partition
  • Direct construction cost

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Building and Construction


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