Critical review of the research on the management of prefabricated construction

Zhengdao Li, Qiping Shen, Xiaolong Xue

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

231 Citations (Scopus)


As a sustainable construction method, prefabricated construction is increasingly being adopted worldwide to enhance productivity and to alleviate the adverse environmental and social effects as a result of conventional construction activities. In addressing management issues of prefabricated construction, an impressive number of studies have been published by internationally renowned journals related to construction management over the past decades. However, it seems that a systematic summary on the research development in the management of prefabricated construction (MPC) discipline is lacking. Therefore, this paper examines the latest research trend in this discipline by analyzing published construction management research in 10 leading journals during the period from 2000 to 2013 (as of end of June) in terms of the annual number of MPC papers, contributions of institutions, adopted data collection and processing methods, and research interest. The analysis reveals that prefabrication is becoming increasingly important to the entire construction industry. Researchers from developed countries, including the US, the UK, Hong Kong, Sweden, and Australia, have made significant contributions to the development of the prefabrication domain, while those from developing countries, including China, Turkey, and Israel where construction remains as their main economic activity, have shown increasing interest in promoting prefabrication-related research. Major research topics in MPC include "industry prospect", "development and application", "performance evaluation", "environment for technology application", and "design, production, transportation and assembly strategies". Moreover, some innovative technologies, such as Global Position System (GPS), and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), have been effectively applied in this field and are considered as strong vehicles in improving the performance of future prefabricated construction practices. This study is of value in helping scholars gain an in-depth understanding of the state-of-the-art of MPC research and allows them to continue from the findings of previous studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-249
Number of pages10
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Construction management
  • Prefabricated construction
  • Research review
  • Research trend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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