Opportunities and challenges of modular methods in dense urban environment

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93–105
Journal / PublicationInternational Journal of Construction Management
Issue number2
Online published9 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2019


When properly implemented, modular construction offers considerable opportunity to improve project performance. However, the construction industry continues to struggle to achieve higher levels of modularization. Since the characteristics and environments in dense urban areas differ to those in rural areas, strategy, pre-project planning, project execution planning, and actual execution of modular construction should also differ. However, research so far has not focused on the implementation of modular methods in urban environments. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify unique challenges and opportunities for implementing modular techniques in urban environments. To meet this goal, this paper examined the current practices, benefits, and barriers in highly dense urban areas by employing a three staged-sequential approach involving the preliminary investigation, main survey (106 responses from 39 companies), and ex-post in-depth interviews with 10 experts. The results show that (1) ‘better site operations’ was selected by practitioners as the greatest benefit, and ‘site access and on-site storage area’ was selected as the key barrier and (2) the practitioners experienced difficulties in transporting modules in urban areas. These findings offer valuable implications to modular technique implementation in urban areas around the world.

Research Area(s)

  • benefits and barriers, Modularization, off-site construction, prefabrication, urban environments