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Offsite Manufacturing: Industry Transformation and Future Landscape Development


Special issue call for papers from Construction Innovation

Offsite manufacturing (OSM) continues to gain momentum, with significant growth patterns predicted over the next 3-5 years. However, whilst a number of studies have explored the impact of OSM on organisations and the wider market, more often than not, the foci has been to present ‘process’ or ‘technological’ solutions to meet clients’ requirements at local or national levels. It is therefore argued that this somewhat myopic lens (inter alia) not only stifles innovation per se, but also hinders and stifles true OSM opportunity. Given this, it is important to recognise the success that radical digital transformation can have on organisations – most notably embraced by such pioneers as Amazon, Google, Netflix and Tesla. In addition, the Forbes annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” provides additional insight on how companies can maximise their ‘innovation premium’. Acknowledging this, OSM companies are uniquely placed to take advantage of these opportunities. In fact, many are already doing so, with proprietary systems changing (and challenging) the ‘traditional’ economic push-pull forces often associated with client demand. Several companies are also exploiting their expertise through such avenues as specialist platform delivery strategies, through to Design for Manufacture and Assembly and Concurrent Engineering. In addition, some organisations are also deploying ‘precision engineering’, restorative intelligence’ and ‘biomimetics’.

The increased surge in construction activities, particularly in new infrastructure developments, provides researchers and practitioners with an ideal opportunity to re-visit these areas using an OSM lens. This is likely to embrace new working methods, ways of thinking and paradigms – transcending ‘conventional’ approaches in order to challenge the ‘status quo’. This includes: unlocking OSM growth potential; delivering new strategic options through sustainable and resilient business models; creating enhanced value propositions underpinned by clear evidential chains; and delivering viable conduits for supporting the circular economy. Given this, initiatives are already being brought to market which naturally embody socio-technological and social-conscience solutions; including developments in: 3D printing, Building Information Modelling (BIM), 5G networks, and the Internet of Things (IoT). These are just a few of the developments – most of which have the capability of influencing the future of OSM. As researchers it is important that we now look at these new technologies, approaches and ways of thinking; not only to solve our current challenges, but also, to open up further research streams for future uptake.

This Special Issue of Construction Innovation invites OSM cutting-edge research and lessons-learned from formal analyses of case studies (regardless of topic area), supported by conceptual, theoretical or ‘proof of concept’ frameworks. We wish to attract a broad spectrum of themes, including concepts and approaches which not only focus on digital technologies, but also consider the wider impact (and subsequent change needed).

Anticipated themes include, but are not limited to:

  • Additive manufacturing (innovative building systems)
  • Culture and Change
  • Delivery approaches and delivery platforms - evidencing the ‘value proposition’ (from cradle to cradle)
  • Development of flexible business models (to deliver corporate agility/resilience)
  • Innovation
  • Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning
  • Market transformation – evolution/revolution and sector-wide roadmaps (macro, meso and micro economic/societal drivers)
  • People (culture, health and safety, gender equality, skills/training, social conscience)
  • Process (lean production, automation, robotics, Integrated Project Delivery; Discrete Event Simulation and Design for Manufacture and Assembly)
  • Procurement (models/policy, risk apportionment, hybrid solutions)
  • Stakeholder integration/supply chain dependencies (new approaches)
  • Technology - strategy (adoption, absorption and diffusion)
  • Technology - solutions (smart sensing, Big/Linked Data,  Blockchain, openBIM, automatic code checking, Design and Decision Support Systems, Digital Catalogues, 3D printing and interoperability)

Submission Information

Submission Deadline: 31 October 2019

Please register and submit your paper via the journal's ScholarOne page: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ciipm

For more information about the journal and the author guidelines, please see here.

For any further queries, please contact the lead Guest Editor.

Guest Editors

Prof Mohammed Arif (lead)
University of Wolverhampton, UK
mohammed.arif@wlv.ac.uk

Prof Jack Goulding
University of Wolverhampton, UK
j.goulding@wlv.ac.uk

Prof Jeff Rankin
University of New Brunswick, Canada
rankin@unb.ca

Dr Farzad Pour Rahimian
Northumbria University
farzad.rahimian@northumbria.ac.uk