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Liquid integration and modern methods of construction: eddies of house-building in the UK

Green, M., Dowsett, R. ORCID:, Sexton, M. and Harty, C. (2017) Liquid integration and modern methods of construction: eddies of house-building in the UK. In: , 9th Nordic Conference on Construction Economics and Organization, 13-14 June, 2017, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, SWEDEN, pp. 152-162.

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Off-site construction in the UK is increasing yet the overall number of houses built is far from targets set by the UK government. Despite a growing recognition that increased integration between house building professionals is needed to enhance the number and quality of houses built with Modern Methods of Construction (MMCs), little emphasis has been given to how integration between multiple subcontractors - carpenters, plumbers, and electricians – occurs. This paper draws on interviews with employees of a small house building firm, the supplier of the open panel timber-frames, and subcontractors. Foregrounding how particular challenges of taking up off-site methods of construction are resolved turns the attention away from the constraints and/or benefits of taking up off-site methods of construction, to how on-site integration occurs when using off-site methods of construction. The paper develops the concept of liquidity to describe integration in off-site construction whereby house building occurs through collaboration between firms and personal. A range of metaphors develop the concept of liquidity in different ways – it is suggested that eddies of integration provides a unique approach of researching integration in supply-chain partners.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Organisation, People and Technology group
ID Code:74718

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