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  The intersection between industrialised construction, digitilisation and automation: evaluating successes, failures, and everything in between

   School of Engineering

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  Prof Mohamad Kassem  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Industrialised Construction (IC) or Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) have emerged to help meet the rising need for housing, particularly for affordable housing. There is a consensus within the industry, although the argument is largely rhetoric, that IC/MMC can improve quality, cost effectiveness and ultimately productivity. There are also emerging claims that IC/MMC can attract new talents into the industry and help achieving decarbonisation.  

Various IC/MMC business models (e.g. vertical integration, horizontal integration) and initiatives have been developed and tested over the years but they had mixed success. News of IC/MMC businesses, large and small, shutting down are becoming the norm. Success and failure in the IC/MMC market depends on various dynamics and factors at the market, organisation, and project levels. However, a key area of influence is the intersection between the business model adopted for IC/MMC and the breadth of digitilisation and automation supporting the organisation strategy in overcoming the various constraints and fragmentation present within the current modus operandi of the construction industry (e.g. separation between design and construction, sub-contracting culture, sell-long buy-short, etc.).  Another key gap in the literature around IC/MMC is the lack of rigorous evidence about its effect on quality, safety, shift in the skill base, productivity, profitability and affordability. 

This research will address these two gaps. It will investigate and theorise the interconnection between the chosen business model for IC/MCC and its supporting digitilisation and automation. It will evaluate the impact of this interconnection on key IC/MCC indicators and their role in aiding IC/MCC businesses to overcome limitations and constraints of existing structures and processes within the construction industry. Using the theorised interconnection and the identified IC/MMC indicator, the research will also develop an evidence-based approach to the measurement of such indicators. The approach will be mainly using comparative case analysis of IC/MMC organisations and will benefit from access to primary data from IC/MMC businesses linked to the supervisory team.   

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices. 

Application enquiries:   

Prof. Mohamad Kassem                                                                                                

[Email Address Removed]  

Architecture, Building & Planning (3) Engineering (12)
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 About the Project