PATH - A Public Private Partnership for Advancing Housing Technology

October 12, 2004

PATH Looks at Small, Medium Builders

Virginia Tech housing center to study information flows and work processes

The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) has awarded a contract to the Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech to study the relationship between information flows and work processes of small-volume and medium-volume residential builders.

Titled "Industrializing the Residential Construction Site - Phase 5 Modification: Virtual Manufacturing," the research will focus on small builders, who construct 20 or fewer homes per year in local markets, and medium-volume builders with up to several hundred homes annually in regional markets, as defined by the study.

After mapping designed information flows to observed information flows, Virginia Tech researchers will study the work process and information flow to determine information disconnects and production bottlenecks. Additionally, the place and type of errors that occur and their relation to the information flow will be examined. The research will conclude with recommendations for process improvements based on industrial production principles, but tailored to each builder's situation to create prototype process improvements.

This study builds upon the methods and findings from previous phases of "Industrializing the Residential Construction Site" conducted in partnership with production homebuilders. Virginia Tech will be working with IBACOS, a building science and integration consultant based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Builders in Denver, Pittsburgh, the Washington D.C. area, and the Southeast regions of the U.S. will be the focus of the study. Virginia Tech professors Michael O'Brien, Ron Wakefield and Ted Koebel will lead the research, which is scheduled to be completed March 2006.

Content updated on 3/8/2005

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