Design for mass customization: Rethinking prefabricated housing using axiomatic design
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The housing market is urgently demanding customized quality buildings at affordable costs. Housing prefabrication represents a suitable strategy as long as it is combined with cost-effective personalization through mass customization. Designs need to be easily customizable to foster the mass customization of prefabricated housing. Decisive requirements are design robustness and flexibility. Crucial decisions for the achievement of these requirements are made in the conceptual design phase, but this stage is not adequately supported, and tools for addressing decisions during this phase are not provided. In engineering design, axiomatic design (AD) has been shown to be able to support the analysis of existing ideas in terms of aptitude for customization and the generation of robust and flexible solutions that are easier to customize. Thus, the current study applied AD to the analysis of well-known prefabricated houses and the design development of a new prefabricated housing system to show the potential benefits of this approach for the building industry. Results show that AD has the ability to support the analysis of ideas for identifying problems linked with customization and the ability to address the conceptual development of robust and flexible designs for providing easily customizable solutions. © 2017 American Society of Civil Engineers.
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