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Defect occurrence and management in prefabricated commercial construction in Australia

conference contribution
posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Callum Stutchbury Parrotte, Hong Xian LiHong Xian Li, Linda Tivendale
The uptake of prefabrication within the commercial construction sector has significantly increased over previous decades, given the proven benefits including provisions for lower construction costs, reduced project durations, and materials wastage, fewer defects, and improved profitability. However, it is found that defects caused by prefabrication cost significantly more to resolve compared with conventional construction, resulting in substantial impacts on project performance. Furthermore, defect management systems specific to prefabricated construction are found absent, especially within the commercial sector in Australia. This research studies the defect occurrence, identifies the causes of these defects, and proposes defect management for building prefabrication. A mixed research method of combined qualitative and quantitative approaches, i.e., literature review and an online survey, is employed in this research, based on which a depiction outlining common defects and stages of occurrence is presented, and a defect management process is proposed at an empirical level. It is found that most defects occur in manufacturing plant, and aesthetic defect is the most common type. The results also show that most defects can be linked to workmanship issues during fabrication. Subsequently, the management process of engaging an independent consultant employed by the government to undertake specialised inspections during design, manufacture, and installation has been proposed as an effective solution to reduce defect occurrence into the future, for which specific legislation for prefabrication is required.



Construction Research. Congress (2020 : Tempe, Arizona)


871 - 880


American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)


Tempe, Arizona

Place of publication

Reston, Va.

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2020, ASCE


Pingbo Tang, David Grau, Mounir El Asmar

Title of proceedings

Proceedings of the 2020 Construction Research Congress