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Industry 4.0 deployment in the construction industry: a bibliometric literature review and UK-based case study

journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-12, 00:00 authored by C Newman, D J Edwards, Igor MartekIgor Martek, J Lai, W D Thwala, I Rillie
PurposeIndustry 4.0 is predicted to be a game-changer, revolutionizing commercial and manufacturing practices through improved knowledge utilization and efficiencies. The barriers however, are significant, and the construction industry remains notoriously slow to take up innovations. This study reviews the research work in Industry 4.0 as it relates to construction, and examines a leading UK-based construction firm to ascertain the prognosis for Industry 4.0 roll-out in terms of the impediments and opportunities.Design/methodology/approachA multistage mixed philosophies and methods approach was adopted for this study. First, an interpretivist epistemological lens was used to synthesise extant literature as a means of contextualizing the present study. Second, an empirical case study using a post-positivist stance and inductive reasoning was conducted to explore practitioner acceptance of Industry 4.0 in the UK construction context.FindingsFindings from the literature review indicate studies in Industry 4.0 to be a relatively new phenomenon, with developed countries and Germany in particular leading in the field. The range of opportunities are many, but so too are the barriers to enablement. Findings from the case study provide real-world corroboration of the review; practitioners are sanguine about Industry 4.0's potential to reinvigorate the construction industry, but also note that implementation remains curtailed by residual managerial practices dependent on ‘human interaction’. At present, much of the focus of industry practitioners is on the implementation of building information modelling (BIM), often at the expense of other more advanced technologies within Industry 4.0.Originality/valueResearch in Industry 4.0 is limited, with the emphasis being on technology application. This paper, by contrast, maps the totality of work carried out so far and presents an assessment of Industry 4.0's progression, potential and degree of uptake within the UK construction industry.

History

Journal

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

Volume

10

Issue

4

Pagination

557 - 580

Publisher

EMERALD GROUP PUBLISHING LTD

ISSN

2046-6099

eISSN

2046-6102

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal