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Offsite manufacturing and construction industry transformation: A multi-level sociotechnical transitions perspective

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Oti-Sarpong, Kwadwo  ORCID logo
Burgess, G 


Offsite manufacturing (OSM) is currently one of the innovative approaches for construction that is at the forefront of industry transformation initiatives. Despite its espoused benefits, OSM is yet to become mainstream. Adoption of OSM in the UK is currently limited to discrete attempts at organisational and project levels. In this paper, the multi-level sociotechnical transitions (MLS) theoretical framework is used to review and synthesize relevant literature to conceptualise how an industry-wide uptake of OSM rests on the creation of a dominant platform around which other innovations will coalesce, in order to 'break through' and trigger changes in the existing configurations defining the way the construction industry works. To create step changes in the industry through widespread use of OSM, the paper highlights the government's role as a 'strong' actor in developing the UK's platform approach into a stable innovation to propel a reconfiguration of the existing sociotechnical regime. Beyond this 'top-down' techno-centric solution, the need for its co-evolution with policy, construction market dynamics, actor practices and existing technologies are drawn out in conclusion. The dynamics of these co-developments is identified as a direction for future research.



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ARCOM 2020 - Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 36th Annual Conference 2020 - Proceedings

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Association of Researchers in Construction Management Conference

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This research forms part of the Centre for Digital Built Britain’s (CDBB) work at the University of Cambridge within the Construction Innovation Hub (CIH). The Construction Innovation Hub is funded by UK Research and Innovation through the Industrial Strategy Fund.