Design for manufacture and assembly in construction: a review

Shang Gao, Ruoyu (Roy) Jin, Weisheng Lu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) is known as both a philosophy and a methodology whereby products are designed in a way that is as amenable as possible for downstream manufacturing and assembly. As construction is moving towards a combination of offsite prefabrication and onsite assembly, DfMA is gaining momentum in this heterogeneous industry. Nevertheless, a comprehensive review of DfMA in construction, its prospects and challenges in particular, seems absent from the literature. This study reviews the processes and principles of
    DfMA and explores the possible perspectives of DfMA with a view to providing implications to the construction industry. It was found that DfMA in construction has been interpreted from three
    perspectives: (1) a holistic design process that encompasses how structure or object will be manufactured, assembled and guided with DfMA principles; (2) an evaluation system that can work
    with virtual design and construction (VDC) to evaluate the efficiency of manufacturing and assembly; and (3) a game-changing philosophy that embraces the ever-changing prefabrication and modular construction technologies. This study suggests that development of design guidelines, forming multidisciplinary team, use of VDC systems and understanding the lean principles are factors that could further enhance the successful application of DfMA in construction.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalBuilding Research & Information
    Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2019

    Bibliographical note

    This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Building Research & Information on 5/9/2019, available online:


    • Design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA)
    • assembly
    • construction
    • design
    • lean construction
    • prefabrication


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