Exploring the interactions among factors impeding the diffusion of prefabricated building technologies: Fuzzy Cognitive Maps

Xiao Long Gan, Ruidong Chang, Craig Ashley Langston, Tao Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this paper is to identify the interactions of factors impacting the widespread adoption of prefabricated building technologies and the intervention strategies to facilitate the development of prefabrication based on fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs).

Through in-depth interviews with six stakeholder groups, namely, the government, developers, designers, contractors, manufacturers and researchers, 13 critical factors were identified and used to construct stakeholder-grouped FCMs, which were further aggregated into a collective FCM. The complexity and density of the collective FCM and the centrality of factors in the FCM were examined. Subsequently, a series of “what-if” simulations of the collective FCM were conducted to analyze the effectiveness of different interventions in promoting prefabrication.

The results show that three factors including market demand, cost, and policies and regulations have been mentioned by all stakeholder groups. However, these factors were ranked differently by stakeholder groups, implying that different stakeholder groups perceive the barriers to prefabricated building technologies differently. FCM simulations show that strengthening policies and regulations yield the strongest overall effect stimulating prefabrication, alleviating the organizational and environmental barriers more than the technological barriers, while improving the knowledge and expertise alleviate the technological barriers more. These measures need to be accompanied by other approaches, such as reducing cost and improving quality.

Research limitations/implications
It is a tough task to promote prefabrication as it is affected by numerous barriers with complex interactions, which have been overlooked by previous studies. This study clearly shows which strategy could tackle which barriers to prefabrication through the FCM simulations. This provides valuable references for the enterprises’ decision making and the governments’ policy making to facilitate the diffusion of prefabricated building technologies.

Few studies aim to analyze the interactions among the barriers to prefabrication, while this study specifically investigates this issue by illustrating the complex interactions using FCMs. Few studies also aim to identify the intervention strategies promoting prefabrication based on a quantitative approach, while this study employs FCM simulations to directly simulate the effectiveness of different strategies to facilitate prefabrication in a quantitative manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-553
Number of pages19
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number3
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019


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