Customization of buildings using configuration systems - a study of conditions and opportunities in the Swedish timber house manufacturing industry

Research output: ThesisLicentiate Thesis


The aim of this project has been to study timber house manufacturers and provide guidance to those who aim to increase efficiency through the adaption of product modeling and eventually configuration. The findings in this report are based on a series of case studies within the abovementioned industry, which serves as a basis for the analysis and recommendations given.

The Swedish timber house manufacturing industry has a long tradition of producing houses in factories. In recent years, however, the construction industry has received criticisms for issues with quality and productivity, problems that is also valid for the timber house manufacturers. During the upswing in the past decade, IT investments in the industry have not kept the same pace as other investments. For this reason IT environments are currently growing out of date, which is one reason contributing to today’s problems. In many ways the timber house manufacturers resembles traditional on-site construction, especially in how they use IT and product documentation. Given the different conditions in the industries and the fact that timber house manufacturers can assimilate influences from other manufacturing industries, this presents an interesting opportunity to pursue for the industry.

The results from the case studies show that companies have a potential to better integrate processes, use IT and manage product documentation. How timber house manufacturers view themselves also affects how they treat questions regarding abovementioned areas, which ultimately also affects how well they will be able to use configuration. Whether they see themselves as a construction company, an engineering firm or a manufacturing industry will have an effect on many aspects of how to run the business.

The findings show that the timber house manufacturing companies has a potential in streamlining and standardizing product documentation to facilitate configuration and improving the product specification process. Companies should address three areas as a part of the change: processes, IT and product documentation. When considering these three areas together, companies have an opportunity to increase their competitiveness through more efficient processes and standardized product families. Clearly there are risks associated with introducing new IT systems and changing processes. Companies need to consider the risks and potential benefits with pursuing this path. Risks that should be included in an evaluation are for example; changes in the market, costs and quantifiable benefits from using configuration.

The report provides a number of advices to the timber house manufacturers that might be useful to consider for companies that wishes to go forward with product modeling and configuration. For example, it is recommended that companies investigate how to define the roles and responsibilities of the Chief Information Officer and Chief
Technology Officer, explore how the IT-strategy best delivers value to the business and consider to introduce a product development process.


  • Linus Malmgren
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Building Technologies


  • product customization, it, information management, industrialized construction, KstrIT, KstrWood, product modeling, timber buildings
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch

Total downloads

No data available