The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

Internationalization Off-site Construction: Knowledge Management

Internationalization Off-site Construction: Knowledge Management

Although timber offsite construction is being researched, developed and implemented in various geographies and cultures, it continues to primarily be a regional practice.  This is because construction in large measure and multi-national global companies notwithstanding is by necessity regionally specific – material, labour, and climate.  As such there is regionally specific knowledge concerning timber resource, supply chain, procurement, regulations and techniques for industrialized building.  The designers, builders, code officials, and trade suppliers in the specific locale hold the knowledge concerning timber offsite and modern methods of construction regionally.

Further, the majority of knowledge regarding construction is tacit, embedded within people and organizations.   Therefore, the best practices in timber offsite construction and its associated knowledge are engrained inside individuals within universities, companies, governments and associations in discrete regions. ITOC is a project that ventures to create mechanisms to unearth this knowledge from construction cultures and regions, codify this knowledge and create pathways for knowledge management and transfer via university researchers.

In addition, knowledge transfer in the construction sector can be IP restricted.  Ironically, in construction competition often removes innovation toward construction realizing real productivity.  Rather than viewing industrialization as a competitive micro-market where companies compete with one another, ITOC works to foster “all tides rise” culture between companies, universities and governments. ITOC positions its partners as 3rd party knowledge managers, utilizing networks of varying scale regionally, nationally and internationally.

Project Investigator: Ryan E. Smith, Director ITAC, PhD candidate Edinburgh Napier
Advisor: Robert Hairstans, PhD Edinburgh Napier University
2nd Advisor: Kevin Grosskopf, PhD University of Nebraska, Lincoln
3rd Advisor: Sean Smith, PhD Edinburgh Napier  
Funder: Undisclosed
Industry Partners:
National Institute of Building Sciences, Offsite Construction Council
National Offsite Construction Academic Consortium