Opportunities and Challenges for Modular Construction in Developing Nations: A Case Study in the Nepalese Construction Industry

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Conference Proceeding

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After the earthquake on April 25, 2015, in Midwestern Nepal, thousands of residential and commercial buildings were damaged. Subsequently, building owners started repairing and reconstructing their damaged buildings. Most of the reconstructed buildings in the cities are reinforced concrete frame structure, but such traditional construction technique is time-consuming and can be costly. Thus, owners and construction companies adapted modular construction as a suitable alternative. While there are benefits of the modular construction, there are challenges that could hinder the wider adaptation of the technique. This study identified and ranked the opportunities and challenges associated with the modular construction technique in developing countries like Nepal. The opportunities and challenges were first identified based on literature review, and a questionnaire survey was developed to rank them based on the perspectives from contractors, architectures, engineers, and manufacturers/distributors that have direct or indirect experience and/or knowledge about modular construction in Nepal. Forty-two validated response were analyzed for this study. The top opportunities identified from this study include a reduction in the construction time; improved productivity; and reduced rework. The top challenges include the competition with the traditional construction techniques; the lack of information about modular construction in the society; and the lack of skilled workers. The findings are expected to aid the modular construction stakeholders in better understanding the opportunities and challenges that they can investigate. Such investigation can further lead to the identification of the solutions to the challenges and hence wider adaptation for the modular construction in developing countries like Nepal where the concept of modular construction is still new.

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