Author: Jin, Xin
Title: Modelling policy-driving forces for the uptake of modular integrated construction in Hong Kong
Advisors: Shen, Qiping Geoffrey (BRE)
Siu, M. F. Francis (BRE)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2022
Subject: Buildings, Prefabricated -- China -- Hong Kong
Modular construction -- China -- Hong Kong
Construction industry -- Government policy -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xviii, 320 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Modular integrated Construction (MiC) is an innovative and effective manufacturing-based method of construction that draws significant attention from the industry stakeholders to enhance construction practices in Hong Kong. By adopting the concept of on-site installation after factory manufacturing, MiC has been proven to be beneficial to the construction industry, given the advantages of enhanced quality and site safety, improved efficiency and productivity, minimal disturbance and nuisance to neighbourhoods, and savings in construction time, cost and labour. The past few years have witnessed an increasing interest in policy-related research on the adoption and advancement of MiC. Recently, the Hong Kong government has implemented relevant policies and incentive schemes to encourage the wide adoption of MiC. However, the construction industry continues to observe policy-related issues in adopting MiC that retard the industry performance to a greater extent. Therefore, it is essential to conduct research for the improvement of relevant policies targeting MiC uptake in Hong Kong. Further, existing policies for promoting the uptake of MiC invariably focus on incentive schemes and compulsory requirements. These interventions disregard the real-life dynamic impacts of the Policy-Driving Forces (PDFs) on MiC processes and their interactions with related stakeholders, both of which significantly affect the large-scale adoption of MiC. Thus, the construction industry seeks strong support from promotional policy implementations for the mass adoption of MiC. Given this background, an in-depth study on PDFs in MiC practice is essential, particularly in Hong Kong, where MiC is gaining significant prominence in application.
The aim of this research is to understand the complexity of policy-driving forces and their impacts on MiC uptake and to formulate appropriate measures for improving MiC policy-making in Hong Kong. To realise this aim, this study progressively pursues three research objectives:
(1) Identify and examine critical PDFs across major MiC project phases: initiation, planning and design, and construction;
(2) Investigate the interactions between critical PDFs and stakeholders at different MiC project phases in Hong Kong;
(3) Propose measures to improve policy-making for the overall MiC uptake via developing a System Dynamics (SD) model to simulate and assess the potential impacts of critical PDFs. To fully understand the industry development situation of MiC, a comprehensive review of the existing literature was conducted. Accordingly, seven key issues of MiC existing in Hong Kong were identified, seven common research themes on construction industrialisation policies were summarised, and 26 PDFs identified from the literature were explained.
To achieve Objective 1, data were first collected from literature review, questionnaire survey and expert interviews. Then, relevant significance and factor analysis was conducted to identify critical PDFs of MiC and their appropriate groupings from the perspective of industry professionals. Accordingly, a total of seven critical PDF components consisting of 7, 6, and 10 critical PDFs were proposed in Stage I (Initiation Stage), Stage II (Planning and Design Stage), and Stage III (Construction Stage), respectively. In Stage I, two components were included: Promotional and Sustainable PDFs, and Regulative PDFs. In Stage II, Sustainable PDFs and Regulative PDFs were included, while in Stage III, the three components included were Greater Bay Area development PDFs, Technical and Regulative PDFs, and Promotional PDFs.
To achieve Objective 2, expert interviews and case studies were adopted to collect research data. A total of 10, 14, and 31 stakeholders were recognised in Stages I, II, and III, respectively. Three PDF-stakeholder networks at different stages were established using the Social Network Analysis (SNA) based on the collected data. Further, six indicators were measured using a two-mode network quantitative analysis to determine the critical stakeholders and PDFs associated with the implementation of MiC. Environmental protection policy (Stage I), COVID-19 pandemic and construction waste disposal charging scheme (Stage II), and quality acceptance standard for project completion (Stage III) were considered to be the most important PDFs in each stage. The Hong Kong government and developers were highlighted as prominent stakeholders at all three stages. The dynamic interactions between stakeholders and critical PDFs at different stages of MiC were discussed. Recommendations were accordingly proposed to improve the application of MiC from the perspective of various stakeholders.
To achieve Objective 3, a system dynamics model was developed to simulate the dynamic impacts of critical PDFs on the overall MiC uptake in Hong Kong. Results were generated from the SD model simulation and policy scenarios analysis, which indicated that PDFs in the initiation phase have the greatest impact on the overall uptake of MiC in Hong Kong, followed by the construction phase, and the planning and design phase. Moreover, Regulative PDFs have the highest tendency to enhance MiC uptake at each phase. Six strategies were then proposed based on the outcomes of case simulation and experts' opinions to improve the uptake of MiC practices in Hong Kong: (1) boost MiC adoption in buildings under emergencies (e.g. COVID-19 pandemic), (2) expand MiC adoption in public housing and encourage its application in private buildings, (3) provide additional Gross Floor Area (GFA) exemption for MiC projects, (4) enhance information technology support across the supply chain, (5) formulate explicit standards and guidelines for MiC and (6) promote further implementation of relevant policies in the Greater Bay Area.
This study explored PDFs for MiC uptake through three project phases of initiation, planning and design, and construction, which made significant contributions to promoting the overall uptake of MiC in Hong Kong from both theoretical and practical perspectives. In theory, this study (1) filled the gap of lacking quantitative research on PDFs in the construction industry, specifically in the emerging modular construction field; (2) facilitated an in-depth understanding of the interactions between critical PDFs and associated stakeholders across the MiC project phases and (3) extended the body of knowledge in recognising the dynamic impacts of critical PDFs for the overall MiC uptake in Hong Kong. In practice, this research provides implications for the government to anticipate the impact of different policy revisions and adjustments towards MiC uptake, by applying a developed dynamic model for policy scenario simulations. With these supportive policy design, revision and implementation, MiC practices in Hong Kong will be beneficial. The construction industry performance could be further enhanced by overcoming the existing policy-related issues regarding MiC. Ultimately, the Hong Kong economy would be boosted through MiC uptake while contributing to sustainable development.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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