Many strategies have been investigated seeking for efficiency in construction sector, since it has been pointed out as the largest consumer of raw materials worldwide and responsible of about 1/3 of the global CO2 emissions. While operational carbon has been strongly reduced due to building regulations, embodied carbon is becoming dominating. Resources and processes involved from material extraction to building erection should be carefully optimized aiming to reduce the emissions from the cradle to service. New advancements in timber engineering have shown the capabilities of this renewable and CO2 neutral material in multi-storey buildings. Since their erection is based on prefabrication, an accurate construction management is eased where variations and waste are sensible to be minimized. Through this paper, the factors constraining the use of wood as main material for multi-storey buildings will be explored and the potential benefits of using Lean Construction principles in the timber industry are highlighted aiming to achieve a standardized workflow from design to execution. Hence, a holistic approach towards industrialization is proposed from an integrated BIM model, through an optimized supply chain of off-site production, and to a precise aligned scheduled on-site assembly.
The timber industry has experienced in the last decades a relevant increase in terms of high performance buildings. Despite these advancements and the favorable properties of building with wood, the traditional position of "choosing by costs" still finds wooden building as more expensive than concrete or steel ones. In order to be competitive in the market against these two main building materials and meet the expectations of modern and large-volume wood based constructions, new improvements based on standardization and prefabricated systems have to be implemented. At the same time a full collaborative work between all the participants on a project is needed to redefine and optimize the construction and design processes through sharing specific and detailed information and extended know-how at a very early project stage. Through this approach, the high potential of combining off-site construction, Building Information Modeling (BIM) as a work methodology and lean management practices will be investigated, involving architects, engineers, BIM users in the timber industry, timber manufactures, contractors and all the stakeholders with the aim of reaching the most effective and productive design and construction process in multi-story timber buildings.