Risk-Based Approach to Predict the Cost Performance of Modularization in Construction Projects


The lack of proper management of the unique modular risks hinders the construction industry from maximizing the potential benefits associated with the use of modularization. Capturing the full cost benefits of modularized processes requires careful consideration of different aspects related to material, design, technology, logistics, installation, and so forth. Although many previous research efforts provided models to assess the feasibility of modularization in construction projects, no previous study developed a risk-based approach to assess the impact of adopting modular approaches on the cost performance of construction projects. This paper fills this knowledge gap. The authors followed an interrelated multistep research methodology. First, 50 modular risks were identified based on an extensive analysis of the literature conducted in a previous research study. Second, an industry survey was conducted in which 48 construction professionals - with an average of 24.25 years experience in construction operations and 13.6 years experience in modular construction - examined and assessed the impact of modular risks on cost performance. Third, integrated statistical and mathematical techniques - including distribution fitting - were utilized to develop a predictive model that (1) maps the 50 modular risks under investigation to cost performance data collected from 56 modular construction projects, and, consequently, (2) computes the associated cost saving and/or growth. The proposed model was verified using extreme condition tests, surprise behavior test, and sensitivity analysis, and was validated by industry experts. The authors provide guidelines for using the proposed model by industry practitioners. The developed model allows for maximized use of available project information to enable a reliable a priori cost assessment for the modularization processes throughout the different project phases. This is particularly important in the case of varying conditions over the project lifecycle. The developed model helps project stakeholders identify cost enablers and barriers that are interrelated with modularization processes. Accordingly, corrective actions and mitigation plans can be established. This research provides improved practices for decision-making, risk management, and project team alignment to maximize the cost benefits of modularization in construction projects.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Decision-Support Tool; Modular Risks; Modularization; Proactive Risk Management

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0733-9364; 1943-7862

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2021 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2021