Rethinking Off-Site Manufacturing for Disaster Resilience

Niraj Thurairajah, Gayan Wedawatta, Nirooja Thurairajah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
23 Downloads (Pure)


The world today is continuing to witness many recurring natural hazard-induced disasters, the magnitude and impact of which have increased tremendously (Guha-Sapir et al., 2013; Ferris et al., 2013; Opdyke, 2018). In addition, increasing global temperature and rising sea level are continuing to cause unprecedented challenges for many countries. In this respect, the United Nations quotes that even if countries achieve their most ambitious climate promises, they will still not be able to reduce temperature rises. Given these challenges, this indicates the possibility of increased occurrences of tropical cyclones and heavy rainfall. Whilst these issues alone are palpable and significant, Bournay, (2007) acknowledged that population growth and infrastructure development contributed to increasing the world’s exposure to these natural hazards. This increase in natural hazard-induced disaster occurrence has drawn the attention of policy makers, governments and many organisations to focus more on the enhancement of society’s capacity to withstand disasters (Altay and Green, 2006).

Off-site manufacturing (OSM) is seen as part of a broader spectrum of innovative contemporary techniques that seeks performance improvement in the construction industry. Moreover, there is a growing trend in the adoption and uptake of OSM worldwide. Whilst there are several reasons for this, this chapter focuses exclusively on the challenges of disaster management in relation to offsite manufacturing practices. In this regard, OSM has the potential to enhance disaster management capabilities and reduce damage to both human and material resources. However, in order to operationalise this, there is an exigent need to reevaluate current disaster management practices contextually, so that they align and support OSM practice. The reciprocal of this also applies.

This chapter contextually explores OSM principles with disaster management practice. In doing so, it aims to challenge current thinking (given the fragmented nature of disaster management per se), in order to encourage the uptake and adoption of blended OSM solutions. The rationale here is to showcase how these solutions can be developed, nurtured personalised to meet country-specific contexts (and concomitant challenges). This work forms part of a wider study in this area, to understand the fundamentals of disaster management and OSM. A conceptual framework is presented for discussion. This engages the doctrines of OSM and disaster management through three governing principles.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOffsite Production and Manufacturing for Innovative Construction
Subtitle of host publicationPeople, Process and Technology
EditorsJack Goulding, Farzad Pour Rahimian
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Electronic)9781315147321
ISBN (Print)9781138550711, 9781138550681
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2019


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