Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Building Construction Management

First Advisor

Bryan J. Hubbard

Committee Member 1

Bradley L. Benhart

Committee Member 2

Joseph J. Orczyk


Prefabrication and modularization has been used in the construction industry for decades. It has recently made a resurgence worldwide providing increased productivity, safety, quality and construction schedule. This research has focused on the situation where a construction company has decided to use prefabrication and faces two possibilities, they either will self-perform or they will outsource the construction of the prefabricated components. The decision making process used by a construction company to determine whether to outsource or self-perform prefabricated components is examined and analyzed.

Prefabrication is an industrial process in which certain components are manufactured in a specialized facility. These items will then be assembled or installed on the construction site in their final position. Any component manufactured off-site and requires being assembled or installed to form a complete system can be considered as prefabricated.

Outsourcing is a strategy in which a company hires another to perform some of their work activities. In the construction industry, outsourcing is performed by highly specialized companies, typically subcontractors or suppliers. In prefabrication outsourcing refers to subcontracting another company to perform "manufacturing" of prefabricated components offsite with their own resources.

Self-performing refers to a company executing activities of a project by utilizing their own qualified labor, specific types of equipment, and have specialized knowledge on how to construct the components. In construction, self-performing is typically used for schedule sensitive, complex and critical activities. This allows the contractors to identify and solve construction issues, control the level of quality, and manage the safety processes. Contractors self-performing have advantage over those that do not because of these issues. When referring to self-performing or prefabrication, it means that a contractor would be in charge of setting up the off-site manufacturing facility and providing prefabricated components that will be assembled or installed in the project.

In order to provide guidelines for construction companies to decide between outsourcing prefabricated components (buying/outsourcing) or creating a new division dedicated to manufacturing the components (making/self-performing) a decision tool was developed. The most important reasons for outsourcing and the most important reasons for self-performing were identified in a survey. Using all the information as a base, a survey tool was developed, tested and forwarded to experts to fill. The results of the survey were processed and analyzed in order to create a decision making tool to assist construction companies in their decision to whether outsource or self-perform prefabricated components. The tool is focused on construction companies who have had some experience with prefabrication in the past and are currently trying to decide if they should open a prefabrication facility to self-perform their own prefabricated components or if they should outsource them.