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The nature of choice in mass customized house building


  • Manuel Schoenwitz
  • Mohamed Naim
  • Andrew Potter


There is a need to explore the actual uptake of specification options by clients in the context of the self-build housing industry. In so doing all the components in a house that can be customized were categorized so as to highlight the features that must be customizable and those that can be standardized. Through a longitudinal study of a German house builder, data from 16 projects over a 35-year time horizon have been collected. The extent of choice made in these projects has been determined by comparing the original standard building specification with the actual finalized fit-out specification of the project. In scrutinizing the collected data it became apparent that the number of changes made by the clients increased considerably over the timespan studied. More importantly, clients appreciated the freedom of choice as they were prepared to spend increasing amounts on customization. In particular specification options were made in the sanitary, internal design and façade categories. Moreover the results revealed that offering a high degree of choice is appropriate for most, but not all, components for the case house builder. Key areas for choice include those relating to sanitary ware and the façade.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Schoenwitz & Mohamed Naim & Andrew Potter, 2012. "The nature of choice in mass customized house building," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(3), pages 203-219, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:conmgt:v:30:y:2012:i:3:p:203-219
    DOI: 10.1080/01446193.2012.664277

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    Cited by:

    1. Pero, Margherita & Stößlein, Martin & Cigolini, Roberto, 2015. "Linking product modularity to supply chain integration in the construction and shipbuilding industries," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 170(PB), pages 602-615.
    2. Schoenwitz, Manuel & Potter, Andrew & Gosling, Jonathan & Naim, Mohamed, 2017. "Product, process and customer preference alignment in prefabricated house building," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 183(PA), pages 79-90.

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