Designing for Digital Fabrication: An Empirical Study of Industry Needs, Perceived Benefits, and Strategies for Adoption

Ming Shan Ng, Qian Chen, Daniel M. Hall, Jürgen Hackl, Bryan T. Adey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Digital fabrication is growing in adoption within the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. Because digital fabrication often requires a systematic rethinking of the design process, research emphasizes new understanding is needed for digital systems across multiple areas, including technical development, technological systems, organizational contexts, contractual provisions, and business models. Despite the importance of a system view, the current body of knowledge does not yet provide a consistent identification nor a comprehensive evaluation of factors and their complex interdependencies with one another. To fill this knowledge gap, this work categorizes and identifies the industry needs and perceived benefits under five areas. Next, the authors conducted a questionnaire survey, which received effective responses from 114 industry stakeholders. The authors analyzed the responses using Rao-Scott chi-squared tests of independence to identify 70 pairs of correlated categories. This work further investigates the variables' correlations using heat map visualization. Two variable-correlation mappings are presented as follows: (1) a multiaspect mapping of 292 variable correlations under 10 categories of the industry needs of fabrication information and aspects in design modeling, review, and documentation; and (2) a single-aspect mapping of 26 correlations regarding the industry needs for various benefits of digital systems to adopt digital fabrication. Thereby, this work proposes seven strategy propositions to achieve the benefits of digital systems when adopting digital fabrication in design. The consistent identification of the needs and their interdependencies constitute an integral part of knowledge in construction management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04022052
JournalJournal of Management in Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Industrial relations
  • General Engineering
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing for Digital Fabrication: An Empirical Study of Industry Needs, Perceived Benefits, and Strategies for Adoption'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this