A common application for radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is to gather and transmit real-time information relating to inventory control and logistics of objects and products. Thus, material supply chain processes are streamlined and integrated, leading to considerable productivity improvements along the chain.
As the timber industry moves towards tall, prefabricated building construction, its viability relies on large scale production principles where inherently diverse processes from building information modelling (BIM), to factory fabrication, onsite installation and post-construction inspection need to be well organised. RFID technology has the potential to automate, control and connect such processes for higher productivity targets, which is important for timber to gain traction in the tall building construction market.
This research develops the value proposition of RFID technology in prefabricated timber construction by first examining its application in other industries, then undertaking supply chain interviews, followed by detailed mapping of case study processes. Finally, prototype development of an RFID system is presented in which wireframe of smartphone apps are designed as the interface for monitoring how far panels have advanced in designated processes. The time- and date-stamping ability of RFID technology also provides productivity information about time spent at each stage in the overall process, which can be used in the preparation of progress payment schedules for completed construction work.