Exploring the Benefits and Trade-Offs of Design Standardization in Capital Projects

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Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management


Purpose: Facility design standardization strategy has considerable advantages, highlighted by its widespread and consistent use in the shipbuilding and manufacturing industries. However, capital projects have failed to realize these benefits. The primary rationale behind this problem is the lack of proper understanding of design standardization, more specifically the benefits and equally importantly, the trade-offs of design standardization in capital projects. Therefore, this study highlights 13 benefits and six trade-offs of standardization in connection to design standardization, along with specific examples. Design/methodology/approach: To achieve the study objectives, the researchers identified the most impactful benefits and trade-offs in terms of economic impact by surveying prominent players in the industry. Furthermore, the researchers examined 43 actual case projects (a case study) executed with the standardization strategy to evaluate the industry's status in terms of the levels of advantage achievement and disadvantage incurrence. Findings: The results of this survey show that design once, reuse multiple times and design and procurement in advance are the most impactful benefits. Similarly, susceptible to changes in the market conditions is one of the top trade-offs that can be incurred in capital projects when implementing standardization. The results also highlight that design once, reuse multiple times is one of the most achieved benefits in standardized capital projects today, while cost of establishing the design standard is the most incurred trade-off. Originality/value: This study provides important insight into how standardization strategy can be advantageous while also enriching the literature about pitfalls expected from standardization. Moreover, this study's results will help the industrial sector achieve higher levels of design standardization by providing a better understanding of the benefits and trade-offs of design standardization.


Advantages; Business strategy; Case study; Design once; Disadvantages


Construction Engineering and Management



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