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DOI: 10.1108/sasbe-07-2022-0136
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Design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) in architectural design meetings: from a case study to knowledge-to-action framework

Vikrom Laovisutthichai,Weisheng Lu

Knowledge management
Process (computing)
    Cite this:
Laovisutthichai, V., & Lu, W. (2022). Design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) in architectural design meetings: from a case study to knowledge-to-action framework. Smart and Sustainable Built Environment.
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Purpose Design for manufacture and assembly (DfMA) challenges architects in managing diverse knowledge across different professional domains. Little research, if any, has documented DfMA as a knowledge-intensive activity happening in real-life cases. This research aims to investigate DfMA knowledge acquisition, sharing and implementation in real-life practice and develop DfMA knowledge-to-action framework for architects. Design/methodology/approach It does so by (1) conducting observations in design meetings, documentary analysis and interviews, (2) thematic analysis through knowledge management (KM) perspectives and (3) based on this profound understanding, enriching the prior understanding of design as a double diamond process. Findings Through the lens of KM, DfMA is not merely a double but multiple diamond process, involving the iteration of making absenting interdisciplinary knowledge available, deciphering tacit knowledge explicit and embedding the knowledge in a design that well considers various criteria, the downstream manufacturing, logistics and assembly in particular. To execute multi-faceted knowledge acquisitions and implementations in DfMA, architects should balance their roles as humble learners, team coordinators, creative leaders and democratic negotiators. Originality/value This research reveals the DfMA implementation process, activities and dilemmas from real-world design meetings. The DfMA knowledge-to-action framework developed in this study, along with practice examples and lessons learned, can facilitate architects to play new roles. Future research is recommended to fine-tune the framework by having other stakeholders’ perspectives, refining it with additional cases and developing assistive tools for designers based on the framework.