Adoptions of prefabrication in residential sector in China: agent-based policy option exploration

Hua Du, Qi Han, Jun Sun (Corresponding author), Cynthia Changxin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to evaluate the effectiveness of different prefabricated construction (PC) policies using a case study in Wuhan, considering the local context.

The effectiveness of PC policies is falling behind expectations. The main reason lies in an insufficient understanding of the policy impacts. An agent-based model was built by choosing the residential sector in a typical large city of Wuhan, China, as the study case. Different cost reduction scenarios were introduced for investigating the PC policy effectiveness. The proposed model and simulation approach can be used for other cities and generalized to the whole Chinese PC industry with the potential to include more local policies and corresponding data.

Simulation results show that carbon emission reduction will be between 60,000 and 80,000 tons with policy incentives, nearly double that of the no policy intervention scenario. The target of 30% PC in all new buildings by 2026 in China is achievable with the subsidy policies of linear cost reduction, or cost reduction conforms to the learning curve.

Practical implications
Simulation results of three kinds of policy show that subsidy policy optimization is necessary regarding reducing the level of subsidy needed. The carbon credit policy is not essential since it has little influence on PC development. Implementing the project procurement restriction policy is not recommended if the scale of development of PC is more important than achieving the development target.

This study can help the government and developers make better policy and strategic decisions on PC development and boost the sustainability transition of the construction industry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1697-1725
Number of pages29
JournalEngineering, Construction and Architectural Management
Issue number4
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2023


  • Prefabricated construction (PC)
  • Agent-based modeling (ABM)
  • Carbon trading policy
  • Subsidy policy
  • Policy optimization
  • Subsidy policy


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