Examination of the Shipbuilding Industry

RT-232 Topic Summary
RT 232


RT-232 investigated the potential for adapting shipbuilding techniques to the construction industry. RT-232 was specifically focused on what enabled the shipbuilding market share to shift from the U.S. to Europe and Asia in roughly two decades. It found that this transition was done by the shipbuilding industry transitioning from a “stick-built” philosophy to one of “product-oriented” structures. This transition brought about a dramatic reduction in cost and construction cycle times without an erosion in quality or employee safety.

This research concluded that similar practices that transitioned the shipbuilding process are and will be applied to the construction industry, and the story of the U.S. shipbuilding industry could be the story of the U.S. construction industry in two decades. The research identified characteristics by which the European and Asian shipbuilding industry evolved. The Interim Product Database (IPD) process is a distinct set of standardized, configurable modules, grouped by production process similarity and built in a manufacturing-type environment. RT-255 focused on the adaptation of IPD to construction as a follow-on to RT-232.

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Enablers of Modularization for Shipbuilding Industry

The key differences between the construction industry and the shipbuilding industry are also believed to be the key enablers that allowed the ship building industry to excel. These key enablers were all classifieds as “hard” for the construction industry to adapt by the research team. These key enablers are: (RS232-1, p. 10)

  1. One company owning all processes
  2. High degree of design detail completion prior to construction
  3. One manufacturing/assembly location
  4. Design rules-based similar/stretchable components
  5. Design-build bid and award process

Additional enablers that were considered “moderate/easy” to apply in the construction industry are:

  1. Constructability considered during design phase
  2. Adaption of generic design rules
  3. Less owner interference during construction
  4. Supply chain integration through vertical integration
  5. Dedicated subcontractors and alliances
  6. Less relative product variability
Reference: (RS232-1)

2 : Shipbuilding Construction Evolution

The evolution in the shipbuilding industry went from stick building to block building to product oriented. This became a revolution in the shipbuilding industry. Europe and Asia caught on and overtook competing regions. (RS232-1, p. 2)
Reference: (RS232-1)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved quality (reduced errors & omissions), Improved craft productivity, Improved safety

Research Publications

Examination of the Shipbuilding Industry - RS232-1

Publication Date: 07/2007 Type: Research Summary Pages: 22 Status: Supporting Product

Examination of the Shipbuilding Industry - RR232-11

Publication Date: 04/2007 Type: Research Report Pages: 132 Status: Reference

Presentations from CII Events

Plenary Session - Examination of Ship Building

Publication Date: 06/2006 Presenter: Number of Slides: 17 Event Code: AC06

Implementation Session - Examination of Ship Building

Publication Date: 06/2006 Presenter: Number of Slides: 33 Event Code: AC06